Have a Taste of Bunna Cafe's Ethiopian Brunch

Categories: Field Notes

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We've been singing the praises of Bunna Cafe (1084 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn) since it opened -- not only was the place a killer vegan entrant into the New York restaurant industry, it turns out one hell of an Ethiopian feast in a city that's short on representatives from that country. So despite the occasionally slow service and long-time lack of a liquor license (that's been remedied now -- you can get beer, wine, and all manner of drinks), we found ourselves returning frequently. And this weekend, we were delighted to be given another reason to drop in: the cafe just debuted brunch.

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Find Affordable Round-the-Clock Nostalgia at Hamilton's Luncheonette in the Village

Categories: Field Notes

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Photos by Zachary Feldman

Recently, the owners of West 4th's Cafe Minerva opened a shiny new corner luncheonette and soda shop called Hamilton's (51 Bank Street, 212-661-1515). Forget the usual flair and picture menus, this is the good old days filtered through a runway lens. Celadon accents offset bare white walls for an almost sterile feel, but the behatted, perky young soda jerks are eager to please. We checked in on lunchtime service to slurp up some manufactured nostalgia with the neighborhood.


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An Early Taste of Pacifico's Fine Foods' Brunch

Categories: Field Notes

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Photos by Zachary Feldman

In January, chef Shanna Pacifico left her post at Back Forty West after a seven year run working under greenmarket pioneer Peter Hoffman. Last month, she opened her first solo venture, Pacifico's Fine Foods (798A Franklin Avenue, 917-966-2670), with Kristi Banister of High Horse Saloon and chef Roberto Aita, who also left a kitchen that had earned him acclaim (Williamsburg's Fiore) to open a restaurant bearing his name (Clinton Hill's Aita). Steps from the Franklin Avenue subway station in Crown Heights and down the block from neo-Caribbean stunner Glady's and charming New American canteen Mayfield, Pacifico's serves market-driven food with a South American bent. This past weekend, it launched brunch service.


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Vinateria Is the Fashionable Restaurant Harlem Deserves

Categories: Field Notes

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Zachary Feldman

For last week's review, I visited Harlem's Cheri (231 Lenox Avenue, 212-662-4374), a homey French restaurant from Alain Eoche that serves a great burger and not much else. Kitchen mishaps aside, Cheri also happens to be one of the more inviting restaurants that's opened in recent memory, in part because it's designed to feel like an apartment in the midst of a communal dinner party. If only the food matched the decor, it would be worth a detour, but it still serves a purpose in the neighborhood.

Then you have a place like Vinateria (2221 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, 212-662-8462), which is also beautifully designed -- this time in subdued grayscale shades -- but has a far more consistent kitchen.


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Flip for this Frothy Cocktail from Newcomer Dear Irving

Categories: Field Notes

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Photos by Zachary Feldman

Earlier this month, Yves Jadot, the man behind the Raines Law Room, Jones Wood Foundry, and Petite Abeille, among others, opened Dear Irving (55 Irving Place, no phone), a Gramercy cocktail bar that pulls together elements from his previous projects. Raines Law Room's Meaghan Dorman created the cocktail list, and Jones Wood's Jason Hicks is supposed to be the chef (more on that later). But the restaurant's most noteworthy attribute -- besides its unmarked address and the server-summoning light-up buttons that adorn the walls of its front parlor room -- is the fact that Dear Irving is inspired by Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.


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A Taste of the Gastronomic Options in the Bronx

Categories: Field Notes

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Photos by Zachary Feldman

Last week, Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. and Baron Ambrosia hosted Taste of the Bronx, a sampling of restaurants from around the borough. The Baron, whose real name is Justin Fornal, is the Bronx's official culinary ambassador and self-proclaimed "quaffer of culinary consciousness," who rose to fame as a local TV celebrity, which he then parlayed into a show on Cooking Channel. Ambrosia and Diaz Jr. welcomed guests including actor David Sayers, Esquire's John Mariani, the New York City Hospitality Alliance's Andrew Rigie, and All'Onda's Zach Chodorow. Both hosts thanked Coca-Cola and Glaceau for holding the event at their midtown headquarters, and for donations that have benefited the borough. Ambrosia waxed poetic about the Bronx's strong sense of community, and spoke of the love he has for its diverse culinary offerings, encouraging everyone to try as many things as possible. "I'm a traitor," he lamented, when asked where he'd purchased his purple shoes. "I can't find them in the Bronx anymore. I have to go to Newark for these."


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A Taste of The NoMad Bar, a Casual Spot for $198 Cocktails

Categories: Field Notes

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Photos by Zachary Feldman

This past Saturday, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm opened their upscale take on a tavern, The NoMad Bar (10 West 28th Street, 212-796-1500). The handsome bi-level space has a kindred spirit in the restaurant's Elephant Bar, where beverage director Leo Robitschek and his team have garnered numerous accolades, among them World's Best Hotel Bar at Tales of the Cocktail 2013 and Outstanding Bar Program at this year's James Beard Foundation Awards. In addition to an expanded cocktail menu, including "cocktail explosions" (we'll get to those later) and premium spirit reserve cocktails, Humm and NoMad sous chef Ashley Abodeely have devised a menu of small plates, bar bites, and elevated pub fare separate from what's available next door to complement the drinks.


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A Taste of Decoy, the Party End of RedFarm's Mullet

Categories: Field Notes

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Adam Robb

For the past two years, restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld and chef/partner Joe Ng have hosted pop-ups and served an abbreviated menu out of the former Laundromat below their West Village nouveau-Chinese restaurant RedFarm. Last month, they opened Decoy (529 1/2 Hudson Street, 212-691-9700), the fully realized version of the cocktail bar and restaurant that was always intended for the space. We stopped by on a recent evening to sample the subterranean spot's Peking duck prix fixe and progressive cocktails.


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Here's a Short Review of Recette

Categories: Field Notes

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Photos by Zachary Feldman

Last week's review focused on The Gander (15 West 18th Street, 646-682-7949), Jesse and Lindsay Schenker's Flatiron follow-up to their cozy flagship Recette (328 West 12th, 212-414-3000). Now that Mr. Schenker is busting out tasty brisket-filled bar snacks and ambitious entrees northwest of Union Square, Recette's kitchen has been entrusted to chef de cuisine Audrey Villegas, who was promoted from sous chef. Lucky for us, she's celebrating the new position with a strong showing at the stoves.


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Drew Nieporent's Bâtard Is a Warhorse Ready for Battle -- Have a Taste

Categories: Field Notes

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Photos by Zachary Feldman

The first thing you'll likely notice about Bâtard (239 West Broadway, 212-219-2777) is how warm the room feels, a far cry from previous tenant Corton's somewhat sterile atmosphere. And even though the monochrome color scheme had worked for chef Paul Liebrandt's elaborate cooking, the new room -- with its crystal chandeliers, dark wood floors, and golden lighting -- feels like a return to the space's heyday as downtown pioneer Montrachet, which helped owner Drew Nieporent launch the storied Myriad Restaurant Group empire that includes veterans Nobu and Tribeca Grill.


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