'Tis the growing season when the city transforms right into a winter wonderland with festive lights abound throughout giving us yet another reason to explore the city's great culinary scene. Here are some in our favorite picks for December from theater bistro dining to a power steakhouse, towards the exotic flavors asia and Armenia, and a chic farm to table spot in Harlem.
Nirvana Lives! For nearly ten years, Nirvana has been a reliable destination in Murray Hill and today owner Anil Amin introduces Michelin-starred Indian chef Peter Beck to create Nirvana to the next level. Diners will warm their souls with authentic Indian cooking, perfect for winter. The menu is divided into starters, tandoori small plates, poultry dishes, lamb/goat dishes, seafood, tandoor grilled specialties, vegetables, rice and tandoori baked bread.
To start, guests can decide on an array of items for example tandoori paneer tikka, with paneer chunks marinated in Tandoori Masala, Lamb Potato Croquettes, Tawa Scallops and Shrimp Tadka sautéed in white wine and garlic. When it comes to main course, there is a little something for everyone such as the Ajwain Shrimp, Chilean Sea Bass rubbed with cumin, coriander and pepper, Crab Masala and Goat Curry on the bone. The extensive selection of vegetarian dishes is becoming ever so popular, and Chef Beck works wonders with vegetables, and delivering layers of spice in dishes such as Srinagri Bhaji, a blend of greens, spinach, sorrel, dill, eggplant and taro. The breads available include Peshwari Naan, that is a sweet bread stuffed with nuts and raisins, Garlic Naan, Cheese 'N' Tomato Naan, Onion Kulcha, Roti and Keema Naan, all house made.
While guests indulge in heavenly Indian dishes, the bi-level serene space offers an inviting and warm space. The exposed red brick walls and fabric reiterates the authentic element, which compliments the bathroom perfectly. The bar on the bottom level seats 14 and it is the perfect spot for a cocktail and a bite in the bar menu, as the lounge area has additional tables for enjoying drinks and small plates. For a truly authentic Indian experience, Nirvana is the cultivated establishment that gives.
Acclaimed restaurateur and Chef Daniel Boulud still astound diners with his more casual contemporary French db Bistro, ideally located in the heart from the Theatre District, making it the perfect spot for pre or post theatre dining.
Upon arrival guests are greeted with sophistication and elegance, with classic elegant upholstery and light fixtures. The three rooms are connected together railroad style and each includes defining characteristics, immersing the diners right into a new setting. The wood paneled front room includes a large communal table and fixed banquets, with exposed bare wood tables, while the next area provides a cozy setting with a handful of booths and beyond that, the greater fine dining side is revealed in all its white linen glory and stylish setting.
The menu features updated bistro classics, with a modern twist and market-driven French-American cuisine, alongside traditional French specialties and seasonal dishes showcasing the Greenmarket's finest produce.
Guests can decide on a prix-fixe menu, including three courses with choices like chicory salad, sweet potato gnocchi, escargot, and also the original DB Burger and steak frites. The Dinner a La Carte options incorporate a lobster salad with chicory, Rhode Island greening apple salsify and caviar or even the filet mignon with sweet potato gratin and creamy spinach sauce au poivre is a crowd favorite.
The Wine Cellar at db Bistro Moderne represents the bounty and terroir of regional France, having a focus on classic wines often seen in a bistro setting.
In the sleek space which was once Harlem's historic Perk's jazz nightclub has now been changed into Clay- a chic American farm to table restaurant and natural wine bar. This project of affection was brought to life by long term Harlem residents, Executive Chef Gustavo Lopez, Wine Director Gabriela Davogustto, and Bar Director Andrea Needell Matteliano. This elegant and airy eatery feels more downtown than uptown and pays homage to the rich good reputation for the Harlem yet also represents the colourful transformation of the neighborhood's culinary scene.
With previous stints at Lupa, Terroir, and DBGB Executive Chef Lopez has mastered the art of farm to table cuisine and artistic plating. Start your food with the delicate maitake and trumpet mushroom chips emulsified with tapioca powder, American Wagyu Tartare with pickled shallot, celery root, and cured egg yolk, or even the rich flavors of Chicken Liver with preserved fig and toast. The delicious house made pastas showcase the bounty from the fall season. The light Gnocchi is delicately fried with butternut squash, hazelnut, mushrooms and pickled fresno; Garganelli is tossed with crumbled housemade pork sausage and kale; and Bucatini is enhanced with lobster, bottarga, Calabrian chile and breadcrumbs. Standouts from the mains include Pork Tenderloin with apple mostarda, potato and charred romaine, and American Wagyu Strip Steak with soubise, yuzu, hen of the woods and chimicurri. A perfect complement to Chef Lopez's culinary masterpieces may be the curated natural wines available which have been sourced from around the globe including the Canary Islands, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Nigeria to name a few.
The modern and neutral atmosphere awash in a palette of greys and whites and designed by Roberto Sosa is really as soothing towards the soul as the cuisine is pleasing towards the palette. By Hillary Latos
Since its birth in Beirut, the Armenian-Lebanese restaurant Almayass has expanded into Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and today New York City in the heart of the Flatiron district. Almayass introduces a distinguished culinary experience to the refined palates of New York City using the infusion of authentic Lebanese cuisine and also the exotic flavors of traditional Armenian dishes.
Guests are greeted having a comfortable space, boasting fresh whites against natural wood and brick to produce a warm space having a buzzing atmosphere. The subtle aspects of green plants contrast perfectly using the dark wood flooring, ceiling and chairs to move diners on the journey towards the landscape of Armenia.
The Armenian tasting menu may be the journey your taste buds have been craving. Start your adventure using the Armenian salad, or lentil kafta with onion and parsley. The Dolma with Italian eggplant stuffed with rice, tomato, essential olive oil, and lemon and topped with yogurt is guaranteed to warm your heart and is the perfect accompaniment to the salad or kafta. Subscriber for one of the numerous hummus varieties for example hummus Almayass or mixed with pine nuts, meat, lamb or fried cauliflower. The Subereg is an oven baked; multi layered homemade pastry, filled with cheese and parsley and it is an ideal ending to a wondrous expedition. Almayass is really a warm and friendly, comfortable space, designed to evoke eating at someone's home with family and friends.
SPRING AND VARICK
Spring and Varick is the newest restaurant offering a twist on modern American cuisine to bring an exciting, new and elevated dining destination to the luxurious SoHo area.
This restaurant and bar, which accommodates 90 with additional private dining rooms around the mezzanine level is a perfect location for a daytime or evening event with friends, fellow coworkers and is even ideal for private cocktail parties.
Designed through the acclaimed Lesly Bernard, the room plays on art deco meets modern décor having a rotating mix of local art adorning the walls. Diners are treated to a sophisticated, buzzing atmosphere, with warm lighting and fresh perspective all around.
Executive Chef John Creger highlights Spring and Varick with playful and interactive dishes incorporating fresh, seasonal and native ingredients. The complex and various flavor profiles coupled with familiar dishes create a remarkable culinary experience and provides a direct representation from the type of diversity and culture this establishment aims to cultivate.
Diners will enjoy flavorful dishes for example Beet Ravioli, with pesto, ricotta, spiced pepitas and beet caramel, the S & V Burger with tempura comte, brioche, S & V Burger sauce and a side of fries or even the 12oz Bone in Pork Chop is really a crowd pleaser with braised red cabbage, apple bourbon compote and pork demi.
For the cherry along with a perfect dining experience, opt in for that Vanilla Saffron Panna Cotta with candied orange, pistachio, blood orange caviar and baslsamic soaked figs or go the classic S'mores option with chocolates mousse, chocolate “cake”, torched marshmallow and graham crackers, certain to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Experience the best beef in Manhattan at 212 Steakhouse, the first and only member in New York of the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association from Japan.
This stylish new restaurant found in the heart of Midtown East focuses on prodigious Kobe Beef and steak entrees, as well as offering seafood, salads, creative sides and appetizers to fulfill every palate. The elegant surrounding welcomes guests into the dining room. The rich dark wood tones offer class and sophistication, reminding visitors of their affluence. The marble bench top bar and pendant lights contrast beautifully with the patterned ceiling and striking columns offering soft ambient lighting which creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
As for the menu, diners will find appetizers for example zucchini chips, a cheese plate, classic burrata, and grilled octopus to tie them over before the main event. The raw bar also provides some delightful seafood options such as the seafood platter for 2 with half Maine lobster, PEI Oysters and octopus or subscriber for half dozen oysters. For the top level, diners can pick to be adventurous using the Kobe tasting option, including Kobe beef rib eye, striploin and tenderloin or simply one cut along with a side dish. Also available, may be the choice of USDA Prime steaks like the classic Ny Strip or Filet Mignon, or try some Australian Wagyu for a multicultural dining experience. With each steak, comes the choice of steak sauces, including bourbon peppercorn, béarnaise, bordelaise and chimichurri.