On Our Radar

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
No Reservations
Business/Location: The Palomar
Address: 34 Rupert St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: W1D 6DN
Phone: 020 7439 8777
Website: thepalomar.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   The Palomar
"Shall we go in?" we looked at each other doubtfully. It was 6:15pm on a Thursday night and the dining bar at The Palomar was already rammed. I almost abandoned the idea because I hate this "stand-at-the-bar-while-you-wait" culture which is so common now (you can book tables at The Palomar but it takes months to get one). We stood scrunched up against the wall agreeing that if we got through the first drink and there were still no seats available, we would go somewhere else. But within about 20 minutes, we were shown to our places - a front row seat in the theatre that is the open kitchen at The Palomar. And honestly, listening to and watching the banter amongst the chefs is worth the wait alone, every so often, the head chef singing along with Elvis playing on the sound system, slightly discordantly, but with such chutzpah you can't not smile. You can't not smile when you taste the food either--the humble butternut squash risotto was elevated to another level, the octo-hummous was compelling, and the onglet steak (with latkes, fried egg and bone marrow) sublime. I was slightly disappointed by the shakshukit (deconstructed kebab) as it was quite oily and heavy but perhaps the bar had been raised too high as I also found the halva cream brownie relatively underwhelming. Dinner wasn't cheap at £57 each but that included two cocktails apiece and service. I will definitely return and wait patiently for my seat at the bar.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
June 10: NFT Guide Launch Event at Word!
Business/Location: WORD
Address: 126 Franklin St
City: Brooklyn
State: NY
Zip Code: 11222
Phone: 718-383-0096
Website: www.wordbrooklyn.com

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 10, because Not For Tourists is celebrating the release of its brand new guide -- The NFT Illustrated Guide to NYC. This new guidebook has gone where no NYC NFT has gone before with custom illustrations, bigger print, photos, and easy-to-use maps. New York has changed a lot since 1999 when NFT first launched to the masses, and we want to chat about the future, present, and past of NYC. Join co-founders Jane Pirone and Rob Tallia along with editor Craig Nelson for a lively discussion on all things New York and NFT at Word Bookstore in Greenpoint. The event takes place from 7 to 9 pm on June 10th so join in the fun, pick up your own copy of the book, and sip a complimentary drink to get you in the spirit. Check out the Facebook event page for more info.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Business/Location: La Pétanque
Address: 40 Rue Etienne Dolet
City: Paris
Zip Code: 75020
Phone: 46 36 49 36

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   La Pétanque
"Bonne chance!" shouted the barman as we left the hipster place on Rue Menilmontant where we had just asked the question, "Do you have any cider?" Well, we were in luck because we'd been to a bar a few nights before that did indeed serve cider, and we were going to return. I don't know if cider is seen as a hobo drink in Paris--not quite sophisticated or cosmopolitan enough--but it is hard to find. Certainly, the only place that you will find it on tap is in an Irish pub and it's probably going to be Magner's. But La Pétanque, thankfully had some very good Breton cider, albeit in 25cl bottles, which slaked our thirst. "Where are you from, my friend?" the kindly barman who had remembered us asked in French. "Angleterre, de Londres," I said. I also explained that cider is served in pints in England, hence the fact that my boyfriend and I had sunk three bottles apiece. "Everyone is welcome here," our new friend said, eyes shining, as if we were now part of the club. And it kind of does feel like a club, with a pinball machine in the corner, a few bar flies who never seem to leave, and great music on the speakers; we felt right at home.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
Picture This
Business/Location: Picture
Address: 110 Great Portland Street
City: London
Zip Code: W1W 6PG
Phone: 020 7637 7892
Website: www.picturerestaurant.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
I don't like restaurant critics. They're always snarky. Anger issues. Passive aggression. If I don't like somewhere, I just won't review it. So that's the first thing to get off my chest. The second thing: I'm not overly keen on 'small plates'. I don't like sharing which is what people tend to do with small plates. So Picture, because it's being reviewed here, must be at least good to outstanding, and also, must have converted me to this way of eating. Picture is that rare thing: a quietly confident eaterie in central London that has both style and substance, and it's also pretty damned reasonable for the quality of food and service you're receiving. The tasting menu is six courses (that's six small plates each) which may seem daunting but each dish is so carefully considered and the service timed so well that you never feel overwhelmed only excited about the next course. I couldn't say which was my favourite, everything was cooked to perfection; however, the sea bream elevated a dish which has become ubiquitous yet so often badly done. Closely followed by the pork cheeks. And the sublime chocolate mousse. An a la carte menu is available if you're after a quick bite but I highly recommend the Spring tasting menu. Simple food and flavours done perfectly.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Greenwood's Cozy Nut
Business/Location: The Cozy Nut Tavern
Address: 123 N 85th St
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98103
Phone: 206-784-2240

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
   The Cozy Nut Tavern
Greenwood's aptly named joint delightfully evokes Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Thanks to the reclaimed wood interior and soft lamplight you'll feel like you are enjoying your cocktails or streamlined selection of local and imported brews inside the nicest damned tree trunk imaginable. Every minute spent there is a pure joy from their adorable anthropomorphic forest creature silhouettes to their build-your-own charcuterie plates. The delightfully toothsome texture of their warm, house made corn nuts (complimentary with every drink order) shatteringly transcend the commercial variety. Even the taxidermy seems pleased to be part of it all. Bring a deck of cards and settle in with friends.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Burgundian Brunch
Business/Location: Burgundian
Address: 2253 N 56th St
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98103
Phone: 206-420-8943
Website: www.burgundianbar.com

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
The Burgundian isn't Seattle's only destination for chicken and waffles. But the malt batter and bourbon maple syrup makes it one of the best. The classic pairing is only one of numerous reasons to become a brunch regular. The wood-laden, 21+ establishment gives discerning grownups a comfortable place to recharge on a late weekend morning. Dishes like the veggie-laden winter hash, bruleed oranges, or fruit-filled steel cut oatmeal prove you don't need a grease-bomb to satisfyingly soak up the previous night's indulgences. Bread accompaniment options include brioche or a biscuit. Enjoy your meal with a hair-of-the-dog cocktail or a flawless latte.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Toronado's 40 Rotating Taps
Business/Location: Toronado
Address: 1205 NE 65th St
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98115
Phone: 206-525-0654
Website: www.toronadoseattle.com

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
Do you love beer, but find yourself let down by the paltry 10-12 options you usually find at a bar? The California-originated Toronado has your back with 40 rotating taps and a giant LCD menu that's just begging for you to make a night of it. View the live beer board on their website so you're not so overwhelmed once you get there. They've got equally massive lists of bourbon, whiskey, scotch and tequila for the more spirited folks. Somehow, they also find time to maintain a farm-to-table menu full of decadent sandwiches and charcuterie plates. Or just get a plate of bacon for $10.

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Oysters, Cocktails, Burgers
Business/Location: Black Market
Address: 110 Ave A
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10009
Phone: 212-614-9798
Website: www.blackmarketny.com

Posted by:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian
   Black Market
Black Market's front window advertises three food items in big letters – cocktails, oysters and burgers – but right on the glass of their front door they throw in an extra superlative: “best burger in town.” There's no shortage of places in town that claim (sometimes quite dubiously) to be the best at something or other, but Black Market has some legitimate claim to the title. They're not doing anything outside the borders of a traditional burger, just doing it well. Their Pat LaFrieda sourced meat is apparently a custom mix. It's well seasoned and finely cooked (to order, of course), with an excellent bun and side of addicting fries to complete the meal. Sure, there are too many great burgers in this town to give the crown definitively to one spot, but it is damn good, and my favorite in the East Village. Beer is the natural compliment to a burger, but if you're feeling a little fancy, they mix a fine cocktail as well.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Everybody's Sushi For The Weekend
Business/Location: Sushi Kanpai
Address: 900 8th Ave
City: Seattle
State: WA
Zip Code: 98104
Phone: 206-588-2769
Website: www.sushikanpai.com

Posted by:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter
   Sushi Kanpai
What's better than an awesome happy hour? How about a happy hour that lasts all weekend and features what is practically a dinner-sized menu at low prices? Order more traditional sushi rolls or YOLO with the Heart Attack (basically a Japanese jalapeno popper). Don't miss the tempura or the gyoza. The catch is a one-drink per person minimum, which means you can't share that Saki unless you get a beer back. It's a convenient spitting distance from Town Hall, so you get your buzz on and fill your belly before catching a reading by that author you heard on NPR. Of course, you can always order from their regular menu, where the food gets fancy but the prices stay reasonable. Kanpai!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sweder Than a Cinnamon Bun
Business/Location: Scandinavian Kitchen
Address: 61 Great Titchfield St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: W1W 7PP
Phone: 020 7580 7161
Website: www.scandikitchen.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Scandinavian Kitchen
If you're a lover of the Swedish cinnamon bun or have graduated to the cardamom bun, then the semla (or semlor in the plural) will blow your mind. A cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream, the semla was traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday. Back in the day, it was a humble bread bun served in hot milk but at some point, like everyone else, the Swedes got fed up with this ascetic regime and the semla as we now know it was born. This pimping of the tradition proved too delicious and semlor became available every Tuesday until Easter. Then they started popping up soon after Christmas--not unlike the Cadbury's cream egg. Let's be honest, Mardi Gras is pretty much the stretch from Christmas through to Easter: after that the days start to get longer and we become aware of our less-than-svelte figures. I can't think of a better place to exercise winter eating than The Scandinavian Kitchen. With its open sandwiches, buns and cakes, and the stash of imported goodies at the back of the café (they have Smash! from Norway! Only the best salty-sweet chocolate hit EVER!), I'll happily take a 'tretar' (translates literally as 'threefill' or third cup) of Monmouth coffee.