New York rss

Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the NY Chowhound community.

More Room for Tasting, and Other New York News

The Tasting Room, the East Village hideaway whose daily-changing menu showcases superior ingredients simply prepared, has opened new, larger quarters in Nolita. The old menu, which offered smaller “taste” and larger “share” portions of the same dishes, has given way to a more conventional appetizer-entree plan. The appetizers cost more than the old “tastes” did, but portions are said to be larger.

And the chow? Excellent as ever, reports xavier. Fish is always a smart order; preparations might include olive oil-cured butterfish with pickled ramps and Brazilian chiles, or braised wild striped bass with smoked eel, fingerlings, and leeks. The original space on 1st Street is closed for now but reportedly will reopen as an all-day cafe serving coffee, baked goods, and small plates.

In other news, Hummus Place has gone uptown. The Israeli outfit with the minimalist menu of freshly made chickpea puree, served three ways–plus decent salads and pitas–just opened a shop on the Upper West Side.

Tasting Room [Little Italy]
264 Elizabeth St., between Houston and Prince, Manhattan

Tasting Room [East Village]
72 E. 1st St., at 1st Ave., Manhattan

Hummus Place [Upper West Side]
305 Amsterdam Ave., between W. 74th and 75th Sts., Manhattan

Hummus Place [East Village]
109 St. Marks Pl., between 1st Ave. and Ave. A, Manhattan

Hummus Place [Greenwich Village]
99 MacDougal St., between Bleecker and W. 3rd Sts., Manhattan

Board Links: Wonderful meal at Tasting Room
Hummus Place on UWS ?!?
Has anyone been to the new Tasting Room location?

Talking Pizza from Ronkonkoma to Riverhead

For hounds who hang around Ronkonkoma’s LIRR station, Scibelli’s is a go-to pizza destination. The near-perfect balance of sauce, cheese, and crust puts its regular slice ahead of the pack in that part of Long Island, says AmityGuy1. Also good: grandma slices and moist, dense garlic knots.

Other local contenders include Aegean Pizza in Holbrook, Gino’s in Patchogue, and La Margherita in Medford.

Out in Riverhead, coll sounds an uphill alert at Carlo’s Pizza Oven, which wasn’t bad to begin with but now, under new ownership, has refined its once-thickish crust to perfect Brooklyn-style thinness.

Scibelli’s Pizza [Suffolk County]
90 Railroad Ave., near Ronkonkoma LIRR station, Ronkonkoma, NY

Aegean Pizza [Suffolk County]
5801 Sunrise Hwy., in Sun Vet Mall, Holbrook, NY

Gino’s Pizzeria [Suffolk County]
22 W Main St., between Ocean and Railroad Aves., Patchogue, NY

La Margherita Pizzeria [Suffolk County]
1229 Station Rd., near Horse Block Rd., Medford, NY

Carlo’s Pizza Oven [Suffolk County]
435 Osborne Ave., between Lincoln and Pulaski Sts., Riverhead, NY

Board Links: Great pizza at Scibelli’s at LIRR Ronkonkoma Station.

East Side Italian, Old and New: La Cantina Toscana and Antonucci

La Cantina Toscana, which has been around for some time without attracting much attention from hounds, cooks true Tuscan chow, reports Peter Cherches. “I’ve been surprised it is so under the radar,” he adds. Yet other low-flying hounds have sussed out its typically Tuscan game menu, which features hearty pasta with cinghiale (wild boar) ragu. Boar also turns up in a sausage appetizer with cannellini and long-marinated in a sturdy stew served with chard and polenta. Other first-rate pastas include gnudi with spinach and ricotta in sage butter.

“I liked its good Italian feel–meaning fresh simple ingredients, a menu set up as Italian, not American, and actual Italians cooking and running the place,” writes eduardo. Adds Captain, “It is not a restaurant at which one gets the feeling the owners are seeking to make a killing. Rather, it feels like this is what they want to do, and are trying to make a living at it. Also, it is quite common to hear more of the diners speaking Italian than English.”

A mile or so uptown, there’s promising early word of satisfying, minimalist Italian dishes at Antonucci, a six-month-old trattoria from the former owner of Midtown Venetian restaurant Remi. jordana reports fresh, flavorful gnocchi with peas and pasta with mushrooms, as well as superior focaccia, not overpowered by herbs. The short menu also includes salt-baked branzino, braised lamb shank, beef short ribs, seafood risotto, and small plates including octopus with beans and bottarga, and roasted vegetables with bagna cauda.

La Cantina Toscana [Upper East Side]
1109 1st Ave., between E. 60th and 61st Sts., Manhattan

Antonucci [Upper East Side]
formerly Pearson’s Texas Barbecue
170 E. 81st St., near 3rd Ave., Manhattan

Board Links: great Italian on the UES
Out of Towners who used to live in Italy want some good Italian food. Suggestions?
Great Italian Uppereast

Casual Seafood Spots Around Long Island

Montauk’s newish MTK Cafe is looking shipshape, says coll, who reports a fantastic lobster roll and other decent chow–salads, panini, burgers, wraps, and more.

Elsewhere in town, the Inlet Cafe is a dependable spot for fresh seafood–it draws on the catch brought ashore at the nearby dock–and unbeatable views of Montauk Harbor.

At Fort Pond, you’ll find solid fish-shack fare at the Lakeside, the longtime nightspot whose casual seafood cafe is now in its second season. The waterfront deck is the perfect place to relax with a beer or a mojito and a platter of delicious fried clam bellies. “This will be one of my new favorite places to hang out,” says coll.

In Amagansett, the Lobster Roll–better known as Lunch, for its big blue sign–remains a Hamptons perennial for chowder, grilled seafood, and fish and chips, as well as its signature specialty. “I have moved out of state but would go back just to have lunch there,” swears pdxgirl. A second location in Riverhead is also good, if less atmospheric.

On the North Fork, there’s a standout lobster roll at Orient by the Sea, a casual joint overlooking Gardiner’s Bay. “The lobster salad was as good as I’ve had,” reports coll, who faults only the untoasted bun.

Closer to the city, Strudel recommends Babylon Fish and Clam as a great stop after a day on the beach at Robert Moses State Park.

Farther west along the South Shore, the Point Lookout Clam Bar serves nice chowder and bisque, as well as fried and grilled seafood, says stuartlafonda.

Others recommend Jordan Lobster Farms in Island Park, Bigelow’s in Rockville Centre (go for fried belly clams, urges byrd), and Peter’s Clam House in Island Park.

MTK Cafe [Suffolk County]
779 Main St., between the Plaza and Edison St., Montauk, NY

Inlet Cafe [Suffolk County]
500 W. Lake Dr., at Gosman’s Dock, Montauk, NY

The Lakeside [Suffolk County]
183 S. Edgemere St., near Emerson Ave., Montauk, NY 11954

Lobster Roll Restaurant [Suffolk County]
a.k.a. Lunch
1980 Montauk Hwy. E., Amagansett, NY 11930

Lobster Roll Restaurant [Suffolk County]
3225 Sound Ave., between Horton and Roanoke Aves., Riverhead, NY

Orient by the Sea Restaurant and Marina [Suffolk County]
Main Rd., next to Cross Sound Ferry, Orient, NY

Babylon Fish and Clam [Suffolk County]
458 Fire Island Ave., near Yacht Club Rd., Babylon, NY

Point Lookout Clam Bar [Nassau County]
99 Bayside Dr., between Hewlett and Inwood Aves., Point Lookout, NY

Jordan Lobster Farms [Nassau County]
1 Pettit Pl., near Long Beach Rd., Island Park, NY

Bigelow’s New England Fried Clams [Nassau County]
79 N Long Beach Rd., at Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, NY

Peter’s Clam House [Nassau County]
600 Long Beach Rd., near Austin Blvd., Island Park, NY

Board Links: Lobster Rolls ?
Jones Beach
Lobster Rolls and great seafood in the Montauk area.
farmstands and lunch on Long Island? [Moved from Outer Boroughs Board]
Lakeside in Montauk DOES have home made fried clam bellies…..and Almondito review

Hong Kong-Style Curry Squid and Other Chinatown Bites

One of Chinatown’s better street vendors dishes up curry squid and other satisfying Hong Kong-style chow, reports HLing. Her squid ($3 for a good-sized container) is agreeably chewy and comes in thin but rich curry sauce with decent chile kick. The ever-changing lineup might also include fish balls, cheung fun (rice noodle rolls), daikon radish with pork skin, or chow mei fun (pan-fried vermicelli). There’s no English menu; non-Chinese readers can point and ask. Look for her silver cart during the day on Grand near Bowery.

As long as we’re talking portable Chinese bites, several hounds remind us that May May on Pell Street is a favored source for zong zi. These are the southern Chinese “tamales” (as the English sign says) of rice with seasoned pork, mushroom, preserved egg, peanuts, or other stuff, all wrapped in banana leaf. “Very easy to steam and eat,” notes shirlotta, “a yummy meal in a leaf!” Frozen dumplings are good bets, too.

Deluxe Food Market, the block-long one-stop Chinese grocery that stretches from Elizabeth to Mott, also makes fine zong zi, says ary. They’re near the register in the prepared-food area.

Egg Custard King Cafe has opened a second shop at Grand and Forsyth, peddling its signature tarts in many colors. The popular egg white variety is wonderfully light. Other fillings include brightly colored fruit flavors–strawberry, banana, mango, and more–that hounds either love or hate. Chandavkl is partial to the light green honeydew model.

Street vendor [Chinatown]
Grand St. just east of Bowery, outside First American International Bank, Manhattan

May May Gourmet Chinese Bakery [Chinatown]
35 Pell St., between Mott and Doyers, Manhattan,

Deluxe Food Market [Chinatown]
79 Elizabeth St., between Hester and Grand Sts., Manhattan

Egg Custard King Cafe [Chinatown]
271 Grand St., at Forsyth, Manhattan

Egg Custard King Cafe [Chinatown]
formerly Sweet N Tart Cafe
76 Mott St., between Canal and Bayard, Manhattan

Board Links: Looking for other snacks near Dumpling House in Chinatown
Chinese sticky rice in banana leaf–Chiong
Chinese sticky rice in banana leaf–Chiong
1) 2nd location for the curry squid cart…2)venison jerky

Xiao La Jiao: Hot New Sichuan Contender in Flushing

Xiao La Jiao shows its Sichuan chops in its aromatic, powerfully seasoned lamb with hot and spicy sauce. “Absolutely excellent,” promises JMF–juicy, tasty meat covered in a paste of cumin, chiles, and Sichuan peppercorns, delivering “just the right heat, spice, and tingle.” Braised sliced fish in spicy soup base is another knockout: firm, very fresh fish with vegetables in a complex broth, topped with a sheen of chile-Sichuan pepper oil.

Also recommended at this newish Flushing restaurant: crust of cooked rice with pork. Tender sauteed meat in a deep, nuanced sauce is poured over freshly fried rice cakes, which sets off a racket of sizzling and popping. Don’t miss brightly flavored small dishes, like kelp in garlic sauce, spiced Sichuan peanuts, and spicy, sesame-scented bamboo shoots.

It’s hard to discuss New York Sichuan without considering board favorite Spicy and Tasty, just a block away. Xiao La Jiao appears to measure up. JMF declares that the newcomer is flat-out better. For joekarten, it’s just as good but different, “a bit less elegant and a bit bolder, maybe more rough-hewn in presentation and palate.” And at least for now, he adds, it charges much less for much larger portions.

Meanwhile, Spicy and Tasty hasn’t lost a step. Current chowhound favorites include eggplant with garlic sauce, cold beef stomach in spicy oil, shredded dry bean curd with celery, and squid with pickled turnip in spicy sauce. Also, fiery yet multidimensional shredded pork in fresh hot pepper, “one of the best Sichuan dishes I’ve ever had,” writes Brian S. “The waiter grimaced as if it were so spicy it was hurting him through the plate.”

Xiao La Jiao, a.k.a. Little Pepper [Flushing]
133-43 Roosevelt Ave., between Prince St. and College Point Blvd., Flushing, Queens

Spicy and Tasty [Flushing]
39-07 Prince St., between Roosevelt and 39th Aves., Flushing, Queens

Board Links: Spicy & Tasty in Flushing To Takeout
xiao la jiao–Anyone been?

Talking Pizza on the Lower East Side: Pala AND Ronald’s

Maybe it was the by-the-foot pricing, or maybe the exotic toppings that include pumpkin-and-pancetta but not classic New York sauce-and-cheese. For whatever reason, it took a while for hounds to grok the slightly upscale Roman-style pizza at Pala on the Lower East Side. Now, six months after it opened, the place seems to be gaining a following.

Fans love its light, crispy yet chewy crust, which it approaches with high seriousness. “Our waiter went into a spiel about the multiple flours used, the high water content of the dough, and the owner’s Ph.D. in chemistry,” says Sanjay. “I don’t know if that’s what does it, but it sure is a great crust!” Among the toppings, winners include the Arrabbiata (cherry tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper), Medillanum (asparagus, Gorgonzola, fior di latte mozzarella), Forza Roma (roasted peppers and mozzarella), and Ubraico (pancetta, mozzarella, wine-cured goat cheese), which delivers “a whirlwind of flavors and an absolute euphoric experience,” raves suzie bauer.

“If you are looking for the typical New York slice, this is not the place,” she adds. “The pies are oblong, and most slices are squares except for the corners of the pie. A slice is about the size of a Sicilian, except it is not as thick and doughy–a major plus, in my opinion.” Dissenters find prices high and the crust low on flavor.

A few blocks south, Ronald’s sounds like a nice neighborhood joint for thin-crust pies. “Darn good!” exclaims Wingman. “Very fresh ingredients and a fairly crispy crust. Thankfully there is an option for delivery on the Lower East Side!” The crust carries the smoky scent of the wood-burning oven, says adam, who likes his topped with sausage and fresh ricotta.

Beyond pizza, this successor to the now-defunct New Sicca’s at Allen and Rivington offers a traditional menu of salads, appetizers (fried calamari, soup, stuffed baked clams), chicken and veal entrees (francese, Marsala, piccata), and more. adam reports nicely done pastas and a standout caesar salad with just enough anchovy kick.

Pala Pizza Romano [Lower East Side]
198 Allen St., between Houston and Stanton, Manhattan

Ronald’s Pizza Cafe [Lower East Side]
74 Orchard St., between Broome and Grand, Manhattan

Board Links: Ronald’s Pizza Cafe?
Krunch Pizza
best pizza in manhattan?
Pala pizza- 198 Allen Street
Palà LES?
BEST Pizza on the Lower Eats Side

A Chowhound’s Guide to Finger Lakes Wine Country

Summer visitors to Finger Lakes wine country will find plenty to eat between vineyard visits, from fancy French to pub grub. Here’s a selection of hound-endorsed choices, high and low.


Max on the Lake, Canandaigua: Solid, simple, upscale American at the Inn on the Lake resort–steaks, roast chicken, sauteed salmon, etc.

MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room, Canandaigua: Not far from Max, a nice downscale option. The Finger Lakes outpost of an upstate mini-chain has decent burgers, wraps, fried seafood, and other pub fare.

El Rincon Mexicano, Canandaigua: This place inspires confidence by nailing the basics–beans, rice, salsas, etc.–and is a fine spot to while away an afternoon with chow and cerveza, says jbird.


Esperanza Mansion, Bluff Point: phishphyx prefers the more casual Grill Room (sandwiches, burgers, pastas, grilled and roasted meats) to the formal dining room, the Mansion. “Amazing views…the staff can be a little flaky.”

Bully Hill Vineyards, Hammondsport: Solid American chow (steaks, salmon, chicken Marsala, pork tenderloin, crab cakes, etc.) in a beautiful setting with attention-grabbing views, says sg.


Stonecat Cafe, Hector: Eclectic, heavily organic American food, including house-smoked meats and fish, on a deck overlooking the lake. Quite good, says Joseph Moryl.

Suzanne, Lodi: French-inflected “country elegant” cuisine. The short, often-changing menu focuses on local ingredients (like the Riesling that flavors the sauce that accompanies roast free-range chicken). Mark A. Bauman reports a fabulous dinner there last summer.

Dano’s Heuriger, Lodi: Viennese-inspired roast meats and other hearty food. A must-eat, says Laura Rebecca.

Ports Cafe, Geneva: Eclectic American with Southwestern accents like fajitas and steak-black bean quesadillas.

Fox Run Vineyards cafe, Penn Yan: A fine lunch spot for sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.

Veraisons at Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee: French-influenced food with fusiony touches like chipotle Caesar salad and cumin-chile-crusted calamari steak. Good food, “a little ambitious with sauces and chutneys,” says tagine.


Pumpkin Hill Bistro, Aurora: Solid American chow–steaks, burgers, roast duck, chicken pot pie, etc.–in a beautifully restored 1820 house. “A great, tucked-away little place. Food is mostly great, the staff is super-nice,” says phishphyx.

Knapp Vineyards Restaurant, Romulus: Steaks, seafood and more, with Louisiana accents like blackened chicken and Cajun sausage-vegetable saute. Enjoy sprightly flavored champagne cocktails and gorgeous vineyard views.

Ithaca Farmers Market, Ithaca: An appealing road-trip option for breads, fruit, sweets, and good prepared foods, including vegetarian, Vietnamese, and Thai choices. Open Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at this time of year.


Giverny at Mirbeau: Upscale French-influenced American food, emphasizing seasonal local produce, with a couple of tasting-menu options. A smaller, cheaper bistro menu is served in the bar area. “Absolutely wonderful ambience, local fresh ingredients, excellent wine list,” writes daveinchelsea.

Rosalie’s Cucina, Skaneateles: Grilled prime meats and other upscale Tuscan. One of the best options around the lake, says JimmyG, though inconsistent. “Portions are large (at prices to match). I have had good meals and some not so hot.”

Sherwood Inn, Skaneateles: Seafood-heavy American menu, charming setting. JimmyG finds the less formal Tavern a better bet than the inn’s Dining Room.

Blue Water Grill, Skaneateles: Stick to simple orders–like fish sandwiches, which Sara pronounces excellent–at this spot right on the lake.

The Krebs, Skaneateles: Traditional chow in a procession of courses–fruit cup, roasted meats, creamed mushrooms with toast points, and the like–that has barely changed since 1899. Some say it’s gone way downhill. Central New Yorker, a fan of its desserts and lobster Newburg, finds it “a nice expedition into the culinary past.”

Doug’s Fish Fry, Skaneateles: Big, fresh fish sandwiches and other seafood in a casual setting–“and I mean sit-at-a-counter-or-picnic-table casual,” says tracie. Afterward, head for the ice cream parlor near the marina, grab a cone, and take a stroll on the pier.


Hound reports have tended to focus on food rather than wine, but daveinchelsea suggests that some of the best stuff comes from the wineries around Keuka and Cayuga Lakes. He singles out a couple: Konstantin Frank (“capable of some of the finest Rieslings outside of Germany and France”) and Treleaven. For a guide to the region’s wineries with an interactive map, see:

Max on the Lake Restaurant [Ontario County]
770 S. Main St., at Canandaigua Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, NY

MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room [Ontario County]
759 S. Main St., at Lakeshore Dr., Canandaigua, NY

El Rincon Mexicano Dos [Ontario County]
5 Beeman St., at Main St., Canandaigua, NY

Esperanza Mansion [Yates County]
3456 Rte. 54A, Bluff Point, NY

Bully Hill Restaurant [Steuben County]
Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Dr., at Bully Hill Vineyards, Hammondsport, NY

Stonecat Cafe [Schuyler County]
5315 State Rte. 414, near Norbud Rd., Hector, NY

Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine [Seneca County]
9013 State Rte. 414, between Upper Lake Rd. and N. Miller Rd., Lodi, NY

Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca [Seneca County]
9564 State Rte. 414, between County Rds. 149 and 137, Lodi, NY

Ports Cafe [Ontario County]
4432 W, Lake Rd., at Clarks Pt., Geneva, NY

Fox Run Vineyards [Yates County]
670 State Rte. 14, between Angus and Carlson Rds., Penn Yan, NY

Veraisons Restaurant [Yates County]
5435 State Rte 14., at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee, NY

Pumpkin Hill Bistro [Cayuga County]
2051 State Rte. 90, between Moonshine and Lake Rds., Aurora, NY

Knapp Vineyards Restaurant [Seneca County]
2770 Ernsberger Rd. (County Rd. 128), between Main St. and Rte. 89, Romulus, NY

Ithaca Farmers Market [Tompkins County]
545 3rd St., at Steamboat Landing, Ithaca, NY

Giverny [Onondaga County]
851 W. Genesee St. (Rte 20.), at Mirbeau Inn and Spa, Skaneateles, NY

Rosalie’s Cucina [Onondaga County]
841 W. Genesee St. (Rte 20.), between Fuller St. and County Line Rd., Skaneateles, NY

Sherwood Inn [Onondaga County]
26 W. Genesee St. (Rte. 20), between Jordan and Hannum, Skaneateles, NY

Blue Water Grill [Onondaga County]
11 W. Genesee St. (Rte 20.), between Jordan and Hannum, Skaneateles, NY

The Krebs [Onondaga County]
53 W. Genesee St. (Rte. 20), between Hannum and Griffin, Skaneateles, NY

Doug’s Fish Fry [Onondaga County]
8 Jordan St., near E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY

Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars [Steuben County]
9749 Middle Rd., at Wright Rd., Hammondsport, NY

King Ferry Winery [Cayuga County]
658 Lake Rd., between Rte. 90N and Atwater Rd., King Ferry, NY

Board Links: Buffalo-Rochester-Finger Lakes–where to stop for a bite…
Does The Finger Lakes area have ANY good restaurants?
Good Food in the Finger Lakes (specifically Keuka) area?
Finger lakes region
Name of restaurant near Skaneateles please?

Dona Maria: Mexican Bright Spot in Suffern, NY

Dona Maria, open since spring, brings something different–and welcome–to Suffern. It’s Mexican food, “but nothing like Rockland has ever seen,” reports Deven Black; “much, much better than the canned beans and reheated glop” slung by some local competitors. Expect bright, authentic flavors in inventive, slightly dressed-up dishes that really work–like seared salmon, seasoned with a dusting of chiles and herbs, or a Mexico-and-beyond cheese plate of anejo, cotija, and Manchego, among other choices. “Everything is cooked fresh,” Deven adds, “except the beans and sauces, which are made the way they should be…very slowly.”

Dona Maria Mexican Bistro [Rockland County]
41 Lafayette Ave., near Chestnut St., Suffern, NY

Board Links: Fiesta Garibaldi in Nyack gone

Jack the Horse – Pub Fare with Breeding in Brooklyn Heights

A couple months out of the gate, Jack the Horse Tavern is earning a following in Brooklyn Heights with refined chow and a comfortable neighborhood vibe. Some, however, find it too expensive. “The food is good, nicely prepared and presented. The space is lovely, the atmosphere very much like a country inn or tavern. This is a nice place to spend an evening with friends,” sums up Fleur. “But the prices seem a little high for what it is.”

The brief menu offers salads and other starters plus grilled and roasted meats and seafood. Early winners include salmon medallions with orange reduction; chopped chicken liver with rhubarb compote on toasted baguette; kale, chorizo, and cranberry bean soup; and herbed fries with homemade-tasting ketchup and blue cheese sauce. Some stumbles: dried-out roast pork breast and chewy, under-salted hanger steak. The well-chosen wine list tops out at $45 a bottle. Draft beers are mostly from craft brewers, including Brooklyn Brewery and Six Point.

“Overall, very good,” reports queue, “a real restaurant along the lines of the others we frequent in the neighborhood”–including Noodle Pudding and Henry’s End, and roughly between the two in price. “We will probably return often.”

Jack the Horse Tavern [Brooklyn Heights]
66 Hicks St., at Cranberry, Brooklyn

Board Links: Jack the Horse Tavern in Brooklyn Heights