Mayahuel

Mayahuel NYC

Photo by Mayahuel

Address: 304 E. 6th St. (1st & 2nd Ave.)

Link: http://www.mayahuelny.com/home.php

Review: Though we have never sat down to enjoy a full meal, Mayahuel  is worth the trip to the East Village for the cocktails alone.  In the middle of the East Village, just off 2nd Ave., lies a mecca for fun and original tequila and mezcal cocktails.  With a plethora of options to choose from it’s tough to go wrong.  We have nibbled on snacks like spicy popcorn and chips and guac that were a nice treat to accompany our drinks.  Those ordering full meals around us were waiving in sizzling plates of shrimp and succulent pork belly..looks like we are going to have to show up with the intention of sampling the fare and not just the libations!  A dark and cozy bar with a couple side rooms lends itself to a great spot for a quiet conversation, though, like many of the cocktail establishments in the EV, there can be a wait (normally not TOO bad), but dont let it deter you from the chance to transport your palate to some place south of the boarder.

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Traif

Traif

Photo by NY Mag

Address: 229 S. 4th St. (Driggs Ave. & Roebling St.)

Link: http://traifny.com/

Review: When making the trek to Brooklyn from Manhattan you always hope that you won’t be let down. Traif (not conforming to kosher dietary laws) lives up to the name serving some awesome pork and seafood small plates. The back patio was full so we grabbed a table inside.  Though space was a bit tight it pulls off a more cozy than crowded vibe.  Small plates offer the chance to sample the multitude of options ranging from sweet salads to blistered peppers, from pork belly to scallops.  Everything we ordered came out in a timely fashion and were devoured before the plate hit the table.  The prices vary and the items are seasonal so how big you go is completely up to you.  Sometimes going a little out of the way to try something new is worth it, this little gem is one for sure.

BLT Fish

BLT Fish NYC

Photo by BLT Fish

Address: 21 W. 17th St. (5th & 6th Ave.)

Link: http://www.e2hospitality.com/blt-fish-new-york/

Review: Located just steps from Union Square park in the Flatiron area sits another gem in this burgeoning neighborhood.  After a couple of happy hour drinks we looked around for some light and tasty dinner options.  Seafood sounded like a good choice and BLT Fish has a great selection.  We sat on the top floor in a cozy booth and began our feast under the skylight.  The only issue we had with the menu was that it was too big and everything looked too good!  We finally settled on some raw bar items and a bunch of smaller plates.  Oysters, crab legs, you name it…the boyfriend was feeling good after some post work cocktails and got a bit out of hand, ordering nearly everything he liked on the menu, and I didn’t object.  Each dish was a complete delight to the palate; though not the wallet.  You pay up for the beautiful and comfortable setting and the seemingly ocean to table freshness; but it’s definitely worth the price.

Rosemary’s

Rosemary's NYC

Photo by Rosemary’s

Address: 118 Greenwich Ave. (Charles St. & 10th St.)

Link: http://rosemarysnyc.com/

Review: With the turn over that restaurants have in New York it’s tough to say when something will really last, but the people behind Rosemary’s seems to have a hit on their hands.  Couple great food, a comfortable setting and affordable prices and you have your explanation for the aggressively long waits.  The no reservation policy for parties smaller than 8 may be a turn off for some, but not enough to have an empty table in sight.  Rosemary’s is the one of the better spots we have been to for a group dinner setting.  Grab 4 or 5 buddies and brave the wait to be rewarded with tasty foccia, fresh pastas and succulent meat plates.  A great assortment of cheeses, meats and veggie sides accompany their Italian classics.  All bottles on their great wine list come in at $40 a pop, also making for an affordable feast.  We recommend getting here early or be prepared to put your name on the list and wait for a while (as in 2+ hours),  this one doesn’t look like its slowing down any time soon!

Cannibal

Cannibal NYC

Photo by Cannibal

Address: 113 E. 29th St. (Park Ave. S. & Lexington Ave.)

Link: http://thecannibalnyc.com/

Review: Continuing with the transformation of Murray Hill, this beacon of meat, cheese and beer has arrived on the scene.  But Cannibal does not have the cold cuts and bud lights of college dorm days past, rather an array of salumi and aged hams, carefully selected cheese and a selection of craft beers from brewers worldwide.  We ended our night here for some late night grub and some suds.  We sat at the bar and were served by the very friendly and helpful barkeep who pointed us in the right direction for both our food and drink orders.  So long as you don’t go crazy you can get your fill on a tasty selection with out feeling the pain in your wallet.  Cannibal is a good option for a first date for sure – start with some small plates to see how things go, then move on to something bigger if all is well.  Plus you can always judge a person by what drink they order from their massive selection!

Ramen Sanshiro

Ramen Sanshiro NYC

Photo by Keiko T.

Address: 249 E. 49th St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)

Review: Speakeasies seem to be the hot new trend for bars these days so why should food not follow suit?  This speakeasy-ish noodle joint is only open after 11 pm and does not take reservations or credit cards.  Sidle up to the bar in this “closed” Japanese restaurant (called SEO during dinner hours) and feel as though you just got off a day long plane trip to the far East. In no time we were chomping down on succulent pork and tasty noodles.  It’s a great place to end a long night out without that neon sign outside advertising $1 slices or some other greasy cooked slab of meat.  The food is absolutely delicious and the service was friendly and fast, though there is definitely a language barrier.  If your date has lasted long enough to warrant a midnight snack, this could be your best bet before calling it a successful night out.

I Trulli

I Trulli NYC

Photo by Howard L.

Address: 122 E. 27th St. (Park & Lexington)

Link: http://www.itrulli.com/

Review: Just off of Park Ave. in Murray Hill sits an Italian gem complete with a fire place and back garden. It’s a nice respite from the cheap Bud Lights to the east and post work watering holes on Park.  I Trulli is a great spot for some tasty Italian with an extensive wine list of Italian wines.  We went here for Restaurant Week and were not disappointed in the least.  I had the 3 course option while the BF opted for 4 (we split the pasta dish).  The dishes were hearty with out feeling too rich – tasty crispy calzones and fresh lite salad followed by pasta in a rabbit ragù.  We each had some meat for the final course: healthy servings of pork milanese and short rib – both fantastic.  The desserts were both sweet and just what we needed to top off the meal.  The friendly service, warm decor and delicious cuisine make this a great spot to take a date for a nice night out.

The Stag’s Head

The Stag's Head NYC

Photo by The Stag’s Head

Address: 252 E. 51st St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)

Link: http://www.thestagsheadnyc.com/

Review: The Stag’s Head is our new local watering hole.  It’s a great place to go grab a craft beer from their impressive selection – they have 16 rotating beers on tap and 50+ in bottles that you won’t likely find elsewhere.  Though we have yet to have dinner here, we have gotten a couple small plates which always go well with some tasty cold beers (who wouldn’t love truffle popcorn!)  The staff is super helpful in breaking down the diverse selection so you can find what you’re looking for.  This isn’t a sports bar per se, but TV’s dot the walls so you won’t miss the game while you’re trying out some new beers.  Grab a spot in the back, upstairs or out in the garden if you’re looking to cozy up to that special someone away from the bar.

il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Photo by il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Address: 53 Great Jones St. (Lafayette St. & Bowery)

Link: http://www.ilbucovineria.com/

Review: il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is the slightly more casual spin off on the nearby il Buco, but by no means is there a step down in flavor.  Seated at the bar in the back room we had a view into the open kitchen and were able to watch the bartenders do their thing while getting input and help on how to best pair their impressive wine list with what we ordered.  We had some house made ricotta that was melt in your mouth good and some meats from their market as well, but the focus of the meal was definitely the short rib, a piece of meat to be remembered – it was fall of the bone delicious.  The portion size was more than enough for two after some starters.  Though the service was a bit spotty and slow for some courses and the price tag isn’t too wallet friendly, it’s the amazing food that will have you coming back for more.

Mas (la grillade)

Mas (la grillade)

Photo by NYMag

Address: 28 7th Ave. S. (Leroy St. & Bedford St.)

Link: http://www.maslagrillade.com/home/

Review: Snuggled into the West Village, Mas (la grillade) is one of the true jewels of New York, a culinary gem with the service to match.  There are a limited amount of tables as it is a smaller place, but this allows diners to be doted on by many staffers moving about.  We went here for a romantic holiday dinner and were delighted with everything.  Ordering the 6 course chef’s tasting menu, we put our palettes in the hands of the culinary specialists in the kitchen.  From the amuse-bouche to the petifores, we were delighted with everything that was put in front of us.  Razor clams, salmon, mackerel, duck, steak and two kinds of desserts – it was like the chef new exactly what we wanted.  With a solid wine list for the discerning eye and hearty cocktails to warm you up – Mas lived up to expectations; but so did the bill.  If you are prepared to drop a bundle of cash, but have an off the charts experience, this is the place.