Little Alley Shanghainese: Michelin listed in Murray Hill

A Michelin guide listed restaurant in Murray Hill? Yes, you read that correctly. Little Alley a Shanginese style Chinese joint with a rather large menu got high points for being a comfortable restaurant offering authentic Shanghainese cuisine for a good value.

To start Little Alley offers quite a few Dim Sum dumpling options(available at lumch snd dinner) along with a number of hot and cold appi’s. Their Soup Dumplings are some of the better I’ve had. I enjoyed the pork, they offer crab and pork as well. 

From the entree menu on my most recent visit I choose the sautéed Chicken with dry hot peppers and peanuts with brown rice. A nice sized portion with just the right amount of heat. Of note, do not eat the dry red peppers unless you want to light your insides on fire…

From their lunch specials menu, a bargain at $10-12 bucks I choose the Flounder with Tofu in a spicy garlic sauce with brown Rice. It comes with Hot and Sour soup and a spring roll or cucumber salad. Their Kung Pao chicken is very good as well.

For far better than your average Chinese spot for lunch specials, soup dumplings, Dim Sum all day and dinner add Little Alley to your go to lists.

Little Alley is located at 550 3rd Avenue 


VinoTapa Spanish Tapas y Vino in Kips Bay

Looking for a good spot for dinner for two or somewhere for a small group to drink and nibble over idle banter…ideally by the Kips Bay movie theaters? Want something other than the usual suspects in the neighborhoodpossibly some Spanish cuisine? 

VinoTapa offers a large assortment of Spanish Tapas and a nice selection of vino and some pretty good cocktails.
I sampled a number of dishes, my faves were the Short Rib, the Blue Cheese stuffed Dates and the Calamari with Chorizo which were all very good.

The Chorizo flatbread wasn’t bad but out of whack price wise for its size and I felt the same about the Charred Avocado salad. 

For drinks I thought their Martini tasted too weak but their Cel-Ray version of a Paloma was really good. 

Overall I like this spot a lot, it’s just a matter of choosing the right food and drink from their assortment. 

VinoTapa is located at 201 East 31st Street 

Sushi Ryusei: Traditional Tokyo style Sushi hits Murray Hill

Chef Masato Oyama formerly of Sushi of Gari recently opened up a traditional Tokyo style sushi bar in of all places Murray Hill (located on the corner of the tunnel approach street in between 2nd and 3rd avenues) offering up some of the best sushi you will find in NYC. 

His new place Sushi Ryusei serves exceptionally fresh and perfectly sliced seafood served Tokyo style(dab of wasabi between fish and rice) in a sleek minimalist setting with friendly top notch service.

The fish by the piece or by primarily traditional rolls (no Hot Sexy Volcano rolls with eight ingredients here…Spicy Scallop is as exotic as it gets) are the stars here. 

There are a number of Izakaya style cooked dishes available like, Ebi Shumai (though no gyoza) Soba and Udon Soups (sorry, no Ramen) and Tempura dishes. Of note, at the Sushi bar cooked entrees are not served, only Omakase diners, sushi and appetizers, for cooked entrees request a table.  

Murray Hill finally gets a serious Sushi spot for those who prefer quality over mass quantity and traditional authentic vs americanized fusion food. Pricing is a bit premium, though well worth it. A great place for a date, small group of friends or for a discreet business conversation. Open for lunch (M-F) and dinner.

Sushi Ryusei is located at 216 East 39th Street 

Flats Fix Flatiron Tacos y Taqueria 

Who says you can’t go home again? For some of you, Flats Fix is a brand new hot spot for Tacos, Drinks and Happy Hour. For some of us it’s where our old stomping grounds Live Bait (by the Coffee Shop is their USQ location)a Creole spot was located, now a full on Fusion-Mex Taqueria

Flats Fix has awesome Tacos, some of the better in NYC, and large selection of them to choose from. I’ve had a number thus far with the Grilled Fish, Pastrami (totally works!) and Brisket being my faves. They also have a number of Vegetarian options including a very good Pepper one. 

Tequila based drinks and craft brews are your weapons of choice here though they have a full bar. Flats Fix has a great happy hour with specials on food ($6 for any 2 Tacos) and drinks($6 Margs and Paloma’s). A fun diverse crowd and a great team behind the bar add to the fun. 

Initially I was crushed when I saw Live Bait and Coffee Shop were no more, but once I found out the original owners just changed things up…walking into Flats Fix feels like coming home again. Add Flats Fix to your Happy Hour, Tacos, and Margarita lists. 

Flats Fix is located at 14 East 23rd Street

Frankie Goes to Bollywood: Indian Street Food Sandwiches Hit Soho

Looking for the next great sandwich?Indian Street Food flatbread sandwiches known as “Frankie’s” (gluten free) are stuffed with chicken, lamb or beef in curries and a number of vegetarian options are the newest taste sensation to hit Soho.

I had the Slammin Saag stuffed with steak marinated with mango and creamed spinach curry. It was both tasty and different which is what I was craving. Size wise for me (but maybe enough for you) it wasn’t filling. So either a side order or half of another required for a full meal next time.

The space is primarily for takeout…but does offer some counter seating. In addition to the food they have cheeky neon T-shirts available. Frankie’s are a great addition to the New York sandwich scene and I’m looking forward to what else comes out of their kitchen. 

Frankie Goes to Bollywood is located at 204 Spring Street 

@Sunspel British Built for Bond Menswear Lands in Soho

Are you a fan of Bond, James Bond? Most people think Tuxedo when they hear his name. I always think Polo…Sean Connery in his fitted Polo on the beach gazing at Honey Rider emerging from the surf in Dr.No.  

British heritage brand Sunspel has finally landed its own brick n mortar store in the states. Known for their Riveria Polo (rocked by Daniel Craig in his debut as Bond in Casino Royale) they produce perfectly cut Tee shirts, Sweaters, Sweats, Henley’s, Polo’s, Chino’s, Underwear, etc in high end Pima cotton, Merino wool and Sea Island cotton for men and women.

I picked up a Merino wool long sleeve Polo in Navy and two of their short sleeve Pique Polo’s in Blue Slate and Botiglia Green (a dark Hunter green). While the Riveria Polo did fit me well, the Pique fit my physique better. 

I was pleasantly surprised not just how well made my new shirts are and fit, but that I found they fit true to size (XL) vs too small like many foreign made brands are. If you’re looking for some great new gear for your Bond like adventures

Sunspel is located at 85 Mercer Street 

@TheFolly #HappyHour and #GastroPub Lunch

Looking for a great spot in NYC that transports you to the Florida Keys? The Folly in Soho does just that via their Happy Hour…which by the way goes till 8pm! Their Happy Hour offers Craft Beers, Wine and their Frozen drinks like the killer Painkillers in the photo above. The Folly also has superior Pub-Grub featuring a great lunch special that gives you a free drink with any entree. Their Fish Tacos are great, though more New England than Mexican. Regardless, the flaky cod was very lightly fried and tasty. Their Burgers and Fish n Chips looked tasty too.

Whether a fun spot in Soho for Happy Hour or a late lunch that after a rough week requires a beverage… The Folly is a great find.

The Folly is located at 92 West Houston Street

Gabriel Kreuther Modern French Prix Fixe Lunch

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Business symposium/lunch at Gabriel Kreuther’s event space in their lower level. The space is perfect for a private event sms service here is top notch.

We started with their Lobster In a remoulade and truffle vinaigrette topped with watermelon radish and greens that was exquisite.

For entrees we had a choice of Hawaiian Sea Bass with a spiced crust in a tomato fennel broth or Black Angus tenderloin with peppercorn jus, asaparagus and onion puree. I went seafood and it was one of the most perfectly prepared pieces of fish I’ve ever had. The steak looked great and my table-mates agreed it tasted even better.

For desert we enjoyed a Grand Marnier soaked Baba pastry with mango and vanilla ice cream. I had a pitch perfect Espresso to go with mine.

Of note, the upstairs is beautiful and they offer a full menu as well as the Prix Fixe options. For Chocolate lovers their store next door has some of the best Chocolates you will ever find.

Gabriel Kreuther is located at 41 West 42nd Street

Ortzi Basque Cuisine by Bryant Park

Looking for something a little different than your usual business lunch cuisine choices? I recently enjoyed a great business lunch at Ortzi which offers delicious Spanish(French border) Basque cuisine. My group started with some Manchego cheese, Lomo Iberico and Searano Jamon to whet our appetites.

While deciding on the various offering on the San Sebastian Express (Prixe Fixe lunch menu that includes a salad or soup and entree or sandwich) we ordered some Albondigas, Spanish style beef and pork meatballs topped with a poached egg in a roasted pepper sauce. They are fairly outrageous.

I started with their Spanish Caesar salad while a few from our group choose the chilled Almond and Garlic soup which they really enjoyed.

One of my buds ordered the Ortzi Burger with cheese and onion jam, while a few of the others shared (read: devoured) the Bikini (Serano ham, Manchego cheese, black truffles and jam)and the Pepito (Short-Rib, mushrooms and cheese ) sandwich. I went a bit healthier with the Lubina, Branzino over chickpeas with a Piquillo pepper pistou. All were delicious.

For drinks we enjoyed white wine and a robust Red Sangria with Cherry, Thyme and Cardamon. For desert Milk Chocolate Pudding with carmel and an Apricot Pasteis with coffee.

I love Spanish food and Ortzi scored high across the board with delicious food, great service in a great space. Add Ortzi to your Spanish cuisine, Prix Fixe, Lunch and Date spots lists.

Ortzi is located in the Luma Hotel at 120 West 41st Street

Sebastian Brecht Obsessive Chocolate Disorder Sweet Treats

Looking to impress those in your life with an obsessive disorder when it comes to chocolate? Sebastian Brecht’s chocolates who blow away the most discriminating of chocolate-holics.

Sebastian Brecht Obsessive Chocolate Disorder bon-bons are delicious custom crafted mini treats in a large assortment of flavors. Aside from them being so good is that they are small, so if you can control yourself just 2 or 3 at a time we sate you cravings without stuffing yourself.

The bon-bons are the stars here, though Chocolate bars and assorted confections like chocolate Scorpions are great for a gift for a special someone or a little treat for yourself.

Sebastian Brecht Obsessive Chocolate Disorder is located at 64 East 4th Street