Posts Tagged With: The Marshal

Hell’s Kitchen – Dining With the Family

There was a time when Hell’s Kitchen was just about the last area in North America you would take your family out to dinner.  There was a time, not too long ago, when I would drive with friends just to see the prostitute action along 10th and 11th.  We would not even roll down the windows, let alone get out of the car in this neighborhood.  Of course I’m talking about when I was a teenager, not in my mid 40’s.  Hell’s Kitchen was a rough neighborhood.

But boy is it different today.  Not only its safe to dine out with your family at all hours, the options out there are endless.  In this month’s W42st magazine you see all over the neighborhood, the theme is family.  In the insert you will find these 5 places I would take (and took) my family in Hell’s Kitchen.  Notice there’s no Trip Advisor family darling Carmines on the list.  Works for some families.  Not so much for mine.  “Family style” sharing is something you can do easily with any of these places

Pio Pio – The sprawling high ceiling basement space of this Peruvian is perfect for families of all sizes.  The usual Peruvian suspects like the Chicken and Ceviche are spot on.

The Marshal – Small space with a sound family friendly menu.  Whether its Frittata and Mac and Cheese for brunch, or Meatloaf, Chicken, and the best bread and butter in town for dinner

Mercato – Who says family style means large plates of chicken and eggplant Parm.  A pasta feast at Mercato is a lot more interesting for Hell’s Kitchen kids

Ippudo – Kids love the atmosphere, energy, and all that yelling…”Welcome in”, “thank you”, and presumably “aim well” when going to the bathroom

Blue Ribbon Sushi Columbus – This pick may raise a few eyebrows, until you see how shareable some of the hits are like the fried chicken, oxtail fried rice, and sauteed squid.

 

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Hell’s Kitchen – Eating Outdoors

IMG_6257A new month means a new W42st edition floating all over Hell’s Kitchen.  I love doing the Hell’s Kitchen tours on launch day and seeing them everywhere.  The design and size of those babies brightens galleries, restaurants, and even those $5 fortune tellers.  This month’s theme is outdoors, and for only $5 you can probably find out next month’s exciting theme.  So pick up a copy and check out the rest of the issue including these outdoor venue picks, in color this time

Gotham West Market – Brilliantly designed, with outside bar counters and tables on both sides.  Even the occasional Lincoln Tunnel traffic is respectful

Il Baretto – Well crafted sandwiches and salads on the quiet side of the kitchen (ok, quieter).  Facing HK’s biggest park.

The Marshal – Try not to sneeze when you pass by this Farm to Sidewalk, or you may miss it.  Its like the speakeasy of outdoor dining

Otto’s Tacos – Get the Shrimp tacos with a side of Masa fries and watch the world go by.  And by world I mean tourists.

The Press Lounge – At the end of the day, this is the place to soak it all in.  Hooray for zoning laws!IMG_6256

 

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Happy, Healthy Hell’s Kitchen

fresh-from-hellIts that time of the year again.  Resolution season!  The slowest eating month of the year.  The time of the year when Mrs Z says “Enough”, and I have to sneak out of the house Shawshank Redemption style in order to eat something that doesnt have Quinoa in it.  I then find myself in a dark room in a basement, a resolution speakeasy,  with other men indulging in pizza, and chicken skin dumplings.  These are dumplings deep fried in chicken skin instead of dough.

If you are a well balanced individual, meaning one who can stand on one leg for more than 5 seconds without breaking a wrist, you probably poopoo the entire resolution concept.  Why does one wait until January to change bad habits.  But for the rest of us, who sometimes cant see our own feet in the shower (I’m being nice here with feet), we use January as an alarm clock.  Its time to hibernate.

That leads to this irony.  W42st, the new(ish) Hell’s Kitchen magazine responsible for banning your Ziggy from 3 places Hell’s Kitchen establishments and counting, is back at it again with a new feature.  Its a foldout little zine inside the magazine, or sometimes just sitting on top of it at places.  And inside you have a map of various lists like new places, cool bars, top palm readers, and something called Ziggy’s Eat List where I feature 5 places related or not to the theme that month.  So my first contribution is listing 5 healthy options in Hell’s Kitchen (the irony).  For those who cant get the magazine (this feature isnt available online), here are the places…

Azuri Cafe
As far as Falafel and Shawarma in Hell’s Kitchen go, there’s no Better Than Ezra. Its an institution that comes with a little attitude.  Ok, a lot.Azuri Cafe - Chicken Shawarma
Indie Fresh
Bison Borscht anyone?  Da!  A Gotham West Market staple dishing out healthy soups, broths, and even burgers, utilizing top notch raw materialsindie-fresh
Mooncake Foods
A delicious hole in the wall with a varied Asian influenced menu.  Although I come here for the best Wonton soup in town these days, the rest of the healthy lineup is excellent.  Mooncake Foods Wonton soup
Fresh From Hell
A fresh and promising Hell takeout discovery in a very convenient spot.  Great soups, smoothies, and sandwiches featuring, fresh from hell too, Sullivan Street bread (picture top)
The Marshal
Close relationship with 14 area farms means close relationship with many patrons.  It also means delicious salads, but I cant pass on the bread and the meat options.The Marshal - Capreseimg_4981
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Five Pre-Theater Restaurants to Target

Taboon inside

Taboon

The other day I was checking out a restaurant in the theater district for a friend and the very first line of the first Yelp review made me almost spit out the Shawarma I was eating.  “Theater District is well known for its dining”.  What? Where? Boise?  If you say it out loud to someone in the subway you will get crazy stink eye stares from the locals.  The pre-theater bunch on 46th street and around has plenty of decent options like Carmen’s, Becco, Basso56 and its not necessarily a bad idea to dress up and go to one of those.  Most likely the average place is an upgrade over Boise.  But considering the level of cooking you find everywhere else in NYC, the truth is that Theater District dining is close to the bottom of the pack.

But the point of this post is not to slam Theater District dining, though I do get some pleasure from it it seems.  The point is to make it easier for the Hell’s Kitchen’s guide followers to pick a solid, affordable but somewhat unconventional place to eat before or after your show.  The HK guide is one big mishmash of mostly cheap ethnic eats, not really suitable for pre-theater unless thats what you are after.  So to make it easier for the readers I’ve flushed out five places out of the guide where you can have an exceptional meal.  All these places are not in the district but close enough (5-10 minute extra walk on average depending on the size of your heels).  Or you can just take a 5 minute taxi ride that will add $5 to your $500 evening.  I think you can afford it

Taboon (Middle Eastern)

In that spot (10th/53rd) you gotta be good to succeed.  Nothing but data centers, a liquor store, a deli and appartment buildings surround you.  Taboon utilizes its good looking “Taboon” oven to create the type of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dishes that will make your kids put down their phones and tell you about their day.  Yes, that powerful.  One of the top chefs in Israel help create the menu for Taboon initially.  Try any of their bread specialties, the chicken with the Israeli couscous (big and bubbly just like I like em), and the sick Silan, one of my favorites desserts in the city.

Taboon

Danji (Korean)

An instant winner with the Michelin man, this Hooni Kim’s Korean inspired tapas joint dishes out greatness in consistent fashion.  When you sit next to your new friend at the Broadway show who will boast about her Filet Mignon at Joe Allen, astonish her with the Tofu with Ginger Scallion Soy Vinaigrette, and the fiery Korean Chicken Wings, Bulgogi Beef Sliders and the Pork BibimBop you just attacked at Danji.  And after you explain to her what a Bibimbop is, perhaps its also a good time to tell her that there’s also a Joe Allen in Miami Beach where she lives and/or she can get a decent filet mignon in Boise

Danji

Mercato (Italian)

You have a plethora of Italian joints in the area.  Plenty of mediocre ones with Becco and Carmens one of the better and most popular, especially with families seeking family style dining.  But I have a different spin on “family style”.  Instead of sharing one huge chicken parm and penne alla vodka (Carmens) or order the all you can eat pastas of the day (Becco) why not share four or five different pastas that are much closer to the true south Italy cooking, vs the the south Italy cooking Americans often confuse with.  Pastas like the stupendous but simple Trenette with garlic, almonds, tomato and basil, or the rich gnocchi with finger licking beef and pork ragu, or the pasta of the day like the Cavatelli.  This is true Italian, by Italians, with Italian accents (for those with a Fish Called Wanda syndrome)

Mercato

The Marshal (American)

Sysco, Cargill, Fats R Us, are some examples of names you will see if all the area restaurants would require to print their distributors on the back of their menus.  But at the Marshal you will see the 14 local farms they deal with to produce just about every ingredient on the menu.  This is our answer to Slow Food in Italy.  If something is no longer on the menu it means its not currently grown.  A brilliant sides lineup, along with the best bread and butter in the area, followed by roasted chicken, meatloaf, best mussels this side of Newfoundland, and an amazing ice cream sundae to boot.  American food, in America, cooked by Americans (with a little bit of help by Central Americans!)

The Marshal - Bread

Ippudo (Ramen)

You may not be able to hear each other,  but you will have more fun than 96.5% of all the restaurants in the district.  Between all the shouting of the staff every time someone comes in (“welcome”), leaves (“Thank You”) or goes to the bathroom (“aim well”), and the slurping of the best noodle soup you will ever have, you wont have time to talk to your spouse anyway.  Dont be surprised if you are the only none Asian couple in the room (unless you are not a non Asian couple of course).  The best pork buns in the city (I tried a bunch) and you will be hard pressed to find better Ramen than the splendid Akamaru Modern

Happy Eating!

 

Ippudo

 

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Best Burgers in Hell’s Kitchen

The Marshal*** Please excuse horrible iPhone pictures.  I get light headed if I don’t eat the burger right away and I rush the picture taking process.  I do think of you audience, but not at that moment *****

First of all, let me just be the first blogger to say this… most likely these are NOT the best burgers in Hell’s Kitchen. There are way too many places providing quality burgers in the area, and contrary to popular belief, I am human and cant possibly eat all of them and/or judge accordingly.  This list is also a list of places where you can most likely find locals as opposed to tourists.  So no Shake Shack, Bareburger, 5 Napkin, and not even the napkinless Five Guys.  That’s not to say my picks cant match against any of those guys.   I’m also trying to mix and match different types of burgers even if it means including something that’s not even considered a burger but worth mentioning.  Special attention is also paid to the fries and the place itself.  Another reason why you wont see Shake Shack.  “So why are you calling it Best Burger, Ziggy”?  Good question tommy.  For the same reason everyone else does.  Its much more Google friendly than “exceptional burgers”, or “decent Burgers”, and besides, they might very well be “The Best”

Island Burger and Shakes – Perhaps the obvious one and the place I frequent the most.  Great Burgers and.. you guessed it.. Churrascos!  Churrascos are chicken sandwiches grilled in over 30 ways – blackened, or spiced any way you want it.  The same goes for the top quality burgers where you have all these combinations to choose from including various toppings like Au poivre, pesto and even peanut thai sauce.  And 6 types of bread including a fine Ciabatta.  But don’t be afraid to try a very simple one with swiss, and perhaps sautéed onions or mushrooms.  What separates them from the rest is that they always grill the burgers to perfection (unless you are with a group of 8 as happened to me yesterday).  A medium rare is usually a medium rare.  Fries here are good but extra, though I usually share them with someone.  Oh and I’m noticing lately lunch specials of $10 that includes a plain burger, fries, beer, and a flue shot.

Island Burger

The Marshal –  (top) I already discussed The Marshal extensively but haven’t discussed the burger. As with anything else on the menu, attention to detail here is key.  An oven roasted fatty patty, a combination of chuck, brisket, and hanger along with kidney fat produces a perfect 80/20 fat ratio. This is the juiciest thing I’ve had since college!  No fries here but the duck fat potato chips and slaw make up for it.  The menu changes regularly so if you show up and the burger is not on the menu, I suggest you make a scene (how else they gonna learn).  Or just have something else for a change

Genuine Roadside – Essentially a Shake Shack fast food burger without any of the pain.  Every time I pass by Shake Shack on 8th ave I just want to shake a random German sock and sandals tourist and explain that there’s nothing in the land of pizza and burgers worth standing in line for.  Because you can find similar quality just about everywhere.  My only visit to this Shake Shack location was as much fun as a Vasectomy.  At Genuine, in food mecca Gotham West, you walk in, order, get a beeper, and wait a few minutes at one of the many booths available, instead of the standing room only Shake Shack.  Get the Double Stack, with american cheese, sweet pickles and house sauce which is essentially a mayo, ketchup, and mustard blend.  The patties are 80% chuck, 20% hanger, on the small side like Shake Shack and generally cooked well.  Fries are extra and well worth it.  But the one item on the menu I prefer over everything else is the Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich

Genuine Roadside

Brickyard Gastropub – For the health conscious.  If you noticed that burgers with diet coke is not helping you lose wait, try beer with Bison Burger.  You see what I did there kids?  Bison meat is leaner than cow meat and has more nutrients.  Brickyard offers regular burgers of course, and bison burgers that are slightly gamy and very tasty.  But you must pinky promise that you will order the truffled fries as well.  On first look they will seem greasy, but than you suddenly cant stop eating them.  A total opposite than my experience with the truffled fries at the super popular Umami.  But the burgers at this sport bar are solid overall.  And a cute Irish bartenderess that knows her food can only be a major plus

Brickyard Gastropub

Bulgogi Sliders at Danji – If the overrated Montmartre Patty Melt can be seen on “Best” lists than I’m adding sliders.  Its my blog, I make the rules, and those sliders will make you break the rules.  In a CNN 2011 reader’s poll of the World’s 50 most delicious foods, Bulgogi, a Korean style marinated beef was voted #23.  Soy Sauce, garlic, sake, car keys, and a whole bunch of stuff go into a typical marinade, and you can sample this deliciousness at Hooni Kim’s Danji with a lovely spicy pickled cucumber & scallion salsa.  Add the tofu and KFC wings while you at it

Happy eating and stay hungry my friends

photo (12)

 

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The Marshal – Farm to Hell’s Kitchen

 

Courtesy of The Marshal

Courtesy of The Marshal

Adventurous diners, ready for some Pig’s Blood Flatbread with Smoked Salmon Roe? Perhaps a decadent Mugwort Foie Gras, or how about the good ol’ Geoduck?  Well, you will find none of that at the Marshal in Hell’s Kitchen.  Not even close.  In fact chances are that you will have a hard time bragging about your meal to your girlfriends and making it sound remotely sexy.  “OMG so we had this thing called Meatloaf that was like the most amazing thing ever.  Here’s a selfie of me and the meatloaf”  Meatloaf, Pot Roast, Salmon.. there’s no conceivable way to make them sound sexy these days.  But this 6 month old 10th avenue “Farm to Table” comes as close as you can get

Processed with VSCOcam with s5 preset

Courtesy of The Marshal

Adventurous Foie seekers should still be able to appreciate the flavors and attention to detail here.  Although the menu reads like “American (Old)”, just about every item is listed almost like a paragraph describing the origin of the ingredients.  The back of the menu features 14 local farms where they source much of those items.  Almost like eating at Da Roberto in the village of Montisi, Tuscany.  Almost!  “Slow Food” models such as Roberto, and other Farm to Table places in Italy are simply called restaurants, or Trattorias. While in the US, its a concept.  But it is what it is.  And in ethnic happy Hell’s Kitchen, Solid “American” may seem like a concept in itself.

The Marshal - BreadRule of thumb – when you see bread on the menu in NYC as opposed to your typical free basket, get it.  The warm French Loaf is crunchy and soft in all the right places and will make your taste buds believe it was baked seconds ago especially for you.  Bread and butter bliss.

Chicken Liver Pate was solid.  Refreshingly fresh Caprese included sizeable sweet tomatoes, with handmade mozzarella, fresh Shushan Valley basil and balsamic reduction.  But the early highlight came in the form of the meaty, scrumptious Newfoundland Mussels.  Its creamy, garlicky white sauce is so appetizing you want to dip anything in it…bread, fingers, metrocards, anything!The Marshal  -Mussels

And then there was that meatloaf which was just like at grandmas.  That’s after grandma graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute followed by a 2 year stint with the Canadian navy.  Similarly, the goat cheese and herb stuffed chicken just doesn’t get much more tender and juicy than this.  The wood oven Mac and Cheese with bacon hit the spot.  On another visit I enjoyed a perfectly cooked and juicy burger which is only available for lunch.The Marshal - Meatloaf

The sides here require a PHD in sides.  We opted for a fine bacon wrapped wedge of white cabbage, simple roasted potatoes, and a sweet potato and kale au gratin which took the gold.  And don’t leave home without trying the mammoth hot fudge, walnuts, cherry, vanilla ice cream, or any of the other two desserts featuring ice cream from the nearby Je & Jo.  Welcome to the hood Marshal.The Marshal - Mac n Cheese The Marshal - Caprese The Marshal - Sundae

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