New York City Affordable Places
If you can venture out of your stilettos, head to Williamsburg by Aug. 30th for La Superior's first ever Ceviche Week.
The only way I can’t get anxiety leaving my borough is if Mexican food is involved, and I’ll happily trek to Williamsburg for La Superior any weekday. (On the weekends, I rock 4 inches, minimum, and can’t be trekking so far in my platform stilettos.) Anyway, imagine my glee when I found out that La Superior is hosting it’s first ever “Ceviche Week.” The smog over the BK lifted, the clouds parted and the Mexican angels shook their maracas. Alleluia.
As predicted, Ceviche Week at La Superior does not disappoint. But before I get to the lime cooked fishies, let me remind the masses of one thing. The camarones tacos at La Superior are A-mazing; and even if you go for Ceviche Week, order these wrapped yumminesses. And why is the limonda so good? How do they make it such? A spin on our last reviews Battle of the Mexican Corn, La Superior’s ezquites are cups of corn kernels with a bit of cheese, lime and mayo-ey butter. I didn’t put them in the running because it really was a Nolita war, but seriously, they deserve some cred.
And the ceviche…Until August 30th, La Superior’s menu features a wide variety of most delicious ceviches. There is lobster, shrimp, whitefish, scallops, some other fish, tuna. You name it, they made it. The lobster and shrimp are delicously spiced with cilantro, limey, lemony sauce with a touch of garlic and bit of heat. After the corn and tacos, all I could fit if I’m set to rock tights and leather pants this fall. But I may swing by again this weekend for another round. That is, if I can venture out of my stilettos.
Please note: Patience is a virtue at La Superior. The laid-back hipsteresque service has been known to irritate more than one guest. But I mean, what do you expect outside of Manhattan. Oh, c’mon! I had to say it.
La Superior 295 Berry Street between South 2nd and South 3rd Williamsburg, BK; 718.388.5988; Open daily until 1 a.m. for lunch and dinner, Saturdays 2 a.m.
For the second time this year, stilboosted by the recession.
I was hoping I wouldn’t have to re-report the success of Restaurant Week in light of our lovely recession (although retail sales have been up for the past two months), but here we are. Same shit, different day.
So it’s restaurant week, and I’m trying my best to impersonate someone who is actually enthused about this. In fact, I reached to the bowels of food reviewer hell to look up the website and pick a restaurant just trek to in the rain and fake feeling happy about eating…for less. A daunting task, but some poor sap’s gotta do it. Here’s what I’ve come up with. Excuse the moaning and griping; I’ve been hanging out with a lot of French people.
My picks for the week are 10 Downing and Bond Street. I saw DBGB on the list, but A) Been there. Done that, although yet to report. and B) You can afford it without restaurant week. Yeah, newsflash to places like Club Room (puke), Restaurant Week’s original purpose, which has since been madly muddled, is to bring normal ‘ol folk exquisite cuisine that, under normal circumstances, would break the bank.
Why? 10 Downing because you can enjoy art while you eat, the pleasant atmosphere keeps for an even keeled, but never boring, crowd, and the striped bass makes me want to float on a heavenly cloud to that dream diner in the sky. Maybe you can afford it without restaurant week, but their menu rocks. Do it.
And Bond Street because I’ve had their Restaurant Week menu several times as well as eaten there more times than I can count, and think it’s in the running for the best sushi in New York City. If it weren’t so cliche, I’d call it my favorite restaurant in New York. The carpaccio makes me teary and every piece of fish melts in my pretty pink mouth. Do it too.
Oh, riiiiiiiight… I seem to have overlooked you newbies. For those of you who haven’t eaten at all of the classic Restaurant Week spots yet, I’ve pulled them from the ghastly Restaurant Week list. You can thank me any time.
In no particular order: Megu, Tao, Le Cirque, The River Cafe, Morimoto, Nobu – if and only if you are absolutely broke and cannot go sans Restaurant Week, i Trulli, China Grill, and Delmonico’s.
These classics have graced the Restaurant Week list for years, so book in advance because the tourists are going to be swarming. Newbies take note, write these down and visit some this week – or month- and the rest the next time Restaurant Week comes around, which, in this economy, will be here before you can say “2009 was the most boring summer ever.” Then breathe easy knowing you can forget about Restaurant Week like the rest of New Yorkers.
NYC Restaurant Week July 12-31 Average dinners $35 & lunch $25
Listen up all you slackers out there! Sunday is Mother’s Day. That’s right, this Sunday; and it’s way too late to score a reso at Balthazaar…or even at Jane for that matter. Kiss brunch at the Four Seasons or Union Square Cafe bu-bye, for those are taken by Gotham’s Type-A planners. If you plan to eat during the day on Sunday and aren’t skilled enough to cook, you’ll have to take a more colorful, soulful approach. These suggestions may require a trip out of your hood, but don’t cringe grasshopper, you’ll score an A for creativity, effort and research. You can thank me later.
For soul food, you gotta take your mama or wifey to Harlem. Duh. She may use three days worth of weight watcher’s points, but she’ll be so full of southern lovin’, she won’t even care. I have two very comparable recommendations both of which cook traditional, southern soul food and are located in Harlem. Amy Ruth’s, on West 116th Street is delicious. Named after the former owner, Carl Redding’s grandmother, Alabama native Amy Ruth Moore Bass, Amy Ruth’s cooks up some seriously scrumptious family recipes. From chicken and waffles, called the Rev. Al Sharpton, to the smothered pork chops, Amy Ruth’s will have your arteries working overtime and your heart singing Alleluia. The cornbread could use another stick of butter…not! and the Virginia glazed ham sweetly melts in your mouth.
Redding sold Amy Ruth’s to Morning Star Restaurant Group investor, Lawrence Jordan several years back, and although the food remains unchanged, Amy Ruth’s filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. Bottom line, if you aim to feed mama Alabama dishes that may be headed for heaven, patron Amy Ruth’s.
And then there’s Sylvia’s. Sylvia’s food is very similar to Amy Ruth’s, but Sylvia’s southern soul hails from South Carolina. Their fare provides a few additional options like a fish of the day and the must-order fried catfish. My dad makes the world’s best fried catfish, so I’m not going to even pretend Sylvia’s compares, but if there were a close second, she’d take the cake…er, um, fish. The lively atmosphere and unlimited cornbread are a major plus. The 80’s decor and celebrity pictures are a little bit of minus, although some claim it adds to the charm.
Either pick is better than taking your mom to wait at Freeman’s or Clinton Street Baking Co. amongst heaps of hungover hipsters. I mean, it’s Mother’s Day. Feed her soul!
Amy Ruth’s 113 West 116th between Lenox Ave. 7 Adam C. Powell Blvd. Open Sundays 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Phone: 212-280-8779
Sylvia’s Restaurant 328 Lenox between 126th and 127th Streets. Open Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Phone: 212-996-2669
On a sunny Friday afternoon, I met the vibrant Vogue City staff for a rooftop lunch at Midtown’s year old modern-nod-to-Mexico hotspot, Pampano. We were greeted by friendly staff who led us upstairs to a coveted corner table on the sought-after roof deck. Our lovely waitress, Claudia, brought classic margaritas and slightly sweet mojitos to toast our witty coverage of ubiquitous sample sales, awe-inspiring apparel and Gotham’s glamish going ons. At first glance, our hesitations geared us towards individual ordering, but group reviews yield multiple opinions, which apparently decrease tester bias (um, I majored in psychology people) while increasing the opportunity to shamelessly overeat.
We began with the yummy guacamole for the table then moved onto the ceviche sampler – halibut, tuna, shrimp and mahi. While we gravitated towards individual favorites, they were all delicious if slightly difficult to eat. If they can’t make the soupy sauce slightly thicker, then these apps could benefit from multiple spoons. The snapper quesadilla was all around deliciousness, and the shrimp empanadas with manchengo cheese savory, but the lobster tacos, which are hailed as ever-popular, were disappointing. They could be tasty in another, less expensive and less hyped establishment, but at Pampano they are lost in the suit-clad crowd. The shrimp quesadilla was a crowpleaser at our table, and I had the Huachinango (red snapper).
No matter how stuffed you are, eat Pampano’s chocolate flan. Claudia brought it out to celebrate our apparel loving contributor’s 27th year, and it was so good we ordered a second. The caramelized bananas were also delicious although had a rough time competing with aforementioned flan. This is not diet food, but we’re over skinny jeans until fall anyway.
So, if you are craving a midday margarita, and who doesn’t in this economy, recruit coworkers, friends, your coffee guy and bank teller for a roof top lunch at Pampano. And try, try ,try and share, share, share. Because, like our mantra here at TVC, sharing is caring chicas.
Pampano New York 209 East 49th Street between 2nd and 3rd 212-751-4545
Sunday 5pm – 9:30pm
Monday – Wednesday 5pm – 10:00pm
Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 10:30pm
Monday – Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm
Monday – Friday 11:00am – 3:00pm
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