It’s been a while since we were able to post restaurant reviews in this space, and I’m so happy to bring them back with a look at our recent visit to Tasca, a neighborhood gem located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. An ideal destination for a Date Night or any occasion, Tasca offers an elevated, contemporary blend of Spanish and Latin-Caribbean cuisines, paying homage to the traditional recipes and flavors of Spain, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. I have not been to another restaurant quite like it.
Do you like French food? I sure do. Recently, I was invited to dine with a couple of friends at Jubilee, an authentic French eatery that’s just a short trip up First Avenue from my east village flat. Owned and operated by Eric Macaire, head chef Luc Holie (formerly of the late, great L’Absinthe) and his amicable wife Ilda (the couple hail from Montpelier and Paris, respectively), Jubilee is a neighborhood gem whose warmly decorated interior is elegant while remaining comfortable, cozy and charming. I felt welcome right away.
The choice corner lot that formerly housed Tiny Fork Oyster Bar (RIP) is now home to a bright and casual Southern-Inspired bar and dining hall called The Derby. While this lower east side neighborhood has its share of up-and-coming eateries boasting a farm-to-table ethic, as far as location goes, you probably couldn’t ask for a better spot to enjoy an early summer evening dinner. Weather permitting, the front room keeps the doors and windows open to the street while the rear dining area remains flooded with natural light from its east-facing span of tall windows. The vibrant yellow-painted metal chairs, dark wood tables and antique bistro lighting (possibly left over from the space’s previous incarnation) add to The Derby’s welcoming vibe. Of course, the people watching is excellent.
A steak house might be described as Manly, Elegant or Down Home, depending on its location, target clientele and the type of image it wants to project. Open for under a month and centrally located just a few blocks west of Macy’s or east of Times Square, Desmond’s Steak House seems to indicate that one Steak House can be all things to all people, within reason of course. Occupying an 8,000 square-foot space (formerly the site an OTB) at 513 Seventh Avenue, Desmond’s is a welcome dining addition to a neighborhood that’s somewhat calling out for a renaissance. Before you even open a menu, the interior of Desmond’s offers you a choice of rooms and dining spaces in which to enjoy your meal, each with subtly different décor to suit your mood, or the size of your party.
In the twenty five years I’ve lived in Manhattan, I’ve never known there to be a dearth of inventive new restaurants popping up in the trendy Flatiron District. Of course, there’s always room for one more, especially when that place does everything as impressively as Prandial. This American Bistro flaunts an interior that’s a perfect balance of rustic and elegant, and a kitchen expertly helmed by Executive Chef Pierre Rougey (formerly of Raoul’s) – a man whose firm handshake is as memorable as his cuisine.