Bun Boy Eats LA
Bun Boy Eats NYC

SKOVORODKA – BRIGHTON BEACH – LUNCH

  • August 26, 2016 5:10 am

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There are a number of Russian restaurants in the Brighton Beach area to choose from but Skovorodka was the closest to the F Train stop.

Done.

A common negative trait that a number of Yelpers comment on with regards to Russian restaurants are the rude servers.

I lived in a Russian neighborhood in LA for 14 years. I get it. I’m not offended by the complete lack of smiles or pointless pleasantries. In fact, I welcome it!

Upon being seated (that is, if you don’t immediately storm out because you weren’t with a “Hey Ya’ll!” By the server) you will be presented with a truly depressing basket of Wonder Bread.

Do not waste your time on this bread product.

Instead, order a batch of pierogies. Not the Skovorodka Pierogies. There are basically deep fried piroshkies, containing very little meat. I still ate a shit ton, but they did not even remotely resemble the delicious pierogies I had dancing in my head.

I ordered the chicken stroganoff, which was cheap, delicious and a huge portion. The leftovers were taken home and eaten pretty much immediately. Hey, that subway ride home wasn’t short!

Checking out Brighton Beach at least once is definitely a good item for your NYC Bucket List. It’s a much more calm, serene beach compared to the neighboring Coney Island and checking out one of the many Russian restaurants (there are a few right on the boardwalk, but they all get terrible reviews on Yelp) while you’re there is a fun way to experience a culture that most people don’t have a lot of experience with.

Hey, smiling causes wrinkles anyway!

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Complimentary Table Bread

Complimentary Table Bread

“Skovorodka” Style Pirogies $8.00

“Skovorodka” Style Pirogies
$8.00

Chicken Stroganoff $12.50

Chicken Stroganoff
$12.50

Grilled Lamb Chops $24.00

Grilled Lamb Chops
$24.00

UNITED NATIONS DELEGATES DINING ROOM

  • August 24, 2016 5:09 am

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My afternoon at the United Nations was certainly unforgettable. Never have a I gone through so much effort just to stuff my face.

We had decided to tour the UN in the morning and then stay for lunch. Sounds easy enough. What transpired was a very long, arduous affair.

I won’t bore you (too late) with every security checkpoint and procedure we went through. Well, I’ll bore you with a few of them. Sorry.

Even though we had gone through security, had our ID’s scanned, our photos taken and ID badge stickers slapped on our chests, we had to come back and go through it all over again before we could eat.

We had to wait for an escort to take us back across the street to the UN building we had just toured and dropped off in front of another escort who brought us to the Delegates Dining Room.

We were one of 4 people dining in the rather large and sparse room that looked like it was decked out for a really boring wedding of two people that work in finance.

The all-you-can-eat meal is served buffet style, all along one of the walls.

It felt very odd having the numerous staff watch my repeated visits to get seconds and thirds of the two best items there. The veal shank and the scalloped potatoes. So good.

The desserts were all mini, which was appreciated due to the split pea sized space that remained in my abused stomach.

With tax and tip, the cost was about $40 each. Not too bad. Also, I would never need to do it again. Unless I got a job at the UN and the buffet was part of my benefits package. Then, you’ll find my happy ass there on a daily.

United Nations – Secretariat Building
New York, NY 10017
Midtown East
Phone number (917) 367-3314
delegatesdiningroom-un.com

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UPLAND – FLATIRON – BRUNCH

  • August 22, 2016 5:09 am

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Upland is a beautiful and casually upscale restaurant in the Flatiron district. Like many eateries in this neighborhood, it’s a larger, open space that exudes an obvious elegance. There are no ancient dives in Flatiron. It’s all about corporate dining. Perfect for celebrating the departure of some colleague you barely knew or to schmooze new clients in lieu of a strip club.

The dish everyone seems to rave about is the Estrella pasta with a sauce consisting of chicken liver, sherry, rosemary and sage. The flavors were subtle but substantial. It was certainly a must order. Just enough for one person to enjoy while allowing two bites to be stolen by one of their fellow diners. But only two!

Feel free to stab anyone in the hand with your fork if they attempt a third helping. It’s the least they deserve.

The Upland Cheeseburger was $21 (sort of in the middle of the price range for gourmet burgers) and it was superb. Had that traditional cheeseburger flavor (no bizarre ingredients) and featured a nice California twist with it’s avocado and peppers and super tasty green sauce. The fries that came with it were AMAZING.

The service was excellent, no complaints there. Servers were friendly without being chatty and very attentive. Definitely reminded me of the service one would receive at a super high end establishment. Without having to sell one’s least favorite child in order to pay the check.

345 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10010
b/t 26th St & 25th St
Flatiron
(212) 686-1006
uplandnyc.com

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Whiskey Smash

Whiskey Smash

doughnuts vanilla bean sea salt, almond + gianduja 10

doughnuts
vanilla bean sea salt, almond + gianduja 10

estrella chicken liver, sherry, rosemary + sage 21

estrella
chicken liver, sherry, rosemary + sage 21

upland cheeseburger grass fed beef, american cheese, peppadew peppers + avocado 21

upland cheeseburger grass fed beef, american cheese, peppadew peppers + avocado 21

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WILDAIR – LOWER EAST SIDE – DINNER

  • August 19, 2016 5:09 am

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Wildair is known for being the better of the two sister restaurants along with Contra. Located a few blocks from one another in the Lower East Side, Wildair is the more casual endeavor, compared to the tasting menu approach at Contra.

Wildair had received so much buzz, initially, that I kind of pushed it further down my wish list. I mean, relax people. How good could it be? Plus, they don’t take reservations, which means you either show up as on as they open or be ready to wait til you’re nearly skin and bones before your table is ready.

But boy, was it worth showing up for the Early Bird Special!

We weren’t starving, so we avoided the $4 table bread which I had read such positive reviews were about.

The two of us shared 3 courses and a dessert and left completely satisfied.

We started with the lettuces with pistachios and herbs (mostly dill). This was a really lovely start and the lemony vinaigrette offered a refreshing brightness.

I’m not generally a fan of steak tartare (why can’t you throw that stuff in the broiler for a few minutes??) but this version featured shavings of cheddar and Brazil nuts and the flavor was nice and the texture did not gross me out. Success!

The fried Pork Milanese with that tasty sauce with the weird name (gribiche) was affordable and a sizable portion. Definitely good for sharing.

The chocolate hazelnut tart came and I was crestfallen when I laid my eyes on it’s diminished size. Honey I Shrunk The Tart! Photos on IG made this mouthwatering dessert appear massive. That being said, it ended up being the perfect portion and I’m not even sure I could have eaten more.

Ha, who am I kidding??

142 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
b/t Rivington St & Delancey St
Lower East Side
(646) 964-5624
wildair.nyc

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Romaine lettuces, pistachio

Romaine lettuces, pistachio

Beef tartare, smoked cheddar, brazil nut

Beef tartare, smoked cheddar, brazil nut

Pork milanese, gribiche, mustard greens

Pork milanese, gribiche, mustard greens

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Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

HARU SUSHI – CHELSEA – DINNER

  • August 17, 2016 5:08 am

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If you walk by Haru, your first thought might be Mall Sushi. There’s nothing very remarkable at first glance.

Haru’s interior is blandly gorgeous, like if Blake Lively or Enya were a restaurant.

I have a thing against NYC sushi. It’s not as good as LA sushi and it’s often priced at Nobu levels. Ridick.

Haru is definitely not cheap but it’s really delicious. And service is super friendly. At least 15 people will say goodbye to you when you leave. An assault of kindness. A true anomaly in this city.

They offer a really tasty spicy tuna roll wrapped in cucumber, which I love not because I’m trying to ditch the carbs, but because I love cucumber.

Edit

176 8th Ave
New York, NY 10011
b/t 19th St & 18th St
Chelsea
Phone number (212) 739-9740
harusushi.com

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Signature Cocktails Elderflower Cucumber Crush  Langley’s no. 8 London Gin, St. Germain, fresh cucumber, fresh lime

Signature Cocktails
Elderflower Cucumber Crush
Langley’s no. 8 London Gin, St. Germain, fresh cucumber, fresh lime

Mackerel Sushi

Mackerel Sushi

Spicy Tuna Sashimi Cucumber Roll

Spicy Tuna Sashimi Cucumber Roll

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Vegetable Tempura Roll

Vegetable Tempura Roll

BABU JI – LOWER EAST SIDE – DINNER

  • August 15, 2016 5:08 am

Yogurt Kebab

Yogurt Kebab

Babu JI is a trendy, modern Indian eater in the East Village that offers a very tempting tasting menu for only $65 bucks. In this town, that’s a steal.

As Stefon would say, this place is so hot right now, who you’d better reserve that shit, unless you’ve got some weird fetish for waiting in lines.

You are given about 4-5 little courses of nice sized, creative dishes. They include my favorite of the evening, the General Tso’s Cauliflower (which is just what you’d think it would be) and these unique fried yogurt pattys in a pool of ginger beet sauce. Very pretty.

I never order Tandoor Chicken because I always assume it’s going to be as drier than taking a shot of Gobi Desert sand. But this little Tnadoori appetizer was just delicious and moist.

After all those mini courses, we were presented with a large platter which appeared to be some sort of wonderful curry sampler and some heavenly, butter naan.

It ended up being a ton of food but we managed to polish off most everything.

For dessert we were brought an odd metal tube, which looked like some sort of medical probing device from the Victorian era. The mysterious device contained pistachio kulfi, a traditional frozen ice cream like treat.

It was the perfect sized ending to this rather lovely Indian smorgasbord.

175 Ave B
New York, NY 10009
East Village, Alphabet City
Phone number (212) 951-1082
babujinyc.com

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General Tso's Cauliflower

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

Curry Sampler (part of the $65 Tasting Menu)

Curry Sampler (part of the $65 Tasting Menu)

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Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream Pop)

Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream Pop)

CATCH – MEATPACKING – BRUNCH

  • August 12, 2016 5:08 am

Truffle Sashimi - $29

Truffle Sashimi – $29

I had first heard about Catch from a Real Housewife’s social media post. Enough said. Obviously I had to check it out. If Real Housewives know anything, it’s good cuisine. And how to consume as little as possible of it, while still regaining enough energy to scream at one another.

I’ve said my piece about NYC rooftops before. They’re pretentious nightclubs in the sky. They’re hard to get into. They’re often filled with obnoxious folk.

And I’m obsessed with them.

The easiest way to gain access to a trendy rooftop is to check them out for brunch. The velvet rope situation is mostly non-existent but it is helpful to have a reservation, especially in the case of Catch.

When we arrived and caught the elevator to the top floor, we were greeted by a hostess who was likely hoping we had not made a ressie just so she could disappoint us. We showed her!

We overheard her delight in telling the party after us that there would be no openings the entire afternoon. So, be warned, you fly by the seat of your pantsers. Your spur of the moment ways will only cause you heartache if you’re yearning for some $25 eggs.

The food item that brought me here was the Waffle Tower.

It did not disappoint but for some random reason, the waffles were gluten free. And sandwiched between layers of ice cream and sorbet. They were shockingly light and also one of the cheapest things on the menu.

The dish that blew me away was the fantabulous Truffle Sashimi. Wow. Such delicate and scrumptious flavors and textures going on there. It’s $29 bucks but it’s a nice sized portion and you will not hate yourself for ordering it. Other reasons, perhaps. You have your own issues, I’m sure.

There wasn’t a ton of outdoor seating, but it was all shaded, so we weren’t baking in the hot ass sun, like at STK.

It was a really lovely meal overall, would definitely splurge again if someone came to town and was kind of enough to offer to pay the bill, even if I were to order 3 orders of the Truffle Sashimi. Trust me, I’m worth it.

21 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10014
Meatpacking District, West Village
(212) 392-5978
emmgroup.com

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Dirtier Bastard - $18

Dirtier Bastard – $18

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

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Oyster Shooter

Oyster Shooter

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Catch Roll - Crab, Salmon, Miso-Honey - $19

Catch Roll – Crab, Salmon, Miso-Honey – $19

Anytime Waffle Tower - $15

Anytime Waffle Tower – $15

FAMOUS BEN’S PIZZA – SOHO – DINNER

  • August 10, 2016 5:07 am

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I rarely find myself in Soho, unless it’s by accident.

On weekends, the narrow streets are teaming with hoards of tourists pretending to shop at stores they can’t afford, while really hoping to get a glimpse of some celebrity exiting their spacious loft.

It’s like Hollywood Boulevard meets Rodeo Drive. Now you know why I avoid it.

Some of my very best friends had flown to NYC to celebrate my 40th birthday, so we all rented a cute studio from Airbnb, just a few blocks away. Staycation!

I had seen Ben’s before, while waiting in that God awful Cronut line, which is right next door.

We visited Ben’s several times throughout the long weekend, and never did it disappoint. There truly is nothing like good New York pizza to soak up a belly full of booze. Plus, there’s rarely more than a few dollars remaining in one’s pocket for anything more high falutent.

We all agreed that Ben’s served some really tasty pizza. Even Chesty Morgan (who only visits pizza joints named after men, never women) liked it, and her list of things she enjoys can fit on a post-it.

If you take a look at the pics below, you’ll notice Chesty attempting to cool off one of her slices, as the never ending steam emitted from it like the exhaust from a 1967 Corvette (I think, how would I know?)

177 Spring St
New York, NY 10012
b/t Thompson St & Broadway
South Village
Phone number (212) 966-4494
famousbenspizzaofsoho.com

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GELSO AND GRAND – LITTLE ITALY – DINNER

  • August 8, 2016 5:07 am

Salmon Tartare - $16

Salmon Tartare – $16

Little Italy is chock filled with poor reviewed, run down Italian eateries who have all seen better days. They all appear to be from the same era, never remodeled since then. Like Grandma’s dish towel, that she’ll never get rid of. Still gets the job done but not something you parade around company.

Gelso & Grand changes all that. It’s located in the heart of LI, so you can still dine in prime people watching country without having to pay $25 for mediocre spaghetti while seated in dirty plastic lawn chairs stolen from a hillbilly’s wedding.

We had a large group, so we were able to try a bunch of stuff. The gnocchi with braised lamb sauce was definitely the stand out but my Kale Caesar really hit the spot as well.

The pizza and meatballs were both above average but I wouldn’t chose either as my only meal option.

Little Italy is my favorite neighborhood in the city. I love wondering the streets in the summer, admiring all the chaos. Or sitting outside at one of the mediocre restaurants and watching the plethora of people walk by.

With the arrival of Gelso & Grand, I can come enjoy one of my favorite pastimes without having to choke down bad wine and Costco frozen ravioli.

186 Grand St
New York, NY 10013
b/t Baxter St & Centre Market Pl
Little Italy
(212) 226-1600
gelsoandgrand.com

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Kale Caesar - $15

Kale Caesar – $15

Burrata Bruschetta - $11

Burrata Bruschetta – $11

Meatballs - $13

Meatballs – $13

Margarita Pizza - $16

Margarita Pizza – $16

Brown Butter Gnocchi with braised lamb, hazelnuts, piave cheese - $25

Brown Butter Gnocchi with braised lamb, hazelnuts, piave cheese – $25

VANDAL – LOWER EAST SIDE – DINNER

  • August 5, 2016 5:06 am

CRISPY BAO BUNS brisket / crunchy asian slaw / sesame  $19

CRISPY BAO BUNS
brisket / crunchy asian slaw / sesame $19

Vandal is an enormous, nightclub-esque restaurant in the LES that serves the modern equivalent to Asian Fusion, AKA: “Street Food”.

“Street Food” is the new “Asian Fusion”.

Since Asian Fusion (do I have to keep putting ” ” around that??) is so 90’s, restaurants are rebranding the same kind of cuisine to a fresh, millennial market. “Street Food” sounds so edgy and dubsteppy! Asian Fusion is more Zero Seven.

“Fusion” sounds like the name of some hot new nightclub that Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh would use their fake ID’s to sneak into but Dylan would be too cool to even bother with. “You guys are going to Fusion?? Such sheep.”

He’s probably mixed up in some kind of scheme with the owner and couldn’t even show his face if he wanted to!

Oh Dylan, grow up!

In case you aren’t immediately aware when you start to skim the menu but you are being charged heavily to help the owners recoup the costs of the décor. The rent must be grotesque and the décor does not appear to have been brought about thriftily, regardless of the futuristic Asian Nagel painting vibe going on. Definitely save your pennies for this meal.

What was the best dish?

The Crispy Eggplant, by far. So good, in fat, that we ordered a SECOND round of it! I can’t recall ever doing that in my existence before. That’s how good it was.

Everything else? Not worth ordering seconds of, but not worth spitting out your bite and storming off in a huff. Also, if that does happen, I need to hear details as you’ve clearly had some sort of mental break and I’m fascinated by it!

199 Bowery
New York, NY 10002
b/t Spring St & Rivington St
Lower East Side
(212) 400-0199
vandalnewyork.com

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BANH MI’EATBALL SLIDER* spicy pork meatball / foie gras mousse / pickled this and that  $9 EACH

BANH MI’EATBALL SLIDER*
spicy pork meatball / foie gras mousse / pickled this and that $9 EACH

CRISPY EGGPLANT miso glaze  $14

CRISPY EGGPLANT
miso glaze $14

CRISPY BAO BUNS brisket / crunchy asian slaw / sesame  $19

CRISPY BAO BUNS
brisket / crunchy asian slaw / sesame $19

BLUE CORN AL PASTOR QUESADILLA spit roasted pork / pineapple salsa / avocado  $15

BLUE CORN AL PASTOR QUESADILLA
spit roasted pork / pineapple salsa / avocado $15

SPICY KOREAN RICE CAKES mizuna kimchi  $14

SPICY KOREAN RICE CAKES
mizuna kimchi $14

KNISH REUBEN corned beef / sauerkraut / swiss / thousand island  $15

KNISH REUBEN
corned beef / sauerkraut / swiss / thousand island $15