need inspiration –
and you have to eat!
client’s eat quest
we want a casual but special seafood place, no sawdust on the floor please
Tiny Great Undiscovered Seafood Place
fun decor, downtown
This hidden gem pops up unexpectedly amid the concrete. Let’s celebrate the arrival of this Tiny Great Undiscovered Seafood Place in all its 22-seat glory before the inevitable long lines and longer waits. Yes, it’s an iteration of the seaside fish shack. But TGUSP does it to the max. Ultra fresh seafood, fried oysters and clams in a batter so delicate and sweet it’s practically guilt free. Perfectly cooked daurade with grilled haricots verts. A corn pudding seems like no big deal, a little golden square in the middle of a white plate; but it melts in your mouth, and the taste that lingers is the velvety essence of deep sweet summer . Yes, Virginia - there is a lobster roll. Beautifully cooked, on the appropriate toasted hot dog bun and at the moment, served with cucumber and dill; the ingredients will change with the seasons. The wine list has about 3 or 4 bottles of each color. A gorgeous white Bandol was a big hit at our table. Monday nights have no corkage fee so bring your own favorite bottle.
A tiny place, with a small but balanced menu and smaller but tasteful wine list, what they’ve created is a fun and stylish backdrop for an alumnus of Mary’s Fish Camp to cook in and cook wonderfully. The ceiling is a mosaic of undulating bamboo skewers, the tables spark to life with inset candles, even the restroom sink is witty. Add delightful, warm attentive service from the owners/staff and you have an itsy bitsy resort on some fantasy sea. In lieu of a house in the Seychelles, I’ll take it.
client’s eat quest
I forgot it’s my wife’s birthday in two days and I need somewhere fun for a group of seven friends - help!
Intimate Venetian Hideaway for Two or Ten
dark, mysterious and sexy
reasonable, plus prix fixe for family style group dinners
Walking along a quiet street downtown, you chance upon a doorway, no obvious signage. An oversized chandelier glitters through velvet draped windows, a smattering of candlelit white marble tables, dark wood bar, draw you in - only to discover that this is the spot for a drink, but not your ultimate destination. That lies down a flight of stairs that leads you into the mysterious, duskily lighted nooks and crannies of Venice. It’s charming, inviting, sensual. Exposed brick walls, more candles, rustic wood beams, and tables angled around columns so you can say whatever you want without being overheard.
This is a very easy impress for a date, and also perfect for a birthday dinner for twelve. There are semi private alcoves for group dining, service is family style and the ambiance is sparkling, spicy and romantic. Conviviality is the key here, informal friendly service, very special yet fun and affordable.
Plates are meant for sharing, all the better because it’s so hard to choose. Start with gently fried and stuffed zucchini blossoms, or the polenta with bacala. Just a heavenly cloud of parmesan and garlic. Creamy plus creamy equals way creamy. At the birthday dinner I attended, friends fought over the asparagus with baked egg. The spaghetti nero shines. Cuttlefish ink and homemade pasta, enough spice to tingle but not stun. Or switch it up with the gnocchi in brown butter and mushrooms if you like comfort with your sexy. There’s a winning pork shank served on a bed of that polenta, excellent salumi and cheese plates, hit or miss tirami su, and a justly celebrated panna cotta.
It’s best to get to IVHTT early evening or on a weekday as reservations only apply to group dinners. The food is good, certain dishes are even supreme, but it’s the combination of the wine list, the shared plates and the dreamy creamy atmosphere that make this a seemingly well planned birthday present. Surprise!
client’s eat quest
great wine and interesting food to impress a new girlfriend’s family visiting the city for just one night.
Fantastic Wine & Tapas Place
understated chic, chill
can add up
Tucked away behind an unmarked door, you need a reservation at this Fantastic Wine & Tapas Place. Better to bring 3 or more so you can claim one of the inviting round banquettes. Twelve choices of small plates include Tasmanian sea trout, venison carpaccio and Anne Saxelby’s cheeses. An incredible spoonful of eel with pickled beansprouts and a quail egg on top started us off. Only made more perfect by the glass of Manzania Pasada Hidalgo Sherry 2005. Sweet, smoky, salty, fabulous. We ordered the trout, thick raw slices with piccalilli and shichimi, four times over - for three of us. Positively addictive. FWTP favorites Toasted bread with macerated lemon peel and caper berries. A salad of spicy poached pear, fresh ricotta, smoked almonds and edamame with verjus dressing; truffle and salsify noodle salad with wild mushrooms; confit artichoke; asparagus and rocket this side of incredible. And let’s not forget the dashi custard with lobster and lime. Let’s not ever forget it. We went from the sherry to the Stadlmann Rotgipfler. Ahhh. Followed by a delicious Grüner, an Arneis and finally a Prado Enea Muga Rioja 1998. Double ahhh. Well complimented by lovely cheeses. It was an amazing combination of tastes and atmosphere, as if nothing else in the world mattered, beyond the pleasure of this splendid evening.
client’s eat quest
We want a little adventure and the ingredients for the perfect Italian meal at home since we can’t get to Italy right now…
Arthur Avenue in the Bronx
Detailed tour begins at $75. Personal guide and car additional. Printed map and favorites list provided for your visit.
highlights from eatquest Itinerary
Begin in the indoor market with a stop at Mike’s Deli for the caper berries, and get the olives before they sell out. Soft, green, plump and sweet, like the ‘dolce’ olives that you find in Rome, pop one in your mouth and you’re transported, but back in time for lunch at the cafeteria in the market. Fabulous broccoli rabe pizza slices, even better rabe frittatas and an assortment of pastas, gnocchi, sandwiches stuffed with sopressata and pecorino fresco or whatever you fancy. Order, grab a table and contemplate what you’re going to buy. Eating something wonderful while planning dinner, surrounded by movie photos of old Hollywood and people clamoring in Italian is pretty exciting - especially for the Bronx. The stall next to the tables offers quite a gastronomic range including Abruzzi oregano, a wild selection of paprikas, great prices on San Marzano tomatoes, olive oils from every region in Italy and terrific aged balsamics ranging from 12$ to 200$. The vegetable stall to the right has good figs, fabulous white peaches and my favorite fresh porcinis and shitakes in season of course.
Out onto Arthur Avenue, we turn left to find the Calabria sausage store. Sausages hang from the ceiling and practically everywhere else - excellent. Fennel, super hot, garlic, sweet — your sausage fantasy come to life. There’s even an out of this world fresh ricotta. With figs, on toast. Amazing. They also have great prices on Di Cecco pasta, hazelnut biscuits and all manner of proscuitto, their version being the cotton candy of meats. Sometimes the owner’s daughter sings in Italian to an electronic keyboard. Hard to move on. But, still before you, in the stores to come - an array of whole baby lambs, freshly made burrata, tiny vongole, homemade raviolinis, hand filled cannolis, for further details contact us…