12 Things I Highly Recommend
Steaks, tofu, bar dining, dumplings, late night meals, pasta, big sandwiches, duck lasagna, pizza, soup and more - the NYC edition.
If you have never had steak au poivre at Raoul’s (I am quite sure by now everyone has) you should book a table now. There are only a few places that deliver this kind of dining experience: a veteran staff, a historic room full of art and oddities, and upbeat energy.
Pizza at Lucali. Bring your own wine because the restaurant doesn’t have a wine list. Ask for special meatballs and finish with a calzone (be sure to add the spicy tomato sauce).
Tofu, sake, hot rock cooking, and pretty much everything are the reasons to eat at En Brasserie. The restaurant also offers great small private rooms.
Eat lunch at the bar at Nougatine. Bar dining is something people should do more often and this is the place to do so. You get a world-class Jean-George Vongerichten experience just on the other side of one of the finest dining establishments in the world without that kind of time commitment.
Just over the river at Razza, order the bread and butter, meatballs, and pizza to find out why the New York Times called it the “best pizza in New York City, not in NYC”.
Order dumplings from Nom Wah Tea Parlor shipped to anywhere in the USA. Or — even better — just go there.
Steak at Keen’s Chophouse. Yes, there are better places to just eat meat (I am certainly partial to Bowery Meat Company for many reasons) but grab a group of friends and enjoy one of the most history-filled dining rooms you will find, and order a bonus mouton chop for the table. (Fact: Keens Steakhouse owns the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world. The membership roster of the Pipe Club contained over ninety thousand names, including those of Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, Albert Einstein, George M. Cohan, J.P. Morgan, Stanford White, John Barrymore, and General Douglas MacArthur)
Sandwiches at Fiacco’s. Pretty much anything you order is going to be exceptional and big enough for two people. My favorite is rare roast beef or pork tenderloin when still warm out of the oven. Here is a great article published in the New York Times from 1975 that gives you the historical background of Faicco’s.
I love the entirely exposed open kitchen and the Japanese team making fantastic pastas and more at Basta Pasta. They’ve been in business since 1990 so they’re doing something right. (The original was opened in Tokyo in 1985)
Duck lasagna at Bowery Meat Company as a mid-course before your steaks.
Avgolemono soup and lamb chops at Periyali. Easter is coming up soon, which is a great reason to make a reservation.
Anything at Blue Ribbon Brasserie after midnight. Also before midnight, but nothing better than quality service and a late-night meal downtown. Ask for James — he’s been there for more than 25 years.
& “5 Minutes with Nobu Matsuhisa + check out Daniel Boulud’s Airmail answering 33 questions.
Best Italian Food: Utica New York and surrounding area.
Literally the Italian restaurants in Utica make those in NYC look like French restaurants. No advertisements from these. Forget the chain restaurants ! Forget the big cost high overhead places, these are real:
-Pelleteri Joe’s in Utica - an original 1950s decor, serving authentic Italian food Tuesday and Saturday. Make reservations!
- The Brass Tack, Frankfort NY only dinner, Thursday & Friday, call ahead!
- PKs Pub in Herkimer Call ahead
- The Franklin Hotel in Rome NY also has a bakery and Pastries!!!
- Cacciatores in Ilion, also has a Pizzeria
- Danielle in Utica, daily specials, small local fantastic place!
- Litterios in Camden NY - an actual Italian Chef!!!
- Trattoria Calabria, Utica dinners only
- Cavallos in New Hartford
- Giorgios in Hew Hartford
- Cafe del Buono New Hartford
Honorable mentions $$$:
- Bella Regina, Utica
- Aqua Vino in new location New Hartford
- Delmonicos in Utica is known, higher price, high pressure, move the tables, garish, if you like a completely Americanised expensive experience.
There are around one hundred or so more Italian restaurants in the area and during the Covid fiasco, Utica lost some great and not so great restaurants.