After a few unsuccessful attempts, I was finally able to get a seat at the uber-popular Sushi Nakazawa last week; the restaurant partnered with Dassai Sake that evening for a special omakase dinner, and I was fortunate enough to get a reservation.  Since the restaurant opened last summer, it has been the hottest ticket in town, and the reviews it has received have been nothing less than glowing (Michelin’s snob notwithstanding).   I was really looking forward to a transcendent meal that evening, and despite being half an hour late due to car trouble, I was greeted warmly by the receptionist and immediately whisked to my table.  No apologies necessary.

The thing I admire most about Danny Bowien is his willingness to take risks, to move beyond expectations and to surprise.  His ingenious and playful interpretations of Chinese cuisine at Mission Chinese Food were well-received on both coasts.  Seeking new worlds to conquer, he took on Mexican food with Mission Cantina, to similar acclaim.  Now, by offering breakfast at Mission Cantina, he has taken on a new challenge: Vietnamese cuisine.

Clockwise, from upper left: Kitchen with surrounding counter; bar for waiting patrons only; lounge for coffee and after-dinner cocktails

After weeks of secrecy and suspense, the newest home of David Chang's Momofuku Ko opened its doors this past weekend for a trio of Friends and Family dinners, in preparation for its grand opening sometime next month.

The Push Project has allowed Alex Stupak to collaborate with some of the best chefs in the country and in the world, resulting in some of the most innovative and exciting dining experiences the city has experienced in some time.  For its fifth incarnation, Mr. Stupak invited none other than the dean of traditional Mexican cuisine in the United States: Rick Bayless.

Cote de bouef with béarnaise sauce

I really wanted to hate Dirty French.  I did.

When it was announced earlier this year that Major Food Group was opening Dirty French in the lobby of the Ludlow Hotel, I greeted the news with a certain sense of ennui.

Empellon al Pastor is the newest addition to the burgeoning culinary empire of chef Alex Stupak, and the most bizarre: a dive bar masquerading as a taqueria.  Indeed, there is more to this restaurant than meets the eye: as soon as you enter the premises, you feel as if you've been thrust into a whole other world -- part seedy pub, part hellish vision by some artist high on peyote -- and it can be intimidating at times.

Marta is the newest venture from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG).  Ensconced in the lobby of the Martha Washington Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, Marta specializes in Roman-style pizzas; unlike Neapolitan-style pizzas, the crust of Roman pizzas tends to be thin and crisp.   As a result, the outer crust practically shatters when bitten into, while the inner pie crust is chewy and tender.

The server placed a bowl in front of me: it contained pork sausage, lychees, peanuts, red onion and coconut milk.  She first cautioned me that the dish was spicy due to the addition of habanero pepper, and then she encouraged me to mix the bowl's contents well before eating.  The first thing I taste is the savory pork sausage, followed by the sweetness of the lychees and coconut milk, then the flavors of the peanuts and red onion.

When Peter Serpico opened his eponymous restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia last year, it was an instant hit among the locals and critics alike; however, I was less than impressed with my meal at the time, feeling that the dishes were pale imitations of Mr. Serpico's gastronomical creations at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ko.
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For its latest iteration of the Late Night Dinner Series, Momofuku Ssam Bar invited the James Beard Foundation-feted Cochon of New Orleans to populate its kitchens for one night.  At first glance, Ssam Bar – with its Asian influenced food – and Cochon – a champion of Southern and Cajun cuisine – seem to have little in common; however, both restaurants have a love affair with the pig.
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