Chalk Point Kitchen & Handy Liquor Bar (Soho)

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  • Why it’s worth it: The perfect day in Manhattan consists of brunching and shopping…in Soho of course. If you’re looking for a pretty restaurant serving pretty food to pretty people, and more specifically, a charming, market-to-table venture, with an adjacent vintage cocktail bar, we’ve got you covered: Chalk Point Kitchen.
  • Vibe/layout: This 70-seat ‘straunt bolsters the country-in-the-city scheme, in an airy and lush space with white-washed wooden plank walls lined with vintage mirrors and tchotchke-packed shelves. The farmhouse feel of CPK complements the locally sourced and organic menu; however, the most defining aspect of CPK is its downstairs bar, the Handy Liquor Bar, which is a classic, sophisticated and timeless cocktail bar with a fun twist: a fireplace and every 90s childhood game you can think of… yes we’re talking Hungry Hungry Hippos and Operation.
  • Ideal meal…brace yourself: Start with smashed avocado on toast ($6) & homemade blueberry muffins ($6); feast on the banana croissant french toast ($11); wash it all down with the  Collect Pond ($13), a refreshing mixture of pear vodka, St. Germaine, apple juice and ginger beer
  • F.Y.I.: The full-fledged piano bar below CPK, the Handy Liquor Bar, is named after Thomas Hardy, one of the first expert barmen in the US in the 1800s.
  • People behind the ‘straunt: Nightlife operator Matt Levine (Sons of Essex) and Michelin-starred chef Joe Isidori (Arthur on Smith) teamed up to open CPK, one of our favorite brunch spots in the city.
  • Address: Soho, 527 Broome St. (between Sullivan & Thompson St)
  • Price: $6-$21

Chalk Point Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Roberta’s (Bushwick): Mangia Monday

margherita

  • Why it’s worth it: The rough warehouse exterior of Roberta’s offers no clues as to the delights inside. Buzzing with swarms of hipsters and foodies, Roberta’s is trek-worthy and offers the best pizza in town.
  • Vibe/layout: Housed in a former garage, this ‘straunt manages to take an industrial-rustic space and turn it into an inviting hipster-vibing hotspot, featuring a large outdoor patio/garden dining area and a backyard studio (for Heritage Radio Network broadcasting). The exposed rafters, wood-paneled walls and rough wooden community tables, dressed with mismatched chairs and paper napkins, set the casual and fun tone of our favorite Bushwick eatery.
  • Ideal meal: The soft, puffy crust and house-made fresh mozzarella on the famous original (tomato, mozzarella, caciocavallo, oregano, chili, $14) put this Neapolitan-inspired pizza in the record books.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Roberta’s does not accept reservations, and when your pizza is this good, there will be a wait, so grab a drink at The Narrows bar to pass the time!
  • Address: Bushwick, 261 Moore St (between White & Bogart)
  • Price: $5-$29 (pizzas are $10-$18)

Roberta's on Urbanspoon

Hotel Delmano (Williamsburg): Speakeasy

This is not a hotel bar. We repeat, this is not a hotel bar. According to Eater, there is a vague and long off plan to rent out the rooms above the bar, but at present, the name is strictly for effect.

Hotel Delmano | Williamsburg | Speakeasy

  • Getting in: Although Hotel Delmano is nondescript from the street with no signage, once inside, one finds oneself in a quaint, mysterious and enchanting room. The front door is barred by a chain as the main entrance is blocked by a bouncer on the side. Don’t be alarmed if they ask you to wait outside.
  • Vibe/layout: The elegantly curved marble bar serves as the centerpiece for this picture-perfect two-room hideaway, adorned with opulent chandeliers, smoky vintage mirrors and black-and-white portraits of old, important-looking people. The bartenders sport suspenders and frequently climb up the wooden ladder behind the bar to fetch bottles on the high up shelves. The cushy banquettes and secluded nooks make this saloon the perfect place for a date night or for catching up with a friend or small group.
  • Drinks: Delicious, beautifully made cocktails for well under $15? We’re in. The Gentle Julep is our favorite (rye, maple, mint, lemon, angostura bitters) ($11). The Pink Cloud (gin, lemon, house-made cranberry shrub, egg white, shaken and served up) ($12) serves as a seasonal runner-up.
  • F.Y.I.: Alyssa Abeta and Zeb Stewart, the Union Pool owners, and Jeff Hansen, the cocktail man, form the team behind this speakeasy.
  • Address: Williamsburg, 82 Berry St (N 9th & Berry)
  • Prices: $12-$14

Delmano Bar on Urbanspoon

Heidi’s House | By the Side of the Road (UES)

Heidi's House

  • Why it’s worth it: There is nothing fast here. Every dish, every moment is prepared one at a time. Nothing fancy. Nothing large. Just right. Heidi’s House is a charming UES gem, perfect for simple, well-made comfort food, a glass or two of wine or beer and/or a round of Battleship, Chess or Scrabble.
  • Vibe/layout: This narrow watering hole draws locals in with its original tin ceilings, frayed cloth napkins, Robert Frost quotes, jazz music and simplicity. Made up of just four tables and twelve bar seats, Heidi’s House maintains a quiet glow of friendly conversation.
  • Ideal meal: The Macaroni & Cheese ($13) is melt in your mouth delicious. The gluten-free and homemade spiral pasta is a cheesy, carby overload, served piping hot in an individual black skillet. Just. Simply. Terrific.
  • F.Y.I.: All dishes are prepared individually by Chef Cipriano Pita to one’s liking and all the ingredients are from local vendors – meats from Ottomanelli’s, bread from Orwasher’s.
  • ‘Straunt tip: No reservations, but call ahead to put your name on the list!
  • Address: UES, 308 East 78th St (between 1st & 2nd)
  • Price: $11-$24

Heidi's House on Urbanspoon

Pearl and Ash (Nolita)

Pearl and Ash

  • Why it’s worth it: For an elegant and vibrant small plate menu with global influences and designed for communal consumption, one should head to Pearl and Ash.
  • Vibe/layout: Pearl and Ash occupies a long, sexy and relaxed space on the ground floor of the Bowery House and features a causal wine bar with backless stools, as well as an open kitchen, which faces a communal table, bare wooden tables and benches dressed in blue velvet. The asymmetrical wooden box-wall design separates this ‘straunt’s design from the rest in its flight. The wood compartments host trinkets, dried flowers and candles, which illuminate the all black and dimly lit room.
  • Ideal meal: Four dishes for two hungry people is the perfect amount; therefore, our top four recommendations are below:
    • Raw: tea cured salmon, goat cheese, tamarind, seaweed ($14)
    • Small: quail eggs, focaccia, trumpet royale, dandelion greens ($12)
    • Meat: duck, sweet potato, brussel sprouts ($18)
    • Vegetable: long beans, kale, peanut, bbq sauce ($9)
  • People behind the ‘straunt: Fluent with spices and Asian flavor, Chef Richard Kuo, a Taiwan-born Australian, logged time at Corton and wd~50 before starting his first solo ‘straunt, Pearl and Ash.
  • Conversation starter: The building in which Pearl and Ash resides was first opened in the 1920s as a “flophouse” or cheap hotel, called the Prince Hotel. Although the Bowery House has since transformed the upper levels of the building into an upscale hostel, there were still guests paying $10 a night to sleep in the cubicles on the second floor in 2013.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Check out the latest exhibition at the New Museum on Thursdays from 7-9 for pay-what-you-wish entrance and then dine at Pearl and Ash.
  • Address: Nolita, 220 Bowery (between Rivington & East Houston)
  • Price: $12-$18

Pearl & Ash on Urbanspoon

Stanton Social (LES)

Stanton Social LES

  • Why it’s worth it: Small plates served in a chic, swanky setting are a major trend in NYC, and The Stanton Social capitalizes on it. The Stanton Social doesn’t have designated entrees or apps, but instead has scores of dishes to be shared, offering ‘straunters a chance to taste a plethora of items. A glitzy and trendy spot, The Stanton Social is a place to see-and-be-seen.
  • Vibe/layout: The first floor of this ‘straunt’s posh three-tiered space boasts a vast, tall and dimly lit dining room with brown banquettes, romantic dark wood and suspended glass lamps. Not in the mood to eat small plates, and just want a drink in the setting? No problem, the upstairs lounge is a shrine to wine.
  • Top three sharing dishes: French onion soup dumplings ($14), old school meatballs ($14) and potato & goat cheese pierogies ($10)
    • The French onion soup dumplings are out of this world. The nice doughy-dumplings with French onion soup oozing out will not disappoint.
    • Be sure to save room for the warm balls of yummy goodness dusted in cinnamon sugar…aka the warm doughnuts.
  • F.Y.I.: Chef Chris Santos is also the owner of Beauty and Essex, another clutch LES brunch and dinner hot spot.
  • Address: Lower East Side, 99 Stanton St (Stanton & Ludlow)
  • Prices: $7-$26

Stanton Social on Urbanspoon

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria (Noho/Greenwich Village): Mangia Monday

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

  • Why it’s worth it: Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria masters the mash-up of restaurant and market; one pops in to browse, and one sticks around for a meal. Known for its in house-cured meats and home baked bread, Il Buco AV, Il Buco‘s casual spin-off, is perfect for grabbing Aperitivo with friends, co-workers and/or family. Plain and simple, the drinks and salumi della casa are top notch.
  • Vibe/layout: This casual, bright and simple Italian spot serves rustic Italian fare in a perfectly complimentary setting: terra-cotta floor tiles, handblown wine bottles, rickety chairs. Separated from the dimly lit dining room by a wall of Modena vinegar barrels, the front Alimentari grocery section offers curated dry goods and loaves of Italian bread baked in-house and features high-end sauces and condiments arrayed on antique wooden shelves.
  • Ideal meal: To drink, order either the refreshing Negroni Sbagliato (prosecco, campari, sweet vermouth) ($14) or the crisp Italiano Fresco (dry vermouth, soda, cucumber lime, basil) ($15). To eat, we cannot rave enough about the salumi della casa: the bits of peppery salami were superb and the fat on the prosciutto was tender and dissolved in a rush of salty, porky flavor. Each meat was unique and delicious.
  • F.Y.I.: Donna Lennard’s ‘straunt is located at the original site of the Great Jones Lumber Supply and recuperated joists from the original structure were incorporated into the design: bar paneling, banquette benches, tables and cutting boards. In addition, traces of the original lumber yard graffiti are still visible on the brick walls.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Artist Warren Muller’s studio used to be located in the Il Buco space; today, one can see his giant sculptural lamp hanging from the second floor dining room in Il Buco AV.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 53 Great Jones St. (Between Lafayette & Bowery)
  • Prices: $8-$34

A little something extra:

  • A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to attend the launch party for this ‘straunt’s Aperitivo. The menu was fabulous and the dishes were wholesomely delicious. The spontaneous spirit of this ‘straunt and the open kitchen’s wood-burning aromas left us sniffing and begging for more. Bravo Chef Joel Hough and team!

Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria on Urbanspoon