Review: The best Burger and Pizza in NYC is at one restaurant? – Inspired by Emmy Squared Pizza

Who makes the best pizza and burgers in the city? Emmy Squared thinks they can make both and so do I.

This crowd pleaser of a gem is easily going to blow you away. Flavor, uniqueness, service, atmosphere, they fucking figured it all out. The burger is on a pretzel bun… this is typically a recipe for disaster. Not here tho. I couldn’t even begin to give a name to the sauce that is covering two cheese draped patties with a little bit of lettuce (that I don’t even hate). It all comes together into my favorite burger in the city. Made better by friends to share it with.

In regards to the ‘za. Detroit style square pieces is what you’re going to get here. That’s good because if you’re in NYC trying to make New York pizza, the list of expectations is tremendous. Their square is the balance of crispy, soft, blow you away flavor that you are going to expect after reading this. The option with pepperoni, pickled jalapeños and honey is the epitome of what you would expect with this flavor combo. This gives Roberta’s Bee Sting pie a ride for its money even when I’m slightly drunk at Urbanspace Vanderbilt.

Go go go go go. It’s worth a gamble.

Googled For You

Menu: https://order.emmysquaredpizza.com/order/emmy-squared-upper-east-side

Location: https://shorturl.at/vyJOY

Review: Roberta Has My Heart – Inspired by Roberta’s

There is pizza, and there is pizza that rips your heart into pieces and melds it back together. Roberta’s is impressive. The cheese. The dough. I’m a f**king fan.

Check the Margarita. Check the Bee Sting. Probably all of them are good. The only thing you really need to check is your calendar for tomorrow night ’cause all of that is about to change.

Googled For You
Locations and Menu: https://order.online/business/robertas-4178

Review: Iwant Ramen – Inspired by Ivan Ramen, NYC

When I want ramen, Ivan Ramen is the standard. Their shio ramen has pork chashu, scallions, egg, and of all things, tomato, which makes for a damn satisfying bowl of noods.

You may have seen his Chef’s Table episode, but you will drop at the waist side after tasting this soup. Sit at the ramen bar, order the spicy cucumbers to start. Those cucumbers are made like I wish I could make them at home. Crunchy, balanced, salty, spicy. Give me more.

Then, the ramen comes. The broth is what I go back for. Shio is a style that is minimalist in nature. No crazy amount of soy sauce, miso, or pork fat. There silky bowl has a chicken/slightly smoky fish flavor that makes you realize the subway ride or flight there was worth it. This guy was famous in Japan for a reason. What are you waiting for?

Googled For You
Location: https://rb.gy/6w19o
Menu: https://www.ivanramen.com/menu/

Review: Pizza – Inspired by Kinchley’s Tavern in NJ

Kinchley’s is my favorite pizza in the world. Ultra-thin crust topped with the perfect amount/ratio of sauce and cheese. Does the world deserve pizza this good? Yes. Have you tried pizza this good? Perhaps not. Once you’ve been here 50 times, you start to learn tricks. The most important trick at Kinchley’s is to order the Fra Diablo pie. It’s like plain with a kiss from Satan. You won’t be mad, and if you are, you’re wrong.

Googled For You
Location: https://rb.gy/l8qf3
Menu: https://www.kinchleyspizza.com/full-menu.html

Review: Vietnam: A Destination in Flavortown – Inspired by Little Vietnam Bar & Grill in Nyack, NY

Little Vietnam Bar & Grill located in Nyack, NY is a taste of Vietnam for those without a plane ticket. I’ve never even been to Vietnam, but this place makes you feel like you know what you would expect half way around the world. From the Pho, to the Xoi Lap Xuong (sauteed sticky rice with egg, pork, Chinese sausage, peanuts and dried shallots), this kitchen has filled me with mind blowing meals since the first time my dad brought it home. Having a parent that is pushing the food envelope in his cooking and dining affairs is important for the development of a young grasshppper like myself. It all started with the duck soup, which had the thinnest egg noodles, Chinese broccoli and duck floating in a sweet, drinkable broth. The balance of flavors is what makes this cuisine so sexy. Sweet, salty, sour, spicy. Just like Doritos, it confuses and delights with every bite.

The owners have taken care of my family for decades. Let them do the same for yours.

Googled For You
Location: https://rb.gy/0ijqs
Menu: https://littlevietnamnyack.com/

Review: No Menu, No Problem – Inspired by Dominick’s on Arthur Ave, Bronx

Fuhgeddabout every American Italian restaurant in your vocabulary. Dominick’s sets the standard and has been making the classics right from Arthur Ave in the Bronx forever. That’s in NY if you’re a lost puppy. Now I hope my knee caps don’t get broken for saying American Italian, but that’s how I see this institution. There’s a bar at the front and a kitchen in the back. In between these two areas, that’s where the magic happens.

Start with the antipasti salad. It’s the best salad in the world. No exaggeration. Then, finish with whatever the f**k you want. I’ve had the baked clams. Excellent. I’ve had the stuffed artichoke. Excellent. I’ve had the shrimp in tomato sauce, the pork with cherry peppers, the bread that mops up your lost hopes and dreams. They are all excellent. The service and hospitality at this place is second to none. I don’t even know what that expression means, but I think this is the right time to use it. No more typing, get goin’.

Googled For You
Location: https://rb.gy/4xpsl
Menu: Dominick’s never had a menu pre-COVID so let’s keep it that way.

Review: Peruvian Godsend – Inspired by El Gordo in Jersey City

If you haven’t lomo-ed, you haven’t lived. The genius behind this dish deserves 4 Michelin stars because ever time I go near lomo saltado, life crumbles. With French fries, rice, red onions, cooked tomatoes and beef all married together under a sauce from god herself, life is different post-lomo. Peruvians have mastered the art of proper white rice better than anyone I know. And with a green sauce that will knock your socks and shoes off, you need to stop reading now. Start googling and start finding heaven.  

Googled For You
Location: https://rb.gy/koe9i
Menu: https://elgordoeatery.com/menu/jersey-city/

Review: It Blew My Mind – Inspired By Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal and Harold’s Deli in Edison, NJ

In this ever changing universe, there are restaurants and then there are institutions. How does one distinguish between the two? Restaurants have art on the walls. Institutions have news articles. They have pictures of celebrities smiling with the owner who have been blessed. They have no visible wall space because this place has been open for longer than you you’ve been alive. They have the memories captured just to show you a taste of what you’re about to experience; big smiles and big flavors. 

Schwartz deli is an institution. Owned by Celine Dion now, smoked meat is, and has always been, the order. It’s like pastrami because it’s soul stuffing and amazing with mustard, rye bread, pickles and your choice of flavored carbonated beverage. It’s different because I couldn’t even tell you why without googling. The service might be abrupt and that’s because you’re not in charge. You’re the customer and lucky enough that this place is still standing. Listen to what they know is good and give it a shot. I was happy and there’s a damn good chance you’ll be too.

Harold’s is a chapter out of the same delicious encyclopedia of flavor. Bigger is beyond better here. With cakes the size of your college dorm refrigerator and matzoh balls so big you question life itself, you would think this would be the attraction. But the people at Harold’s are so talented that that they rip apart your expectations of big food and shove them down your throat with a fully loaded pickle bar and some of the best breads you could dream of. I’m looking at you you beautiful onion roll. The food here is the best around. Get the pastrami. Get the potato knish. Change your life forever.

Googled For You – Schwartz’s Deli
Location: https://rb.gy/kr92h
Menu: https://schwartzsdeli.com/pages/menu

Google For You – Harold’s Deli
Location: https://rb.gy/yfqyr
Menu: http://haroldsfamousdeli.com/

Review: ‘Cause karma is my boyfriend – Inspired by Karma Kafe in Hoboken, NJ

Indian food is the goat. At Karma Kafe, a bustling Indian restaurant in Hoboken, I’ve been a happy customer for many years. Among hit after hit on their menu, they serve ever-so-tender, perfectly seasoned lamb buried in a spiced creamy spinach sauce that would make Bourdain happy. And With samosas the size of softballs, the enjoyment starts way before the first piece of lamb hits your plate. I know size doesn’t matter, but it does give more pleasure in this instance.

You’ll instantly want Karma Kafe exclusively making these masterpieces for the rest of your life. They have this dusting of spice on the outside that gives me joy in a lot of ways that other food, and things for that matter, can not. How can something so obvious like a little extra seasoning be so good and not be done all over the world every day for everyone else to freak out about? There are some questions that just can’t be answered. 

I’m freaking out because Karma Kafe needs to be shouted from the roof tops. It needs to be yelled back from the gods as the holy prophecy for all others to achieve. It’s Like going to Mecca, but better. Lucky for you, you now are equipped to go build some good karma and eat some good food. Get goin’ my young, hungry follower. Great food awaits at their endless lunch buffets or literally just order anything, anytime.

Googled For You
Location: https://rb.gy/nfsmk
Menu: http://www.karmakafe.com/#menu 

Review: Russ & Sons – Inspired by Russ & Daughters Cafe in NYC

My parents are great, but if Russ and Daughters needed a son… you know how to reach me. You don’t need me to tell you how famous this shop and now group of restaurants are because like it’s neighbor Katz, these places are institutions. And we like food institutions.

Now, if you didn’t grow up eating bagels and lox with your family, I’m not sure this place is going to hit like the freight truck it did to me. But! That’s a great risk we can all find comfort in. What if it does work out? The bagels are fresh and delicately toasted. The fish is cut just the way you want it (thin). And the accoutrements are there for compounding what could be the best bagel experience in the world. Can you taste tradition and history? Whether it’s the hype or a New Yorkers bias, I don’t type away in my notes app for just any random bagel shop. This is the stuff of legends and I won’t even start telling you about the potato pancakes and salmon roe with crème friche because you’re here for one reason and that’s to high five your ancestors through a plate of food. And if you can do that for less than $30, that’s a value for you and me.

Googled For You
Menu: https://rb.gy/0w3mk
Location: https://rb.gy/vd4p7

Review: Vietnamese at Thai Son – Inspired by Thai Son in NYC

A life changing bowl of noodles is rare, but when it happens, life is different. All previous meals start getting questioned. Why didn’t they make me feel this way?

That’s what happened at Thai Son when their bowl of cloudy pho blessed me. I didn’t knowingly walk into a restaurant called Thai Son and order Vietnamese, but now that it happened, I can’t un-taste the flavors. I also don’t know what makes Pho cloudy, but I do know how good it was and why we are having this ~chat~ together.

If sushi is all about the rice, then pho is all about the broth. With enough power to cure life’s issues, this broth healed all the pre-lunch troubles. The typical array of rice noodles, meat and fresh herbs seals the deal.

Googled For You
Location: https://rb.gy/19kst
Menu: The better a place is the harder it is to find their menu?

Review: Better Than Chick-fil-A – Inspired by Raising Cane’s

Raising Cane's

Fried chicken and french fries. Throw in some Texas toast, lemonade and Cane’s sauce and you got yourself a top contender in the tenders market. Why? ‘Cause they have figured out what I want. Damn hot and damn sexy.

The sauce is here is the cat’s pajamas. It blesses the chicken, fries and toast in a way that makes you question sodium and tangy-ness like you’ve never questioned before. It’s not a question of whether it’s better than Chic-fil-A. It’s a question of whether you’ve tried both. 

Googled For You
Locations: Nation-wide. Open in Times Square: https://www.raisingcanes.com/locations/
Menu: https://www.raisingcanes.com/menu

Review: Are we there yet? Inspired By Chalong NYC

There are elevator pitches at the beginning of meals, but after a peruse through the menu at Hell’s Kitchen’s Chalong, you remember how important these 30 second menu rundowns can be.

The Baerng Golae may be described as their most popular appetizer and it is deservedly so. Crisp little shells of coconut shaped like tacos are stuffed with shrimp just the way I want them; delicately grilled and delectably sauced. This is the type of dish where you take one bite and realize you need to order more. You may even consider booking your next reservation while you are still at the table. But just wait for the entrees. Your decision will be confirmed.

Trying something new is interesting. There is the future ahead and flashes of the promised land can appear in a bite. The mains at Chalong were like nothing I’ve had before and like everything I wanted them to be; eye-opening, tongue burning, and soul soothing. When you are developing new reference points for flavors, you aren’t sure how important they are going to be, but the Grilled Hor-Mok (Sea Bass in curry paste with Thai Basil, betal leaves, kaffir lime leaves wrapped in grilled banana leaf) is one of those dishes. It’s powerful. I’m not sure if I liked it. I’m not sure if I didn’t like it, or if I am or am not supposed to like it. It hits you in the head and leaves you dazed and confused. Worth it? I think so because you’re going to eat something everything once a while that leaves a lot of questions. And questions are good.

The other dishes were what I expected and what makes me come back for more (Mee Pum Riang (southern style pad thai) and Keang Kati (assorted seasonal vegetables in yellow bean curry ((((it’s hard to explain but there was tofu involved))))). These dishes are slightly new, way more than slightly delicious and are going to create new flavor memories.

Walk, run, do what you got to do. Their cute dining room is comfortable, elegant and ready for you.

Googled For You
Menu: https://www.chalongnyc.com/menus
Location: https://rb.gy/av58l

Not Googled
Dress: Thai Chic
Guests: Bring someone who can handle the heat