Archive for the ‘Places We Eat and Drink’ Category
POSTED: Friday, July 20, 2012 2:13 pm
We browsed through the long list of restaurants participating in Restaurant Week this summer, and there were so many I had been wanting to go but hadn’t been yet (or frankly wouldn’t be able to afford their regular menu)! After much debate with several other Distrikt ladies, we finally decided on the Italian restaurant, A Voce.
A Voce received one star from the MICHELIN guide this year, which is a grand feat in the culinary world. Due to its fantastic location on the third floor of Time Warner Center, overlooking the Southwest entrance of Central Park, we had sent many Distrikt guests there who were looking for a special dining experience. When we finally decided to check it out ourselves, it was thrilling.
Time Warner Center is a shopping and dining complex located on the corner of 57th Street and 8th Avenue. It’s one stop away on the A train, and two stops away on the C. It took us no more than 10 minutes from the hotel.
There! You can vaguely see a red letter on the third floor. That’s the entrance to A Voce.
We finally arrived and were seated at a lovely table overlooking the monument at the entrance of Central Park. That building to the left is Trump International Hotel & Tower (and its address is One Central Park West. Fancy).
There were many local ladies lunching. The decor was minimalist with some flair. I especially enjoyed this partial kitchen view straight ahead! I’ve been to some restaurants with a completely open kitchen, and this was a refreshing take on the concept.
Unbelievably extensive wine menu!
Our server, Jenny, came over. She was very friendly but not imposing. Difficult to achieve but great quality in a server! The floor manager, Alessandro, constantly checked on us as well to make sure our experience was superb. Service was fantastic.
As you see here, all restaurants participating in Restaurant Week that serve lunch have a $24.07 prix fix menu. (Make sure to confirm that the restaurant is serving lunch as some only serve dinner, which is a $35 menu.)
For appetizers (or “Antipasti”) we ordered:
Chilled corn soup with formaggio fresco and lemon,
Mozzarella with grilled tomato vinaigrette, mint, almonds
Fluke with cucumbers and chilies
For entrees we ordered:
Zucchini filled pasta, garlic, marjoram
Roasted pork, grilled plums, fennel seed vinaigrette, arugula
Squid ink pasta, braised sepia, chickpeas, basil
For desserts we ordered:
Semi-frozen lemon mousse, blueberries, candied lemon
Chocolate crema, espresso, almonds
Our cocktails arrived along with… the most amazing complementary pre-meal bread plate! Though I know you’re not supposed to eat a lot of these things (and I don’t mean just carbs but also pre-meal breads, so you have room for your actual meal), I may or may not have eaten 5 to 7 of these.
Our appetizers disappeared as quickly as they came.
Poof! Gone in our bellies. So good!
Zucchini-filled pasta entree:
As you can see, we had less and less photos because we were truly so busy trying to savor every bite. The desserts were phenomenal. Thank you to Jenny and Alessandro for a fantastic lunch.
If you are looking for a special dining experience, this is it. It would be perfect for an anniversary, birthday, and so forth. Do take advantage of Restaurant Week and let us know if you need assistance making reservations!
POSTED: Monday, March 5, 2012 6:36 pm
Spending a night out in New York City doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune (unless you can afford it… then go for it). I, Anna, along with two other Distrikt girls, Kayte and Rachel, on a budget of $200 for all, decided to see if we can have an entertaining night out in the East Village neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. Conclusion: ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE!
6:00PM: We arrive at Northern Spy Food Co., a two-year-old New American cuisine eatery on Avenue A and 12th Street. They focus on locally grown products and recycled items for their decor and furnishings, and have gained a strong fan base. Though I’ve lived a few blocks away since its opening, I have never had the chance to try this popular spot.
The decor reminded me of an old elementary school with a heavy touch of Americana.
6:15PM: We started off with cocktails. Due to the happy hour, our drinks came $2 off each. The Spy Cup, Alfonso, and East River Defense (below) were all unique and fantastic. Check our their cocktail menu to see their fun ingredients: http://www.northernspyfoodco.com/menus/cocktails/
6:25PM: There were so many delectable items on the menu, so we decided to share a bunch. The flat breads came with caramelized red onion, and the kale salad, which our lovely server recommended, was extremely tasty. Didn’t know kale could taste so good! And, the crispy potato gnocchi was deeeee-vine!!
7:00PM: We were so busy indulging in these yummy plates, that we looked up and didn’t even notice the place was packed at this point. Very busy on a Monday night! That’s a good sign. It also occurred to me that this candle-lit venue is very romantic, in a casual manner. This might be the perfect place to bring your loved one while you’re in New York City without spending a lot.
Look at how romantic!
Kayte and Rachel were having a lot of fun too (those cocktails were GREAT).
7:20PM: We knew we had to run out soon to go see a show (more about that below), but our lovely server recommended a few more things we couldn’t resist! We ordered the cod fish special, which was just the right amount of salty for me, and the duck fat fries, which is deep-fried in, well, you guessed it, duck fat.
As you can see here, we decided to return all of the food to the kitchen. All of it.
Even the bathroom seemed to be constructed from reclaimed and restored wood. It was definitely one of the more adorable restrooms I’ve seen! Rachel managed to include herself in the photo; why didn’t I think of that!? Upon returning to our booth, we noticed the back of our seats were filled with pinecones. Very cute, detailed touches all around.
So here was our dinner:
2x Spy Cup – $9 each (-$2 each for happy hour): $14
1x Alfonso – $7 (-$2 for happy hour): $5
1x East River Defense – $9 (-$2 for happy hour): $7
1x Glass of red wine: $9
1x Flat Bread: $2
1x Crispy Potato Gnocchi: $14
1x Cod Fish Special: $20
1x Duck Fat Fries: $6
Total: $77 (before tax + tip)
7:55PM: We power-walked to Performance Space 122, a non-profit arts center on 9th Street and 1st Avenue. This is one of my most favorite theaters in the City; once an abandoned public school, the space has been completed renovated and revitalized, now rebirthed into and established over the last two decades as a leading arts organization. Here we went to see Silence! The Musical: an Unofficial Parody of Silence of the Lambs. As a theather buff I had been eyeing this Off-Broadway hit show for a while, so was ecstatic to finally attend. A poster outside the theater has a great New York Times critic quote… There are multiple murals outside the theater as well that depict the musical.
7:58PM: We walk up to the third floor, where a humble bar (which is to say, a quaint plastic table with sodas and beers) and a merchindise table are manned by very friendly staff. As you can see, the interior still boasts and maintains the former public school ambiance.
…9:40PM: Silence! The Musical was a hilarious adaptation. It also helped that I watched the film (for the first time) the previous night, so the scenes and lines were fresh in my memory. Some scenes in the musical were almost verbatim with a comedic twist. Hannibal Lecter is played by David Garrison, best known as Steve in “Married With Children.” Jenn Harris’ Clarice Starling is an excellent homage to Jodie Foster and her thick West Virginian accent. Rumor has it when they first shot that scene in the film, Anthony Hopkins improvised the part where he mocks Jodie’s accent to extract a genuine reaction from her. Fun fact!
FYI: We at Distrikt love www.broadwaybox.com
It’s a GREAT website for discount theater tickets. Unless it is a sold out show (i.e. Wicked, Lion King, Jersey Boys, etc.) they generally have great deals on this website. We purchased these Silence! tickets at just $39 each through Broadway Box. You simply purchase on the site, and print out the tickets here at the hotel. If you are getting tickets to a Broadway show, which most of them are about a 5-10 minute walk away from the hotel, you can avoid the online “service fee” by directly presenting the discount page at the Box Office.
3x Silence! The Musical tickets: $39
3x $5 online service fee: $15
In conclusion, $77 at dinner + $132 for the show = $209 for the three of us!
(OKAY, this excludes tip. Don’t forget to tip your server, which is “mandatory” here in the U.S. You generally want to tip 20% of the total bill.)
The cost was worth every penny for the fantastic evening I shared with my friends. Can’t wait to go out on a budget again!
POSTED: Monday, January 16, 2012 1:49 pm
Did you catch that rhyme? Anyway, to spend time with your beloved this coming Valentine’s Day, here are some great restaurants that are offering Valentine’s Day Specials from February 10th through the 14th (dates vary depending on the restaurant). Some restaurants will be offering their regular menu as well. Our concierges will help you to make reservations so feel free to approach them! We simply could not list the dozens of wonderful restaurants, so for a full listing (or if you wish to go ahead and reserve a table on your own), we recommend the following site: http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m=8&ref=2138&pid=102
ilili (236 5th Ave, between 27th St & 28th St) is a very popular Mediterranean restaurant located by Madison Square Park. For V-Day they’re offering a 5 Course Prix Fixe Dinner with a complimentary glass of La Caravelle Rose Champagne $80 excluding tax and gratuity.
Mesa Grill (102 5th Ave, between 17th St & 15th St) This Bobby Flay restaurant will be offering a pre-fixe menu created by him.
Primehouse New York (381 Park Ave, between 26th St & 27th St) This fantastic steakhouse will be offering a Chateau Briand for two and other menu specials this Valentine’s Day in addition to their regular offerings.
A Voce (10 Columbus Cir 3rd Fl, between 59th St & 9th Ave) dons large windows that overlook Central Park. They will be offering a 4-course menu at $95 per person.
Maze by Gordon Ramsay (The London Hotel, 151 W 54th Street) is renowned for their contemporary French fare. They will offer a 5 course Prix Fixe Menu at $125 pp, complete with a Red Rose for the lady. Dinner from 5 PM to 10 PM.
Times Square/Theater District
Blue Fin (1567 Broadway) is a beautiful seafood restaurant in the heart of Times Square. They’ll be offering a romantic-inspired dishes for the evening like “Joyeux Kiss Oyster Rockefeller,” in addition to their regular menus.
Kajitsu (414 E 9th St, between 1st Ave & Avenue A) means a “day of celebration” in Japanese. If you want to try something a little different, this gorgeous Japanese restaurant will do the trick, as they serve a 9-course dinner at $80.
Blaue Gans (139 Duane St, between Church St & Broadway) is a very cute and cozy Austrian/German restaurant minutes away from City Hall, Ground Zero, and Brooklyn Bridge. They’ll be offering a special and romantic 3 course dinner on Valentine’s Day for $65 per person. $35 for additional wine pairing. No a la carte available. Live piano music!!
Sarabeth’s Tribeca (339 Greenwich St, between Jay St & Harrison St) is a sister restaurant of the famed Sarabeth’s Uptown and Central Park South. Best known for their fabulous American menu, they’ll be offering a romantic $39 prix-fixe Valentine’s Dinner, including Caviar and Uni, Grilled Venison, Lobster and Truffle Cake.
5 Ninth (5 9th Ave between Little W 12th St & 13th St) is a very cozy American restaurant situated in a townhouse with a warm & romantic atmosphere. A $69/person 3 Course Dinner Menu will be served 5:30pm-11:00pm.
Spice Market (403 W 13th St, between 9th Ave & Washington St) Tantalize your senses with the Southeast Asian inspired cuisine of celebrated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Choose from a $66 Prix Fixe menu or classic a la carte offerings.
Blue Water Grill (31 Union Sq W between 16th St & 17th St) is a beautiful seafood restaurant in the heart of Union Square in downtown Manhattan. They’re offering a “Between the Chocolate Sheets” dessert as well as other special dishes and their regular menu.
Upper West Side
Ocean Grill (384 Columbus Ave, between 77th St & 78th St) is located right by the Museum of Natural History. They’re offering V-Day inspired dishes like “Sweet Hearts Salad”!
Upper East Side
Cafe Boulud (20 E 76th St, between 5th Ave & Madison Ave) by renowned Daniel Boulud is right next to Central Park and by most Fifth Avenue museums such as the Metropolitan and the Whitney. They’re offering a special V-Day 4-course menu at $195, with an option of $95 for Wine Pairing.
POSTED: Thursday, November 10, 2011 1:43 pm
The Distrikt Staff took full advantage of the beautiful NYC fall weather this past Tuesday. The amazing soiree hosted by Concierge Sales Network and Bateaux New York cruise involved a decadent 4-course meal, open bar, and wonderful live jazz music.
Bateaux New York cruised along the Hudson River for three hours, while the staff danced, sang, and ate all while gazing at one of the best skylines in the world. The boat is made mostly of glass window, which means magnificent views from any seat. Guests can also go outside for fresh air, and take breathtaking pictures near the world-famous Statue of Liberty.
We highly recommend Bateaux New York for a special night out!
Check out pictures of the staff enjoying their night on the Hudson:
Sara and Paola opened up the dance floor...
For more information about the cruise, please visit:http://www.bateauxnewyork.com/
The front desk can also assist with reservations.
POSTED: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:17 am
Theatre Bar located on Franklin Street in Tribeca joins my list of favorite bars in New York City. When I heard that the bar was opened by noted mixoligist, Albert Trummer, I should have known. It’s undeniably true that I have a strong affection for cocktail bars, but I try to be very selective since the experience is always pricey, and the ambiance can either be too stuffy and pretentious. This one does not only deliver on the cocktail-making front, but the stunning décor and cozy atmosphere are what captured my attention.
We walked through plush couches and cocktail tables lining both sides of the room to make it to the bar all the way in the back. The high ceilings were decorated by chandeliers, and silk ribbons in the form of thin, elegant waves. The brick walls embraced enormous paintings, one of them displaying a little dancer standing on planet earth. Just precious. We went up a couple of stairs to where the crowd was standing, watching the show.
When we made it to the bar, bartenders performed as they’re expected to, leading the show in front of a live band performing right behind them. That is right, not only is the bar elevated, as if part of a stage, there is a stage behind the bar for live bands and other performances.
My friend greeted us, and we were taken to a side door, where we went through a long corridor, and up some stairs. We were welcomed by deep red candles burning and more velvety furniture. We sat down and as I glanced down over the stage, it felt as if I were seating right in the theatre in a box seat. Cucumber cocktails were brought up, and they were just fantastic. The private seats can be reserved in advance for a more intimate night with friends.
Later in the night, we even had the opportunity of going backstage (behind the bar), where the real action was. The back was also decorated nicely and artistically pleasing. We were able to speak to one of the very nice bartenders.
Theater Bar really stands out from the many cocktail bars New York City has to offer. With prices like $12-$18 for a typical good cocktail, everyone deserves terrific service, and a fun and creative atmosphere.
Photos and words by: Paola Mathe
POSTED: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 11:43 am
Besides a pretzel or hot dog from the vendor carts, the PERFECT slice of pizza is always a highly sought experience when someone visits the Big Apple. From Brooklyn to New Jersey, downtown to the Bronx – each pizzeria in each borough is different. Luckily, Distrikt Hotel is right next to a hidden treasure called Capizzi.
Serving authentic old-fashion wood burn pizza, as well as breads and salads – the restaurant is named after a small town in Sicily (Province of Messina), called Capizzi. This little town is where the owner’s, Joseph Calcagno, Mother and Grandparents are from. So, this gem of a pizzeria is a tribute to the family, and basically feels like you are eating a home-cooked meal at your Grandma’s table! The ambience of the restaurant is very cozy and inviting. Inside you see family photos, flowers in used wine bottles, an old rotary phone, an even older 1950’s refrigerator, a brick oven/wall, dried chili peppers and lavender. If you are a wine-connoisseur, you will be happy to learn that there is a fine wine selection available as well. The place is on the smaller more intimate side, but in the midst of Hell’s Kitchen, Capizzi feels like home.
Having worked within the restaurant business his whole life, Joe owns a few other Italian restaurants between Hell’s Kitchen and Staten Island. Joe keeps family tradition alive through authentic recipes passed down from his father and his father before that. They even let guests go behind and help make the pizza pies. Yup, it’s one of those cool pizzerias where the chefs make the pizza dough, toss it up into the air, and catch it with on hand behind their back. I want to learn how to do this!I recommend getting a slice of everything, because everything is SO good!
Capizzi turns one year old this October, but has the feel of a 50-year-old business that has weathered the changes within Hell’s Kitchen. In a city like New York, with the hundreds and hundreds of pizza parlors and Italian restaurants – Capizzi is winning the stomachs and attention of not only the locals but the critics. Trip Advisor awarded this newbie with the Certificate of Excellency only 6 months after opening! Impressive. So, if you are looking to enjoy a little slice of Italy in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen/Times Square area, I recommend Capizzi. Bellissimo!
POSTED: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 1:15 pm
Like many New Yorkers, I love good coffee. Yes, I admit I do drink instant coffee sometimes – but that would be because I couldn’t find the proper cup-a-Joe at the nearby Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. It wasn’t until I started working at Distrikt Hotel that I discovered the best coffee I have tasted…ever. Empire Coffee is a New York coffee shop/ business that is just two blocks up from Distrikt on 9th avenue. You can order a cup of coffee to go, or pickup a pound or two of fresh roasted coffee. If you don’t like coffee, then there is a huge variety of loose teas that Empire Coffee creates. If you feel snackish, there are a variety of gourmet, organic or international treats. From biscotti to Scottish biscuits to chocolate covered coffee beans, the flavors are INFINITE!
Originally based in New Jersey, this business has been open for years, offering customers fresh gourmet coffee. The organic coffee is roasted upstate and sold both in-store and online. I think what makes Empire Coffee so amazing is the variety and selection of coffee. They created some very unique blends and names to go with it. For example, The Obama Blend or Blueberry Crumb Cake – each roast has such a unique taste and quality. The coffee beans sit in canvas sacks along the wall with these unique blend names and descriptions. If you are a tea drinker, there are jars upon jars of home-made blends and mixes to choose from. Be it Green Tea or something spicier like South African Chai, the options are endless.
Coffee-wise, I think my favorite name/description would be the “Irish Cream” blend which states “Just the thing for a hangover, Hoboken!” Then you have the Jamaican Blue Mountain blend, the most expensive roast at $50 per pound. Definitely worth it. Personally, my favorite blends are the Continental Blend and the French Mocha Roast. YUUUMMM!!! I always get one pound and the Empire employees are always happy to help grind the beans. This is basically the only place you can get such amazing quality of coffee without spending too much. In New York, this is precious!
My recommendation to all coffee lovers who are staying with us at Distrikt – stop by Empire Coffee and enjoy one of their amazing blends. If you don’t want a cappuccino, try their hot chocolate or yummy ice tea, very good! If you don’t feel like walking out to their shop, then enjoy Empire Coffee in Distrikt’s lobby or restaurant during breakfast. That’s right – we brew and serve Empire Coffee and are happy to support. This local business is definitely a treasure in this Empire we call New York.
Written by Lauren Macé
POSTED: Thursday, September 1, 2011 9:06 am
There are some amazing restaurants on 9th avenue just west of Distrikt Hotel. From Thai to Argentinean, the options are endless! I think this is one of my favorite features of working in the Hell’s Kitchen district – I can enjoy any genre of food on any day just steps away! I always appreciate a good meal with a creative and unique twist. This, I found at Elsewhere on 43rd and 9th ave. Supposedly known for their pulled pork, rare cheese and wine selection, Elsewhere was definitely on the top of my list to check out.
With its simplistic exterior design and décor, Elsewhere is anything but simple. Originally the delicious French bistro La Madeleine, this new hot spot feels like another world outside of Times Square which is just blocks away. Chef Megan Johnson switches it up in the ol’ Big Apple by rewriting the standard menu. Elsewhere’s sister, Casselula, represents the same farm-to-table quality as a wine and cheese specialty restaurant. The two locations share a similar menu with the farm-fresh cheese, home-made ice cream and exclusive wine selection.
You step into this quaint restaurant and see beautiful wood tables and brick walls all the while hearing Billy Holiday and Louie Armstrong fill the room. A living tree grows within the dining space, while small pots of fresh herbs and plants surround the room. The menu is quite impressive with a variety of items I have never seen nor fathomed could exist. Things like House-made crackers with dancing ewe ricotta or Breast of Bo Bo chicken over rye berries with baby fennel and cider gastrique . YUM! The waitress was very attentive and gave us a basket of the home-made crackers with rosemary and salt while we browsed the menu. I ordered a ginger ale for the time being, and I was amazed that instead of Canada Dry or Seagram’s – this was home-made ginger ale with fresh ginger and some lemon. Home-made soda… amazing. I ordered the tomato soup and crackers for an appetizer, and was presented with a nice bowl of tomato soup with a form of crunchy baked cheese as the cracker.
Very clever. For the entrée, I ordered the Elsewhere skillet Mac and Cheese (with Chorizo crust topping). This was so tasty and I absolutely adored the home-made quality and taste of this dish. Despite the fact that I was full from such a rich meal, I decided to enjoy a variety of the homemade ice cream that I couldn’t resist. My favorite was the Verbena ice cream – so much flavor that it left a fresh taste in my mouth.
All in all, Elsewhere is definitely a new favorite that I will enjoy again in the near future. I think this spot is perfect for an intimate dinner celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or special occasion as well as perfect for a nice lunch with the coworkers. Elsewhere is a unique restaurant with quality meals and experience. So next time you are seeking for a little escape from Times Square, just say “Elsewhere, where else?”.
Written by Lauren Macé
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 8:04 am
New York Restaurant Week is celebrating its 20th year of dining out as we speak. This year’s exact dates are from July 11 to July 24, featuring over 300 participating restaurants. The event has attracted both locals and visitors from all over the world. We know that Restaurant Week keeps expanding and improving because it started with just 95 restaurants.
What we love about Restaurant Week is the value. Picture yourself dining like true royalty at some of New York’s trendiest and most popular restaurant, while only paying only a fraction of the cost. With deals like a $24.07 lunch, or a $35 dinner for a wonderful three-course meal, who would disagree?
After our thrilling Ice Cream Social, the Distrikt executive staff, well most of them anyway, got together to take advantage of one of their favorite New York City events. With so many amazing restaurants listed on this year’s list, it would have been too difficult to stay away!
Tribeca Grill was the evening’s selection. We assure you it was not only appealing because it is in one of New York City’s most beautiful neighborhoods, or the fact that it is co-owned by the well-known actor, Robert De Niro.
Some of the team members researched online and read about their extensive wine list. The fairly large hard cover book is about 51 pages long, with wines ranging from a mere 30 dollars to others worth thousands of dollars. There was a 1900 Chateau Margaud listed selling at $9000.
The team all agrees that Tribeca Grill was an excellent choice for Restaurant Week. The appetizers were delightful, the entrees delectable, and the desserts to die for.
There are many participating restaurants just around the corner from us. Why don’t you give Restaurant Week a try and share your experience with us!
- Warm Asparagus Salad: Morels, Pancetta, Truffles & Pecorino Toscano
- Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mousse Cake
For more info about Restaurant week, visit: www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek