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Dominique Bistro

A cute, artisanal French Cafe located in the heart of the West Village, Dominique Bistro is a showcase to the rich history of French food.

Dominique Bistro opened late last year and I was invited in to check out what head chef and namesake, Dominick Pepe, was dishing out. 

The restaurant is a Parisian-style cafe on the corner of Christopher and Gay Streets. The front of the restaurant has an enormous floor to ceiling window looking out onto Christopher Street and I was lucky enough to be seated in an ideal spot to take advantage of the view. The interior features an open kitchen with pops of French cultural flare scattered throughout. The vibe is classy and modern, and welcoming and inviting. It’s the kind of place I’d like to spend an afternoon sipping on wine.

The food exiting the open kitchen is comforting French fare. You have your classics such as Croque-monsieur, as well as authentic countryside dishes such as beef bouillabaisse.

I sampled a range of dishes. To start I tasted the ahi tuna tartare, pear salad and tomato soup. The highlights however were the main courses – beef bourguignon with braised beef, carrots, onions, mushrooms, potatoes and a red wine demi, and fettuccine with chanterelles, burgundy truffles in brown butter.

The bourguignon was my favorite dish. It hit the spot and helped warm me up on a cold January night. This hearty beef stew had a gracious serving of beef and seemingly dissolved after a few bites. Delicious.

Let’s not forget about dessert! I opted for the chocolate mousse and a heaping serving of sweetness came out. We’re not talking about any prim and proper chocolate mousse in a dish. This is a large hunk of chocolate mousse plopped down on a plate and decorated with strawberries.

Dominique Bistro has gained a spot on my list of recommended restaurants in NYC. It’s the perfect quaint West Village cafe where you can sit and enjoy a casual glass (or bottle) of wine or treat yourself to some heartier French fare.

Dominique Bistro  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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Market Place Kitchen and Bar

Market Place Kitchen and Bar – 33 Mill Plain Road, Danbury, Connecticut 

Walk into Danbury’s farm-to-table hotspot, Market Place, and you’ll find a packed restaurant and bar filled with young professionals and couples. The farm-to-table theme is pulled through with a reclaimed wood and brick interior, and dividing wall separating the restaurant from the bar scene.

Market Place encourages the use of local, organic and sustainability harvested food and the menu reads almost like map, noting the source of many ingredients.

4-Hour Duck Fat-Braised Berkshire Pork Belly
4-Hour Duck Fat-Braised Berkshire Pork Belly

The 4-Hour Duck Fat-Braised Berkshire Pork Belly appetizer is delicious, but slightly salty and didn’t have the melt-in-your-mouth goodness I expect from pork belly.

Prosciutto di Parma Flatbread
Prosciutto di Parma Flatbread

Prosciutto di Parma Flatbread is covered with a thin layer of sweet fig balsamic that counters chunks of savory Vermont goat cheese.

Stonington, CT Sea Scallops
Stonington, CT Sea Scallops

I didn’t have the fortune of chowing down on the Stonington, CT Sea Scallops, but were told they were delicious. The scallops were a good size and sat on top of a spinach risotto with cauliflower crème, cranberry compote and a pear reduction.

Kobe Burger
Kobe Burger

The Kobe Burger definitely must be one of the best in Southwestern Connecticut. Oozing with flavor, it’s has caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, provolone cheese and truffle aioli, all on top of a toasted brioche roll. It’s served alongside a mini fry basket filled with sweet potato tater tots.

Horseradish-Crusted Wild Scottish Salmon
Horseradish-Crusted Wild Scottish Salmon
Horseradish-Crusted Wild Scottish Salmon comes out with wheat berries, Brussels sprouts and an applewood-smoked bacon aioli.
Deep-Dish Pecan Pie
Deep-Dish Pecan Pie

And of course, we can’t forget about dessert. Deep-dish Pecan Pie immediately caught my eye and it didn’t disappoint. I’m still coming down from the sugar high from this dessert that came with scoop of vanilla bean gelato and cinnamon-whipped cream.

The Verdict

We left Market Place Kitchen and Bar stuffed to the brim. The food, with only a few missteps, delivered incredible flavors and lived up to expectations. I was a huge fan of the prosciutto di Parma flatbread, Stonington, CT sea scallops and horseradish-crusted wild Scottish salmon. You’ll definitely be paying for it though. Entrees are in the high $20s/low $30s and appetizers in the mid teens. Come hungry and leave happy. Just make sure that you make a reservation. This Danbury hotspot is sure to stay that way for a while to come. 

Market Place Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Bareburger Updates Its Menu

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

That’s right, Bareburger is rolling out an update to its menu across all locations. I checked out the Astoria location recently and was shocked when my old favorites were no longer on the menu. (I wasn’t alone. There were lots of people asking the waiters what happened to the menu.)

The new menu is more robust than it used to be, with brand new burger combinations, sides, salads and sandwiches. I gave the Blue Elk burger a try.

Bareburger Blue Elk Burger
Blue Elk Burger

Elk, Amish blue cheese, country bacon, stout onions and tomato fig jam. How could you go wrong?

Bareburger Onion Rings
Onion Rings

Don’t worry, the onion rings and fries basket combo is still on the menu… and still just as good.

The Verdict

Bareburger changed its menu and the world didn’t end. The burgers, onion rings and fries are still just as delicious as before. I love this place and for similar Bareburger lovers, the menu refresh gives everyone a lot more options to try! 

Check out my old post on Bareburger to compare. 

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

Grilled Cheese Waffle at Ovelia

Ovelia has recently stepped up its game in the brunch arena. I’m a huge fan of their stuffed French toast, but they now have a grilled cheese waffle. Check this thing out.

Ovelia Grilled Cheese Waffle

That’s right. A grilled cheese waffle filled with cheddar, mozzarella, kefalograviera and manouri cheeses, fresh dill, scallions, and sauteed kale is served with marinara sauce.

Ovelia Grilled Cheese Waffle

Flo Lounge Restaurant

Flo Lounge – 37-20 30th Avenue, Astoria, New York

Flo Lounge Restaurant balances the best of both worlds – relaxing, casual daytime ambiance, and a late-night DJ-fueled dinner/drinks atmosphere. I checked them out over the weekend and they delivered a solid (and cheap!) brunch deal.

At $15 for coffee, a drink and your pick from a number of outstanding brunch options, Flo puts up a good argument for a weekend brunch stop. They have ample outdoor seating for those warm upcoming summer days along with a spacious modern indoor space.

Southwestern Benedict at Flo Cafe Astoria 2
Southwestern Benedict

The Southwestern Benedict is just one of the great choices off the brunch menu. Pulled pork is served on toasted biscuits topped with poached eggs and a heavy helping of cheddar cheese and spicy chipotle hollandaise.

Southwestern Benedict at Flo Cafe Astoria
Southwestern Benedict
Teriyaki Terror Bill Apter at Flo Cafe Astoria
Teriyaki Terror Bill Apter

The Teriyaki Terror Bill Apter himself chowed down on a grilled chicken teriyaki salad. That’s soba noodles, seasonal vegetables, field greens and sesame ginger dressing with thick strips of grilled chicken breast.

The Verdict

Flo is a solid prix fixe brunch option on 30th Avenue in Astoria. If you’re really looking to take advantage of the weekend, they also offer a $10 all-you-can-drink option as an add-on. Lots of great menu options, a spacious, modern atmosphere and service to please – Flo gets my vote!

Flo Lounge Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Pizzetteria Brunetti

Feeling nostalgic for traditional Italian Sunday dinners? Father-and-son owners, Michael and Jason Brunetti, have teamed up to bring their traditional Neapolitan Pizza to the West Village and opened Pizzetteria Brunetti.

Pizzeteria Brunetti

And now, they’ve revealed their own take on an authentic Sunday dinner and created a prefix four-course family meal, priced at $30 and offered every Sunday starting April 27. The menu starts off with the Insalata alla Pulcinella, followed by the Polpette alla Maria (Mary’s Meatball) and Neapolitan Margherita Pizza served with a glass of Brunetti wine or beer. You will also be able to enjoy an espresso and delicious orange zest Zeppole for dessert.

Pizzeteria Brunetti

I was recently was invited to give the menu a try and it was delicious! Michael and Jason Brunetti have put together a real gem. Leaving no details ignored, the restaurant has a custom-built wood-burning brick oven created on-site “brick by brick” and is one of only a handful of pizza restaurants in New York City that use a wood-burning brick oven.

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

The classic Margherita pizza has San Marzano tomatoes, house made mozzarella, basil, sea salt and is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

San Gennaro Pizza Pizzetteria Brunetti

San Gennaro Pizza

The San Gennaro pizza has sweet Italian sausage, buttery caramelized onions, roasted red and yellow peppers, sheep’s milk ricotta, San Marzano tomatoes.

Spezie Pizza Pizzetteria Brunetti

Spezie Pizza

The Spezie pizza is a delicious mixture of sauteed broccoli rabe, broccolini, spicy Italian sausage, creamy burrata cheese, hot peppers and a spicy Calabrian pepper puree.

Riso Salad Pizzetteria Brunetti

Riso Salad

Aside from the incredible pizza, the Riso salad was one of my favorites. Black and red rice, organic kale, almonds and dried figs topped with caciocavallo cheese. A spicy chile oil gives this dish a subtle warmth – delicious!

The Verdict

I don’t know why Pizzetteria Brunetti is under the radar of many pizza lovers. With a variety of pizzas sure to please everyone, this place is well on the way to being a West Village hot spot. Delicious food with attentive and friendly service that treat you like family have me giving Pizzetteria Brunetti two thumbs up!

*This meal was provided free, courtesy of Pizzetteria Brunetti. 

Pizzetteria Brunetti on Urbanspoon

Pink Nori – An Early Look at Astoria’s Newest Sushi Spot

I recently passed along the word that Pink Nori, Astoria’s newest sushi spot featuring New York City’s only “build your own sushi” was open. Their grand opening is scheduled for sometime in February (date TBD), but I checked them out the other night. They don’t have a website yet and just launched their Twitter account, so there isn’t a lot of information out there. However, here’s an early look at some items on Pink Nori’s menu (check out the second page here) and what we chowed down on.

Tuna and Salmon Sushi
Tuna and Salmon Sushi

We started off the meal with complimentary “new style” sushi off of Pink Nori’s menu. Tuna with vinegar tofu sauce and taro chips, and salmon with onion aioli and cherry tomato were placed in front of us. Right off the bat, Pink Nori accomplished it’s goal – taking ingredients that are not native to Japanese cuisine and integrating them into its dishes. The highlight here was the salmon with onion aioli. It basically tasted like a salmon onion dip. Delicious and unique.

Sushi Pizza
Sushi Pizza
Sushi Pizza
Sushi Pizza

Sushi Pizza was next. Another unique dish, this consisted of a homemade scallion pancake topped with guacamole and assorted fish, drizzled with three special sauces. Thick layers of fish – tuna, salmon and white fish – were layered on top of the crispy, buttery scallion pancake and covered with lots of crunchies and caviar. The pictures don’t do it justice. This dish was bursting with color. Pink Nori certainly didn’t skimp on the fish either. Each piece was thick with fish and the crispy pancake gave everything a delicious crunch. 

Pink Nori Roll
Pink Nori Roll

Definitely the most eye-opening roll of the night, the Pink Nori Roll featured seared salmon, cooked shrimp, avocado, tempura flakes and caviar, wrapped in a pink soy bean paper and served with a honey miso glaze. My mouth was in heaven. The honey miso glaze gave this roll a sweetness I’ve never experienced before with sushi. If you’re looking for a sushi taste combination you’ve never had before, order this roll.

Bird Nest Roll
Bird Nest Roll

The Bird Nest Roll was made up of fried salmon, scallions and cream cheese, topped with kani, tobiko, mayonnaise and panko crumbs, toasted and drizzled with sweet chili, eel sauce and wasabi mayo. Now that’s a mouthful of ingredients. This roll was appropriately named because it literally did look like a bird’s nest, complete with brown accents around the outer rim of the plate to mimic dirt.

Cajun Tuna Roll
Cajun Tuna Roll

The Cajun Tuna Roll was made up of crunchy spicy tuna on the inside, with Cajun pepper tuna and avocado on the outside. The cooked Cajun pepper tuna was the differentiator here. It had a mild kick to it that added to the raw spicy tuna. Basically, a spicy tuna roll on steroids.

The last roll we sampled was the Pink Alecia Roll. This consisted of crab meat, asparagus, and sun dried tomatoes, topped with smoked salmon, avocado, eel sauce and truffle oil, and lightly fried. Once again, Pink Nori didn’t disappoint. While this wasn’t my favorite out of the bunch, the sun dried tomatoes were a unique addition adding a slightly chewy consistency to the roll and a burst of concentrated flavor.

The Verdict

Move over, Junko, you and your “C” health grade rating can hit the road. Pink Nori is my new go-to sushi spot in Astoria. The food was outstanding and the service even better. The fusion of non native ingredients into Japanese cuisine (sun dried tomatoes, onion aioli, etc.) gave my palate a pleasant surprise and kept me guessing as I tasted each new dish. Hurry on over soon because once word gets out, Pink Nori is going to be a hot spot on 30th Avenue!

Pink Nori on Urbanspoon

Brunch at Feast

Feast – 102 Third Avenue, Manhattan, New York

With my aunt visiting from out of town, I was on the prowl for a solid brunch spot around Union Square. Many Yelp reviews later, I stumbled upon Feast.

Feast Restaurant

Feast Restaurant

Feast is a bright, open air spot with communal seating. The themes here are clearly simplicity, wood and nature, with single light bulbs dangling from a wooden plank ceiling and simple wildflowers adorning the center of each table. Very clean and sharp looking design.

Brunch is a set price at $24 a pop, which includes a drink, a trio of shareable appetizers, and entree.

Beery Mary at Feast Restaurant

Beery Mary

My advice, go crazy with the Beery Mary – a Bloody Mary with beer instead of vodka.

Brunch Shares at Feast Restaurant

Brunch Shares

Brunch Shares at Feast Restaurant

Brunch Shares

Croissants, chocolate croissants, muffins, fresh squeezed juice, and a yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola kicked off our meal. Everything was delicious, especially the parfait, but the croissants were my favorite here. Their buttery, flaky crust had a perfect crunch to them.

Lemon Souffle Pancake at Feast Restaurant

Lemon Souffle Pancake

Interior of Lemon Souffle Pancake

Interior of Lemon Souffle Pancake

The Lemon Soufflé Pancake caught my eye on the menu. It requires a 20-25 minute wait, but it’s well worth it. I’d never seen anything like it. Out came an enormous pancake that had risen into a fluffy, sweet brunch treat. It tasted just like a pancake but was extremely light and airy. The mixed berry sauce and powdered sugar it was doused in certainly helped its cause.

Wild Mushrooms, Scrambled Eggs, Puff Pastry, Chives at Feast Restaurant

Wild Mushrooms, Scrambled Eggs, Puff Pastry, Chives

Scrambled eggs in a pastry shell with mushrooms delivered the savory part of the meal. Served on a crispy bed of spinach, the pastry dough flaked away with each movement of the fork to reveal a scrambled egg-filled interior. Great presentation.

The Verdict

What a meal! I thought the $24/person price tag was a little steep for brunch, but Feast delivered. Every part of the meal was outstanding – from the ambiance to the service to the food. Your $24 includes a lot of food and by the end we were ready to roll out of there. Feast is definitely going on my list of brunch spots to hit up when my family is in town.

Feast on Urbanspoon

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