Taking a bite out of the Big Apple is an entertaining and satisfying experience. There are so many places to go in the city that it can make your taste buds go into overdrive. But if you’re like me, New York City is always calling my name and persuading me to visit again and again. This famous place known for making dreams come true is also quite famous for its culinary experiences. And that is what I love about eating in New York. Whether it’s catching a hot dog in Manhattan on your way to a show, finding a little hidden away Tai restaurant in Chinatown or even hitting a chic supper club like Jekyll and Hyde right in the city, it’s no secret that the sky is the limit for fabulous food.
1. Gorilla Cheese NYC:
I love a good trend and I also love a good grilled cheese sandwich There is a place in our hometown whose menu centers around this all-time favorite so I wanted to check out NYC’s version that goes on the road. Gorilla Cheese NYC is one of the most famous food trucks in the city and for good reason. The sensory overload menu is full of aromatic cheeses, fresh bread varieties and toppings so you choose just what you want on your sammie. I ordered the feature of the day, the Brooklyn Special, a perfect combination of asiago, prosciutto de parma on a carefully crafted inside out panini. It was the best-grilled cheese I think I ever had. And then I topped it off with their Mac and Cheese bites. They were two thumbs up. It’s a good thing this meal was a “roader” and I had a few blocks to get to my next location so I could walk off every over the top, satisfying calorie.
2. Jekyl & Hyde Club:
OK, Jekyl & Hyde Club is not a location for those who are faint of heart. Located at 91 7th Avenue, their slogan is anything can happen at their dining club and it’s true. Prepare to be scared to death or entertained, whatever you want to call it! I was on pins and needles and not sure my mind was just on the menu. It’s dark, low lit atmosphere reminds me of Halloween and the old 60’s television series, Dark Shadows. Creepy actors/ wait staff interacted with us while we ate creating a one of a kind, “what’s going to happen next vibe. But I was very happy with the delicious, yet spooky menu. The Create Your Own Monster burgers, Frankenstein’s Favorite and The Mummy left my mind wondering about the ingredients and who was cooking in the kitchen. The burger is bandaged with cheese for heaven’s sake! We ordered the pizza with the Cannnibals’ sausage, pepperoni and meatballs. Then washed it down with a familiar bottle of beer. They have a huge, monstrous sized drink menu that won’t scare your pants off! I recommend making reservations especially if you are taking a group that includes your “mummy.”
3. The Garret East Dinnertable:
Wow, nothing like searching for your food. This little, but infamous joint is hidden so only those in the know, know about this little gem. Fortunately, we did. Our colleague knew someone who knew someone who snagged reservations for us. It only seats about 20 guests and reservations are a must have. It reminded me of Carrie and the gal pals from Sex and the City who loved to hit the newest, hot spots. Dinnertable’s Mexican fare was delicious and was ready in a New York Minute, which is great news when you are starving from a long day in the city. The seafood was extraordinary and just the fact that we were behind an unmarked, closed door, it made the experience ultra cool.
This little delicious out of the way beauty is down the alleyway off the Bowery and has been offering spectacular food since 2004. Hmm, just the thought of eating in an alley might not be up your alley but think again. Freeman’s Restaurant is rustic and inspired by Old World American traditions so there’s a little bit of American history incorporated into each dish. I was enticed by the Whole Grilled Edenbrook Trout, Beluga Lentils and even their popular half a roasted chicken. My favorite was the Pan Roasted Tile Fish crispy potatoes, black lentils, saffron aïoli, spring onion vinaigrette that I shared with my sister. Once you finally snag a table you don’t want to leave. The sensory experience is like no other and the service is tip, top notch. Freeman’s accepts reservations… get this… one month in advance and for groups over 13, you have to reserve your table one year in advance. That is planning! They say a part of the dining room is or walk-ins, but if you decide to visit on a whim, you might find yourself waiting and waiting and waiting at the bar and then eventually eating there too.
Exclusive, trendy and private is how I would describe the Bohemian, a Japanese Restaurant and Bar. This hidden gem is coincidentally located behind a Noho, Manhattan butcher shop. The catch of the day is that you have to know someone to get in. I can’t even believe we were able to score a table because it is so exclusive and mysterious. I immediately fell for with the low couches, artistic atmosphere and the Asian ambiance. The historical building used to be the home of infamous artist, Andy Warhol and then to the popular 1980’s graffiti artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat. As one who appreciates the arts, the creativity and history of this building was overwhelming and a bit humbling. Now for the food. Get your chopsticks and your appetite ready because everything on the menu is extraordinary just like the surroundings. I ordered a bucket of oysters and enough saki for a sailor. Andy Warhol would have approved.
Que Pasa! OK, I can never say it but I can certainly recommend it! This unique palate pleaser is hidden in the back of a bodega (a small grocery store in a Spanish speaking neighborhood), open until midnight and get this, you only have to dish out $3.00 for one of the most memorable tacos of your life! This secret is located inside the Tehuitzingo Deli and Grocery in Hell’s Kitchen making the experience even more memorable. Trust me, you won’t walk about hungry, far from it. The portions are family sized and deliciously authentic. Note, there are no tables. That’s right. You get a stool to belly up to the and counter or to lean on. All you need is your appetite and sense of Mexican adventure. You can also grab a jar of salsa or other grocery items for a take-home snack attack later.