Thursday, May 14, 2009

Portofino Grille, Manhattan (Upper East Side)

Manhattan is one of the greatest cities in the world for finding elegant, classy, high-end dining spots. But not everyone is looking for that kind of dining experience, which is why places such as the Portofino Grille in the Upper East Side can come as a breath of fresh air. The Portofino Grille, which sits on First Avenue between 63rd and 64th Streets, is a colorful old-school Italian restaurant that has a good bit of cheesiness and a lot of character. Two of its dining rooms have a particularly good amount of charm, with a fireplace in each room and watercolor paintings done by Italian artists.

The menu at the Portofino Grille features a mix of Southern Italian and Northern Italian dishes, including pasta, pizza, chicken parmigiana, veal valdostana, potato-crusted sea bass, lamb chops, and sirloin steak. Ths dessert list is quite extensive, with such items as a marsala custard, creme brulee, tiramisu, cheesecake, tartufo, sorbet, profiterole, and gelati. All kinds of wines are available at the Portofino Grille , as well as grappa, port, and cognac.

If you have been to the Portofino Grille in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, please let us know by posting a comment here. Thanks!

Here is the address for the Portofino Grille:
Portofino Grille
1162 1st Avenue
Manhattan (Upper East Side), NY, 10065

The phone number is:
(212) 832-4141

And here is the Web site for the Portofino Grille:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sammy's Shrimp Box, Bronx (City Island)

So we return to City Island here on this blog, as this Bronx neighborhood is in of itself a hidden gem that the vast majority of visitors to New York City never get to see. Earlier, we had talked about a seafood restaurant on City Island called the Lobster Box; this time around, we are also talking about a seafood restaurant (Sammy's Shrimp Box), and it just happens to be on the same street and within a stone's throw of the Lobster Box.

Sammy's Shrimp Box is a casual spot that has outdoor dining and an attractive interior. The menu is quite extensive, with such items as Maryland crab cakes, littleneck steamers, trout, lobster, swordfish, tilapia, fried blue fish, linguine with clam sauce, prime rib, BBQ chicken, and baby back ribs. There is also a children's menu with a number of items on it. Prices for both lunch and dinner can be a bit expensive (many items run into the $30s, $40s, and even the $50s), but there are also some less pricey options on the menu.

If you have been to Sammy's Shrimp Box in the City Island section of the Bronx, please tell us about it by posting a comment here. Thank you!

Here is the address for Sammy's Shrimp Box:
Sammy's Shrimp Box
41 City Island Avenue
Brooklyn (City Island), NY, 10464

The phone number is:
(718) 885-3200

And here is the Web site for Sammy's Shrimp Box:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jarnac Restaurant, Manhattan (West Village)

The West Village of Manhattan is a restaurant lover's dream, with nearly every kind of dining spot imaginable along its narrow, charming streets. And one part of the West Village that is perhaps visited a bit less--and hence an area packed with hidden gems--is the northwestern section of the neighborhood that borders the Meatpacking District. Within this area, and near the end (or beginning!) of Bleecker Street around the corner of W 12th and Greenwich Street, sits a highly-rated French restaurant called Jarnac. Small, unpretentious, and hidden away from the busier streets nearby, Jarnac is a warm and cozy looking place that fits in well with one of the most picturesque (and quiet) sections of Manhattan.

Jarnac features mostly contemporary French food, serving only dinner every night except for Sunday, when they offer a brunch. The menu at Jarnac is constantly changing, partly because fresh (and often seasonal) ingredients are used. Some sample menu items that are featured from time to time include fish pie, roasted confit of duck leg, pan-roasted pork chops, panko-coated jumbo soft shell crabs, and braised beef short ribs. Sample appetizers include squash and leek soup, ricotta dumplings in brown butter, and duck rillettes.

If you have been to Jarnac Restaurant in the West Village of Manhattan, please let us know by posting a comment here. Thanks!

Here is the address for Jarnac Restaurant:
Jarnac Restaurant
328 West 12th Street
Manhattan (West Village), NY, 10014

The phone number is:
(212) 924-3413

And here is the Web site for Jarnac:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Carol's Cafe, Staten Island (Dongan Hills)

Staten Island may not seem the type of place that would have upscale or higher-end restaurants, but it does indeed have a few here and there mixed in with the chains and cheap eats places. And one that is considered by some to be among the best is a spot in the Dongan Hills section of the borough called Carol's Cafe. This cozy, comfortable spot located in the eastern part of Staten Island features an eclectic mix of Italian, Mediterranean, and New American items. The owner of the restaurant also teaches cooking classes and has a catering business as well.

Carol's Cafe offers a four-course prix fixe menu that is very reasonable in addition to the regular dinner menu. The menu does change depending on the season, but you can expect dishes such as fried calamari, crab cakes, sauteed broccoli rabe, ravioli, spaghetti alla carbonara, penne with sweet sausages and meatballs, beef wellington, rack of lamb, shrimp scampi, and calves liver. The price range is pretty wide, with some items being around $15 and others being $30 or more.

If you have been to Carol's Cafe in the Dongan Hills section of Staten Island, please tell us about it by posting a comment here. Thank you!

Here is the address for Carol's Cafe:
Carol's Cafe
1571 Richmond Road
Staten Island, NY, 10304

The phone number is:
(718) 979-5600

And here is the Web site for Carol's Cafe:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Joe's BestBurger, Queens (Flushing)

When it comes to hamburgers, fresh is almost always better, which is probably why Joe's BestBurger (their spelling, not ours) in the Flushing section of Queens gets such good reviews for their burgers. But it's not the only thing that is fresh at this local favorite; the cheese they use is fresh, as are the veggies they put on their burgers. And the fries are handcut, which is also a big plus. In fact, the only negative about Joe's BestBurger might be the fact that it is so far away from Manhattan that if you're visiting that part of the Big Apple only, it may be rather difficult to get to this independent fast-food joint (Flushing is nearly 10 miles from Times Square).

The menu at Joe's BestBurger is pretty simple and straightforward; big, juicy burgers with fries, with the option of getting a single, double, or triple burger. Joe's also offers chicken sandwiches, and if you like cheese on your fries, you indeed can get that here. And for drinks, in addition to the standard sodas and bottled water, you can get shakes, including a hot fudge shake.

If you have been to Joe's BestBurger in the Flushing section of Queens, please let us know by posting a comment here. Thanks!

Here is the address for Joe's BestBurger:
Joe's BestBurger
39-11 Main St
Queens (Flushing), NY, 11375

The phone number is:
(718) 445-8065‎

And here is the Web site for Joe's BestBurger:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Joloff Restaurant, Brooklyn (Clinton Hill)

Brooklyn, and New York in general, has restaurants that you will not find anywhere else. Where, for instance, would you find a dining spot that specializes in Senegalese cuisine? Indeed, there is such a place in the Clinton Hill section of the borough called Joloff that has been around since the mid-1990s, and is very well regarded by various critics and newspapers.

Joloff is a small dining spot located a bit north of Prospect Park and Prospect Heights, and not too far east of downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights. The interior of the restaurant is on the exotic side, with African art found throughout the space. There is also a lounge inside the restaurant for those who would prefer stopping here simply for a drink or two. The menu features all kinds of meat and seafood dishes native to Sengal and West Africa, but as mentioned, it also features a number of vegetarian and vegan dishes, a relative rarity in West African dining spots. Perhaps the signature dish at Joloff is something called Tiebou Jeun, which includes baked fish, jasmine rice in a tomato sauce, and vegetables.

If you have been to Joloff in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, please tell us about it by posting a comment here. Thank you!

Here is the address for Joloff:
Joloff Restaurant
930 Fulton Street
Brooklyn (Clinton Hill), NY, 11238

The phone number is:
(718) 636-4011

And here is the Web site for Joloff:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

DuMont Restaurant, Brooklyn (Williamsburg)

Like burgers? Well, you're not alone. But where can you find a good burger in Brooklyn? Sure, there are a number of excellent pizza places, tremendous Italian restaurants, and all kinds of ethnic dining spots, but places with decent burgers sometimes seem to fly under the radar in this borough. One place that comes to mind is an American restaurant in Williamsburg called DuMont Restaurant. Now they have much, much more than just burgers at DuMont, but their burgers sure do seem to be mentioned a lot.

DuMont has a classic old-school look to it, with dim lighting, an old tin ceiling, and a well-worn tiled floor. Out back there is an outdoor garden area as well as a section called "the treehouse" at the back end of the outdoor area. The menu features burgers that come with a number of cheeses (including gruyere), but you can also order other items such as a hanger steak, roasted chicken, and macaroni and cheese, as well as various specials. And if you'd like an alcoholic beverage, both the wine list and the cocktails list are quite extensive at DuMont.

If you have been to DuMont Restaurant in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, please tell us about it by posting a comment here. Thank you!

Here is the address for DuMont Restaurant:
DuMont Restaurant
432 Union Avenue
Brooklyn (Williamsburg), NY, 11211

The phone number is:
(718) 486-7717

And here is the Web site for DuMont Restaurant: