Tag Archives: Dining

Here’s What’s Next For NYC’s Food Scene

Dining NYCs Food Scenes Behind the Scenes NYC Restaurant

Curious to know what’s next for NYC’s Food Scene? Well, take a look below so we can tell you all about it! Get ready to enjoy!

Dining NYCs Food Scenes Behind the Scenes NYC Restaurant

New York City’s food scene is like no other in the world: locals equally rave about hot dogs from hot dog carts and eclectic cuisine from Michelin-starred restaurants, all in the same breath.

And while the Big Apple’s food culture doesn’t need much to improve it, experts and food enthusiasts are predicting that new NYC food trends are going to shake things up to gain the interest of even the most jaded foodie in the city.

Here’s what’s next for NYC’s vibrant and eclectic food scene.


Nostalgic Comfort Foods

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During times of uncertainty, people tend to gravitate towards comfort food, especially comfort food from their youth.

A recent poll has found that two in three Americans ate more comfort food in 2020. And, people will be seeking more of this type of food: 69 percent said that they’ll continue to enjoy the same amount of comfort food in the coming years.

This means that New Yorkers may see more hearty fare offered in their favorite bistros, cafes and restaurants. For example, a deep dish chicken pot pie or a lasagna cooked in a spring form pan, breakfast pizza, mac & cheese, and chili – all possible to emulate at home with a non-stick pan.

Immunity-Boosting Foods

As people are looking for ways to stay healthy, it’s likely that renowned NYC food institutions will be offering more food and drinks with natural immunity boosters.

Be on the lookout for salads with a lot of ingredients that can build up the immune system, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers. Ginger is also about to become a star ingredient. It can help to decrease inflammation and reduce the symptoms of various respiratory illnesses.

Think warming soups such as cream of squash and roasted ginger, or pickled ginger as a side dish.

Dessert could be a ginger ice cream, such as the one that can be found at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. NYC restaurants can elevate this treat by serving it with whipped coconut cream and lychees.

Eclectic Twist on Classic Favorites

NYC foodies are about to go on a food adventure: a lot of classic favorites, such as burgers and pizza, are predicted to undergo an eclectic makeover.

Think New York style pizza with kimchi, ramen burgers, or Thai-style fries, which are fries cooked with spices, peanut oil, peanut butter, lime juice, and fish sauce.

Dessert bars are also predicted to offer more ice cream with international flavors, such as ube, which is a type of purple yam that comes from the Philippines, red bean paste, which is a favorite in South Korea, and miso, which is a mainstay in Japanese dishes.

NYC’s food scene is about to get even more interesting. And, we’re about to see more classic comfort foods, healthy meals, and diverse ingredients offered by popular and up-and-coming institutions.

Be on the lookout for these trends and indulge your taste buds with the best NYC treats.


Piccola Cucina Opens In The Upper East Side

Dining Piccola Cucina Upper East Side Octopus Antipasti

One of our favorite restaurant officially opened their 4th location in New York City! Piccola Cucina, in the Upper East Side, should definitely be on your to-go list!

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We’ve been to Piccola Cucina a couple of times and we never hesitate to go back again and again, and again!

Celebrities like the mega influencer Chiara Ferragni and her husband Fedez, and other big names like Owen Wilson, Adam Devine, Katie Holmes, Cuba Gooding Jr, Duran Duran and so many others also love the spot! You might even bump into one of them!

Their 4th location was scheduled to open early March and now they were finally able to celebrate their grand opening….and obviously they did not disappoint!

As soon as we arrived, the outdoor seating immediately called our attention. Every detail and the careful treatment with all the details made the area super cozy and inviting.

Having recently opened, we were happy to see they were already pretty busy with old (and many new) clients having fun and respecting all safety protocols.

Well, we were excited to try their Upper East Side menu and this time, different from the previous post we wrote about them, we left space for their delicious desserts!

This is what we had:

  • Antipasti: Octopus Caprese with burrata cheese , tomato confit and basil
  • Main Dish #1: Pasta – Busiati with salmon and artichokes
  • Main Dish #2: Pasta – Spaghetti with seafood (mussles, shrimp and calamaris)
  • Dessert: Tiramisu
  • Dessert: Semifreddo Mandorla – an ice cream-like option!

We paired the meals with red wine and an Espresso Martini – to give it a twist! And, if you enjoy Espresso Martinis, they really know how to make this cocktail to perfection!

Chef Philip Guardione truly never disappoints and is always adding amazing new creations to the menu or the daily specials, so you can be sure to be surprised – regardless of which location you decide to go to!

And lastly, of course the staff and the entire team was extremely knowledgeable with all the dishes, super polite and friendly and most of all, very welcoming…making our night a perfect dinner in New York City! Bravissimo!

We can wait for our next time!

Location: 106 East 60th Street

Hours:
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30am – 11pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30am – 12am

www.piccolacucinagroup.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC

Tramonti Fifth Ave: An Authentic Italian Restaurant in NYC

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If you enjoy Italian cuisine, then you must visit Tramonti Fifth Ave, a family-friendly authentic Italian restaurant. Not only do they have century old secret recipes, but they are the only ones in NYC to have a specific Tramonti wine!

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Tramonti Fifth Ave is one of the newest additions to NYC’s vibrant restaurant scene! This family-friendly authentic Italian restaurant, located in the heart of the NoMad neighborhood, will take you on a journey to Tramonti, a small town in Italy.

To be more exact, Tramonti is a tiny town in the beautiful Amalfi Coast (southern Italy). They are mostly known for their vineyards, lemon orchards and chestnut woodlands. Tramonti’s current population is only a little over 4,100 people.

When we arrived at Tramonti Fifth Ave, we were greeted by a very friendly staff that led us to our table. We sat at the back area, near the wood-fired pizza oven, where we immediately noticed that Chef Giovanni Vittorio Tagliafierro was at full speed! Chef Leo Mele is the other, also world-renowned chef, part of Tramonti!

Chef Giovanni, born in Tramonti, was recently awarded by the Italian American Chamber of Commerce the Ospitalità Italiana Award.

This annual award is a seal of quality assurance for the authentic Italian restaurants around the world.

“Italian cuisine is the result of a centuries-old historical process of Italian society, always leading to significant moments of human civilization. For an innate inclination to the attention of the Italians to human relationships and the quality of life, the culture of the table has become in the course of time the symbol of hospitality and welcome, the food has taken on a value like art and music.

For these reasons, Italian food should be considered a contribution to the heritage of humanity and should be defended and protected from adulteration and falsification to preserve its history, culture, quality, and authenticity.” ~ Welcome-Italia.co.uk

As mentioned above, Tramonti is known for its fine vineyards and we had the pleasant surprise to actually try an authentic wine, the Giuseppe Apicella Costa d’Amalfi Tramonti. Such a delicious red wine!

As starters, we tried:

  • Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes
  • Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and burrata
  • And, the Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and prosciutto
  • Polpette Di Vitella – veal meatballs in tomato sauce
  • Parmigiana Di Melanzane – Parmigiana-style pan fried eggplant with tomato sauce and mozzarella

All really fresh and extremely tasty, but we were mostly surprised with the perfection of the Parmigiana Di Melanzane. This is definitely a must-have!

Pizza making is one of Chef Giovanni’s expertise. Their recipe has been in his family for over a century, so we obviously had to try it!

The pizza we decided on was a classic Caprese – Fiammante San Marzano DOP tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella DOP, arugula, cherry tomatoes and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

We asked what DOP meant. It’s “Denominazione d’Origine Protetta” (Protected Designation of Origin) – a certification guaranteeing the origin of the products and that “it has been produced, processed, and packaged in a specific geographical zone and according to tradition” (Source: DeliveryItaliano.com)

“We use special ingredients and classic recipes to create delicious pizza, spaghetti, salad, and more.”

It was delicious and the crust was as crunchy as a pizza crust should be!

Last, but definitely not least, dessert! We tried their cannoli, but we were really looking forward to their famous Chocolate Eggplant.

The recipe dates back over 400 years. It has passed through all generations of Chef Giovanni’s family – mother, grandmother, great grandmother. The process takes literally over 24 hours to prepare.

They fry the eggplant to perfection, twice, then it sits for around 6 hours. The chocolate sauce is delicious and, as every genius dish, there’s a secret ingredient. In this case, the Chef mentioned it’s an Italian liqueur, with 13 herbs (he did not mention details), made by local Monks!

When the eggplant is ready, they dip it into the chocolate sauce, sprinkle with dark chocolate and place into the oven for another 2 minutes. But, it’s still not over. Finally, they place it inside a refrigerator for another 24 hours! After this, the dessert finally ready to be savored! Result: Utter perfection!

You’ll also find other options on the menu like pastas and a variety of seafoods from lobster, crab and shrimp, to fresh oysters.

They can also accommodate dietary restrictions and offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes as well!

We can’t wait to go back for more!

Oh, and while you’re in the neighborhood, you might want to explore it a bit. So, go for a drink at Patent Pending, one of our favorite speakeasy bars! If you want to stay in the area while in NYC, take a look at the HGU New York Hotel.

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 12am
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 12:30am
Sunday: 11:30am – 11pm

Location: 2 West 28th Street

www.tramontififthave.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC

Piccola Cucina: A Charming Italian Restaurant in NYC

Dining Piccola Cucina Italian Restaurant SoHo

The smaller, the better! That’s how we like our restaurants to be! Piccola Cucina Enoteca is a charming Italian restaurant with a few locations around New York.

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I remember the very first time I went to Piccola Cucina on Prince Street. The place was not new – it was founded back in 2008 – but I only had a chance to visit them on September 2014.

Behind the Scenes NYC was just starting its journey uncovering the local New York scene, I had just hired my immigration lawyers to kick off my Visa process, so I wanted to start our explorations in grand style!

As soon as you walk in Piccola Cucina, you’ll be surprised on how tiny the place is.

There are maybe only around 10 tables, all pretty packed up together. But, no one really seems to mind, nor pay attention to what’s happening with their neighbor.

If you’re a visual person like me, the good thing is that you can peek around to see what the dishes look like.

I went there with a friend that I’ve known since we were 3-4 years old, that studied with me back in school and eventually in college. He’d been living in NYC for quite some time, working for a renowned bank, and knew about all my life changing plans of moving to New York City.

Since then, everything ended up well: I moved to New York and properly started my business. There is just so much to see in this city that, even though I do go to places I love multiple times, I always tend to look for new places to explore. It’s always good for new content for you guys!

That said, I hadn’t found a good opportunity to go back, until a few days ago with 2 good friends that also live here and have never been there.

We did a reservation for Sunday, at 2pm. The place is so tiny that if you don’t have a reservation, you’ll probably have to wait a while for a table.

I woke up a little later than normal, since Sundays are my lazy days. I had a light breakfast to actually arrive hungry at Piccola Cucina. I wanted to know how Chef Philip Guardione, a true Sicilian raised, would surprise me this time!

We all ordered different dishes:

  • To share: Bruschetta ai Pomodorini e Basilico – Classic Cherry Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
  • Cavatelli ai Funghi Porcini – Cavatelli with Porcini Mushrooms
  • Lasagna al Ragu – Lasagna with Meat Ragu, Tomato and Bechamel Sauce
  • Pasta alla Norma – Eggplant Rolls Stuffed with Tomatoes Spaghetti and Ricotta Cheese
  • Red Wines by the glass: Divus Ciavolic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Cembra Pinot Noir

All the dishes are super well served and came in beautiful pans that was pretty unique! I actually ordered the rest of mine to go. I literally was able to eat only half!

“I only came to New York for a visit, but the energy and vitality of the people bewitched me. Today the Big Apple has become my city, where this unexpected adventure all started, and my goal is to bring the joy and flavor of my country here”. ~ Chef Philip Guardione

We decided not to order dessert, but we did see the Cannoli with Ricotta Cheese and the Tiramisú at the neighbor tables. They looked delicious and the people eating them, seemed very happy with their order! Ha!

So, after some coffee, it was time to go! We had a fantastic time! The staff was ultra-friendly and solicitous, music was pleasant, and guests came from all over the globe. We could listen to them speaking multiple different languages.

Piccola Cucina is a perfect place for a brunch with friends. It’s also a fantastic idea to surprise your date on a trendy, intimate New York spot! But, not really fun for small kids though…

If you’re in SoHo, you can just take more time to explore.

So, go grab a drink at a speakeasy bar called The Ship, have fun at the famous interactive exhibit called Color Factory, or go for dessert and coffee at Sweets by Chloe. I love their Red Velvet cupcake – it’s vegan, but if I hadn’t told you, you’d never notice!

Hours: Please check details for each location on website.

Locations:
Enoteca – 184 Prince Street
Sicilian Osteria – 196 Spring Street
Estiatorio – 75 Thompson Street
Upper East Side – 106 East 60th Street

www.piccolacucinagroup.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Piccola Cucina

Her Name Was Carmen: A High-End Peruvian Restaurant

Dining Her Name Was Carmen Peruvian Restaurant Soho Gabriel Barreto Bentin

This high-end Peruvian restaurant called Her Name Was Carmen was really an unexpected surprise! About to celebrate their 1st year, they have some new dishes coming out and we went to try them.

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About to celebrate their 1st year, Her Name Was Carmen, a two-floor upscale Latin American restaurant located in West SoHo, will soon celebrate their first anniversary, this coming December. But the idea actually started almost 10 years ago.

Their extremely talented Chef, Omar Ben Hammou, is originally from Peru (but is half Moroccan, as well). He’s worked at renowned restaurants in New York like Le Bernardin, with the French Chef Eric Ripert and in Switzerland, at Le Floris with Chef Claude Legras. Both Michelin starred restaurants!

Now, if you’re Brazilian, you’ve probably heard of Chef Alex Atala. He runs D.O.M. restaurant, a two Michelin stars restaurant, in São Paulo. Chef Omar worked there before coming to New York.

His story at the stove begins in his early childhood when he flourished from learning at his mother’s restaurant about the flavors of Northern Peruvian cuisine. He eventually graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Lima.

Her Name Was Carmen offers a unique experience where guests dine on a simple menu that showcases fresh seafood.

And, during specific nights, after dinner you can make your way downstairs for some eclectic music and their creative artisanal cocktails.

“The idea was to mix an upscale dinner experience with a NYC nightlife. We wanted to immortalize a young Latin American woman that grew abroad, eats healthy, is eclectic, likes dancing Reggaeton, but also travels to Ibiza.

We wanted to offer a different proposition and interpretation of Latin American food mixing 4 elements: design, high-end cuisine with a minimal contemporary style, combining a drinking menu with oceanic wines and mezcal, all paired with great music (deep house, disco, latin)…” ~ Andres Diaz, Managing Partner

The décor was made also by, Maurizio Bianchi Mattioli, a Venezuelan-born architect with the challenge of “no white walls”. So, you’ll see a beautiful mural at the entrance designed by Simon Vargas, fun floors, striped ceiling, an energetically lit full bar! All very…Latin!

We tried 6 different delicious dishes, paired with 3 white and 3 red wines throughout the courses, that you can also see on our IGTV.

Everything was perfectly paired by the extremely kind and knowledgable Wine Director & Sommelier, Yuval Bar-Kokhba. He was sure to find the perfect wine for us!

Curious to see what we ate?

  • #1: Fresh Oysters from Boston
  • #2: Tuna Mojama on toast with avocado, tomato and oregano
  • #3: Hamachi Tiradito, one of the best sellers, with avocado, japaleño, olive oil emulsion and rice crackers
  • #4: Beet Salad is a new vegetarian option on their menu
  • #5: Brussel Sprout salad is vegetarian as well
  • #6: Halibut
  • #7: Dessert – White Chocolate Panna Cota

Some of their other new dishes added to the menu are:

  • Sea Bream Crudo
  • Truffle Pasta
  • Arroz com Pato (rice with duck)
  • Short Rib

In a few weeks they are starting brunch where you can also expect a simple, but delicious menu.

Some of their dishes will be a calamari sandwich, the famous avocado toast and some of their best sellers, like the ceviche! And, to set the mood, a live band will be playing.

Be sure to make your reservation and don’t forget to share you experience with us! And, if you need assistance to plan a Corporate Even with your team or clients, let our expert assist!

Hours:
Tuesday & Wednesday: 6pm – 12am
Thursday: 7pm – 2am
Friday & Saturday: 7pm – 3am
Sunday & Monday: Closed

Location: 527 Broome Street

www.carmennyc.com


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Gabriel Barreto Bentin
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

NYC Food Trends Taking The City By Storm

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Yes, New York has every possible cuisine you can desire or imagine on Earth. That said, take a look at the NYC food trends taking the city by storm. Some are not super new, but probably came to stay!

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How about a pair of crunchy insects in your dish? Lol! ©BlackAntNYC

New York is the restaurant capital of the world – just consider there are 24,000 eating establishments in Manhattan alone. So, we decided to talk about the upcoming NYC food trends!

It has been estimated that you if you ate at a different restaurant every day, it would take you over 22 years to dine at them all.

One of the reasons that NYC is so diverse for dining, is that there are influences and cultures from all around the globe. This means that there are always great new NYC food trends, which you can even try cooking at home.

Take a look at a few of the food trends below and let’s see how adventurous you are when trying new cuisines! Lol!


Glorious Grasshoppers

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Croquetas de Chapulin: yucca-manchego Grasshopper croquetes with avocado and Chapulín salsa. ©BlackAntNYC

As we think more about sustainability and food ethics, insects are hitting restaurant tables in a big way. They are actually an excellent source of protein and delicious with a little spice.

If you head to Toloache, the Mexican restaurant headed up by Julian Medina, you can sample them in tacos, hot with chili and cooked with crunch.

The Black Ant, in the East Village, is another great eatery that is embracing grasshoppers. In fact, almost every item on their menu uses insects. The grasshopper-crusted shrimp however are a triumph.

If you want to have a taste at home you can easily buy grasshoppers online, they may even become a household staple.

Locations:
205 Thompson Street, Greenwich Village
166 East 82nd Street, Upper East Side
251 West 50th Street, Midtown

www.toloachenyc.com

Location: 60 2nd Avenue, East Village

www.theblackantnyc.com


Beautiful Baogels

Dining NYC Food Trends Baogel Black Seed Bagels
Baogel at Black Seed Bagels. ©BlackSeedBagel

The baogel is another wonderful cultural hybrid, featuring a soft pork belly filling, usually found in a bao bun, and of course combined with a soft, bagel.

It is the creation of Black Seed Bagels and Chinese restaurant Nom Wah Kuai, and usually served with a chili cream cheese on the side for ultimate dipping.

To try this at home, the pork belly cooks best in a sous vide machine, a beautifully gentle slow cook that will leave the pork tender and succulent, ready to be folded into bagel dough.

You can then return the bagel into the machine, to make a really soft baogel. This trend just goes to show how versatile water bath cooking is.

Locations: Several locations, see their websites!

https://www.blackseedbagels.com
https://nomwah.com


Raindrop Cake

Dining NYC Food Trends Raindrop Cake
The peculiar Raindrop Cake. ©RaindropCake

The raindrop cake is a thing of simplistic beauty. Originating from Japan, it is a beautiful dessert that is made from water, agar and sugar.

It is served in bamboo, alongside a flour that is made from roasted soybeans. The dessert is vegan, has very few calories, but it a textural delight in the mouth.

It’s all about feeling that sweet burst of liquid on the tongue. Darren Wong, who originally brought this cake to Smorgasborg food fair said that he wanted the raindrop cake to be reminiscent of the Asian jelly desserts he ate as a child.

You can now buy kits to have a go at making the raindrop cake at home. They are delicious with a little syrup and some fresh mint on the side.

Locations: Smorgasburg has 4 locations.
Thursdays: BK Bridge Park, 6pm
Fridays: WTC, 11am – 7pm
Saturdays: 90 Kent Avenue, 11am – 6pm
Sundays: Breeze Hill, Prospect Park, 11am – 6pm

https://www.smorgasburg.com


New York is a special place for dining – if you can imagine it, the likelihood is that there is a restaurant serving it. These fresh, new ideas and NYC food trends are also changing the way that we consider our home cooking.

So, come explore New York with us and don’t forget to share your discoveries in the comments below! We’d love to hear about them, so we can also check them out!



Guest Writer: Cindy Trillo
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Black Ant, Black Seed Bagels and Raindrop Cake

*Last Updated on Feb/2020.*

Citrico: A Mexican Restaurant In Brooklyn

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It’s taco time! Citrico is a Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn! We went there for a night filled with traditional tacos and cocktails and had a great time!

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Who likes Mexican food!? I definitely do! Today we want to share about a small traditional Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn we visited.

I don’t know about your guys, but I certainly do love Mexican food!!! That said, I decided to explore a neighborhood in Brooklyn called Prospect Heights and eat at a restaurant called Citrico!

Well, to start off Noor, the owner, is Mexican so obviously the food, authentic Southern Mexican, is super traditional. The restaurant’s décor is simple, but very inviting and low-key with some typical Mexican objects and frames that set the mood to the place.

When we got there, I always like to ask what are the bestsellers and what are the most unique and different dishes on the menu.

So, take a look at what we had:

  • Guacamole (of course): Served with chips and topped with fresh pomegranate
  • Tostada de Betabel en Mole: beets cooked in homemade mole made from scratch, over rice and a crispy corn tortilla and then topped with crema, queso fresco and lettuce
  • Agucate Frito: Fried avocado with shrimp ceviche
  • Taco Gordita Combo: vegetable taco on a blue corn tortilla topped with avocado and queso fresco + a handmade corn gordita stuffed with black beans, crema, queso fresco and lettuce. Comes with pickled habaneros and homemade salsa roja.
Obviously, we’d never miss dessert:
  • Chocolate Mousse: Homemade semi-sweet chocolate mouse garnished with a strawberry and a Mexican cookie
And finally, the cocktails we ordered:
  • Passion Fruit Margarita
  • Tropical: Bruxo mezcal, coconut purée, and pineapple topped with toasted coconut flakes

Plus, Prospect Heights is a neighborhood with exploring. It’s just a few blocks from Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, that are also super charming areas in Brooklyn!

Have fun exploring and eating tacos!

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 11pm
Friday: 4pm – 12am
Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 12am

Location: 681 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

http://citricobrooklyn.com


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

XYST: Breaking All The Myths About Vegan Food

Dining XYST Vegan Restaurant Beet Hummus

This Vegan restaurant in New York City is breaking all the myths about Vegan food. XYST is truly an experience worth exploring that will change all your misconceptions of this cuisine!

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If you’ve NEVER been to XYST, it’s about time you go!XYST is one of the amazing creations by the renowned Chef Matthew Kenney and it one of my favorite spots in New York! We’re even done a short and sweet IGTV about it!

Their menu is Mediterranean inspired, their décor is beautifully rustic and home-cozy, the cocktails are great to pair with the food and the dishes? Well, they are to-die-for (and Vegan!).

Yes! This is a restaurant that I take all my non-Vegan friends and they a-l-w-a-y-s want to go back for more. I mean, I truly love showing people what Vegan cuisine is all about and break all the myth there is about it!

In addition, people that don’t understand the cuisine think that vegans only eat vegetables and salad. Hahaha! Well, that’s totally wrong and the cuisine is super rich in flavors and creations!

Now, pause for “awe”! Chef Matthew has restaurants in almost 20 cities across the globe, some of them being: São Paulo (my home town)! Buenos Aires! Sydney! Los Angeles! Dubai! Costa Rica! Bahrain! And other corners of the globe!

Now, let’s get to some details on the dishes!

Here is what we had this last time, but I’ve tried almost everything from their menu:

  • White, Rose and Red Wine, just to start off in grand style
  • Mese Plate: Beetroot Hummus. Smoked Hummer. Muhammara. Market Vegetables. Warm Pita
  • Wild Mushrooms + Muhammara. Red Pepper. Caramelized Onions. Herbed Focaccia
  • Avocado Toast. Za’atar Avocado. Cherry Tomato. Sourdough Bread

Unfortunately, this time we didn’t have dessert, because we were super satisfied with what we ate, but I’ve tried them all:

  • Blood Orange Cheesecake with Citrus Curd and Basil Syrup
  • Sunflower Seed Baklava with Rose Water
  • Chocolate Cake with Orange Blossom Gelato and Candied Salnuts

As Chef Matthew says, he’s “crafting the future of food” and we have to agree!

So, enjoy (and I’m sure you’ll be back for more!)

Hours:
Lunch & Brunch: Monday – Friday: 11am – 3:30p
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11am – 3:30pm
Dinner: Sunday – Wednesday: 5pm – 10pm | Thursday – Saturday: 5pm – 11pm

Location: 44 West 17th Street

www.matthewkenneycuisine.com/xyst


Photo Credits: @BehindTheScenesNYC
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

Your Friend’s Kitchen: A Dining Experience At The Chef’s House

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New York is a gastronomy haven for those that love food! I want to share a different NYC dining experience that will take you on a journey around the world, called Your Friend’s Kitchen!

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I was invited to enjoy a unique NYC dining experience, different from what I have already done around New York City. And believe me, I have done countless experiences around town.

But this time, I was called for a Vegan African Feast at Chef Linda’s home! I was intrigued from the start, considering that not only would Chef Linda cater a totally new menu, but she was going to open her home to host us for this super special night!

I was excited and extremely curious too!

Chef Linda (aka Linda Adria Sebisaho) is was born in the Eastern part of Congo, in Africa and moved to New York at the age of 15! Initially, she dreamt of getting into medical school, but totally changed her mind and became a math teacher! Her cooking talent  kicked in a bit later.

Today, she runs her own catering company. She loves these types of social dining experiences, having meals with strangers, that leaves as friends by the end of the night!

She says, “it’s a form of art”, and we couldn’t agree more!

That said, Chef Linda was thrilled to co-host this night with Your Friends Kitchen, created and founded by Meenakshi lala.

So, let me tell you a bit about how the night unraveled!

Chef Linda’s home is in Harlem, a neighborhood I love exploring with all its Jazz spots and amazing restaurants like Seasoned Vegan. I headed up with a friend, that was just as excited!

As we arrived, everyone there warmly greeted us! The table was decorated with colors inspired by the African culture, setting the mood of the night to come.

In addition, they printed a beautiful menu with what we were going to eat during the night! The menu had this beautiful illustration of an African woman wearing one of the gorgeous fabric head arrangements, already bringing us into the journey that was about to start!

Chef Linda introduced herself and in no time, the feast had started! The event is “B.Y.O.B. – Bring Your Own Bottle”, so be sure to bring any drink that makes you happy!


Here is what the menu looked like:

  • Starter #1: Yucca – Mashed Yucca stuffed with chickpeas or cheese
  • Starter #2: Sambusa – Fried dough filled with spiced carrots, peas and potatoes
  • Salad: Sachumbari – East African salad made from tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and lime
  • Main #1: Yassa Aubergine – Harissa spiced eggplants, pilau rice and ginger caramelized onions
  • Main #2 (a surprise!): Plantain with white beans, onions and tomato sauce
  • Dessert: Beignets – Savory fried African doughnut served with strawberries
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Each dish was explained by Chef Linda, where she would tell us a quick story of its meaning, influence and ingredients.

Portions were extremely generous, beautifully arranged and the best of it all: we had truly a great time, laughed all night long with the stories everyone shared and made some interesting business connections.

Chef Linda amazed us with her talent and we left having a new group of friends that we hope to stay in touch with and explore other dining experiences by Your Friend’s Kitchen!

Last, but definitely not least, I’d love to thank Meenakshi, for inviting us to be part of this special night! We are happy to be part of this new community she’s building and will definitely be back for more!


More information about Your Friend’s Kitchen:

How It Works:

Your Friend’s Kitchen is an authentic food experience, a new take on going out for a meal. Your Friend’s Kitchen aims to bring people together to share an experience that is comforting and familiar, yet not like any other.

Whether they are home cooks or food lovers, our hosts share a passion for bringing people together, one meal at a time!

The Founder:

Meenakshi is a passionate foodie, avid traveler and founder of Your Friends Kitchen. She discovered her love for cooking when she first moved to the United States from India. A foodie at heart, she has traveled to 25+ countries and explored street foods and fine dining alike.

Her passion for cooking food and hosting inspired her to create a platform for others to enjoy dining in the comfort of a warm, cozy, intimate setting and enjoy a delicious meal prepared with love and passion.

Her goal at your friend’s kitchen – Bring people together, one meal at a time!


For you to learn more about Your Friend’s Kitchen and also check out the upcoming events, be sure to go to their website where you can book everything directly!

In addition, if you have a corporate group coming to town and you need help organizing all the experiences, dinners, events, our experts can help you out!

www.yourfriendskitchen.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Shir A.

Frevo: A Restaurant Hidden Behind An Art Work

Dining Frevo Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto

You all know how much we enjoy finding secret spots around New York, right? So, take a look at Frevo, a restaurant hidden behind an art work inside a tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village. It’s the new hot spot!

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Yes, so this is exactly what you read: a restaurant hidden behind an art work!

Frevo is one of the newest restaurants in town that officially opened its doors on May 16th, but the fun thing is that it’s actually a hard to find spot. Just like we like it and how our story began!

The contemporary French restaurant is hidden behind a beautiful art work inside a tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village, in Manhattan.

Created by the talented Brazilian Chef Franco Sampogna and his Portuguese business partner and General Manager Bernardo Silva, the restaurant’s launch was far from being an “easy one”. What I mean is, we all know that many of the restaurants out there are backed up by these big money investors, making the entire endeavor easier.

But, Frevo went down another path and was self-funded by the duo. Certainly, a challenge that brought its own characteristics, the main one being the idea of being a secret spot.

The concept of it being discreet and offering a unique experience had been thought out. But, a restaurant hidden behind an art work, happened by occasion based on a challenge they had.

Bottom line: the place they found was amazing, but too big, too expensive and above their budget.

Dining Frevo Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto Franco Sampogna
Our Founder, Fê Paronetto with Chef Franco.

So, after analyzing and deciding exactly what size restaurant they’d actually need, the remaining space was offered to the French painter Toma-L, which draws inspiration from Joan Miró and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Voilá! There, he’d be able to show and sell his art pieces, while creating the beginning of, what they call, “a unique cultural and culinary dining experience”.

As soon as you arrive at the tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village, you’re greeting by a hostess. Note: If you’re early, you might have the pleasure of being greeted by Chef Sampogna himself!

When the time comes for your reservation, you get a bit curious to know exactly where the entrance is.

Then, the moment comes when you’re just in “awe”! The biggest painting in the gallery opens up like a door, and you’re taken inside to your seat. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming, plus you’re able to actually meet and talk to the talented duo behind it all.

There are 18 counter seats where guests can enjoy and see their dishes being carefully prepared. In addition, there is also a more private table for up to 6 people as an option.

Frevo offers a 5-course pre-fixe menu with: 2 appetizers, 2 main courses and 1 dessert. Oh, and you do get an amuse-bouche to wake up your taste buds!

This tasting menu costs $148/person and is definitely worth every cent! You can also request wine pairing, at an additional cost, of $96/person, tip included! Frevo is a non-tipping restaurant.

I’m vegetarian and at the time of my reservation, I was asked for any dietary restrictions or allergies. So, they were able to perfectly accommodate my request. (Note: They are just not able to accommodate vegan diets, as of now.)

So, this is what we had:

  • Lump Crab with Broccoli and Curry
  • Green Asparagus with Pistachio and coconut
  • Halibut with Fennel, Mushroom Marmalade
  • Long Island Duck with Spinach, Raisins and Potatoes
  • Chocolate mousse with Oreo crumbs, ice cream with a side of dulce-de-leche (aka caramel)

For me, the dished slightly different:

  • Quinoa Salad
  • Green Asparagus with Pistachio and coconut
  • Fennel, Mushroom Marmalade with a small bread soaked in the marmalade
  • Onion, Pear and Carrot, on top of a Carrot cream
  • Lemon pie with Vodka, Lime and Almond

And, to finish it off in grand style, and to celebrate the Brazilian culture (since I had mentioned that Chef Sampogna is Brazilian), we had a good strong espresso.

The menu is seasonal, so you can be sure to go back and re-experience this delicious secret journey into a contemporary French cuisine.

They do not accept walk-ins and even if you pass by the gallery, you’re not able to give that sneak-peek inside. So, be sure to get your reservation done in advance to explore this restaurant hidden behind an art work!

To get a sneak peek inside our experience, take a look at this IGTV Video!


Dining Frevo Restaurant Chef Franco Sampogna Bernardo Silva

More about the Co-Founders:

Chef Franco Sampogna and Bernardo Silva met at the age of 17 in France, even though they are from Brazil and Portugal, respectively.

They spent most of their early years studying in France and working at renowned Michelin-star restaurants. This, eventually, built up great knowledge and experience of the hospitality industry, bringing them to explore New York and start their journey away from France.

They duo is well-known for their former Long Island based restaurant, Jema. It won Newsday’s Best New Restaurant 2016, was listed among Best Long Island Restaurants 2017, and won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2017.

Chef Franco Sampogna entered the international San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition, along with another 3621 candidates. Selected amongst ten French Chefs for the semi-finals at only 24 years old, he went on to win second place on February 10, 2015.

“The James Beard Foundation featured Jema and honored the culinary talents of Chef Sampogna at the Beard House. Dining on his food is a real pleasure.” — Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation.


Frevo is by reservation only, so be sure to get yours done: reservations@frevonyc.com.

And still, we work with corporate clients coming from all over the world that need local assistance in event planning and leisure experiences. If that is your case, contact us with your request! We are able to organize an amazing time for you and your team / clients in New York.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – 11pm

Location: 48 West 8th Street

www.frevonyc.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and courtesy of Charissa Fay for Frevo
*Last Update on Feb/2020.*

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