Earlier this year I found a £99 flight from London to the USA with the now-defunct Primera Air. I took it and off I went to discover the restaurants in NYC.
I started with the breakfast at the Edition Hotel – pretty standard as far as breakfasts go, but the view was a “HELLO, I’M IN NYC” moment.
Next stop was Shake Shack. I had the burger for the first time when I lived in NYC in 2012 and it’s stuck with me since.
Was sold then, was sold again (but of course, as I’ve discovered in the past with burgers, nothing is as good as the first time).
A great little spot I checked out was the fusion Chinese Rice and Gold with dishes that were acceptable for a group dinner.
It also has a fun rooftop to waddle to after you’ve overdosed on ribs (it was all about rooftops this trip) so in terms of all around ease, food and decor it was a winner.
The next one will come as a shock to you.
It takes a lot of imaginative cooking to have me appreciate vegan food. I was pretty sure none of the restaurants in NYC could convince me I’d love it, but I had to be polite when RSVPing to a group lunch.
ABCV was a completely insane, an out of the ballpark experience like no other.
My doggedly carnivorous brain had in the past convinced me that nothing can beat the taste of a good barbeque. ABCV delivered in every single dish that day with a combination of clever flavours and intricate balancing of each component.
I was further knocked off my snooty carnivore high horse with this dish – watermelon radish, sticky rice, crunchy rice crackers all holding a new glimmer of flavour with each bite.
The main food highlight of the NYC trip was a booking at Eleven Madison Park, voted #1 restaurant in the world. Can someone say L-E-T-D-O-W-N? Here’s the in-depth review. Bring tissues to cry along with me.
We all had a giggle about the irony of the situation – that the number 1 restaurant of the World’s 50 Best was actually the worst we’d ever been to.
The very next day we ate at Jean-Georges, which made up for the terrible experience the night before. It was also the mainstream brand of my new bestie ABCV, so I knew the food would be decent.
Jean-Georges was everything a fine dining experience should be – attention to detail, exquisite dishes done to perfection.
Another place I was excited to go to but was hideously let down was Nusr-Et Steakhouse NYC (aka the restaurant of internet sensation chef #saltbae). It was extremely overpriced for steak with a bark worse than its bite.
❌Smuggle in your own water as they don’t do tap .
❌Chimmichurri marinade is mostly olive oil (also extra 💵)
❌Marbling on wagyu steak is minimal
❌ ‘For two’ servings can feed up to four people
❌ Beef short rib is the cheapest option and best tasting in my opinion over the wagyu ribeye and tomahawk steak.
Upland was a pleasant experience – my fried chicken burger didn’t appear to be cooked the whole way through so they happily replaced it twice and seemed to genuinely care about the outcome (phew).
Apart from the whole ‘being scared of the pink interior’ thing, it was succulent and devour-worthy.
Despite the pretty interior, I wasn’t impressed by the lamb salad at Barbounia.
But the drinks looked gram-worthy so the moment was immortalised.
Drinks were imbibed at The Press Lounge, which turned out to be the best NYC rooftop I’d seen.
My final evening was spent not at one of the ‘still-a-million-to-go’ restaurants in NYC but throwing down beers at yet another rooftop: this time the Public Hotel by Ian Schrager which came in at a close second for panoramic views.
Apart from that, I partied at The Dream Hotel Downtown…
….checked out the Heavenly Bodies Exhibition at The MET….
…. got my hair did at Salon Ruggeri which is run by Aussies and has the cutest interior you have ever seen….
…. also went to a preview of a Christies x Rockefeller collection….
…. and went to a typical New York house party.
OK, reading back through this post makes me realise how I put on weight and have no money left….
As you can see, the restaurants in NYC varied from overrated and downright bad, to the unlikeliest candidates being out of this world (clearly still not over a vegan restaurant being good).
I can die happy now. And well-fed.
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