Thursday, March 14, 2013


As New Yorkers we take it for granted that there are tons of fabulous restaurants close by, but the hard part is deciphering which of these transcend the "neighborhood gem" status and become truly a must hit spot. Supper falls into this later category. Why I never ate here until this week is still a mystery, but it's easy to see why Frank and crew seem to have such a cult following.

Supper is the 3rd restaurant of the Frank Prisinazo (@theunknownchef on instagram) mini empire, including Franks and Sauce. I have yet to try the others, but I can tell you that Supper lives up to the hype. I was recommended this place by some Brooklynite friends who frequent here often and promised it is their "go-to" girls night spot, and I must add to my list. I was not disappointed. It has all the trappings of a repeat place. Often times I love a restaurant, but after one seating I have had my fill and have no desire to return. Supper left me feeling like I could eat here once a week and be very happy and satisfied. 

Supper has a lot going for them. First off, it's a cozy, intimate space on a quiet East Village street. There's dim lighting and a slightly romantic feel making Supper a great option for a date night or the perfect neighborhood gem. The prices are not exorbitant. There's a tremendous Italian wine list. And probably most important, the food is clean, fresh, and flavorful. Let me put it another way. They have a punch card for their famous "spaghetti al limone". This fact alone should be enough to warrant a visit. 

Before I get to the food, a couple of quick tips. Supper is cash only. They are known to do a great job at delivery service (not often the case with good restaurants that offer take out/delivery). It is also vegetarian friendly. It's a good place to know. They don't take reservations and I'm told weekends can get hairy, but their wonderful homey wine bar next door called Sugo Bar, allows you to wait comfortably and have a glass of wine while you wait for your table.

The first sign of a good experience, is the bread. The homemade selection of breads with mouth watering White Bean Salsa here is enough to win me over. Don't fill up on this! I know you want to. We started with the Black Kale Panzanella with whole wheat bread, chopped ripe tomatoes, organic kale, pantelleria capers, basil, evoo, and coarse black sea salt. It's not a pretty salad, but it's tasty and very flavorful. My veggie loving friend ordered the Grilled Vegetable Plate for us to share as well, and as boring as that may sound, it was really just perfection. Beautifully grilled beets, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, green beans and broccoli with extra virgin olive oil and a nice sprinkling of sea salt. Perfect. 

For our main course we got their famous Spaghetti al Limone which was simple and fantastic. Al dente pasta with parmiagiano cheese, lemon, butter, salt and pepper. Refreshing and not too heavy. We also got the Branzino grilled and filleted with a chunky mouth watering tomato sauce with capers and basil. To finish we had the Ice Cream Sundae, with chocolate sauce poured over right at the table. A good ending to a great meal. Supper, I approve. And I will surely be back soon.

Neighborhood: East Village

Bite Mark: ***and a half 

Good For: Date Night, Girl's Night, Romantic, Small Parties (there's a private room that holds 12-15), Veggie Friendly 

Supper, 156 East 2nd Street  212-477-7600 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gwynnett St.

First Williamsburg review, Yoo-hoo! And it's about time.
I don't know what scares me about Williamsburg, but for one reason or another I'm never here. There's a ton of good restaurants I should be reviewing and exploring, and really it's not as far as I thought. I think I had this preconceived generalizations about mean, condescending hipsters and tons of traffic. 
Ok fine, Gwynnett St, maybe Billyburg ain't all bad...

Gwynnett St is the brainchild of WD-50 alum Justin Hilbert and general manager Carl McCoy, who I met last night floating around the restaurant, and was extremely cordial and super-friendly (and no, I did not mention the blog). It is labeled "creative modern american" and each dish we sampled is full of complex flavors and interesting and fresh ingredients. It's an inviting space with dim lights and a casual yet romantic feel. 

Gwynnett St has a lot of good going for it. The good is really good, but I'm still kinda torn writing this review. I'm breaking it down into the good, and the not great as really I did enjoy my expereince, some things were just, well, "not great". 

The Good: 
1. The service is really wonderful. They couldn't have been further from the pretentious vibe I'd wrongly imagined. Everyone is super and overly friendly and accommodating. They are so helpful navigating the menu and go above and beyond in this category.    
2. Presentation. Everything was so beautifully presented. You can tell the chef has worked with Wylie, as everything is so interesting to look at and colorfully vivid. 
3. Whiskey Bread. Wow. Please order this (we ordered 2). It is a super crusty fantastic loaf of some sort of brioche / biscuit / irish soda bread served with cultured butter. WOW. 
Gwynnett St also make some mean cocktails. They all have great names and the one we tried include the Whatever Dude, Mr. Pink, and Wadsworth. Besides for the bread, the dishes I most enjoy is the Cashew (tofu), cauliflower, black garlic and tumeric and the Cod with egg yolk, leek, and potato. The tofu was delicious and the waiter rightly suggested we get 2 for 4 people. I can't really tell you what they do to it, I can just say GET THIS. The Cod is another winner, and I'm not really a huge cod fan. I loved the runny egg on it (of course) and the flavors melded nicely. 

The not Great:
Portions are kinda tiny. We went 4 people and shared everything, and a lot of that sharing meant literally one bite each. Some of the dishes were over stylized and more pretty than substantial. They were these beautiful tiny works of art, but not all that much food. Some like eating like this, I personally do not. I felt this way about both the Sunchokes with hazelnuts and alpine cheese, and the Puntarella with olive, pitachio and blood orange. Both were good, but small, I didn't get enough and hence didn't really enjoy. The Mahi Mahi with bok choy, turnips and dulse (no, i have no idea what dulse means) was just fair. Again, pretty to look at but I didn't love. 

We're still hungry. Let's go for 3 (!) desserts. In order that I enjoyed:
1. Chocolate - rose hips, bulls blood. So pretty but also so good.
2. Coconut - really good and creamy.
3. Orange - chicory and cream. Kinda like a creamsicle

Overall, I like Gwynnett St, and I would recommend it. I don't know if I agree with Esquire magazine who rated it Best New Restaurant of 2012, but it is definitely worth the trip. The warm service, great cocktails, and relaxed vibe helps. 

Neighborhood: Williamsburg, Brookyn

Bite Mark: ***

Good For: Special Occasion, Romantic, Fancy Food 

Gwynnett St, 312 Graham St.  347-889-7002

Saturday, March 2, 2013


 Cherry is the new sleek and swanky lounge-restaurant serving Asian fushion fare to the hip and cool kids below the Dream Hotel on West 16th Street. Not to be confused with the old lounge of the same name in the W Hotel on Lex that I used to frequent as a teen, Cherry is brought to you by the guys from Bond St, the ever trendy sushi spot in Noho. As the name aptly implies, Cherry is steeped with dark red accents, dim lights, red velvet booths, and tucked away corners. There's a long crowded bar with an array of good looking bartenders serving some really fun and interesting cocktails. My (lightweight) friends recommend the Fuzzy Dog with gin, fennel, peach preserves, lemon and absinthe mint, which they quickly downed and thoroughly enjoyed. 

Once we checked in we impatiently waited over a half hour for our table, though it should be noted that the hostess did do us a favor by switching our reservation from 4 to 6 people at a prime time hour on a busy Thursday night. After grabbing some drinks at the bar, we were finally led to a quiet enclave in a dark corner and lounged on the comfy couch as we waited for our food. 

The food at Cherry has its high and low points. Some items are outstanding, while others really did not do it for us.
Highlights: Warm Mushroom Salad with frilly mustard greens, garlic chips and sake soy. This is delicious, order it. It's better than what you are picturing and what you've eaten at Ki Sushi in Bklyn and other similar spots. It is a filling and warm plate of wonderfully aromatic mushrooms. Yum. Tuna Crispy Rice is another must order. The 6 of us ordered 3 portions. Crispy fried rice with spicy tuna and jalapeƱo. We are not breaking new ground here and it is not unlike what you've eaten at Koi, Mikasa, etc, but really delicious nonetheless. The Bond St Tuna Tart is another must order. Creamy ponzu, micro shish and white truffle oil make for the perfect bite. It looks like a raw tuna pizza, and goes down smooth and clean. So fresh and so delicious, don't miss this.

Lowlights: Some of the appetizers that don't fare as well are the Tuna Tacos, which tasted fried and were messy looking, and the Smoked Salmon Tart which was a bit fishy. The Seaweed Salad and Asian Mixed Greens (not pictured) were both fine. 

The main courses also had their ups and downs. We all agreed the Miso Glazed Seabass with crispy rice cake and bonito is excellent, and a nice size portion too. I didn't taste the Cod, but it didn't look especially appealing. The Buckwheat Risotto with seasonal veggies is another good one. Vegetarian friendly and really flavorful and delicious.

The sushi, which I was expecting to be on Bond St level, is just fair. We ordered a varied selection of rolls including Yellowtail Jalapeno, Veggie Cucumber Wrap, Toro Scallion, Spicy Tuna, and Crunchy Snapper. It comes beautifully presented with an assortment of dippings and sauces. Unfortunately, from the first bite it was clear that it just isn't life changing sushi. It isn't terrible, it is just not what you should come here for. Maybe too fancy and too many things inside took away from the fresh fish and clean sushi that the better sushi spots are known for? About half the sushi platter remained when we had all finished.

Banana Tart Tatin and Green Tea Meltdown were both good dessert options, the banana being my favorite.  
All in all, I enjoyed my experience at Cherry. The service could use improvement as our waiter disappeared for long periods and there was some lag in between courses, but Cherry is still relatively new. I would return for a small party with friends or even for drinks. There is a nice loung-y vibe and cool crowd. Order right and make a reservation, and Cherry could be a great addition to your mix. 

Neighborhood: Meat Packing. Located under the Dream Hotel 

Bite Mark: ***

Good For: Trendy, Date Night, Girls Night Out, Small Parties, Dining Incognito

Cherry, 355 W 16th St bet 8th - 9th Ave  212-929-5800