A few days ago, I was sharing how I am not an expert when it comes to tourism in New York. However, if there is one area I can elaborate for hours, it’s FOOD. Restaurants and supermarkets are unlikely an pleasant adventure. J. and I are BIG restaurant consuments and I know it will be hard to believe but I eat a hundred times better (price/quality/SERVICE) in New York than Paris. At the same time it is not very difficult. I could also write about it: “the worst restaurant experiences I ever had in 100 lines”, which, for a certain reason, all took place in Paris (I’ve been on five continents). For real, if I had to expand on the subject. Between what is “normal”: Two-hour wait to finally eat nothing, restaurant that also serves pets (see the mice running by my feet? Better mice than rats though…), fights between the waiters, being cussed out by the manager while I ‘m paying the bill… and everything that is “paranormal”. I think the best (or worst) I’ve seen was when the waiter started to nibble from my friends plate… Yeah, just like that… He was hungry, wouldn’t you do the same? I can write a book.
Anyways, let me just move on… Here is a mini-Food Guide for those on the move.
At Chez Lucienne people speak French, eat French in a very Frenchy atmosphere… except it’s better. The restaurant is located between Lenox and 125th street in the middle of Harlem. Everything is fresh, good, and the prices are decent (sautéed spinach and salmon burgers are delicious). Book in advance for dinner, it’s always crowded.
Chez Lucienne | 308 Lenox Ave – New York (Harlem)
We ate so many times at Cilantro that the waitress was laughing whenever we showed up. I’m not really a fan of Mexican food but man!!! Great service, decor not overrated like… “Ariba Ariba” and the food is delicious. At noon, the menus are very cheap and they serve you a fresh fish soup to die for. In this restaurant, no “vulgar” tortillas for appetizer… here you are served delicious plantain and sweet potato chips. Oh I forgot! Don’t do as I did… if the waiter asks if you want more soda, say yes! It’s FREE!
Cilantro | 485 Columbus Ave (West 83rd St.) – New York (Manhattan)
This space is reserved for those who love fresh burgers. Ok, let’s be clear New York burgers are not the healthiest (especially for my hips), but I must admit that there are gourmet burgers that can’t be passed on. Going to New York without getting a burger doesn’t really make sense after all… Here are my three favorites. # 1: Steak’n Shake , pure shut down (and here’s a tip, a little mouse shared that a restaurant could open its doors very soon in France… hush!!!). N°2 : Parker Meridian, of course. N°3 : Shake Shack, peanut butter milkshakes should be forbidden!
One Sunday morning, we were in Brooklyn and we came across Building On Bond. The coffee is very nice and they have a menu with all the typical American breakfast, the ideal place for brunch.
Building On Bond | 112 Bond St – New York (Brooklyn)
Sensitive souls please abstain! If you are diabetic, if you have heart issues, if you have a cholesterol level slightly above the norm… actually if you have a little bit of respect for your liver, RUN! For years I told myself that I had to go to Louisiana just to have the opportunity to eat Soulfood: corn bread, waffles, candied yams, fried chicken and cranberry sauce. Harlem or LA, it’s the same, right? So I drugged J. and sister to go eat Chicken & Waffle and man I got a run for my money! OMG! While this is very good, if not succulent, if the food does not kill you, it will continue to live in your body for at least a week. Soulfood is like mixing a pound of sugar, a bottle of oil and drink it all in one shot from a Crisco container. You order chicken, you get chicken oil. You ask for candied yams (mashed sweet potatoes) and you’ll get sweet potato jam. I think the coup de grace was the lemonade… SYRUP! Just so you know, I thought twice before sharing the address. You never know, things could go south.
Amy Ruth’s | 113 W. 116th St – New York (Harlem)
Here’s my all time favorite. No need to go there at night, it is packed. However, you may be lucky enough to eat there for lunch. Thai dishes, simple and good. The service is very fast and the price is right.
Land Thai | 450 Amsterdam Ave. (81–82 St.) – New York (Manhattan)