Let’s be honest. Who isn’t a little bit obsessed with New York City? I think, if you’ve been there, that we all have our own special love affair with the city. It’s so exciting and bright, and every time you visit, it’s a new and unique experience. My latest visit in August had two special differences from my past visits: it was the first trip to NYC with my husband, and it was my first time spending time in lovely Brooklyn. I really loved this visit to NYC because since Alex and I have both been a few times each, we’ve done most of the really touristy things already. We were able to spend a lot of time with friends just enjoying city life!
There are so many recommendations you can get for NYC, and obviously restaurants are changing all.the.time. I’m sure it would be impossible to go everywhere in Manhattan even if you spent a lifetime living there. With that said, I think Alex and I hit some pretty amazing spots and saw some great sights, so I hope you use some of my recommendations!
Here was our itinerary during our stay:
Day 1: Arrive, cab to Brooklyn, dinner at Bar Corvo, Brooklyn museum, wine on the roof of Laurel and Travis’s building
Day 2: Breakfast at Lincoln Station, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Brooklyn ice cream, Brooklyn Bridge, East River Ferry to Wiliamsburg, lunch at Ramen Yebisu, Brooklyn Winery, dinner at Sunshine Co, drinks at Weather Up
Day 3: Run in Prospect Park, Breakfast at Maison Kayser, Central Park, drinks at Redemption Bar and South St Seaport, dinner and drinks at B Bar and grille, more drinks at Delancey, DL, and Schapiros
Day 4: Lunch at Eataly, Annie, Times Square, dinner and drinks at Beauty and Essex, drinks at Stanton Social, Grand Central Station
Day 5: Empire State Building, lunch picnic in Central Park, 9/11 Memorial, cupcakes at Crumbs
Bar Corvo: Our first night in Brooklyn, we ate at Bar Corvo. I loved the “hole in the wall” feel immediately. The dark ambiance and vintage touches felt warm and inviting, like going to a friend’s dinner party. The weather was amazing so we sat on the patio under cafe lights. We ordered beef tongue as an appetizer, which was delicious, and I had a homemade malfatti gnocchi made with swiss chard and ricotta with a walnut pesto for my main. My only complaint would be that the dish had only 5 gnocchi, which I felt was not at all enough. I realize it is NYC and prices are higher and portions are smaller, but it felt like too little for my taste. The cocktails were artisinal and fresh, which as I came to learn, is now the norm at almost every restaurant we ate at. They were great at Bar Corvo, but the winning feature, to me, was the ambience and decor.
Lincoln Station: Alex and I had breakfast at Lincoln Station and LOVED it. I initially ordered a ham and cheese croissant, but very fortunately, they were out so we both had egg and cheese sandwiches (with bacon and cheese) with drip coffees. I say fortunately because the egg sandwich was delectable. The egg was perfectly cooked and runny and the whole thing was on a soft brioche bread, which we both agreed tasted like a delicous pillowy soft breakfast sandwich cloud. We also noticed you could order a picnic to go to take to nearby Prospect Park. Definitely eat here if you are in Brooklyn! It also happens to be owned by the owners of Bar Corvo.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory: The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory offers simple, all-natural, homemade ice cream. It was a great treat to have before/after walking over the Brooklyn Bridge! I recommend the strawberry, as it is one of the few ice creams that actually uses fresh strawberries. Don’t forget cash!
Ramen Yebisu: From watching Paul Qui win Top Chef, I know that ramen restaurants have been trending recently. Unfortunately, the trend hasn’t quite made it to Tallahassee, so I was very excited to try Ramen Yebisu! The restaurant makes homemade thick Sapporo-style ramen noodles and fresh locally grown vegetables. It did not disappoint! Alex and I shared Miso ramen with an egg add-in, and had a glass of sake each. You can read a good review of Ramen Yebisu at New York Serious Eats. It was also featured in Time Out magazine. Ramen Yebisu was definitely a perfect stop for lunch!
Sunshine Co: Sunshine Co is a New American restaurant with a slight twist on traditional fare. It’s small plates and mains are perfect for sharing. Like many other NYC restaurants, Sunshine Co features an innovative artisanal cocktail menu, but also has options for good local beers. We all shared and loved the chicken liver terrine and brussels sprouts. I ordered the cannellini beans and braised kale for my main. I would recommend the beans, as they are creamy and cheesy, but unless you are a big kale lover, I would skip that dish. I was intrigued by the bacon and peanut brittle additions, but the overall effect was a little too chewy for me. Alex ordered the grilled skirt steak, which I highly recommend, and his sister ordered the suckling pig, which was also delicious and tender.
Maison Kayser: We had brunch with my college friend Anna and her husband Gerry at Maison Kayser. The menu was filled with delicious sounding choices and I had a hard time deciding. Based on our orders, I would say you could order anything on the menu and be more than satisfied. All of the bakery products are baked fresh in-house and you can watch them being made. I ordered strawberry and nutella toast with a side of white chocolate bread. Both were decadent and flavorful and the ambiance feels like you are in France.
B Bar and Grill: The food and drinks at B Bar and Grill were great, but the star attraction is the venue. The “inside” portion of the restaurant is completely open to the patio. You are surrounded by lush greenery and lights while you eat. I felt like I was suddenly in Austin, Texas, not busy New York! Just in case you go, I got the margherita pizza with prosciutto, which was thin and crispy, just the way I like it! B Bar and Grill would be a great happy hour and appetizer spot.
Eataly: When I walked into Eataly, I was pretty sure that I had died and gone to heaven. Eataly is huge and features several restaurants, as well as a market, where you can buy fresh Italian food. There are options for pizza, vegetables, pasta, fish, salads, and several dessert offerings, including pastries and gelato. Alex and I were short on time because we were trying to catch a Broadway show, so we opted to share a sopresetta panini and gelatos. Eataly is located next to Madison Square Park, which is a perfect place to take your Italian goods and have lunch outside. And if you don’t make it to Eataly, you can order most of the goods online (great present idea!)
Beauty and Essex: My grandbaby from my sorority suggested we meet at Beauty and Essex for a drink and dinner and boy, am I glad she did! It was easily my favorite stop of the weekend. The entry is set up like a pawn shop. You exit the “shop” through the back door and enter into a dark, plush, restaurant. I was blown away by the attention to detail in the decor. The drink menu is filled with more artisanal Prohibition-era cocktails. The dinner menu consists of small plates made for sharing, as our waitress was fond of reminding us. When we all ordered a la carte, she actually seemed a bit miffed that we weren’t following the proper protocol. To be fair, the dishes really are set up for sharing, but we all wanted different items. I had the salmon ceviche and the grilled cheese, smoked bacon & tomato soup dumplings, which were both fantastic choices! Also, one of my favorite parts of the experience was the gorgeous women’s bathroom, complete with free glasses of champagne. That makes it a winner in my book! If you want to know more, read this NYT article from shortly after Beauty and Essex’s opening.
Pappardella: I mention Pappardella, because although we didn’t eat there, we ordered a picnic to go to walk over to nearby Central Park. We had found a deal for the picnic on Travelzoo (I’ve since seen it elsewhere on Groupon and other deal sites) and thought it sounded like a fun idea. The food was fresh and pretty good, but there was a lot more than the two of us could eat. You could just make your own picnic just as easily or even share this one if you’re with more than 2 people. Our picnic included a plastic tablecloth, two prosciutto sandwiches (veggie options available), pasta salad, an antipasto plate with assorted meats, cheeses, and vegetables, a loaf of bread with olive oil, chocolate cakes, and biscotti.
Crumbs: Crumbs is a well-known cupcakery with locations across the nation. The company recently collaborated with David Burke to sell sandwiches and salads created by him. Alex and I shared a few cupcakes and they were great!
Brooklyn Winery: A former college classmate of mine, Brian Leventhal, started Brooklyn Winery, so I had wanted to visit for a while. What I didn’t know is that Brooklyn Winery has become so popular as an event venue that it’s closed to the public when there are private events. The girl I spoke with told me it is actually booked for all Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through 2014!! In any case, you can still go for a glass of wine or bite to eat, but I would recommend doing that during the week. Or you can sign up for a tour and tasting. The venue is beautiful and we were able to buy a bottle of wine that we thoroughly enjoyed. Next time, we will book a tour!
Weather Up: My sister-in-law and her boyfriend took us to Weather Up which is conveniently located near them in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn. The bar is hidden with no sign on Vanderbilt between Dean and Bergen, but it is well worth the trip. The dark interior is decorated with subway tiles and prohibition era cocktails are served. The outdoor patio makes you feel as if you are at someone’s rooftop party. Alex and I were in Austin last year, where Weather Up started, and I wish we had known about it. We definitely would have gone!
Redemption Bar: Alex and I met my friend Harris and his girlfriend at Redemption Bar for drinks. We sat at the front bar, which is more of a sports bar feel, but there is also a downstairs lounge. Redemption bar had craft beers on tap, as well as sangria, and other basic drinks. It was a nice change from the overload of artisanal cocktails! My only complaint would be that the service was a bit slow.
South St Seaport: South St. Seaport was a very fun and unique experience. At first, coming from Florida, I thought going to a “bar on the water” seemed a little silly (that’s my Florida snobbery), but South St. Seaport was amazing. When you first walk in, you will see several shops and food stands, but if you keep walking around the building, you’ll find a sandy area with several bars and tables. There were TONS of people there and everyone was having a great time. My favorite part was standing on a “beach” and seeing Manhattan behind you and the Brooklyn Bridge next to you. South St Seaport had great energy and was filled with stylish young people. Very fun!
Stanton Social: Alex and I went to Stanton Social with my sorority grandbaby after going to Beauty and Essex for more cocktails. She quickly noticed that it had a similar feel as Beauty and Essex and sure enough, the bartender confirmed they were under the same ownership and design team. The cocktails, of course, were artisanal and made with care by the friendly bartender. Being a Sunday night, it was a bit slow, but I am sure it would be more lively on a weekday!
Stay tuned for my next post on what we did and saw while we were in New York!
Bar Corvo, 791 Washington Ave, Brooklyn
Lincoln Station, 409 Lincoln Place, Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Ramen Yebisu, 126 North 6th Street, Brooklyn
Sunshine Co, 80 Washington Ave, Brookyln
Maison Kayser, 1294 3rd Ave, New York
B Bar and Grill, 40 E 4th St, New York
Eataly, 200 5th Avenue, New York
Beauty and Essex, 146 Essex St, New York
Papparadella, 316 Columbus Ave, New York
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory:The Corners of Old Fulton and Water Street, Brooklyn CASH ONLY!
Crumbs, various locations across New York and the country
Brooklyn Winery, 213 N 8th St, Brooklyn
Weather Up, 589 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn
Redemption Bar, 1003 2nd Ave, New York
South St Seaport, 19 Fulton Street, New York
Stanton Social, 99 Stanton St, New York