Barton's Bites

Food from a guy's perspective



Chick-Fil-A in NYC Closes

Sorry Chick-Fil-A lovers, New York City’s first fast food fried chicken joint closed over the holidays due to 59 Department of Health violations. We’re talking things like flies buzzing around the food, improper refrigeration, etc. In other words, a ‘C’ health grade.

Don’t worry though fried chicken fans, the store should reopen for breakfast tomorrow, January 4th with hopefully some new health checks put in place.

Chick-fil-A New York City

Why You Should Go to California Pizza Kitchen… Now!

Meat, Meat and More Meat… Texas de Brazil

Texas de Brazil – 1011 3rd Avenue, Manhattan, New York

Imagine this: You’re seated at a table and with a simple flip of a small round card from red to green the magic begins. Servers decked in Brazilian attire breeze by your table with selections of meat, cooked medium rare on a skewer. The food doesn’t stop until you flip your card back to red and yell for mercy, only to be rolled out completely stuffed.

Texas de Brazil

I recently checked out Texas de Brazil and it lived up to the hype around endless amounts of food. Everything from the salad bar to the hot food station to the waiters running around with different types of meats screamed indulgence.

Texas de Brazil

First stop is the salad bar. With 50-60 fresh gourmet items, the salad area is seemingly everything one’s heart could desire. There are slices of manchego cheese, hearty stalks asparagus, fresh mozzarella balls, sushi options, Brazilian potato salad, olives and much more.

Texas de Brazil

Then the meats start to arrive. Everything is heavily seasoned and cooked medium rare. The meats are all extremely tender and deliciously incredible. We’re talking filet mignon wrapped in bacon, braised beef ribs, pork ribs, leg of lamb, flank steak, etc. The different cuts of beef and lamb were probably my favorite, with the chicken and pork being the meats I’d pass on. (If you’re going for an all-you-can-eat feast, you might as well stick to the good stuff.)

Texas de Brazil 10

And let’s not forget about dessert. An enormous slice of cheesecake helped us finish off the meal.Texas de Brazil 11The Verdict

This is the last place I’d go if I was on a diet, but since I’m not, bring on the meat sweats! I had my favorite cuts of meat, and the chicken and pork weren’t anything to write home about, but the overall experience was great. From the second we walked in, the waitstaff was EXTREMELY friendly and courteous. I’ve never felt like anyone truly cared so much about how I liked the food. If you’re in New York City and want to pig out, Texas de Brazil has your name on it. 

Please note: I received a complimentary meal from Texas de Brazil. 

Texas de Brazil on Urbanspoon

Ted’s Montana Grill Brings Brunch to Midtown

Ted’s Montana Grill – 110 West 51st Street, Manhattan, New York

Midtown Manhattan isn’t know for brunch. However, Ted’s Montana Grill on 51st Street is looking to change that. With a newly-launched brunch menu, Ted’s is looking to pull some of your traditional Village brunchers up above 42nd street.

I was invited to check out Ted’s new brunch menu. Ted’s Montana Grill is known for two things 1) Ted Turner 2) bison, bison and more bison. On the brunch menu this is evident as your eyes are immediately drawn to the Bison Short Rib Hash, called out in enormous font and dominating the other dishes listed.

Some of our brunch highlights:

Ted's Bloody Mary

Ted’s Bloody Mary

Subtly spicy Bloody Marys were served with a slice of bacon.

Bison Short Rib Hash

Bison Short Rib Hash

Bison Short Rib Hash

Bison Short Rib Hash

The Bison Short Rib Hash came served with breakfast potatoes, roasted corn
and avocado, topped with fried eggs. Don’t let the pictures fool you. There were mounds of melt-in-your-mouth slow-braised short rib bison underneath those eggs that were bursting with flavor. The bison delivered a flavor punch (that’s right, flavor punch) directly to my taste buds. This is an unbelievably rich dish.

Crab Cake Benedict

Crab Cake Benedict

The Crab Cake Benedict consists of St. Phillip’s Island crab cakes, wilted spinach,
poached eggs and chipotle hollandaise served with breakfast potatoes. For those of you looking to cut some carbs, this Benedict was unique in that the crab cakes served as the English muffins. Hailey had no complaints here, greedily devouring this dish. (I didn’t even get any!)

Savory Corn Flapjacks

Savory Corn Flapjacks

Next up, savory corn flapjacks with oven-roasted ham, cheddar cheese and chives, served with honey butter and maple syrup. I was expecting these to be heavy pancakes. What we got were light, fluffy and buttery flapjacks. I was stuffed from my bison hash but somehow I found room to fit these guys. The edges had a buttery crispness to them and I’d highly recommend these for those that aren’t into eggs as much.

Boozy Mudslide Milkshake

Boozy Mudslide Milkshake

Finally, a boozy mudslide milkshake capped off the brunch. This was made with Baileys, Kahlua and vodka, and filled with huge scoops of ice cream topped with lots of whipped cream. If I had known I would be drinking a milkshake during brunch I would have worn my stretchy pants!

The best thing I heard during brunch came from one of the chefs. He told me that they’re experimenting in the kitchen to come up with the perfect brunch menu. How are they doing this? By checking out popular brunch spots in the West Village to see what’s working. (By the way, this sounds like an awesome part of the job.)

The Verdict

I’m looking forward to seeing how Ted’s menu evolves over the coming months. They’re just starting out with brunch and it sounds like the team is committed to making it work. The only critique I have is that compared to other brunch spots, prices are a little steep and drinks aren’t included so this may be a brunch to check out when your parents are in town. Regardless, I highly recommend giving Ted’s Montana Grill a try – you won’t regret it!

Ted's Montana Grill on Urbanspoon

Melt Shop

Restaurant: Melt Shop – 601 Lexington Avenue & 55 West 26th Street, Manhattan, New York

Depending on who you ask, the best grilled cheese in New York City can be found in a number of restaurants across the five boroughs. I mean, who isn’t a fan of melted cheese in between two pieces of bread slathered with butter?

Searching for that mind-blowing grilled cheese, the other day my Dad and I gave Melt Shop a try to see if lived up to the hype I’d heard about.

Tater Tots Melt Shop

Tater Tots

I ordered:

  • Truffle Melt: havarti, arugula, and cracked black pepper drizzled with truffle oil on toasty sourdough bread
  • Tater Tots

I’d heard so much about the tater tots I had to order them. They were a little cold, but overall, not bad. I liked the sprinkling of cheese on top of them that helped make these fried potatoes a little more interesting. I easily ate through the majority of these, and quickly.

Truffle Melt Grilled Cheese Melt Shop

Truffle Melt Grilled Cheese

I then moved on to the Truffle Melt. Havarti, arugula, and cracked black pepper is drizzled with truffle oil, all on toasty sourdough bread. The Truffle Melt grilled cheese was delicious. The proportion of cheese to bread was just right and the sourdough gave this sandwich a nice taste that normal white bread would have left empty. The stretchy havarti cheese was fully melted throughout and I could clearly taste the truffle oil. Best part, the arugula made me feel like I was actually getting some ‘greens’ in my sandwich so I felt better about all that cheese and butter-soaked bread.

Truffle Melt Grilled Cheese Melt Shop Close up

Truffle Melt Grilled Cheese

Melt Shop was the perfect stop for a weekend lunch. The Lexington Avenue location was empty on a Saturday afternoon since it mainly caters to the workweek lunch rush. My Dad and I had plenty of room to kick back, relax and enjoy some delicious grilled cheeses. Next time I’m in the area and craving something inexpensive, unhealthy and completely satisfying, you better better believe I’ll be paying Melt Shop another visit.

Melt Shop on Urbanspoon

Free Ice Cream with Former Mets Pitcher John Franco

It’s hot out there, so to help cool you down and launch the summer-long “Share the Love” campaign, the Good Humor ice cream truck will be handing out free classic and new Good Humor ice cream bars in Bryant Park today (Thursday, June 27) from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. If you’re a Mets fan it gets even better. Former New York Mets pitcher John Franco will be there helping to hand out these delicious frozen treats. There will also be plenty of opportunities to win fun prizes during the day through games and activities.

For more information on scheduled stops and surprise locations, check out the Good Humor website, Facebook page or on Twitter.

Good Humor Share the Love Ice Cream Truck
Good Humor “Share the Love” Ice Cream Truck

Bareburger – Is an Organic Burger a Better Burger?

Restaurant: Bareburger – 33-21 31st Avenue, Astoria, New York (and various locations)

It’s time for another burger post. Only this time, we’re taking the burgers to another level – a healthier level (at least as healthy as a burger can get). At Bareburger, taste and variety is king. The restaurants partner with organic farmers to bring high quality meats to the table as well as outfit their restaurants with reclaimed and recycled materials. Bareburger currently has more than 10 locations throughout the metro New York area


Bareburger claims it uses recycled, reclaimed and sustainable materials in all its restaurants. It definitely shows. The interior of Bareburger is surrounded in brick. This brick, along with wood accents, gives off a very rustic and almost organic (it’s fitting, isn’t it?) feel. In keeping with the Bareburger name, there is plenty of bear paraphernalia throughout. 

Bareburger Fries and Rings Combo
Fries and Rings Combo


The menu at Bareburger is all over the place, in a good way. The menu is designed to be customized, down to the smallest detail. Unique burger creations (California, Maui Wowie, Mediterranean, etc.) can be made with nearly every meat out there. You can go the route of more traditional meat such as beef and turkey or go more adventurous and give wild boar, elk, ostrich or bison a try. Next step is the bun, and you get to customize again here with options such as a traditional brioche bun, multi-grain roll, wrap, lettuce or a tapioca rice bun. There must be hundreds of possible burger combinations alone.

Bareburger Original Burger
Original Burger in Lettuce

We ordered:

  • Roadhouse: pepperjack, country bacon, hass avocado, fire roasted red peppers, sweet apple grilled onions, smoked paprika mayo (recommended with bison) on a brioche bun
  • Originalcolby jack, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, raw red onions, special sauce (recommended with beef) on lettuce
  • Fries and rings combo

The fry and ring combo is a staple for me every time I visit Bareburger. A big basket of fries and onion rings are served with four different types of dipping sauces. The fries are unsalted but the sodium isn’t even missed slightly thanks to these sauces which really kick these fries up a notch. The onion rings are extremely crispy and a good size.

Bareburger Roadhouse Burger
Roadhouse Burger

The roadhouse burger was next up and this burger is piled high with toppings. So much so that a skewer is put through the center to make sure everything stays in place. The bison is cooked perfectly and there is an insane amount of avocado. Depsite all these toppings, the entire burger is easy to bite through. That’s not to say the burger isn’t messy. I won’t say it’s a 5 Napkin Burger, but it’s definitely close to four.


Bareburger was packed the night we went but the service didn’t falter. The food came out quickly and we were able to fly through our meal. I’ve never had a bad experience with service here. 


The prices for burgers are in the low teens, depending on what you get. With all these toppings and the ability to customize them to your liking, Bareburger gives you a lot for your money. Good value. 

The Verdict

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of Bareburger. I love all of the different types of burgers on the menu and the fact that you can select from a wide variety of meats and bread in order to create your own burger creation. The food at Bareburger is always delicious and cooked perfectly. I will be back and I recommend you check them out too.

Bareburger on Urbanspoon

The New York Burger Appreciation Society (NYBAS): Burger Heaven

Burger number three from the New York Burger Appreciation Society (only one left!) showed up at my office recently. (For those of you who have no clue what this mysterious burger society is, check out my previous post.)

Burger Heaven – 9 East 53rd Street, Manhattan, New York

Burger number three was from Burger Heaven. From their menu, I received:

  • Cheeseburger
  • Fries
Cheeseburger and Fries
Cheeseburger and Fries

This burger came packed together in an aluminum tray with the fries, along with lettuce and tomato – your typical run-of-the-mill burger delivery.

This burger was loaded with cheese. So much so, that it was dripping off the sides of the burger. It was perfectly cooked and wasn’t overflowing with juices, something that many burgers often do. The medium/medium-rare burger melted in my mouth during each bite, but unfortunately, it didn’t have as much taste as I would have liked. It felt like something was missing. The burger reclaimed some of what it was missing with the bun. It came on a potato bun that was lightly sprinkled with salt on top. Big win for the bun.

Perfectly Cooked Cheeseburger

The fries were also just mediocre. They were slightly soggy – always a problem with delivery fries – and didn’t have a lot of crunch to them. They also didn’t have any salt on them. I don’t mind putting salt on myself, but no salt just leaves fries plain and tasteless.

The Verdict

Burger Heaven failed to live up to its name. Yes, I was eating a burger, but no, I wasn’t in heaven. The cheeseburger was average and tasted like it was missing something. The fries were soggy and didn’t have any salt/flavor to them. All in all, I wasn’t impressed by Burger Heaven and I won’t be order, or heading back, to them again.

Burger Heaven on Urbanspoon

Knave at Le Parker Meridien Disappoints

Restaurant: Knave – 119 West 56th Street, Manhattan, New York

I recently read about Knave at Le Parker Meridien having some of the best hot chocolate in the midtown Manhattan area. So naturally, Hailey and I had to go check it out. Unfortunately, while the hot chocolate was good, it left a lot to be desired, and the service was horrendous.

Interior of Knave
Knave Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate


The interior of Knave is gorgeous. Plush chairs surround tables sitting below a vaulted ceiling with intricate chandeliers. A small bar lines the middle of one wall where a bartender works his magic making coffee or other drinks. On a Saturday afternoon there were only a handful of people occupying the tables and the atmosphere could best be described as relaxed and quiet.


Since I’d heard about the hot chocolate at Knave, I had to order it. We ordered a hot chocolate and cafe mocha, unfortunately, we only got to try the hot chocolate since the cafe mocha never made it to our table.

The hot chocolate was good, but not great. I’ve had this “European” style of hot chocolate before where it literally is like melted chocolate in a cup. While Knave tried to accomplish this, it only gave you a small taste – filling up a coffee cup only about a quarter of the way. I’ll admit, I don’t want an entire coffee cup filled with liquid chocolate, but for the price, I think you should get a little bit more than just a taste.


As I mentioned above, there were only a handful of guests at Knave but the staff couldn’t seem to get a simple order of a hot chocolate and cafe mocha correct. The hot chocolate quickly arrived at our table but we had to remind the waitress twice about the cafe mocha. Even after this, it was clear the bartender hadn’t even started making it. Since we’d finished the hot chocolate long ago, we decided to pack it in and do without our other drink.

To the waitress’s credit, she realized they’d screwed up and gave us our hot chocolate on the house. However, I was amazed they couldn’t even get two drinks correct while the place wasn’t busy.


The hot chocolate was six dollars for a small tiny bit of melted chocolate in a cup. I know we were at the Le Parker Meridien, but I think this was pretty overpriced. I was expecting a little bit more than what we received.

The Verdict

Knave disappointed me. I was expecting a great cup of hot chocolate, but instead got a mediocre cup with terrible service. I will not be heading back to Knave and do not recommend it.

Knave at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon

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