Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar
207 Second Avenue (at 13th Street)
New York, NY 10003 (212) 254-3500
Mon-Fri 8am - Midnight
Sat & Sun 9am – Midnight
With his Momofuku family of restaurants (Ko, Ssäm Bar, and Noodle Bar) now a fixture on the NYC dining scene, life’s already sweet for chef/restaurateur David Chang. So when his newest venture, Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar, opened to raves, it was just the icing on the cake. A celebration of all things sugary, Bakery and Milk Bar offers everything from American classics like Chocolate Cake ($5), to the exotic Arnold Palmer Cake, made from an ingenious blend of unique ingredients (iced tea jelly, lemon mascarpone cream, and almond tea crunch).
Opening a diner is hardly the most orthodox career move in the typical trajectory of a celebrity chef, but that’s exactly the step that Michael Psilakis, the man behind successful New York City restaurants such as Kefi and Anthos, has taken with Gus and Gabriel Gastropub.
However, Psilakis’ new diner won’t be your run-of-the-mill greasy spoon. Serious Eats New York reports that “Obsessive, perfectionist madman that he is, Psilakis has decided that at his Greek coffee shop, everything from the hot dogs to the nachos to the ice cream is going to be made from scratch.” So, while Gus and Gabriel Gastropub won’t be a gourmet dining experience, it will serve inventive, handmade fare that’s refreshingly unpretentious.
For example, for the nachos, “Psilakis and his crew take fresh tortillas, cut them, and fry them every day.” (Serious Eats NY) Meanwhile, other highlights include the batterless fried chicken, a pan-fried ½ chicken served in gravy with sweet cakes and mashed potatoes; a surprisingly good ‘Mexi mac and cheese,’ and the beef brisket French dip sandwich, which Psilakis painstakingly “brines, rubs, and braises” himself.
Having a good ice cream float is always a good way to put your diner in higher standing, and in this field, Gus and Gabriel does not disappoint. Float-lovers must try the diner’s original ‘Purple Cow,’ which consists of grape juice, vanilla ice cream, and Virgil’s ginger beer. It sounds a bit risky, but Gus and Gabriel’s grapey twist on an old favorite is a welcome innovation.
This recently opened deluxe diner is located on West 79th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam, so next time you’re in the neighborhood, treat yourself to a diner experience that falls interestingly between gourmet and greasy spoon.
Upper West Side
Gus and Gabriel Gastropub
222 West 79th Street
New York, NY 10023
Price Range: Moderate to Expensive
(at 3rd Street)
New York, NY 10012
Classic Italian dishes comfortably shine at Gemma, a New York eatery that may not be raising the bar, but they’re certainly keeping it at an appropriately delicious level. With old world elements like thatched wine bottles hanging from rafters, half-burned candelabras, farm-style tables made from distressed wood, and chic counter-parts like the copper-covered bar, Gemma has the feel of an old shoe that just got resoled. Dark wood paneling and soft lighting give your meal a touch of intimacy, while an extensive wine list with a wide range of moderate to super expensive choices allow for a nice evening out.
There is a man dressed up as a life-sized Tim Hortons coffee cup running around Penn Station’s LIRR concourse right now! While usually I try to walk as fast as humanly possible through the train station’s mid-morning crowd, today I, very uncharacteristically paused when I came face to face with this monstrosity. Giving my best roll of the eyes and smirk, I carried on and headed over to my regular Dunkin’ Donuts stand for my pre-work coffee. Then, something awful happened: Dunkin’ Donuts was no where to be found. It was then that I realized that Tim Hortons had replaced all of the Dunkin’ Donuts in my wake. And, let me tell you, I was not pleased.
Price Range: Moderate to Expensive
369 W. 16th St.
(at 9th Avenue)
New York, NY 10011
Matsuri is a breath of fresh fish, offering up traditional Japanese cuisine with impressive visuals. Bustling with massive paper lanterns in the warehouse-size dining room, which is adorned with thin, curving wood beams transforming the ceiling into the upturned hull of a ship, Matsuri encourages people watching from the tables near the railing. The walls are covered with glistening jade-green ceramic tiles, complimenting the dark wood floors. The massive sushi bar is lined with sake bottles, as Matsuri offers more than two hundred kinds of sake, including Daruma, a special house sake, and Asian-inspired cocktails, like the Sakenade Ginger, made with sake, ginger and lemon juice.