Nuts About Spring: Green Almond Season Is Here

Green almonds are — as the name suggests — young almonds with a downy, green outer skin that’s the texture of a peach and the size of a tiny plum. In a month, that green skin will become a hard nutshell that you’ll crack off and throw away… but for now, you can actually bite into it.

Inside, the pale green almond is a soft, sweet, almost jellied shot of chlorophyll. The taste? Somewhat unique: It’s tart, kind of like a greengage crossed with celery. But you’ll just have to try one for yourself.

“I grew up in Israel eating green almonds,” explains chef Nir Mesika of Timna (109 St. Marks Place, NYC, 646-964-5181), a modern Israeli restaurant that will celebrate its first birthday in the East Village this month. “To me, they’re one of the tastes of Passover. My mum loved to make salads with them to go alongside fish or lamb. My favorite was a salad of green almonds, sliced with arugula, cilantro, celery leaves, lemon, olive oil, and a little bit of crushed tomato on top. That next to some chicken tagine… perfect.”

Slicing the green almonds is a smart move, since the skin can get tough — especially as April rolls into May. As the season gets later, you can soak green almonds in salt water to soften them and give them a briny marinade. Or you can soak them in lemon juice and serve them with yogurt, suggests Mesika. “So good!”

Israeli Ceviche
Israeli Ceviche

This week at Timna, Mesika is preparing a raw salad of shaved celery and cauliflower, topped with hamachi ceviche and sliced green almonds. “I wanted to really focus on the unique, raw flavor,” Mesika says. “So I kept all the other ingredients raw as well. It’s a very fresh salad — very intense and bright.”

“People who love green almonds are all excited about them, because the season is so short,” Mesika explains. “I have friends from Tunis, Muslim friends, and I’m Israeli — but politics goes away when we talk in our common language: food. It’s important that we all keep focusing on what we have, the simple stuff in life that brings us together.”

Another thing they have in common? The hard-won search for green almonds in New York City.

In the hunt for green almonds, Middle Eastern grocery stores are your best bet. Oriental Pastry and Grocery had a box on Monday, which sold out immediately. They can’t say for sure when another box will arrive. Chef Mesika gets his from SOS Chefs, which imports them from California (you can fill out a request form online if you want to get in on the action).

“Atef [Boulaabi, the owner] is as excited as I am about them!” says Mesika. “Don’t get me wrong. I love all almonds: roasted, salted, raw, cooked, everything… but green almonds are special. It’s important to mark the seasons and appreciate them.”


For All the Single Ladies (and Guys): Ten Valentine’s Day Dining Options in NYC

Every Valentine’s Day, you hear people grumbling about how it should be stopped, that it’s a corporate holiday dominated by companies selling flowers, candy, and greeting cards. But in many ways, it’s more a holiday of stress — thrusting the newly coupled into discussions about relationship status, followed by the pressure to execute the perfect evening, purchase the best gift, and spend a certain amount of cash.

For all the uncoupled (deliberately or not) in this great city, the hype around February 14 serves as a giant billboard, outing the fact that even with a pool of over 8 million people, you still haven’t managed to become a party of two. This year, rather than settling for alone time with a TV screen, a bottle of wine, and a giant pizza, get out on the town. Here are ten dining options for singles this V-Day.

Stay in bed Sunday, after a night of Underballs.
Stay in bed Sunday, after a night of Underballs.

10. The Meatball Shop (200 Ninth Avenue, 212-257-4363)
Spend Sunday hungover in your PJs. On Saturday night, Underballs, tucked in the lower level of the Chelsea Meatball Shop location, is celebrating the unattached with its annual Single Jingle. The anti-Valentine’s party is cheap and easy — with no Monday morning hangovers, hopefully. The soiree will be hosted by Instagram celebs @brunchboys and @onehungryjew. It includes holiday-appropriate cocktails like Love’s Bitter Pill ($5), Moscow Mules ($5), $2 Jello shots, and a special appearance by RuPaul’s Drag Race star Jiggly Caliente. Meatball Shop’s main food menu will also be available throughout the evening. The party kicks off at 8 p.m.

Drink some tequila this Valentine's Day.
Drink some tequila this Valentine’s Day.

9. Masa y Agave (41 Murray Street, 212-849-2885)
Tequila can fix just about anything. Taste a rainbow of the stuff this Valentine’s Day at Masa y Agave, the cocktail bar in the basement of the new Rosa Mexicano in Tribeca. The place offers more than 400 agave-based spirits, available à la carte or in flights created by first-level-certified mescalier Courtenay Greenleaf: “Jalisco,” featuring three bottles from the region, divided by the location of their agave fields (highlands versus low-); “Vertical,” which compares three styles of tequila (blanco, reposado, and anejo) distilled by one family; and “Barrel,” which stacks three tequilas aged in barrels recycled from making cognac, scotch, and bourbon. If you’re not into drinking your hooch straight-up, the bar offers interesting cocktails like the raicilla negroni, made from a lesser-known Mexican spirit, La Venenosa Maximiliano raicilla. Soak it up with bar bites like empanadas de chorizo con papas (chorizo, chile poblano, potatoes, and queso Chihuahua) and barbacoa de cordero tacos — slow-cooked lamb marinated in smoky chile sauce and steamed in avocado leaves with pickled carrot-jalapeño escabeche.

Get messy.
Get messy.

8. theBoil (139 Chrystie Street; 212-925-8815)
Few things are less attractive than sucking the juice out of a dead carcass. But that’s basically the premise of eating crawfish (properly). Give Valentine’s Day the ultimate middle finger by forgoing the dainty tasting menus and predictable aphrodisiacs in favor of a messy pile of mudbugs. Slightly rowdy and highly entertaining, this Bayou-style crab and crawfish joint is the ideal spot for a group. Brown paper is laid across the table before it’s loaded with heaping piles of spice-scented seafood waiting to be ripped apart. Crawfish ($13 a pound) come in a variety of heat levels, from mild to fiery, as do lobster, shrimp, clams, and Dungeness snow and king crabs. Every order comes with corn and potatoes, as well. For the most part, eating here is a chaotic affair, and you’re bound to be dirty by the end — make sure to grab a plastic bib to protect your clothes. The staff will hand out rubber gloves to help keep things tidy, if you desire. But let’s be honest — that’s not much fun.

Find your other half on Sunday.
Find your other half on Sunday.

7. Bierocracy (12-23 Jackson Avenue; 718-361-9333)
Counter-Valentine’s Day events usually fall into two categories: One emphasizes getting over an ex. The other celebrates singledom. Bierocracy is doing neither. The Long Island City Central European-style beer hall is hosting a singles soiree for those who haven’t given up hope. This little get-together comes with the possibility of finding a date  — or a hook-up. Upon arrival, attendees pick a card from a deck that’s been cut in half. The goal is to locate your match. Once you do, you and your new other-half get discounted beers from the wide selection of Czech, German and selected American brews. Who knows, you may find someone worth keeping around until next February.

Eat some meat on V-Day.
Eat some meat on V-Day.

6. Virgil’s Real Barbecue (152 West 44th Street; 212-921-9494)
Most single’s events tend to be geared toward women. It’s just another gendered assumption that females are more worried about finding a mate than males. Lovely. However, this barbecue joint is bucking the trend, focusing its uncoupled Valentine’s efforts on men with a special “BBQ Bromance” deal for the day. The special is actually a meal for two — or one person with a really big appetite — with popcorn shrimp, a full rack of Memphis ribs and a slice of red velvet cake, all washed down with two shots of Knob Creek bourbon and a bucket of four beers. Ladies looking to avoid the clichéd dessert deals and wine meet-ups are welcome to join in on this meaty booze fest, too.

Sample Momofuku Noodle Bar's S.A.D. menu.
Sample Momofuku Noodle Bar’s S.A.D. menu.

5. Momofuku Noodle Bar (171 First Avenue; 212-777-7773)
Noodles aren’t the easiest food to eat while attempting to looking attractive. That’s exactly why you should be slurping ’em down solo, while no one’s watching. Noodle Bar is offering a S.A.D. (Single’s Awareness Day) three-course tasting menu on February 14, in addition to its regular à la carte menu. The menu begins with fresh mozzarella with leek, Sichuan peppercorn, and chili oil, before moving on to rib tips with ssam sauce, masago cracker, and shiso. Garlic noodles are the star of this holiday show, filled with shrimp, citrus and fried garlic (and you don’t have to worry about your breath afterward). The price is $50 per person with an optional beverage pairing an additional $20. Like every other day of the year, be prepared to wait in line — it’s for walk-in guests only.

Warm your lonely soul with hot pot.
Warm your lonely soul with hot pot.

4. 99 Favor Taste (285 Grand Street; 646-682-9122/732 61st Street, Brooklyn; 718-439-0578)
New York has a little of everything: food from all over the world, world-class museums, Broadway shows — the list goes on and on. But the city probably has more single people in it than anything else. Rather than mourn your solo-status, grab all your friends and make a mess of meat and broth with some hot pot. With locations in Sunset Park and the LES, these two sprawling restaurants are meccas for celebrations. Every night of the week, multiple times throughout the evening, you’ll hear the signature birthday song blasting from loud speakers as servers gather around tables, singing and passing out cake. We heard the staff has something planned for Valentine’s Day, but no announcements have been made yet. Either way, it’s a good choice for a group who prefers to go DIY. Everyone chooses their own soup base (there are seven total), and ingredients from a list of 26 veggies, proteins (including seafood) and noodles. It’s just $18.99 per person (barbecue is $25.99), so there’s no awkward divvying up the check at the end of the night.

Enjoy dinner, two movies, and moving on from your ex.
Enjoy dinner, two movies, and moving on from your ex.

3. Syndicated (40 Bogart St., Brooklyn; 718-386-3399)
Do dinner and a movie by yourself or with your friends. This new Bushwick “theaterant” is offering double features on Friday and Saturday night that are all about purging memories of exes. Part of Syndicated’s Hi/Low pairings series, both evenings are showing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, starting at 4:45 and 9:45 p.m. Before, after, or during the screening, grab a meal from the onsite eatery. Executive chef Bret Macris is offering a number of specials including Royal Miyagi oysters ($15 for six) with blood orange mignonette and buttered marbled rye; braised short rib ($26) with chanterelles, potatoes and horseradish cream. Finish it off with a couple orders of red velvet doughnuts ($6) and chocolate bread pudding ($6) and some drinks. Bar manager Kenneth Vanhooser (Piora) has created the perfect cocktail for commemorating a broken heart, My Bloody Valentine ($12) a mix of jalapeño-infused Lunazul tequila, tomato water, fresno chili and pickled horseradish.

Take a break from holiday stress with an après-ski.
Take a break from holiday stress with an après-ski.

2. Baita (200 Fifth Avenue, 212-229-2560)
Bubbly tends to be the beverage of choice on Valentine’s Day. Go for the other one this year — drink lots of beer. Head up to Baita, Eataly’s Italian Alps rooftop pop-up, to drink your heart out. Don’t worry, it’s not open to the frigid temperatures that might be reminiscent of your frozen heart — there are heaters set up throughout the retractable roof-covered space. For the holiday of love, the restaurant is offering copious amounts of booze from seven breweries, ten wineries and a full menu of “love bites.” For the first hour of the party, starting at 12 p.m., the place is offering complimentary antipasti. Entrance is free, but all-access drink bracelets cost $40 at the door, which includes a choice of more than 30 beers and wines, along with individual $4 food and drink tickets. Save $5 if you purchase a ticket before you arrive. Early bird buyers get a chocolate gift bag and one fortunate single will score two-tickets to a La Scuola cooking class. Visit

Fall in love — with your Dirt Candy carrot buns.
Fall in love — with your Dirt Candy carrot buns.

1. Dirt Candy (86 Allen Street, 212-228-7732)
It’s notoriously difficult to land a reservation at Amanda Cohen’s ode to vegetables — unless you want to eat at 5:30 or 9:30 p.m. But this week, dine solo and get an easy reservation for one of the L.E.S.’s most coveted tables. Cohen isn’t a fan of Valentine’s Day, so she’s offering an awesome (and accessible) Solo Diner’s week. Starting on Tuesday and through February 13, all chef counter seats are reserved for diners eating alone. That’s right, call the restaurant and book a seat for one with a good chance of getting in at a normal dining hour. Cohen created a $65 six-course tasting menu with one-person portions of the restaurant’s signature dishes, like Korean fried broccoli, portobello mushroom mousse, and radish spaghetti. It comes with a glass of prosecco or a virgin vegetable cocktail. Go ahead, make the call now.


10 Winning Places in NYC to Eat, Drink, and Watch Super Bowl 50

We have a legible Super Bowl title this year — finally. Distracting Roman numerals be damned! Super Bowl “50″ will occupy living rooms, restaurants, and bars this Sunday and various questions abound: Will this be the final game for All-American hero Peyton Manning before he retires into the sunset? Is this the coming out party for the fresh quarterback stud Cam Newton, a player who’s dabbed his way into the soul of the South? Most of all, where are the best places and deals for face-stuffing in between the commercials whose production cost more than the yearly rent of your entire apartment complex?

Consider this list your Joe Buck-style culinary play-by-play:

Ambrose Beer and Lobster (18 Fulton Street, 212-480-0301) In a sea of fried foods, why not consider the lobster? This South Street Seaport hub plans to offer a Super Bowl special of four lobster rolls, two orders of fries with a pitcher of beer for $99. Also included: beer pong.

Syndicated (40 Bogart Street, Brooklyn; 718-386-3399) At its core, the Super Bowl is a theatrical event with tons of booze on the side. The new restaurant/bar/independent movie theater Syndicated understands this and is offering two specialty cocktails for the occasion: a Colorado Bulldog (vodka, Kahlua, and a splash of cream, topped with Coca-Cola) for the Broncos and an Ice Pick (iced tea, vodka and lemon juice) for the Panthers. Plus, due to overwhelming demand, the theater will air the Super Bowl on the big screen.

Mustang Harry’s (352 7th Avenue, 212-268-8930) The difference between a mustang and a bronco is slight (the former is free-roaming while the latter remains untamed) but the similarities between Mustang Harry’s and the Mile High City are strong. For the past five seasons, this pub around the corner from MSG has been the definitive Broncos bar in New York City. Clad in orange and blue, fans of Manning and Co. shall trek no further than midtown Manhattan.

Amity Hall (80 West 3rd Street, 212-677-2290) They call themselves the Big Apple Riot. Panthers fans congregate on Sundays at the Greenwich Village spot Amity Hall, where a Carolina blue-hued light illuminates the top of the bar. Here you’ll find beer-brand sponsored prizes and giveaways for this Sunday’s game time, but the menu is remaining consistent – and for good reason: “We are going with the exact same specials we always go with so we don’t jinx anything,” says co-owner Dave McCarthy. Superstations are crazy only if they don’t work out.

Miss Lily’s (132 West Houston Street/109 Avenue A, 646-588-5375) Sometimes the best seat in the bar can’t compare to the La-Z-Boy in your own apartment. There are heaps of catering opportunities throughout the city, but for those in the Village, look no further than Miss Lily’s Jamaican-inspired cuisine. The $220 “Super Deal” feeds ten and includes two dozen jerk wings, ten pieces of jerk corn, and ten coconut cupcakes. You might be cutting it close by ordering a few days before the big game, but a fourth quarter hustle is always worth a try.

The Gander (15 West 18th Street, 212-229-9500) Last year saw the debut of the Gander Bowl and chef Jesse Schenker seems determined to return to it with sophomore tenacity. Upping the price tag ten bucks to $65 this year, The Gander is making every dollar count with its all-you-can-eat-and-drink party featuring the undisputed classics: wings, sliders, ribs, and mac ‘n’ cheese with all the beer and punch bowls a gut can take.

Haven Rooftop (132 West 47th Street, 212-466-9000) The last time the Broncos were at this dance – Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 – the Seahawks dismantled them 43-8. If something of this caliber were to occur again, the bar in which to see it would be this Times Square venue. The views off to the side of the TV screen are spectacular. One hundred smackeroos gets you price of admission, open bar, and an à la carte menu after half time, but the supreme metropolitan skyline sights are on the house.

Pork Slope (247 5th Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-768-7675) This Park Slope pork house wears its meat on its sleeve. For the Super Bowl, that sleeve is getting a whole lot heftier. A $50 all-you-can-eat-and-drink special will be offered for eating in, as well as a three-tier take-out package. From $50 to $150, the offerings cover all the basics from wings to sliders.

TY Bar Four Seasons Hotel (57 East 57th Street, 212-758-5700) Elegant attire and mesh jerseys seldom mix, but the Four Season’s luxurious TY Bar aims to blend the two with their Super Bowl soirée. Sporting a hi-def screen measuring 12 by 12 feet (a self-proclaimed “largest in the city”), TY Bar has also created a “Versus Menu” inspired by each team and their hometown. Panthers have their pulled pork sliders with hush puppies while the Broncos are represented by bison cheeseburgers and spiced lamb skewers.

The Standard Biergarten (848 Washington Street, 212-645-4646) A biergarten seems like the most suitable spot for a football watch party: Large tables for a gaggle of fans, sodium-rich snacks, and beer by the liter are the appropriate ingredients for an afternoon by the TV. The folks at Standard Biergarten realized this potential and are booking eight-person tables with a $500 spending minimum. Jumbo pretzels and bratwursts will be in high supply with the promise of prizes, games, and “t-shirt gun fun.”


Marcus Samuelsson Celebrates Black Female Chefs With a Month-Long Menu

For several years, Marcus Samuelsson has created a special menu in honor of Black History Month at his Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster (310 Lenox Avenue, 212-792-9001). But this time around, he had a particularly strong dose of female inspiration standing in front of him: his chef de cuisine Adrienne Cheatham.

“Adrienne is pushing; she’s strong,” Samuelsson tells the Voice. “We have a goal that she’s going to become an executive chef of her own one day.” The two chefs started brainstorming a menu that would celebrate female chefs of color who had either made an indelible mark on American cuisine or who, like Adrienne, will be a force on the scene very soon.

“I wanted to acknowledge the goddesses from the past, present, and future,” Samuelsson says. The result is a $62, five-course dinner menu to be served at Red Rooster during the month of February, each dish highlighting a different chef’s story. Capturing the breadth of women’s contributions to the hospitality industry, from line cooks to legends, was an important element in the creation of the series.

After an amuse of “Miss Adrienne’s Macarons,” filled with duck liver and aged balsamic and topped with sea salt, the first course is broiled oysters with sea beans, fennel, and black-olive aioli, inspired by the esteemed “Grande Dame” of Southern cooking, Edna Lewis, whose career spanned restaurant work, teaching, and writing cookbooks.

Miss Adrienne's Macarons at Red Rooster
Miss Adrienne’s Macarons at Red Rooster

CJ Grant, a line cook at Red Rooster, inspired the second course of charred octopus with plantains, chickpeas, and curry vinaigrette. “CJ is the best line cook,” Cheatham tells us. “Octopus is hard — it can get messed up easily. CJ, she loves octopus because it’s so technique-focused. She is really inspirational and super cool. She’s always motivated. She comes to work and kicks ass, every day. She never has a bad day. It’s exciting to work with people like that.”

The next course, blackened catfish with Creole red beans and turnip greens, is inspired by New Orleans restaurateur Leah Chase. “I’m super excited by this,” Samuelsson says. “Leah is my idol — she’s Michael and Elvis combined. And she represents so much as our first integrated restaurant in the country [Dooky Chase]. She’s a female business owner from the 1940s! At 94 years old, she represents everything about being ‘other.’ When I called her to check the menu, and go through it dish by dish, of course, she was so happy. And that catfish is good.”

Another dish, the beer-braised pork belly with creamed turnips, roasted baby turnips, and smoked vinegar jus, pays homage to Lena Richard, like Chase a New Orleans chef who forged a path in challenging times. “Lena was the OG of everything,” Cheatham says. “She wrote and hosted a cooking show that aired during segregation in the South, she founded a cooking school, she had a catering company, and she and her husband owned several restaurants. [These women] were really accomplished in business. It was important to me to make sure they’re recognized.”

"Frosted Flakes" dessert: Coconut rice pudding, rum, corn flakes
“Frosted Flakes” dessert: Coconut rice pudding, rum, corn flakes

The menu finale is a coconut rice pudding with rum and corn flakes, inspired by Nyesha Arrington, one of Zagat’s 2012 “30 Under 30” chefs, who appeared on Top Chef and Chef Hunter. “I talked with Nyesha the other day,” Samuelsson says. “She’s an incredible chef and was going through her own shit as a chef during the middle of her lunch service that day — and was starting to cry. She was overwhelmed that we were including her on the menu. It made her day.

“You’re on a completely different grid in terms of your chances if you’re black, and yet another as a black woman,” he continues. “So your narrative as a chef is as tough as can be. This menu gave us the incredible opportunity to channel the inspiration and point of view of these kinds of chefs. These women — Edna, Leah, Adrienne, Lena, C.J., and Nyesha — they represent that narrative to me.”

“We did a lot of research for this,” Cheatham adds. “I hope that diners realize that every chef contributes to cuisine in a different way. Some of these women contributed fifty or a hundred years ago, and some still contribute by changing texture, by adding something, by applying a new technique to make something more modern. What’s on each plate is from hundreds of years of hard work that inspires us still. This is not a Red Rooster menu. It’s a menu inspired by so many components of so many careers.”


Snow Day Specials: Here’s How to Eat and Drink Your Way Through Jonas

The best part about a good old-fashioned snowstorm in NYC is the peaceful quiet that descends over the streets, like someone pressing the pause button on the cacophonous mechanical pulse of the city. For most city dwellers, sitting in front of a cozy fire at home is out of the question, and so is the likelihood of cooking up a multi-course feast.

Baby, it’s cold outside, but for some of us it’s the best time to eat and drink on the town — the absence of crowds at bars and restaurants is a beautiful thing. Here are some snow-day specials to help keep you warm and well-fed:

Faro (436 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn; 718-381-8201)
Faro is introducing its first baked pasta dish to the menu, just in time for the blizzard; homemade fazzoletti (handkerchief) pasta filled with cauliflower cream ($14), finished in the wood-fired oven.

The Meatball Shop (various locations)
On Saturday and Sunday, all locations of this popular local chain will be offering deals on mini chicken buffalo meatballs ($4), a Warm and Cozy cocktail made with applejack, cider and cinnamon ($5) and $2 PBRs and Jello shots.

5th and Mad (7 East 36th Street; 212-725-2353)
Watch weather updates on one of this gastropub’s 18 televisions. To sweeten the deal, get a free shot of Jim Beam Fire for every inch of snow accumulation that Jonas brings our way.

Virgil’s Real Barbecue(152 West 44th Street; 212-921-9494)
Virgil’s is celebrating the storm on Saturday and Sunday with an all-day happy hour, including $4 pints and $12 pitchers of Budweiser and Bud Light, along with $5 pints and $15 pitchers of Goose Island. At the bar, both Virgil’s Trainwreck fries and barbecue nachos are available for half price.

Aunt Jake’s (151 Mulberry Street; 646-858-0470)
This counter-service eatery recently opened its doors, and to celebrate the launch of their Italian-centric, made-to-order delivery menu, Aunt Jake’s is giving away free orders of bomboloni — ricotta doughnuts with caramel dipping sauce — with every delivery purchase exceeding $20.

Fung Tu (22 Orchard Street; 212-219-8785)
The LES seasonal American-Chinese restaurant will serve a $15 bar special (which includes a can of Genesse beer) on Saturday; choose from fried rice with Brussels sprouts, spinach, scrambled eggs and pickled mustard seed or Noodles and Soup, a new ramen-like dish. Lion’s Head meatballs ($3) or soy egg ($2) are optional add-ons.

Timna (109 St. Mark’s Place; 646-964-5181)
The East Village mod-Mediterranean spot will serve a hot cocktail and dessert pairing on Saturday for $12. The Dolce and Kubaneh features a warm mini-bread stuffed with vanilla cream, spices and white chocolate, topped with honey-sage ice cream and tonka bean foam. To drink, diners can choose a Hot Marxist (apple-cinnamon infused vermouth, Byrrh, muddled blood orange) or warm tzimmes punch (carrot-cardamom syrup, aged port, candied carrots).


Where to Feast on the Seven Fishes in New York City

Numerous cultures and religions have holidays centered on the winter solstice, and each one brings its own food traditions. For Italian-Americans, that means two days of generous family-style meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The spread on the former, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, involves — you guessed it! — seven (or more) different seafood dishes laid out in an impressive spread.

Enjoyable, yes, but it’s a ridiculous amount of work for home cooks. If you want to indulge but would just as soon forgo the lingering scent of seafood in your apartment, here’s where to feast (be sure to call ahead to reserve a spot and confirm serving times):

Seamore’s (390 Broome Street; 212-730-6005)
On December 10, Michael Chernow launched a two-week an ode to oceanic creatures. Seamore’s Feast of the Seven Fishes series offers a new fish-focused special every two days until December 23, the day before Christmas Eve. On Thursday, December 17, it’s shrimp and grits; on Friday and Saturday, stuffed squid with its ink and couscous risotto with sautéed peas and mushrooms. Sunday and Monday you’ll find creamed polenta with monkfish ragu. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, stop in for whole roasted porgy stuffed with Italian mirepoix and smoky tomato broth.

L’Amico (849 Avenue of the Americas; 212-201-4065)
Laurent Tourondel’s new Italian place offers both a prix fixe special and an à la carte menu for Christmas Eve. The special Feast includes clams oreganata, baccalà, and Tuscan kale salad with sherry vinaigrette; diver sea scallops (with endive marmalade and caramelized tangerine); octopus and shrimp scampi over lemon carnaroli risotto; seafood agnolotti (bay scallops, crab, shrimp, lemon-mascarpone); bucatini pasta fra diavolo with lobster; and wood oven-baked branzino with fennel, carrot, and vin santo bianco brodo. The meal ends with crunchy chocolate cannoli with orange-blossom ricotta gelato and cranberry confit, or clementine-almond cake with raspberries and almond-milk gelato. The prix fixe costs $125 per person.

Stuff your face with spaghetti alla vongole
Stuff your face with spaghetti alla vongole

Fresco by Scotto (34 East 52nd Street; 212-935-3434)
The Scotto family is offering its own take on the holiday at the behest of the family matriarch. “The menu at Fresco by Scotto was created from my mother Marion and her experience growing up with a traditional Italian family,” says Anthony Scotto Jr. “My mom insisted that her children continue this tradition. All of her four children have passed it down to their children with the meaning and understanding of this feast.” At the restaurant it starts with grilled pizza margherita; and antipasto with homemade mozzarella, imported cheeses, salumi, and chef’s selection of antipasti salads. For the entrees, look for dishes like spiced, seared, and sliced yellowfin tuna, baccalà alla livornese, Scottish salmon, and sirloin alla Toscana. Dessert options include creamy ricotta cheesecake, apple crisp, and homemade tiramisu. The cost is $80 per person (excluding drinks, tax, and gratuity). Kids dine for $45 each. For the little ones, the menu includes penne with tomato and ice cream.

Gato's steamed halibut with tomato saffron broth and Sicilian olive relish
Gato’s steamed halibut with tomato saffron broth and Sicilian olive relish

Gato (324 Lafayette Street; 212-334-6400)
Bobby Flay’s Spanish-influenced spot is serving a $95 family-style meal. Tastings include polenta-crusted oysters with horseradish gremolata, mussels and razor clams with pickled shallots, and raw tuna piquillo with saffron sauce. The first course is zuppa di pesce, made with halibut and a tomato saffron broth and Sicilian olive relish, followed by shellfish paella verde: a mix of lobster shrimp, mussels, squid, egg, and crusty green rice. It ends with a Honeycrisp apple tart with Christmas spices and chestnut gelato. Table participation is required.

Atlantic Grill Lincoln Center (49 West 64th Street; 212-787-4663)
Find a three-course meal for $59 with an optional $20 wine pairing here. It starts with small Maryland crab salad with baby fennel, radish avocado, and tarragon aÏoli paired with Weinberghof Fritsch ‘Windspiel’ grüner veltliner. The main course is a winter seafood stew with cod, salmon, swordfish, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and lump crab in saffron broth, accompanied by Row Eleven pinot noir. For dessert, stick a fork into eggnog crème caramel gingerbread cake with brandied dry fruit compote and a glass of Caposaldo moscato.

Vic’s (Great Jones Street; 212-253-5700)
This Italian-Mediterranean NoHo restaurant from industry vets Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer offers a $70 feast. Chef Hillary Sterling’s take on the traditional meal kicks off with an array of antipasti including fried whitebait with Meyer lemon, roasted oysters with hot peppers, sea-urchin bread, and marinated fish (think anchovies, herring, and mackerel). The pasta courses features fontina fonduta with American caviar, potatoes, and chervil, as well as linguine with clams, chiles, leeks, and lemon. Then comes brodetto with black bass, tomatoes, capers, and green olives. Sicilian candies and cookies will be served for dessert. Menu is subject to change; reservations are available.

Hearth (403 East 12th Street; 646-602-1300)
Chef Marco Canora is back again with his annual Feast of the Seven Fishes. For $96 per person (plus an additional $54 for a wine pairing), the festive menu features a variety of specialties, including marinated seafood salad, linguine con vongole, and cacciucco (Tuscan fish stew). It ends with gingerbread cake topped with roasted apples, toffee sauce, and eggnog gelato for dessert.

La Pecora Bianca (1133 Broadway; 212-498-9696)
“Our menu bridges both my family history and executive chef Simone’s culinary heritage in Modena,” says La Pecora Bianca’s chef de cuisine John Paidas. “I used to do feast of seven fishes with my grandfather in Baltimore. The whole family would get together and I remember being forbidden to eat meat, which was a big deal in our family! The evening would get progressively louder as the night went on.” Following tradition, Paidas begins with striped-bass tartare, followed by cioppino (clams, mussels, sepia, and monkfish), lobster ricotta cavatelli, and baked whole dorade with sunchokes and fennel — Paidas’ dad loved to eat whole fish for the holiday. For dessert: migliaccio cake topped with the restaurant’s house preserves. The cost is $80 per person; wine pairing is an additional $45.

Celebrate the holiday at a NYC mainstay.
Celebrate the holiday at a NYC mainstay.

Grand Central Oyster Bar (89 East 42nd Street; 212-490-6650)
This seafood institution offers a holiday à la carte menu for a DIY feast. Specials include pasta e fagiole with Florida rock shrimp and basil oil ($7.25), Italian seafood salad ($28.95), grilled jumbo shrimp with puttanesca sauce over spaghetti ($29.95), Maine lobster thermidor over rice pilaf ($31.95), salt cod potato-crusted Norwegian salmon fillet with spicy tomato sauce and risotto Milanese ($29.95), and sea urchin gelato ($6.75). There’s a large dessert menu to cap off the meal with options ranging from almond chestnut-praline chocolate bûche de noël ($8.50) and panettone and caramelized apple charlotte with crystalized ginger crème anglaise ($7.50) to chocolate mousse ($6.75) and New York cheesecake ($7.25).

Hamachi tartare with trout caviar, chives, and whipped créme fraiche.
Hamachi tartare with trout caviar, chives, and whipped créme fraiche.

The Red Cat (227 Tenth Avenue; 212-242-1122)
Inspired by his Italian heritage, chef/owner Jimmy Bradley is serving a special feast for Christmas Eve. Family-style courses are $15 apiece à la carte; these include hamachi tartare, Nantucket Bay scallop ceviche, crisp shrimp with white polenta, house-made tagliatelle with peekytoe crab, sautéed calamari, grilled octopus; and grilled swordfish with quinoa tabbouleh and citrus nage.

The Clam (420 Hudson Street; 212-242-7420)
Market Table chef/owner Mike Price’s neighborhood joint in the West Village is offering a $90-per-person Feast of the Seven Fishes composed of five courses. Dishes include (but are not limited to) fresh-shucked Wellfleet oysters served family-style with chili mignonette; lobster chowder with Yukon Gold potatoes, sherry, and croutons; house-cut spaghetti fra diavolo (rock shrimp, mussels, arugula, and lemon); and 86 proof chocolate icebox cake with bourbon, chocolate wafers, and espresso chantilly.

il Buco Alimentari (53 Great Jones Street, 212-837-2622)
The Christmas Eve feast runs from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. (see full menu here) and costs $95 ($45 for kids). The menu includes baccalà mantecato bruschetta, giant prawns with red pesto and lemon, squid-ink pasta with cockles and peperoncino, and monkfish with cabbage leaves and lobster fumé. For dessert, start with a traditional Italian sgroppino cocktail with housemade lemon sorbet and prosecco, followed by chocolate budino, blood-orange semolina torte, and homemade cookies.


A Sweet Deal at DBGB – Any Dog Plus Any Draft for Ten Bucks

The name Daniel Boulud and the word “cheap” aren’t usually found in the same sentence. Although his restaurants are known for impeccable service and updated interpretations of classic French fare, a meal at any one of them is sure to set you back at least $40 per person — and that’s being conservative. Even at his casual East Village spot, DBGB (299 Bowery; 212-933-5300) the burgers hover around the $20 range. But the French brasserie-slash-American tavern does offer one hell of a deal at the bar: guests can get any hot dog plus any beer for $10.

The deal (not offered in the dining room) is available any hour of the day, as long as the place is open. Options include the DBGB Dog (normally $10 a la carte), a house made beef wiener topped with sautéed onion, mustard, ketchup, and “299” relish — this gourmet rendition is frequently hailed as one of the top franks in town. Another made-in-house pork link, the Thai Dog, is spiced with curry and lemongrass, served covered in green papaya slaw, sriracha, peanuts, and cilantro (regularly $13). There’s even a North African version, the Tunisienne ($15), finished with mint yogurt, red onion, and cherry tomato.

The grandstanders are top-notch, but the beers are where it gets interesting. Any eight-ounce draft beer is part of the special and the place has a long list of rare picks. There are malty options like Weihenstephaner Korbinian Doppelbock from Freising, Germany as well as Belhaven Scottish ale. U.S.-fermented Naked Flock ‘Draft’ and Milestone Hopvine comprise the cider portion of the menu. And there are numerous selections from across America and Europe making up the Tart, Hoppy, and Refreshing sections of the draft list. Each ranges from the $8 to $12 range on its own.

You could go to a stadium and pay more for a dirty water dog and a Bud Light — you’d be wiser to just come here before you go.


Thanksgiving Guide: All You Need to Know About Turkey Day Deals and Destinations

If the thought of an eight-hour layover followed by your drunk uncle’s ode to Donald Trump doesn’t exactly ignite the spirit of American heritage, you may want to consider the many other tasty alternatives to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are 10 great ideas:

If you want to spend the actual holiday helping people, but still want to eat a Thanksgiving-style meal, head to:
Angel of Harlem, 2272 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Monday November 23 and Tuesday November 24
Instead of staying open on Thanksgiving, Angel of Harlem will be closed so chef Max Hardy and his staff can volunteer nearby at The Food Bank for New York City. Guests who wish to do the same can eat a few days in advance with a $45 per person pre-fix menu. The selection includes white cheddar mac n’ cheese, citrus and herb roasted turkey with cornbread stuffing, and braised short rib.

If you want to go out the night before, but can’t stand your hometown bar, head to:
Grand Ferry Tavern, 229 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, Wednesday November 25, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Pre-game Thanksgiving eve with an all-day oyster happy hour, wine specials, and a $20 prix fixe menu. Dinner includes a draft cocktail, the Grand Ferry burger with fries, and bourbon ice cream. Oyster platters will be half-price during happy hour and range from $17.60 to $32.50, while any bottle noted on the wine list will be 50% off.

If you want to walk away with more than just leftover turkey, head to:
Artisanal Bistro, 2 Park Avenue, Thursday November 26, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In addition to a five course prix fixe for $85 – 2 courses for $60 per child – each table receives a complimentary wine and cheese basket to take home. Guests can reserve two hour seatings beginning at 11 a.m., with the final seating taking place at 7 p.m..

If you want to re-enact the Mayflower voyage, head to:
The Water Table, West Street at India Street, Brooklyn, Thursday November 26, 4 to 7 p.m.
Set sail for Lady Liberty while enjoying Thanksgiving on the East River. For $95, pretend you’re a millennial pilgrim with a four-course dinner highlighted by greenmarket pretzels with maple mustard, organic turkey, and garlic mashed potatoes. Drinks – which are not included in the cost of a ticket – are available for purchase on board. Hop aboard here.

If you want a celebrity chef to do the cooking, head to:
Jams by Jonathan Waxman, 1 Hotel Central Park, Thursday November 26, 1414 6th Avenue
A nearby option if you plan on watching the Macy’s parade, diners can warm their bones with a a three-course dinner for $85 per person ($35 per child). The table setting includes Parker House rolls, pumpkin lasagna, and either turkey breast with sourdough bread budding, baked cod, or potato gnocchi. All traditional sides will be served family-style.

If you like turkey, but really prefer seafood, head to:
The Clam, 420 Hudson Street, Thursday November 26

If the bird is decidedly not the word in your family, settle down with baked littleneck clams accompanied by pancetta and crab and stuffed Maine lobster as part of a three course $90 prix fix menu ($25 for children). Desserts include pumpkin pudding with gingerbread cookies and spiced cream and hazelnut cheesecake.

If you want a European twist on an American holiday, head to:
Socarrat Restaurants, 259 W 19th Street; 284 Mulberry Street; 953 2nd Avenue, 12 to 9 p.m.
For $55, give Thanksgiving a Mediterranean twist with a variety of paellas, pan-seared lamb chops, and seafood casserole. The restaurant is also offering turkey stuffed with chorizo, apple, and dried cranberry as part of its three-course menu. Wine pairings are available for an additional $42.

If you usually celebrate Thanksgiving with a Tofurky, head to:
by CHLOE, 185 Bleecker Street, throughout November

If the thought of eating a gentle gobbler is too much to bear, grab a vegan-friendly Thanksgiving burger to dine in or bring to mom and dad’s. The patty is made with lemon-caper seitan and topped with kale, stuffing, rosemary gravy, and a fresh cranberry sauce.

If you need a gluten-free Thanksgiving, head to:
Madison Square Tavern, 150 West 30th Street
For $50, families with gluten-free eaters can avoid gravy drama by heading to this restaurant for butternut squash soup, sautéed red snapper with blood-orange butter, baked ham, or organic turkey. The restaurant is ending its three-course meal with a choice of chocolate bread pudding or roast pears with vanilla and coconut sorbet.

If you don’t like restaurant food, but hate cooking large meals, head to:
Foragers Market, 56 Adams Street, Brooklyn and 300 West 22 Street 
Grab a pre-carved local turkey, Cape Cod cranberries, New York apples, and pies from Four & Twenty Blackbirds at these DUMBO and Chelsea markets. Thanksgiving dinners can be ordered a la carte to your specific needs or chosen from a few themed dinner packages such as traditional and vegan. Wine pairings are also available upon request.

If you like restaurant food, but would prefer eating at home, head to:
Donovan’s Pub, 57-24 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, Thursday, 11 a.m.
Grab your brother-in-law or daughter’s unsuspecting boyfriend and pick up a whole roasted turkey, sides, and sauces from this longstanding Irish favorite, which is offering meals for parties ranging from four to 16 people. Dinner packages – which range from $189 to $432  –  include a whole roasted turkey, a choice of salad, a choice of four side orders, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Orders must be placed by Tuesday November 24 for pick-up on Thanksgiving Day at 11 a.m..

If you’re just responsible for dessert, head to:
Bien Cuit, 120 Smith Street, Brooklyn, Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m./7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thanksgiving
If you want to steal the show, pre-order pies or buttermilk biscuits to pick up starting Tuesday November 24. The bakery is offering two nine inch pies – cocoa nib pecan and pumpkin caramel – for $35 each; buttermilk biscuits are $16.50 for a dozen.


Explore Your City With Rooftop Wine, Restaurant Week, and Free Waffles

Summer Restaurant Week, multiple locations, Monday through August 14

Take advantage of affordable outdoor dining during the summer session of NYC Restaurant Week. Recently opened options for three-course $25 lunches and $38 dinners include Chefs Club by Food & Wine, while The Library at the Public and Saul at the Brooklyn Museum provide easy access for entertainment after the meal. A full lineup of participating restaurants and reservation options can be viewed here.

Strong Island Dinner, All’onda, 22 East 13th Street, Monday, 5:30 p.m.

Long Island natives Marc Forgione and Chris Jaeckle team together to shine a spotlight on local ingredients. The duo collaborated on a six-course menu, with dishes including oysters, swordfish crudo, duck breast, and a dessert featuring Long Island iced tea–flavored ice cream. The restaurant will also feature a selection of music curated by fashion designer Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein to enjoy during service, which means this is a great opportunity to make a bold statement with your outfit for the evening. Reservations are $85 (sales tax, gratuity, and beverages are not included) and can be made by contacting the restaurant directly or online.

Free Waffles and Rare Beer, Clinton Hall, 90 Washington Street, Tuesday, 6 to 11 p.m.

If you missed your chance to party like a Belgian this weekend, the real Belgian Independence Day is being celebrated on Tuesday with free waffles and rare beers from Brewery Ommegang. The Wafels & Dinges truck is giving away 200 free waffles to customers who purchase a beer, with the brewery offering a special independence day brew that some say tastes like tangerine. Ommegang makes one beer for the Belgian holiday each year, available only this week, with brews like the cherry-blended Liefman Cuvee Brut disappearing quicker than a Snapchat. The beer hall also offers non-traditional Belgian games like beer pong and Jenga, with a full food and drink menu available for purchase.

Rooftop Reds Launch Party, Kings County Distillery, 63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 6 to 9 p.m.

Check out a Brooklyn-based rooftop winery while chowing down on roasted pig courtesy of Smoak BBQ. For $35, guests receive one drink from the winery’s first vintage as well as all-you-can-eat pig sliders with sides, with additional whiskey cocktails available for purchase. The rooftop also plans to host happy hours — including one where you can reserve a hammock — as well as tours and pop-up dining events. Reserve a ticket with a sunset view here.

New Happy Hour, Leyenda, 221 Smith Street, Brooklyn, Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.

Instead of sitting in beach traffic, end the weekday on a backyard patio at a new happy hour with cocktails from Julie Reiner and Ivy Mix. Specials include discounted select drinks ($5–$6), beer ($3–$4), and wine ($5). Groups can also take advantage of pitchers of sangria ($28) and spirit flights. As Friday is also National Tequila Day, the bar will be featuring 28 varieties in addition to piscos, mezcals, and other spirits.


Skip Your Summer Diet: Check Out Mile End’s Poutine Week

Fries, cheese curds, and gravy may be the equivalent of Christmas in July to traditionalists, but that isn’t stopping Mile End co-owner Joel Tietolman from delivering presents. The Montreal-inspired delicatessen with Jewish roots is in the thick of poutine week, running from July 13 to 19, and will be extending the festivities via a weekly rotating guest chef menu from July 20 to August 16. The specialty poutines are available during brunch, lunch, and dinner for $18 each at both Mile End locations.

“In Montreal, there are restaurants that just serve different kinds of poutine,” Tietolman tells the Voice. “However, one big benefit of working with guest chefs to create a signature meal is that it allows for some one-of-a-kind creations. Dale Talde suggested a lobster tom yum poutine. We’re going to have lobster in a Jewish deli.” He smiles. “That doesn’t usually happen.”

Additional dishes include Andy Ricker’s (Pok Pok) sweet potato, fish sauce gravy, and fried-scallion topping, Hugue Dufour’s (M. Wells) classic Italienne meat sauce, and Billy Durney’s (Hometown BBQ) jalapeno-cheddar sausage gravy with pimento cheese. The deli is also running a contest following the end of its guest chef series where creative types can submit an original recipe, with the winning entrant nabbing a spot on the deli’s menu.

Scroll through the photos below to find the poutine that’s right for you, before they disappear:

Josh Ostrovsky's go-to poutine includes bacon.
Josh Ostrovsky’s go-to poutine includes bacon.


Philly cheesesteak poutine
Philly cheesesteak poutine


The Zac Brown Band would approve of this one.
The Zac Brown Band would approve of this one.


Motherland's poutine features hearty lamb merguez.
Motherland’s poutine features hearty lamb merguez.