Tag Archives: Tasting Menu

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

Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Table

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!

Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Table
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Explanations
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Menu Details
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Conversations
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Prepping
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience In The Kitchen
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Decor
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Fernanda Paronetto Chef Linda Meenakshi
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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. 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
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Plantain
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Sambusa
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Salad Sachumbari
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Yassa Aubergine
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Beignets
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Menu
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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!

Dining Frevo Restaurant Photo Charissa Fay
Dining Frevo Restaurant Entrance Gallery
Dining Frevo Restaurant Salad
Dining Frevo Restaurant Lump Crab
Dining Frevo Restaurant Quinoa Salad
Dining Frevo Restaurant Aspargus
Dining Frevo Restaurant Halibut Fennel
Dining Frevo Restaurant Duck
Dining Frevo Restaurant Veggie Salad
Dining Frevo Restaurant Dessert
Dining Frevo Restaurant Lime Pie
Dining Frevo Restaurant Counter
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Yes, so this is exactly what you read!

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 $124/person and is definitely worth every cent! You can also request wine pairing, at an additional cost.

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 expresso.

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! We are able to organize an amazing time for you and your team or 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

Shuraku NYC: A Hidden High-End Japanese Restaurant

Dining Shuraku NYC Aburi Kinme Dai

If you enjoy a high-end Japanese tasting menu, Shuraku NYC is the place for you! With the finest seafood, meats and poultry from around the world, they prepare it all on their binchotan grill.

Dining Shuraku NYC Private Counter

We recently had a delicious experience at the recently open Shuraku NYC, located in the West Village.

This high-end spot opened on mid November. “Shu” means place of gathering, but its small door and façade makes it a gem hidden in one of Manhattan’s busy Avenues. We love it, of course!

As they explained:

“Chef Joe and Head Chef Ryunosuke Satoh met working at Tori Shin. Chef Joe says, ‘We learned from the best. I went to my favorite Japanese restaurant in New York and asked for a job.’ They recruited similarly disciplined colleagues from Ushiwakamaru and began testing their menus in Joe’s home kitchen. The result is a shared vision that is at once very Japanese and very NYC.”

The front part of the restaurant hosts clients interested in having the a la carte menu but, the back room is where the magic happens!

To start, the private 12-seat wooden counter permits you to be inches from the chefs. The experience starts when you witness the magic happening in that small kitchen area.

But, don’t underestimate it though, for they make miracle charcoal-grilled dishes in that space.

“Our simple preparations are meant to enhance and complement the natural flavor of our choice ingredients.”

There, they offer their famous Tasting Menu, that changes seasonally.

The food is prepared on a traditional Japanese binchotan grill, and served on dishes made in Japan specifically for each item on the menu. Cool, right?

Binchō-tan, also called white charcoal or binchō-zumi, is a type of charcoal traditionally used in Japanese cooking. The fineness and high quality of binchō-tan are attributed to steaming at high temperatures (about 1000 degrees Celsius).

Although it is often thought that binchō-tan burns hot, it actually burns at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal but for a longer period, making it preferable by a number of chefs. Because it does not release unpleasant odours, it is a favorite of unagi (freshwater eel) and yakitori (skewered chicken) cooks.” ~ Wikipedia

Dining Shuraku NYC Aburi Kinme Dai
Dining Shuraku NYC Fried Lotus Root Crab Shrimp
Dining Shuraku NYC Sashimi
Dining Shuraku NYC Botan Ebi Kobujime
Dining Shuraku NYC Grilled Jumbo Carabineros Prawn
Dining Shuraku NYC Gyukatsu
Dining Shuraku NYC Tenderloin Ichibo
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Moreover, their current Winter Tasting Menu is an 8-course meal that will challenge all your taste buds with different textures, tastes and flavor combinations. The creativity is evident in all the dishes!

Take a look it:

  • 1st course: Sakizuke – Oboro tofu with dashi soy & wasabi
  • 2nd course: Oshinogi – Miyazaki beef sushi with nappa cabbage Ohitashi
  • 3rd course: Zensai – Fluke kobujime with karasumi and mentaiko monfish liver with ginger soy sauce
  • 4th course: Yakitori – Chicken oyster with lemon, Magret duck with Tokyo scallion and Yuzu kosho pork jowl with hibiki miso
  • 5th course: Hashiyasume – Japanese turnip in white miso soup
  • 6th course: Grilled Entrée – Washu beef (culotte) with cipollini onion, carabineros prawn with cherry tomato, hokkaido scallop
  • 7th course: Noodle – Inaniwa Udon, Ume Tororo
  • 8th course: Dessert – Satsuma sweet potato ice cream

Sounds amazing, right?

Well, we did try a few of these dishes during our visit and a couple additional ones! They were fantastic!

Dining Shuraku NYC Entree
Dining Shuraku NYC Sakizuke Oboro Tofu
Dining Shuraku NYC Edamame
Dining Shuraku NYC Sea Eel Anago
Dining Shuraku NYC Karaage Marinated Fried Chicken
Dining Shuraku NYC Cipollini Onion
Dining Shuraku NYC Grilled Aspargus
Dining Shuraku NYC Hashiyasume Miso Soup
Dining Shuraku NYC Yakitori
Dining Shuraku NYC Desserts
Dining Shuraku NYC Sake
Dining Shuraku NYC Winter Tasting Menu
Dining Shuraku NYC
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This is what we tried during our visit:

  • Entrée dish with veggies
  • Sakizuke – Oboro tofu with dashi soy & wasabi
  • Edamame
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Marinated fried chicken – Karaage
  • Hashiyasume – Japanese turnip in white miso soup
  • Cipollini onion with sake and soy
  • Sea Eel-Anago – white grill sea eel from Tsukiji
  • Yakitori – Chicken oyster with lemon, Magret duck with Tokyo scallion and Yuzu kosho pork jowl with hibiki miso

And for dessert, we tried a bit of each option:

  • Yazu cheese cake
  • Black sesame ice cream
  • Satsuma sweet potato ice cream

We definitely loved all 3 dessert options, but the black sesame ice cream is surely the most unique one!

The chef that took care if us, was Chef Sho, and he was fantastic! Super friendly, perfectly explained every dish and made us feel part of the experience – not only customers on the other side of the counter.

In addition, for their 1st Christmas Dinner they created another super unique tasting menu – the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” omakase.

FYI, “omakase” means a chef-curated meal, so the chef choses it all! Definitely a thrill!

“Christmas is coming, so in late December we’ll also let just a little bit of Italian-American heritage shine through. Chef Joe Conti’s Brooklyn Italian roots have inspired our Feast of the Seven Fishes omakase. Chef Sato and Chef Joe have put together a special 8 course tasting menu.”

So, take a look here a book your spot! Seating starts at 5:30pm!

For all other reservations, click here. If you’re organizing a Corporate Event, let our experts cater to your needs!

Hours:
Wednesday: 5:30pm – 10pm
Thursday – Saturday: 5:30pm – 11pm
Sunday: 5:30pm – 10pm

Location: 47 8th Avenue

www.shurakunyc.com

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy

3 Secret Japanese Restaurants That You Can’t Tell Others

Dining Bohemian Restaurant Dish

We contributed during 1 year for Glamour Brazil. This post was about 3 secret Japanese restaurants in town that we love!

Here is the Portuguese version and below, the English version:

The gastronomic scene in NYC is simply the best! New restaurants are always opening, renowned chefs are always daring and experimenting in their menus and novelties are always popping up in existing restaurants.

The coolest places in New York are certainly the most hidden ones. For anyone who is in love with Japanese cuisine, here are tips three secret Japanese restaurants, kept away from the eyes of the city’s tourists!


Zenkichi

Dining Zenkichi Restaurant Entrance
Dining Zenkichi Restaurant Tables
Dining Zenkichi Full Table
Dining Zenkichi Restaurant Abalone Uma Ni
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The Japanese restaurant, Zenkichi, is located in the neighborhood of Williamsburg – which we love!. It opened its doors nearly one decade ago and continues part of the short list of the most secret restaurants in town. The entrance is discrete, with a wooden door and a small number “77″.

With a typical oriental décor and low lighting, the tables are divided into small cabins where your privacy is preserved. Each table has a charming bamboo curtain blocking the view of people passing by the table. Each table also has a button to call the waiter, who promptly arrives to help you.

The restaurant offers an a la carte menu and a special chef’s tasting menu with 8 dishes, the “eight-cours Omakase”. This tasting menu is the apex of the place and changes every five weeks!

Location: 77 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

http://zenkichi.com


Sakagura

Dining Sakagura Restaurant Inside
Dining Sakagura Restaurant Dishes
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For connoisseurs of sake and lovers of traditional Japanese cuisine, Sakagura is “the place to go”. It was elected one of the top restaurants in New York.

Founded in 1996, it is considered one of the best authentic Japanese cuisine with top rated dishes elected by best gastronomic critics. It is also among the top sake bars in the United States and in the world, with more than 200 labels for tasting!

Furthermore, on the menu, the dishes have suggestions on the side to indicate the best sake combination. The restaurant is located inside the basement of an office building, so do not be surprised if you bump into suited men while walking in.

Location: 211 East 43rd Street, Midtown

www.sakagura.com


Last, but not least, you’ll surely love telling your friends about the whole experience at this next place. Certainly amusing!


Bohemian

Dining Bohemian Restaurant Tables Bar
Dining Bohemian Restaurant Dish
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Located in the back of a Japanese butcher shop, in NoHo, Bohemian is perhaps one of the most coveted hidden restaurants in the city. It’s a hard place to find and you’ll surely think you in the wrong place. Plus, the long, dark corridor does make you think twice while walking in.

How it works? Well, first the phone number for reservations is not disclosed and it’s a referral-only spot. The way to get a reservation is to try to find someone who has already been to the restaurant so they can give you the phone. This is the only way you’ll be able to call and schedule your reservation. Cool, right?

Everything there is a-m-a-z-i-n-g… from simple food (with inspiration in the American and French cuisines) to the minimalistic décor and background music – playing Japanese grooves, and even jazz and bossa nova! The tasting menu is a great price and nothing out of the ordinary…it goes for $55, with 6 dishes.

Location: 57 Great Jones Street (this is shared on Google Maps)


Also, if you enjoyed discovering these three secret Japanese restaurants, take a look at our Self-Guided Tour of one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, called Greenpoint!

Lastly, you might also enjoy super unique, custom tours! At this Unique Custom Photo Tours, your guide is not only amazing, but they are photography experts that will take your pictures along the way!

Have fun exploring!

 

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Restaurants, nicknamemiket, Shanna Ravindra, solaennuevayork

The Secret Restaurant Luksus At Tørst, In Greenpoint

Dining Luksus at Tørst Tasting Menu

This is one of the several hidden restaurants in Brooklyn! The secret restaurant Luksus at Tørst is located in one of our favorite neighborhood: Greenpoint!

Dining Luksus at Tørst Interior
Dining Luksus at Tørst Chef Daniel Burns
Dining Luksus at Tørst Thee Dessert
Dining Luksus at Tørst Tasting Menu
Dining Luksus at Tørst Beef Tartare
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UNFORTUNATELY LUKSUS IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED, BUT TORST REMAINS OPEN!

This is exactly the type of spot we love exploring when we’re on our hunt for new spots in New York! Just the thrill of finding a hidden place, that not many people know about, is exciting.

The fact that there are no crowds of tourists, is even better! You agree?

To start off, the entrance is quite “camouflaged” if you’re not paying attention as you walk by.

At the back of the Danish craft beer bar named Tørst, you enter a small Nordic eatery in Greenpoint – Luksus. It’s actually right on Manhattan Avenue that is the dividing line between Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Chef Daniel Burn – ex-Momofuku, ex-Noma and ex-Fat Duck – is the talent behind the artistic dishes you will order. His prior experience? Pretty awesome resumé, right?

Also, if you enjoy tasting menus, they offer a unique seasonal tasting menu that go for $125/person and you can add drink pairing for an additional $55.

Wondering about Tørst? This beer bar is a great option to experiment different beer styles. Even if you’re not very fond of beer, we’re sure you’ll find one that suits your palate.

Oh! They offer some small bites, sandwiches and other dishes to share!

In conclusion, it’s certainly a haute Brooklyn dining experience in the 26 seat restaurant.

Plus, since you’re already around the neighborhood, be sure to explore more of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. You can take a look at our Self-Guided Tour of Greenpoint too! Want to stop for a drink, go to the super low-key spots locals love around the neighborhood.

Hours for Tørst:
Sunday – Thursday: 12pm – 12am
Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 2am

Location: 615 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn

www.luksusnyc.com


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Luksus, @jmoranmoya, The Infatuation

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