While I am not a fan of staying in Midtown and prefer neighborhoods like SoHo and Tribeca, I often stay in Midtown because that is where my office is located.
Last month when I visited NYC my usual hotel was booked so I had to look elsewhere and ended up staying at the Westin Times Square, which is on 8th Ave by 43rd Street.
Despite the hassle of Times Square which I could do without, the hotel is conveniently located on the cusp of Hell’s Kitchen; a great neighborhood.
This 45-story tower is an impressive property with all the amenities you would want and come to expect from a Westin Hotel. I had no issues with the internet connection and enjoyed my expansive view of Manhattan during my stay. If you are planning a trip to NYC and want to be near Hell’s Kitchen, this is certainly a property you may want to consider. The rooms are spacious and conveniently set up for one to work, relax and enjoy their stay.
Last week I was able to have dinner in Brooklyn Heights and a friend who grew up in the neighborhood took me to Jack the Horse Tavern. I was taken with the converted storefront from the moment I stepped inside; exposed brick, comfortable seating and a warm buzz coming from the neighborhood bar come together to create a fantastic vibe.
The menu includes approximately a half dozen salads and starters ranging from $9-$13 and a protein rich menu that is evenly balanced between land and sea options ranging from $16-$26.
I started my dinner with the Green & Red Baby Lettuce which included Manchego cheese, marinated plums and a Riesling Vinaigrette & Rosemary croutons. The salad was light and refreshing which was exactly what I wanted.
After our first course was cleared, I was served the house duck plate which came highly recommended by our waiter. The meal didn’t disappoint and I’d strongly recommend it to anyone who likes duck. The duck was served on a bed of farro with dried cherries almonds and leeks. Every fork was laden with farro and duck dipped in the sweet cherry-almond coulis.
Since my colleagues all indulged in dessert, I opted to join them with another glass of the delicious Italian red we were sharing, Acquagiusta(I’d never heard of it previously but I’ll be asking my local wineshop – Brix – about it) and ordered the cheese plate. I wish I had taken notes when the chef came out to tell us about the five cheeses but I was still thinking about he duck I’d just finished. However, the meal ended equally satisfactory and my dessert became a communal plate that everyone tried and enjoyed.
Jack the Horse Tavern is located at 66 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights. It is worth venturing out from Manhattan to try. After dinner stroll along Brooklyn Heights Promenade to ward off the inevitable self-induced food coma.
This afternoon I returned from a quick work trip to New York City. Despite visiting NYC more times than I can count, I have never really stepped foot off of Manhattan – that is until this trip. A colleague who now lives in D.C. but was raised in Brooklyn Heights suggested we grab dinner there.
We picked up an express train (can’t remember which) from Grand Central Station and were back above ground walking the tree lined streets of Brooklyn Heights in about 20 minutes. We ended up having a relaxing meal at Jack The Horse Tavern; I’ll write a bit more about that in a future post. After dinner we strolled down a few streets (even passing Cher and Olympia Dukakis home from the 80’s film, Moonstruck) to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade was really spectacular; filled with people walking, sitting, talking as well as friends, from all walks of life, making for fantastic people watching. The promenade also has spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and off in the distance you can see this beautiful statue. If you’ve not visited, I’d recommend checking out Brooklyn Heights. The air is easier to breathe, the vibe more relaxed and the view is tough to beat.
Posted in NYC
Tagged BosGuy, Boston Guy
Cafe El Presidente opened earlier this year in the Flat Iron District on 24th Street. The place is spacious and has an open and casual, beach vibe with vintage looking painted signs and a large open kitchen in the back of the restaurant that looks out on to the dining room floor.
El Presidente serves up some delicious cocktails to try alongside their Mexican menu. The two most popular drinks made with fresh juice include the Paloma; a grapefruit and tequila cocktail served with a salted rim. As well as the Spiked Sandia; a sweeter alternative made with agua fresca – watermelon and tequila. Both proved to be so tempting when we initially tried them at the bar we opted to get them by the pitcher for dinner. That may have proven to be a mistake because while the food was delicious the portions of our main plates were smaller than anticipated and we probably should have had more solids to compensate for the amount of tequila we were enjoying.
I would highly recommend trying the Guacamole Con Totopos. The guacamole was creamy and offset the very light and salty chips. The chips and guac also come with a plate of pickled veggies, salsas and lime and radishes. It was delicious and a good portion for a party of four to share.
I opted for the Pescado a la Plancha Oaxaca – Fish Tacos – which were made with mahi mahi on the night I was there. The plate comes with four tacos. The soft taco shell seemed to absorb too much of the salsa, making them difficult to eat; the taco would tear / rip when we picked them up. However, they still tasted very fresh and my only real complaint was that I was left wanting more.
I liked the vibe and enjoyed the casual atmosphere and would recommend giving it a try. Located just around the corner from Eataly at 30 West 24th Street, El Presidente is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The HK Cafe is located in the heart of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood on the corner of 9th Avenue and 39th Street. The long, narrow layout has modern decor with large windows that look out on to the street. I sat at the 12-seat bar to the side of the main dining room floor. The menu is reasonably priced with soups and salads ($8-$12); appetizers ($10-$16); sandwiches ($11-$14); and entrees ($16-$24).
Unfortunately, HK Cafe’s first impressions was as good as it got. After I placed my order a rowdy party of about eight in the dining room started screaming at the top of their lungs; acting as if some pop star had just walked in from the street. This continued intermittently through the entire evening – some people seated in the dining room left because they were so disruptive so I assume this is what one should expect since the staff did nothing to settle the raucous table.
HK Cafe Fig Salad $12.00
The experience didn’t get much better after my competent and handsome bartender brought over my fig salad. Some of the figs were a bit too dry / hard and the cheese promised in the description seemed more of an after thought since it was barely there.
HK Cafe Burger & Fries $12
For dinner I ordered the HK Burger and Fries. While the portion was large this too was fairly bland. If I wasn’t developing a nervous twitch from all the shouting in the dining room or if the salad had been better I might not have felt the burger was quite so bad, but by the time it arrived all I wanted to do was leave so my impressions of the flavorless burger may be a bit harsh, but I won’t be going back to give it another try.
HK Cafe at 523 9th Avenue / (212) 947-4208
The Ivy Bar & Grill in Hell’s Kitchen opened about a year ago and based on the steady flow of 20 and 30 somethings who streamed in off of 8th Avenue, it remains a popular place to meet friends for a drink or to grab a bite. The place was absolutely packed when I arrived at 7:30 on a Wednesday evening and it proved difficult to hold a conversation over the roar of voices that seemed to press in around me from all sides. However, I liked the look of this long gastro pub, helpful staff and menu that was reasonably priced.
The menu is divided into four categories, with roughly half the options categorized as appetizers ranging in price from $6 – $16; a few salads $10 – $11; sandwiches and burgers $11 – $15; and entrees $14 – $26. I had initially been drawn to the Udon Noodles plate but one look from my waitress when I inquired about the choice gave me no doubt that I’d be better served if I focused on the sandwiches and burgers section so I opted for the Grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich served with avocado, lettuce, tomato, sriracha mayo and salsa verde for $14.
If you are planning to spend time in Hell’s Kitchen and want a casual place to grab drinks or have a bite, this seems like a solid option and a place I’m sure I shall return. Have you been here? Let me know what you think of Ivy Bar in Hell’s Kitchen.
The Ivy is located on Eighth Avenue between 55th and 56th street at 944 8th Avenue and is open from 11:30 AM – 4:30 AM seven days a week.
On my most recent trip to NYC I had the opportunity to enjoy a dinner at Benoit NY. While I’ll admit this Midtown brasserie is charming, and I enjoyed my meal, Jules Bistro in the East Village remains my favorite casual French restaurant in Manhattan.
Located on 55th Street between 5th and 6th Ave, Benoit has a cozy bar as you enter from the street. The dining room (as shown above) is colorful with splashes of red, yellow and honey stained wood. The menu is divided into appetizers and main plate with the first ranging in price from $12-$26 and latter ranging in price from $25-$41.
Warm bread is served upon being seated – I wish this was done everywhere. I’ve never been one to shun carbs and happily helped myself while I waited for my drink to arrive. I started my meal with a basic mixed green salad and opted to try the restaurant’s “French Classic of the Month”, Boeuf bourginon for $29 for my main plate.
I barely noticed the salad while I chatted with my colleagues, but the same can’t be said for the boeuf bourginon. The beef was so tender I think I could have cut the meat with a spoon. This classic French dish was also accompanied by pearl onions, carrots, mushrooms and pomme puree. There was hardly a trace of any of it when our server cleared our plates. Sadly as much as I would have enjoyed dessert, I was too full to enjoy anymore, but I left satisfied.
Dinner reservations are recommended for Benoit NY at 646.943.7373.