RedFarm (UWS)

Photo by Gabi Porter

Photo by Gabi Porter

  • Why it’s worth it: 1. The pan-fried lamb dumpling shooters. 2. The bathrooms. 3. No reservations needed. Need we say more? Read on.
  • Vibe/layout: Anchored by a ship length communal table, RedFarm is a bright and cozy 82-seater filled with modern farmhouse decor. The easygoing space also features booth seating and a full bar in the rear. Although the bathrooms, and specifically the futuristic Japanese toilets, are a talking point (I mean the lid automatically opens when diners open the bathroom door), the dishes still take center stage. I must note that if I were Ed Schoenfeld, the owner, I would be as proud of the cuisine as I was of the bathrooms.
  • Ideal meal: The pan-fried lamb dumpling shooters served with miso tofu-seaweed broth (4) ($14) are a completely mind-blowing experience. Their delicate texture and well-executed pairing leave you craving more.
  • Address: UWS, 2170 Broadway (between 76th and 77th St)
  • Prices: While the atmosphere is rustic and comfy casual, the prices are on par with upscale eateries in the area ranging between $8 and $29 per plate.

Redfarm on Urbanspoon

Mile End Deli (Noho)

Sandwich-facade-at-night-Scaled-940_470

  • Why it’s worth it: When wandering around downtown, this handcrafted Jewish delicatessen is the perfect pit stop for a Sunday afternoon in the city. Noah Bernamoff, Jewish/Canadian owner, started curing and smoking meats in his apartment while attending law school…and voila! From a hobby emerged Mile End Deli, a hot spot known for its Quebec-style smoked meats in the heart of NoHo.
  • Vibe/layout: This ‘straunt rocks the minimalist black and white theme, with white diagonal subway titles, a black wood-paneled ceiling, concrete floors and a glossy black counter in the back. This is not your homey date spot, but your shiny sandwich/poutine go-to with your homies.
  • Ideal meal: Craving a sandwich? Get the reuben ($13). Craving an adventure? Order the poutine ($9/$12). The gooey cheese curds smothered in rich and meaty gravy sprinkled over hot fries will leave you wishing the chairs were beds and that Mile End Deli had the same hours as Katz’s.
  • F.Y.I.: This is the second location, the Manhattan offshoot, of Mile End Deli in Brooklyn.
  • ‘Straunt tip: In the area, but too hangry to wait for a table at Il Buco, Il Buco AV, Gemma or The Smile? Mile End Deli is your answer.
  • Address: Noho, 53 Bond St (Bowery & Bond)
  • Price: $4.50-$15

Mile End Sandwich on Urbanspoon

Friedman’s Lunch (Midtown West)

Friedman's Lunch Midtown West

  • Why it’s worth it: Although the name of this casual eatery promises lunch, Friedman’s Lunch also serves brunch and dinner with a focus on seasonal comfort food and an extensive list of great gluten-free items.
  • Vibe/layout: Despite the noisy neighborhood, the ‘straunt is clean, modern and spacious and the atmosphere is warm and cozy . The ‘straunt sports a rustic, brick-and-wood theme with a large bar and a number of booths and table seats available for large groups.
  • Ideal meal: Grilled cheese sandwich (Gruyère and white cheddar with caramelized onions and bacon on ciabatta) ($13) & tomato soup ($3)
  • People behind Friedman’s Lunch: Vanessa Phillips and Tryg Silverson are the husband and wife team behind this ‘straunt and because Vanessa has Celiac Disease, Tryg set out to create as many gluten-free, yet delicious, dishes as possible.
  • Address: West Midtown, 132 West 31st St (between 6th and 7th Ave)
  • Prices: $5-$16

Friedman's Lunch on Urbanspoon

Cafeteria (Chelsea)

Cafeteria

  • Why it’s worth it: Cafeteria, a 24 hour ‘straunt, amps up the definition of comfort food and capitalizes on a prime people watching location, making it a great option for an after work drink or tasty meal with friends.
  • Vibe/layout: This ‘straunt is decked out in post-modern white, chrome and plastic, with wooden tables and a front wall made up of glass doors that lift up like a garage… leaving nothing in common with your typical school cafeteria. The ambiance is casual, yet upbeat and trendy.
  • Ideal meal: Mac attack tasting of all three mac and cheeses: cheddar & fontina, smoked gouda & bacon, with truffle oil ($14)… the crispy gooeyness will get you.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Check out the Phlegm mural on 17th between 9th & 10th and then indulge in amazing comfort food at Cafeteria.
  • Address: Chelsea, 119 7th Avenue (between 17th & 18th)
  • Prices: $10-$25

Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Tartine (West Village): French Brunch/Lunch

Tartine

  • Why it’s worth it: This corner-store sized, charmingly petite cafe serves simple, delicious and inexpensive French fare, not to mention the best croque madame we’ve ever had (and yes we’ve been to France). You’ll know Tartine by the green awning, sidewalk tables and notoriously long lines on the weekends.
  • Vibe/Layout: Tartine has all of about 15 seats and has been in the neighborhood for two decades, making it a cozy and homey go-to spot. Don’t expect much leg room though, especially if you score a table on the sidewalk.
  • Ideal meal: Croque madame ($14) or croque monsieur ($14)
  • When to go: If you have a random day off from work, or work in the area, head to Tartine for lunch or for a darling croissant.
  • ‘Straunt tip: BYOB alert! … But it gets better….there’s no corkage fee either!
  • Address: West Village, 253 West 11th St (corner of West 4th St)
  • Prices: $8-$25

Tartine on Urbanspoon

Schiller’s Liquor Bar (LES)

Schiller's Liquor Bar LES American

  • Why it’s worth it: Schiller’s Liquor Bar is a casual neighborhood American ‘straunt, perfect for rowdy or friendly group dinners or lunches.
  • Vibe/Layout: This ‘straunt’s dining room has floor to ceiling windows open to the street and a large and curvy bar for dining or drinking. The walls are tiled like subway stations, smudged and cracked perfectly, and mirrors are placed along some of the walls to elicit this ‘straunt’s collaboration between a pub, bistro, trattoria, tapas bar and diner.
  • Ideal meal: Macaroni & Cheese with bacon ($11); my co-eater loved the Eggs Norwegian ($15)
  • F.Y.I.: The owner, Keith McNally, published the Schiller’s Liquor Bar Cocktail Collection, a series of four books of recipes from Schiller’s Liquor Bar. The collection includes books on the following topics: classic cocktails, artisanal updates, seasonal drinks and the bartender’s handbook.
  • Straunt tip: If you’re into boutique men’s clothing shops (skate shop-esque), then check out the hidden Alife Rivington Club (buzz for entry) across the street from this ‘straunt.
  • Address: Lower East Side, 131 Rivington St (Corner of Norfolk & Rivington)
  • Prices: $4-$26

Schiller's Liquor Bar on Urbanspoon

Caracas Arepa Bar (Williamsburg & East Village)

If you’re like me, when you hear “Caracas Arepa Bar” you probably wonder “what is an arepa and do I want to go to a place that has little else on the menu?” Well… an arepa needs to be experienced, not explained, but I’ll do my best and say it’s a Venezuelan corn muffin, crisp on the outside and steamy-soft in the middle, stuffed with any of the following: pulled pork, beef, avocado, black beans, plantains, etc… And if that doesn’t get you excited, consider this: the most expensive arepa is $8.

Caracas Arepa Bar Williamsburg, East Village Venezuelan

  • Why it’s worth it: Let’s just say.. when you Google arepa, Caracas is the second listing (first is Wikipedia)
  • Vibe/Layout: The decor of this small and cozy ‘straunt is warm and hip, with old mismatched wall and ceiling panels, semi-old or worn down looking furniture and cool fixtures which add a Venezuelan flair. Light Latin and Spanish music play in the background of this ‘straunt, which has a small bar, high top seating and amazing outdoor picnic-table seating.
  • Ideal meal: Yoyos ($6) & Tequenos ($8.75) to start & then La del Gato ($7.25)
  • Straunt tip: Grab din & sangria at Caracas and then check out the speakeasy, Larry Lawrence next door!
  • Address: Williamsburg, 291 Grand St (Roebling & Havemeyer Sts); East Village, 91 E 7th St (7th St and 1st Ave)
  • Prices: $4.75-$16

Caracas Arepa Bar on Urbanspoon

Caracas Arepa Bar on Urbanspoon