Restaurant Week Begins!

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Hey everybody!  It’s New York City’s Summer Restaurant Week(s), now through August 15th.

You already know the drill: $25 prix fixe lunch and $38 dinners. As usual, Chef Cruz is pulling out all the stops and creating several different menus during the promotion. And the meals, as always, will feature herbs and veggies from our own rooftop garden.

The “Rooftop Mesclun Salad” features roasted beets, walnuts and goat cheese in a sherry vinaigrette. Pan seared sea scallops and grilled scallops will be accompanied by cauliflower mash and asparagus with a black truffle sauce.

Hungry yet?

Personally, I could go straight for the strawberry shortcake with almonds, strawberry sauce and whipped cream. Or the key lime pie with creme chantilly and raspberry chambord coulis.

Treat yourself and someone you love (or maybe just like enough to pick up the tab) at our place. Make your reservations here!

 

 

 

 

Beer Is Proof That God Loves Us And Wants Us To Be Happy

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Or so Benjamin Franklin reportedly said–and I agree. It’s finally Memorial Day weekend, and after throwing on a pair of shorts and flip-flops, the first thing most people do is grab a beer. Luckily, North Square’s beer sommelier, Pamela Amatucci, has just finished lightening and brightening up the restaurant’s draft beer options to fit the season.

The first is Brooklyn Summer Ale, rightfully named for its sunny disposition. As a light dinner ale and a true session beer, Brooklyn Summer has a lower alcohol content (so you can keep drinking all night without making a fool of yourself), plus a clean, crisp flavor that will complement just about any food choice. Pamela suggests pairing it with our lounge’s sirloin burger or the dining room’s filet mignon au poivre. The combination will evoke memories of backyard barbecues and relaxing summer evenings–a great way to ring in the summer.

For a selection with more of a bite that won’t overpower your palate, Pamela suggests Lagunitas India Pale Ale from California. This brew offers a refreshing mouthfeel with a hoppy finish that is a nice accompaniment to the flavors of your meal without overpowering it with bitterness. In the lounge, pair the ale with wild mushroom ravioli, or try it with the sausage plate in the dining room.

For those of you who love a Blue Moon in the summer, we have a creative selection for you: Singlecut White Lagrrr, brewed in Astoria. This is a unique twist on a wheat ale, turning the bottom-fermented lager into a brew reminiscent of a saison (farmhouse ale) by adding matzo to thicken the mouthfeel. Unlike most wheat beers, this has subtle grapefruit notes and a body light enough to keep drinking. Enjoy it with a key lime pie in our lounge, or seared tuna with coconut rice in the dining room.

Have a fun-filled Memorial Day Weekend! Try and stop in and check these beers out!


 


 

Rock Rock Rockaway Beach

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Bronzed bodies sprawled on blankets and shaggy-haired surfers catching a wave aren’t images that automatically pop in your head when you think about New York City. But yes, people, we do have real, honest-to-God mounds of sand and surf right here in the five boroughs. We’re not trying to pretend that we’re in the same league as Malibu or Maui, but New Yorkers have a handful of beaches that do the trick when a summer break is needed and you don’t want to make that trek all the way out to Long Island.

Coney Island is home to the Cyclone roller coaster, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the New York Aquarium and, most of all, those infamous Nathan’s hotdogs. Surf Avenue is the site of the original Nathan’s stand, which opened almost a hundred years ago.

Right next door to Coney Island is Brighton Beach, known as “Little Odessa” for its Eastern European shops and restaurants. Head a few blocks away from the boardwalk to Brighton Beach Avenue, where you can pick up a picnic of pirozhki (fried-yeast dough pies with cabbage or meat) or khachapuri (Georgian cheese pastries), or minced-meat kebabs and fish cakes at Gastronom Arkadia.

Manhattan Beach is a family-friendly beach a short walk from Coney Island. Smaller and calmer than Coney Island, the sand is surrounded by playgrounds, baseball fields and volleyball, tennis, basketball and handball courts.

Head out to Rockaway Beach in Queens. Aside from local heroes The Ramones, Rockaway is known primarily for two things. One is that it’s the city’s only legal surfing beach. The second? Tacos! The lines at Rockaway Taco put those at Shake Shack to shame, but the fish tacos are well worth the long wait.

Sing it, boys:

 

 

 

 

My Chelsea Market Favorites

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The Chelsea Market, located in the Meatpacking District, is a favorite destination for food-happy New Yorkers. Not only is it the headquarters of the Food Network Channel, but it’s home to dozens of restaurants and food-centric retail stores.

Bowery Kitchen Supply: You don’t have to be a professional chef to appreciate this store (although many do shop here). They carry everything from half sheet pans to stainless steel work tables to stock pots to smoking guns. They sell tons of gadgets and chef tools that at the very least will make you feel like you know what you’re doing in the kitchen.

Buon Italia is for all things Italian: cheese, pasta, charcuterie, olive oils, polenta…anything you could possibly think of. Everything is of high quality; I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve purchased here. If you’re starving while looking at all the goodies, they’ve got ready-made snacks and pastries for sale to tide you over.

Dickson’s Farmstand sells artisanal lamb, poultry, beef, pork and goat that are all sourced from local farms. Again–the quality is high and the staff can speak knowledgeably on how and where each animal was raised. I drool every time I visit this store. (You can order on-line too.)

Friedman’s Lunch serves the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich with gruyere and white cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and bacon on a grilled ciabbata in the world. Cheat on your diet good. Kill your mama good. So good that I would consider requesting it for my final meal on death row. Yep, that good.

Chelsea Wine Vault sells an impressive array of wines, plus employs a knowledgeable staff that can steer you to the vino of your dreams  in any price point. They also have fun (and reasonably priced) wine tasting classes.

Check it out!

 

Viva, Guacamole!

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Cinqo De Mayo will be next Monday, and you know what that means, everyone…guacamole! Here are a couple of places around town that won’t let you down when you order the green stuff:

Tehuitzingo on 10th Avenue and 48th Street is not the fanciest joint, but its traditional guacamole is out of this world.

Toloache, with three locations throughout the city, is more of an upscale place. They actually have a guacamole tasting, with three styles: mild (avocado, onion, tomato, cilantro and serrano), medium (avocado plus pomegranate, vidalia onion, mango, apple, habanero and thai basil) and spicy (with added chipotle and queso fresco).

Rosa Mexicano has two locations: one in Union Square and one by Lincoln Center. They whip up their yummy guac right in front of you.

If you’re looking for a snack right by the hotel, Empellon Taqueria is right on West 4th St. Their version is a neighborhood favorite.

Take A Stroll Down West 4th Street

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Let’s take a walk along West 4th Street, long the center of bohemian culture in the Village. Check it out:

The Washington Square Methodist Church stands at #135, an early Romanesque Revival that was built in1859. Its nickname was the “Peace Church”, as it became a neighborhood base for activist groups such as Vietnam War protesters, Black Panthers and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Sadly, the building was gutted inside and renovated into apartments, but the facade had attained landmark status and remains untouched.

The Pink Pussycat, at #167, should be able to fulfill all of your sex shop needs.

In an area known for its smoke shops, Shisha International, at #171, seems to have a devoted following. Hookahs, rolling papers, vaporizers…they’ve got it all.

At #184, The Silversmith is touted as the Village’s smallest shop. Tons of beautiful jewelry, with an emphasis on Native American pieces.

Vol de Nuit is a cool Belgian beer bar at #148. Dozens of brews, plus mussels and fries with homemade sauces.

At #169 Music Inn World Instruments sells what seems like any musical instrument from all over the world. In a market for a didgeridoo? A kalimba? They’ve got them plus more.

Make a pit stop for a cannoli: Sant Ambroeus is a lovely Italian pastry cafe at #259.

At #267, check out A.P.C. for the latest in euro-hipster looks. The designs are clean and customers are devoted to their great-fitting jeans.

Designer Marc Jacobs’ store, at #301, hawks his women’s accessories and shoes.

Bookleaves is a small, independent book sore at #304. (Yes, they do still exist.)

The Corner Bistro at #331 is a relic of the past. Great burgers, cheap beer and a soulful jukebox–the three key ingredients of a memorable, inexpensive night out.

And finally, around the corner on 6th Avenue, between West 3rd and West 4th, check out the West 4th Street Courts, also know as “The Cage”, a smaller-than-regulation basketball court that regularly hosts fierce pick-up games.

Have a great day!

 

Last Call For Hot Chocolate!

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A few days ago I told you about a beer festival. Today, I want to turn all of you on to a fete of a different flavor:

The City Bakery, on 18th Street, has been holding their Hot Chocolate Festival the entire month of February. If you’re not familiar with this particular patisserie, suffice it to say that New York magazine feels that, “City Bakery is to hot chocolate what Katz’s is to pastrami.” Which we all know is a very, very good thing, right?

Each day, the fine folks at CB feature a different flavored mug of the yummy stuff. For instance, on Valentine’s Day they served “Love Potion Hot Chocolate”, and today they’re hawking “Peanut Butter Stout Hot Chocolate.”

If you haven’t been there, there’s still time. Here’s the schedule for the final days:

2/22: Banana Peel Hot Chocolate
2/23: Milk Chocolate Hot Chocolate
2/24: Bourbon Hot Chocolate
2/25: Darkest Dark Hot Chocolate (Mmmmmmm!!!)
2/26: Rum Raisin Hot Chocolate
2/27: “Happy” Hot Chocolate

So far they’re keeping mum on the flavor they plan to feature next Friday in the festival finale. (Guess I’ll have to go check it out.)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

We Love You!

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We love our guests. We love you bunches. And we want you to have a fun-filled, loving Valentine’s Day, so spend it with that special someone or someones. (Some of my greatest V-Days have been spent with the best friends anyone could ask for.)

We’ve still got a few tables left tonight, so come on in and grab a romantic bite with us.

Until then, please enjoy one of the great romantic cinematic moments of all time:

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!! xxoo

Valentine’s Day Hangover Cure

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It’s Monday, February 17th. You’ve broken the bank proving your undying love to your one and only last Friday. Flowers? Check. Fancy-pants gourmet truffles? Done. Champagne, caviar, sparkly baubles? Yes, yes and yes.

Payback? Priceless. It was all worth it because your beloved will be bound to you forever, right? The bad news? You’re broke.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious three-course dinner at your favorite restaurant, right? And you can, because next week is Restaurant Week, people! Come to North Square and chow down on a three-course lunch for $25 or dinner for $38.

Of course Chef Yoel Cruz will change up the apps and entrees every few days like he always does, but we know that from the 17th through the 19th you can expect entrees like lobster, coriander crusted yellowfin tuna and paella. Lighter lunch fare like a hanger steak and organic kale salad and duck confit salad. Or winter comfort fare like a killer gourmet grilled cheese or short ribs.

So come and have a yummy bite with us for a mere song. Make your reservation here!

S.W.A.K.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and Chef Yoel Cruz, romantic fellow that he is, has prepared a scrumptious, four-course prix fixe dinner for $55. That’s 55 bucks for four courses in New York City. Prepared by Chef Cruz. I dare you to find a better value.

First courses include oysters, mini lobster and crab cakes and corn blini with cured salmon, roasted peppers and dill creme fraiche.

The next round features a roasted beet salad, porcini dusted quail with a black truffle sauce, tuna tartare and lobster bisque.

Mains include filet mignon au poivre, roasted pekin dust breast, seared venison, tortilla crusted halibut and herb crusted rack of lamb (my fave).

Consulting Pastry Chef Alana Ford has put together a yummy chocolate pecan pie,  pistachio creme brulee, key lime pie and spiced bread pudding and an insane chocolate strawberry mousse cake. That’s right: Chocolate. Strawberry. Mousse. Cake.

We love you and want you to spend the evening with us! Click here to make reservations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHEF YOEL CRUZ

 

CONSULTING PASTRY CHEF ALANA FORD