And so, for this brief post I've chosen a trio of relatively new (new to me, to us, at any rate), unique, and very different - each one from the others - eating establishments that we've recently investigated, having consulted a few of all possible sources ... and, most importantly, having dined at successfully.
Two of the restos - Aldea & Rye House - are located, roughly, in the Flatiron district, just doors away from one another on West 17th Street (at 31 W. 17th St. & 11 W. 17th St., respectively) and, therefore, in walking distance to Union Square, to Madison Park ... and to our movie-house "mecca," Cinema Village (noted in my last post). In fact, we were heading for these specific destinations following our lunch visits, during the past couple of weeks, to both Aldea & Rye House.
|Pork & Duck Terrine|
The dessert course was soon upon us and we ordered a unique bowl of Cinnamon Rice Pudding bolstered with whipped cinnamon, chocolate, pistachio dragée, fresh raspberries & served with a raspberry sorbet swirl. (This subtly sweet dessert concoction had been recommended by several writers on Yelp* and certainly lived up to the praises it had received.)
You'll surely see us at Aldea again, soon ... for lunch, and, possibly, for a celebratory evening meal! Ladies, are you with me?
This establishment is essentially - preeminently! - a spot for whiskey aficionados ... but which, according to one Yelp* reviewer, "even if whiskey is not completely nor always your thing, you should try Rye House out" ... for the substantial $15 2-course prix fixe lunch, maybe coupled with an unusual (gourmet) draft beer, or two, or begun with an interesting whiskey selection. There is a plethora, a veritable goldmine, of all kinds of hard stuff ... rare Bourbon, Irish, Scotch, American whiskeys, Mezcal, Vodka, of all large & small-batch varieties, including some odd & idiosyncratic blends of the week. There is also an extensive list of creative & unusual cocktails - e.g., the Oaxaca, featuring Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, St. Germain, Lime, Ginger, Peychaud Bitters & Salt Rim @ $12; or the Jimmy Stewart, with Balcones Brimstone Smoked Whiskey, Grand Marnier, Angostura & Orange Bitters & Honey @ $14.
And while the beer & whiskey might allure you and attract, the Rye House food should, as well. Just recall the aforementioned substantial & (yep!) unique 2-course $15 prix fixe which we - just the two of us, this time - focused on and ordered from. Lots of fine rustic but sophisticated fare to choose from ...
We each started out with a rather generous 1st-course salad. D. selected the kale Caesar salad, with croutons & Wisconsin "parm," while I chose the frisée salad, with cherry tomatoes, bacon bits, red onion & a buttermilk ranch dressing. We also ordered a plate of Rye House's famous "fried pickles" (a supplement, @ $6) and a couple of gourmet draft beers (Ommegang Hennepin Saison Ale, @ $7 each) large enough to take us through the rest of lunch, through our 2nd course, that is.
Sorry, hold the dessert; simply no more room whatsoever! (Next time.)
Billing itself as a Fusion Chinese Restaurant (with Korean culinary hints along the way), Shanghai Mong (@ 30 W. 32nd St.; between 5th & B'way; 212/629-6405) is, simply, a standout resto smack dab in the middle of Manhattan's Koreatown. This eclectic resto features a veritable compendium of idiosyncratic & unique Asian dishes ... featuring very complex sauces, emphatic flavors & Korean spices of many varieties & sources. And a helpful (very busy!) waitstaff is never too far away to help you navigate the singularly vast & intriguing menu & to highlight items that might appeal to the Western palate.
|Interior - Shanghai Mong|
|"Mini Bites" / Dumplings|
Whatever you select - or whatever a waitstaff member recommends to you - do not leave the resto without trying the "mini bites" lemon cream fried dumplings (6 pieces @ $8.99; 12 @ $13.99; tender, compact [pork] dumplings swimming in a garlic-lemon cream-based sweet & sour sauce).
|Seafood Jja Jang Myun|