@Yubu Yubuchobap Korean Picnic Pockets

I was craving something different for once and while scanning new spots in the East Village I came upon YUBU whose yubuchobap fit the bill. Yubuchobap are Korean finger food sized fried tofu pockets filled with sushi like vinegared rice and topped with a variety of savory delights. Usually eaten at picnics or as hors d’oeuvres at parties.

YUBU offers a dozen options to choose from that include meat, fish and veggie options. I decided on the Spicy Pork Jaeyook, the Salmon and to stay semi healthy…another Salmon (since it was prepared poke’ style) even though a number of the other choices were temping.

The Jaeyook was very good and while not too hot definitely had enough spice to hide the subtle sweetness of the pocket that really came through with the Salmon. I’ll definitely be back to try more of them including the Spicy Tuna Mayo, Bulgogi and Spicy Chicken with Cheese.

I usually just drink water but wanted to try their sparkling Ade’s and got the Maesil (green plum) which was pretty tasty but recommend mixing them up well before you start drinking them. Do like the cups they are served in with the no straw required spouts.

Definitely add YUBU to your list of East Village Take Out, Korean Cuisine, Fast Casual, Spicy Food and Quick Bite lists. Of note, while primarily for Take Out they do have some outside seating.

Yubu is located at 86 East 7th Street

The Bowery Meat Company

One of my co-workers was in from out of town on his B-Day. As luck would have it I was invited to a biz partners event at The Public Hotels rooftop. After a fun time the Happy Hour wrapped up and we needed a good spot for a B-Day dinner. After throwing out a few ideas the group voted on Steak. I had heard good things about the Bowery Meat Company and it was time to see how it stacked up to the great steakhouses of NYC.

We started out with a round of their delicious spin on a Bouvedier that they call a Smoke Signal (Equal parts Japanese Whiskey, Forthave Aperitif and Vermouth with an orange twist snd bitters) at the bar while we waited for out table (we had a fifth join our reservation for four and the Manager, Cesar had to do some juggling to accommodate us). Of note, on a Tuesday night the place was packed.

After discussing if anyone had any dietary restrictions we ordered to share the Jumbo Shrimp (comes with 4 we added a 5th) and the Mac n Cheese with Lobster. Obviously, Kosher not one of the restrictions to overcome.

For our entrees one of my new friends ordered the Branzino, while the rest of us shared the 40oz Tomahawk (states for 2) and the 14oz New York strip. For sides the sautéed spinach to be healthy and the Homefries to soak in the beverages.

To drink with our dinner I ordered a nice Sicilian Red since the Bday Boy is of Sicilian origins…however, I wasn’t the only one who choose that bottle since it was sold out and we ended up with a nice Barbaresco. They have a rather large wine list and what I particularly like was the variety in price points.

The fish was a nice sized piece and cooked to perfection. The steaks were served medium rare as a compromise to those that wanted medium and those of us who wanted it rare, bleeding, kicking and screaming. Those looking at the photo may question the description…but by NYC steakhouses that is medium rare.

Both steaks were outstanding and some of the best I’ve enjoyed in NYC which is saying a lot. I felt that the Tomahawk could easily accommodate three if not four, but glad we got the strip…not a piece of either was left. We were torn over which cut was better, I sided with the Tomahawk.

We had a little room left for dessert and of course we were celebrating a birthday. So we ordered up espressos and a slice of the 18 Layer Chocolate cake and the Carrot cake that we devoured.

I’ll definitely be back and have already recommended it to a number of friends. Add The Bowery Meat Company to your Best NYC Steakhouses, Best East Village restaurants, Tomahawk Steaks, Best Lobster Mac n Cheese, Great Wine lists and Great Cocktails lists.

The Bowery Meat Company is located at 9 East 1st Street

@CHILI Sichuan via 1930’s Shanghai in Murray Hill

I was recently discussing Sichuan Chinese food with one of my neighbors when I stumbled upon CHILI on my way to the LIRR #synchronicity . After a quick look at their menu I knew I had to check it out.

A couple of days later after the gym I walked into CHILI and was transported from a gray rainy NYC day Summer of 2022 to Shanghai in the 1930’s. This was due to a combination of the blue and red decor, photos on the walls and mix of old school Jazz and classic Chinese music.

On weekdays they offer a superior quality lunch special with plenty to choose from. I decided on the Braised Fish with Tofu that was absolutely delicious while being pretty spicy. It comes with a soup, I opted for Hot n Sour over the Bean and purple vs white rice. All were top notch including the service.

Next up I’ll have to try their Three Pepper Chicken or Beef with with Green Chili at lunch. Their Chungking fish stews, Beef scallion pancake wraps and Dim Sum look tasty too.

Definitely add CHILI to your Best Chinese restaurants, Spicy Food, Lunch Specials, spots in Murray Hill and Restaurants that transport you lists. Of note, Chef Peter He is Michelin Star rated and it shows.

CHILI is located at 13 East 37th Street

Hamachi 34 Lunch Specials

Sushi Sashimi Lunch

I was looking for a sushi spot for lunch after the gym and on my way to the office heading west. I remember walking by a relatively new spot on my way home that at least location wise worked and headed over.

The first time I went to Hamachi 34 I ordered the three roll combo. They have a fair amount to choose from and I ordered eel, spicy tuna and a spicy snow crab roll. I thought they were good though not crazy about the crab which I did ask and confirmed was real deal.

I decided to give Hamachi 34 another go and choose the Sushi Sashimi combo. It came with four pieces of sushi, seven of sashimi (three varieties of fish) and a tuna roll. Keeping in mind you get what you pay for and this was no $85 Omakase but a $16.00 lunch…I was rather happy with my meal and will definitely put it in my near the gym rotation.

Hamachi 34 is a good addition to the area and if you are a sushi fan and not a total snob add it to your Japanese, Sushi, and Lunch specials in Murray Hill lists.

Hamachi 34 is located at 56 East 34th Street

Rocco Steakhouse on Madison

A friend was up from Texas and when asked what he was up for he stated “no Sushi, y’all know anywhere with a decent steak and a good selection of Scotch to go with it”? It was clear he was poking fun as he’s been here a number of times but guess he has experienced mixed results. Rocco has become a fave of one of our buds so he called a guy he knows and got us a table.

Rocco is a scion of Wolfgangs begat by Peter Lugers the progenitor of NYC’s best local steakhouses. Their menu is an expanded version of the same tried and true formula with some twists. As I almost always start with at a steak house we ordered up slabs of think cut bacon, shrimp cocktail and for the twist tomato with mozzarella vs onions. A dollop of the classic steak house cocktail sauce to dip.

For the steak while they offer a number of cuts the way to go at a place like this is with the Porterhouse. One of my buds and I shared a rare, bleeding and screaming portion while the rest of our party opted for medium rare so some could let their pieces cook to medium in the steaks juices while enjoying their drinks.

Cocktails are done right from Martini’s and Negroni’s to Whiskey High Balls made with upscale Japanese whiskeys. As in Harushu 12 yr old. Rumour has it they also make a mean off the menu IPA (inside joke 🙂 For those looking for vino plenty to choose from and more than enough Scotches for our Texan to choose from.

For sides we shared hash browns, steak fries, must have mac n cheese w lobster (which while not loaded w the crustaceans meat was delish nonetheless) and to be healthy and green sautéed spinach. If the ketchup in the photo looks sacrilegious…it was for the fries. Though I thought I espied some on my neighbors steak to the left of me.

For desert we shared a number of their cakes and pies with the carrot and tiramisu being crowd faves (key lime so-so). Though mine was the heaping mound of heart stopping schlag (thick n heavy whipped cream) to use for cream in my coffee. Its a great way to stress test your heart after eating so much red meat.

Rocco’s is up there with the best of Steakhouses in the city, with their perfectly cooked steaks, superior appi’s and sides, classic cocktails and superior service in a well appointed room. If you live/work/find yourself in the NoMad area craving red meat add this to your list of go to spots. Of note, compared to the steaks in Texas our bud gave Rocco’s an 8+. Which means from almost anywhere else…an 11 out of 10.

Rocco Steakhouse is located at 72 Madison Avenue

Felice 15 Tuscan in FiDi

I needed an Italian spot in FiDi close to where some friends worked but not one of their regular spots. Employing google maps I came upon Felice 15 which turns out yo be part of a mini high end group of like named restaurants. However, unlike most similar restaurant groups that are red sauce joints, the Felice group is Tuscan.

While trying to decide on entrees we ordered a few appetizers to share. To be healthy the salmon tartare, to be classic the veal meatballs and for something fried, the baby artichoke and calamari combo. All delicious, prepared just right.

For Entrees with the exception of one of my party going salad, the rest of us went pasta. Our choices included the bolognese of veal ragu over fettuccine, cooked and smoked salmon in a cream sauce and I got the sausage with porcini mushrooms in a truffle sauce over pappardelle. There was nothing left on any of the plates…caught up in conversation we didn’t even get to sample each others dishes.

Though the deserts sounded good, we were all fairly full and decided to hold off till the next time going with double espressos with a lemon peel to finish the meal.

There are over a half dozen locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn and well worth adding Felice to your go to upscale Italian restaurants with their delicious cuisine, impeccable service and classy atmosphere. Of note, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offer a prix fixe at lunch.

Felice 15 is located at 15 Gold Street in FiDi

Gertie’s Nuevo Jewish Deli

Love a good Rueben, Matzah Ball soup and even if you’re not pregnant…you crave pickles? Then Gertie’s take on classic Jewish comfort food is for you. Gertie’s menu is made up of twists on classic Jewish Deli sandwiches on a variety of rye bread and bagels, smoked fish, salads, soups, baked goods and more.

My bud and I after reviewing the fairly large menus decided on going with a couple of sandwiches, the Turkey Pastrami club on an epic sourdough rye and the Corner Beef Rueben on caraway rye. They really take that bread makes the sandwich to heart here.

We went deluxe for an extra $3 that gives you some delish fingerling red bliss and Peruvian purple potatoes with a tasty aioli to dip them in. We also got the pickled veggies plate to share. To drink went with Peppermint Arnold Palmer’s. Though they have a liquor license with cocktails, beer and wine if you so desire.

The space is big, open and airy and seems to be going for a west coast vibe. Service is warm and friendly. Definitely a great spot for a tasty sandwich or a coffee and baked good, of which I’ll have to try another time. I’d come back for those mixed fingerling potatoes alone.

Gerties is located at 357 Grand Street

Rush Hour’s Super Stuffed Cookies

Are you a cookie monster? Does the idea of a cookie stuffed within a cookie appeal to you…if so then you need to check out Rush Hour’s cookie creations. With over a dozen to choose from its no easy task…but you could have worse dilemmas to deal with.

Some of the flavors available include bright colored sugar cookies like the blue Cookie Monster stuff with chocolate chip cookie, vary to Oatmeal stuffed with Apple pie or the S’mores…but thats just stuffed with a yummy marshmallow.

They can be frozen and do last in the fridge a few days easy…just pop in the oven or microwave(30 sec max) if you want them warm. While $4.50 a pop they are pretty big and can easily eaten in multiple sessions…or go full cookie monster and stuff it in your pie hole in one sitting.

Rush Hour Cookie Cafe is located at 234 Kent Avenue

Bamonte’s Red Sauce Joint est. 1900

On a wet rainy unusually cold midweek Summer evening, this old school red sauce joint that has been operating by the same family since 1900 was packed with a wait. We were told a table would be awhile and recommended some time at the bar.

Even the bar was packed, but I managed to squeeze in and ordered Negroni’s and a glass of Montepulciano. Shortly after the drinks arrived a regular right out of a Scorsese flick was kind enough to give us his bar space since he and his friends were just having post dinner drinks (plus I think he fancied my cousins girlfriend).

We were fine with bar seating, but just after we placed our order the hostess came and found us #exceptionalservice and shared a table opened up. Bamonte’s menu is full of all your old school red sauce joint classics. Nothing new and fancy here…just the stuff Grandma’s make on a Sunday.

We decided on the cold antipasto and the fried calamari to start. The antipasto was the usual suspects with quite a few really tasty anchovies. Calamari as good as you’re gonna get it.

For entrees we ordered the linguine with clam sauce to sample their pasta and the shrimp parmigiana for some more seafood. The linguine was loaded with bivalves and very garlicky, though didn’t even see any garlic in it. We love garlic so really enjoyed it. Plus good protection from the Vampire Hipsters roaming Williamsburg.

I literally grew up on shrimp parm and its one of my all time fave dishes. However, my cuz’s girlfriend never had it before. Let’s just say shes now a convert. The entrees come with a veggie plate of string beans and potatoes.

Though fairly full we have sweet teeth so we went for both the Tiramisu and the Chocolate Mousse with Espresso’s. The perfect finish for an epic meal.

Though Williamsburg has plenty of new and highly rated Italians restaurants…this OG spot reigns as King and Queen for all I’m concerned. along with the great food, came impeccable service and the place radiates history from all its old photos and fixtures. I look forward to coming back to work my way down the memory lane that is Bamonte’s menu.

Bamonte’s is located at 32 Withers Street Brooklyn NY

Bathhouse Williansburg: The Good, the Bad, and the…

Bathhouse pic from Greenpointers*

What was supposed to be a midweek beach day went south as the second day of Summer 2022 temperature dropped south into the 60’s. Regardless, I wanted to get in the water and decided on getting a massage at Bathhouse in Williamsburg so I could indulge in their water lounge. It’s a hipster interpretation of a classic bathhouse.

Since first and last impressions often color how we view things I’m going to break down the day as I experienced my stay which started at 1pm and last till a bit after 5pm.

Reception part I – Literally in space. Someone left a wallet on the counter, not only did neither receptionist see it(right in front of them) I’m not even sure they knew what it was #notvenmo? The slippers they provide are good. The towels just ok, kinda thin as if they are trying to be sustainable…at a bathhouse with plunge pools, saunas, and showers. Robes are a joke. They give you them if you need one at the restaurant. They are freaking belly button length thin kimono like things. Seriously, provide a robe made for a Spa for what you are charging.

Changing Room part I – I hope the Women’s locker room is larger or if I come again I can invoke woke and use it. While the Men’s room is clean, there are way too many lockers for the space (40+ I believe). With one row of maybe 4-5ft of space across the lockers with long very narrow benches, changing here without anyone else nearby is challenging. With more than a few Spa-ticipants at a time it’s a full on Roman orgy.

Crowd- mostly 20 somethings to early 40’s, though varies from girls rocking thongs with the glutes to do so, ripped abs on boys n girls to those so large…thought they would literally displace the water in the plunge pools. In other words, whatever your shape, as long as comfortable in your skin you’ll fit right in.

Massage – the massage was rock solid. Marileidy started by asking some key questions on my health and where to put extra care and then went to work. The table is comfortable and adjustable. The massause used it to leverage her body weight and used I believe her knees to really dig in. It is a sports massage so expect to get worked over, but definitely worth coming here for one.

Water Lounge Part I – this subterranean room has three plunge pools hot(not) cold(very) and warm (luke). A good sized dry sauna room (just watch the timber beams) and two steam rooms. I preferred the one on the left. It’s a pretty cool space with its Roman murals. There are marble slabs to lie on and pose as the crowd here does and a fare amount of wicker chairs to sit.

Restaurant – I’ll admit I was expecting overpriced and undersized spa food and instead got 3 nice sized and perfectly cooked chucks of Waygu with chimichurri for only $12 a skewer. The cold brew and iced Americano was good too. The tables and chairs are comfy, but they have a number of these slouch couch things that didn’t work for me as I have a backbone. Of note, its a fact Hipsters do not, nor do they need them.

Water lounge Part II – even on a Wednesday it started getting pretty busy. I had no trouble getting into any pool or steam-room…but it must be a madhouse on the weekends. Going between the not so hot tub and cold pool worked best, giving one a pins and needles effect in a good way. Also found lying on the marble slab with property positioned towels more comfy than anticipated.

Changed Room part II – There are also only two shower’s and one was “on vacation” …translation from hipster speak out of order. Luckily, my Yoga classes came in handy helping me to contort to get changed.

Reception part II – Check out was smooth, aware and in all fairness I might be biased due to how pretty her eyes were.

At the end of the day as per my stay, I think it depends on what you are looking for. If you live in/easy access to Williamsburg and want a good massage, bathhouse experience, thing to do on a rainy day, meet someone in the wild not on an app this could be for you. If you want a relaxing day, don’t care for a scene, expect a good sized locker room with top notch facilities, towels, robes etc…at their prices might not be for you. As for me, coin toss.

*Of note, you cannot take pics inside the facility aside from the restaurant and reception area.

Bathhouse is located at 103 North 10th Street Williamsburg Brooklyn