New York restaurants

A Week in New York with Meals at Pearl Oyster Bar, Mimi, Flora Bar, Daniel, Bar Bolonat, Union Square Cafe, Cafe Altro Paradiso, Hearth, and King

Craig’s in the middle of editing his new movie ALEX STRANGELOVE for Netflix (can’t wait for you to see it) in New York and though I planned to just stay in L.A. for the duration of the edit, two things did occur to me when he asked me to come out for a week: (1) it’d be good for our marriage for me to support and nurture Craig through the difficulties of the editing process; (2) I COULD EAT AT A BUNCH OF NEW YORK CITY RESTAURANTS!

I won’t tell you which was the more compelling factor, but there I was, last Monday, arriving at JFK and taking a cab into the city.

Where To Eat in New York

At least once a month, I get the same e-mail. It’s an e-mail I like getting because it addresses one of my favorite subjects yet, often, the e-mail sits in my inbox for a few weeks before I can answer it. Then, when I do answer it, I shoot out a scrambled, sputtery response that may or may not be very useful.

The question usually goes something like this: “Hey Adam, I’m coming to New York for a few days: where should I eat?” There’s usually something else thrown in—“I’m on a budget,” “I’m a vegetarian,” “I don’t like food that begins with the letter ‘p’”—but, for the most part, it’s the same question. And since that very question sits in my inbox right now from a reader named Angeline I thought I’d answer it here on the blog once and for all; so, without too much fanfare, here it is—The Amateur Gourmet’s Guide to Where To Eat in New York—broken up into various useful categories.


We leave Seattle for a moment to talk about Anthos, where I ate with my parents a few weeks ago. I wasn’t going to write about it–not because I didn’t like it, but because the room was so dark and my pictures didn’t come out so great and I wanted to do the food justice–but then I just discovered this post on The Food Network blog where one of the editors spotted me there eating! Isn’t that strange? Now I know how Lindsay Lohan feels–except she’s rarely caught eating. Since the editor anticipated my post about it, I’ve decided to do a quick one.

The food at Anthos is adventurous and exciting. I remember, in particular, this absolutely bizarre first course I had: a long thin egg noodle topped with (you won’t believe this) sauteed snails and rabbit. Seriously. It’s called Hilopita and it’s described on the menu as: “Egg noodle, braised rabbit, snails, black truffle, manouri cheese.” Strangely enough, it all comes together the way that celebrity faces come together on Conan O’Brian’s “If They Mated.” (Anyone want to attempt an image of a half-rabbit half-snail?)

The rest of the food was pretty dynamite too, but Frank Bruni has a point about the room: it’s a depressing space. I didn’t want to say it, but there you have it. Near the front, natural light comes in through the windows but as you go further and further back you feel like you’re in a very very upscale airport diner. The fact that the kitchen is right near most of the tables makes the evening stressful; and the fact that the bathroom is right there too makes it even worse. But the food conquers all. We actually met the chef, Michael Psilakis, because our waiter detected that we were really enthusiastic about what we ate. Chef Psilakis, like most deeply talented, artistic chefs, is a really down-to-earth guy with no pretense about him. Remarkably, he’s entirely self-taught. We talked about that and about the difficulties of running a restaurant (his last place, Dona, closed after a new building owner forced him out–you can read about that here). After a story like that, you just want to root for Chef Psilakis. Luckily, he has the city’s most powerful critic on his side. (For proof, read Bruni’s Anthos review.) And now he has me on his side too. I may not be a formal food critic, but I was spotted by The Food Network. And that counts for something, right?

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