Of all the posts I’ve written, the most popular have consistently been about where chefs eat in NYC. Since it’s been so long since the original list was posted, I’ve got too many additions to cover at once. The following is Part 1 of (at least) a two-part series – this list is for serious eating (you might call this the Downtown Edition), the next will be the Drinking Edition.
Without further ado – here it goes… Where the chefs (aka Me & My Friends – yes, we are “real” chefs) eat in NYC. Enjoy!
1. Salt: (58 Macdougal btw Prince & Houston) The space is comfy and inviting. The food is exceptionally flavorful, well-made, and satisfying. Chef Melissa O’Donnell (FCI Alum) is as gracious as she is talented. Seating is mostly communal, but still intimate. Share appetizers like the bacon-wrapped dates in warm honey or the chicken liver mousse with crostini and caramelized onion compote. I recently reviewed the restaurant for Eat Something Sexy, so click here for the full review.
2. Ed’s Lobster Bar: (222 Lafayette btw Broome and Spring) I think I eat here more than any other restaurant. Ed’s can’t be beat for grabbing a quick bite and a beer on the way home from work (even on the late nights), or for a luxurious meal – whatever your pleasure. We recently celebrated Zak Pelaccio (Fatty Crab, etc.) winning the FCI Outstanding Alumni Award with a blowout comfort food-fest at Ed’s. Only thing missing was Ed himself, who is also an FCI alumni. Some personal favorites: oyster & bacon sliders, any of John’s Specials on Wednesday nights, and of course the lobster roll (with Ed’s vinegary pickles & fries).
3. Emporio: (231 Mott Street btw Spring and Prince) Like visiting the real Italy in (what used to be) Little Italy. The food here is so good and the service is so gracious that even the extremely persnickity Swedish Chef loves it here! Snack on the breaded olives and wild mushroom risotto croquettes with a glass of Prosecco before digging into crisp aromatic pizzas, fluffy gnocchi with mushroom ragu, juicy chicken cooked under a brick… Chef/owner Ricardo Buittoni can do no wrong!
4. Kin Shop: (469 6th Avenue btw 11 & 12 Streets) Chef Harold Dieterle takes on a second restaurant. We ate here last night for the first time. I have a feeling this is going to be a regular part of our rotation… the food is that addictive. Especially the spicy duck laab salad – so spicy it comes with multiple warnings. If you can’t stand the heat, stay away. If you like to play with fire, you will be rewarded with bursts of flavor from the rich duck, bright acidity, cool fresh cilantro, and the most exquisite burn of the chiles – you will have no doubt of the aphrodisiac properties of a good chile after experiencing this dish! Have an order of crispy roti and chile jam to keep things cool (a nice bottle of Vouvray helped as well!) The fried pork and crispy oyster salad is a fantastic choice for the chile-averse. So far, I’ve only tried two entrees – the pan-fried crab noodles were great but the Massaman braised goat stole the show! I’m planning a few more trips to taste my way through all the other dishes I had to pass up this time – can’t wait!