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Conquering New York Bite By Bite (prices stated are in U.S. dollars and do not include tax yet)

Conquering New York Bite By Bite (prices stated are in U.S. dollars and do not include tax yet)

Featuring Katz's Delicatessen, Dominique Ansel Bakery (SoHo), Peter Luger Steak House (Brooklyn), Jean‑Georges, Eleven Madison Park, Prince Street Pizza, Levain Bakery (West 74th Street), Lombardi's (Little Italy), Pies 'n' Thighs, Misi
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Suggested by Van (@mrs_vanity), we met at @jackswifefreda for brunch and what a cool place it turned out to be.
The menu is eclectic, fun and attractively priced which is where the main allure lies and explains the constant queue outside. Shown here is the “Maya’s Breakfast Bowl” ($18), a favourite of Van’s which I understood why once I tried it. Besides the hearty portion, it has a really tasty combination of ingredients. I loved the spicy green sauce served with it (who knows what sorcery gets it to taste so good) as well as the freshness of everything that went into the bowl: red quinoa, kale, spagetti squash, grilled tomato, radish and avocado. They let you have a choice on how you prefer your eggs too: poached or scrambled.
Although the restaurant is small, they manage to pack in quite a crowd thanks to communal seating and closely-arranged tables. In other words, if you are planning to divulge secrets/gossip, you might want to rethink having a meal here. Other than that, all good.

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H O S T E D
Having this Dosa was like coming full circle because Chef Jean George shared that it was inspired by the tour of Geylang Serai Market I had taken him on last year.
Naturally, Head Chef Neal Harden has given it the distinctive @abcvnyc’s touch by cooking the yeasted batter a la minute into an elegant crepe.
There are three options for the filling of which we were served what I consider the most exotic of the lot - it has egg, cheddar, spicy sambar and mint ($18). As it so happens, it is a favourite of Chef JG who swears it tastes best when eaten with hands.

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H O S T E D
A really delicious avocado toast built on freshly-baked housemade bread by Sous Chef Tim. It’s topped with fragrant virgin coconut and argan oils, crunchy seeds, cumin and sprouts, guaranteeing plenty of action in terms of taste and texture right there. This single slice punches above its weight in heartiness and can really fill you up too. A perfect choice to kickstart any day with.

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H O S T E D
Why have breakfast at Tiffany’s when you can spoil yourself with something even better? Like a superbly healthy one at @abcvnyc.
This stylish place (upcycling has never looked so chic) under the Jean Georges Restaurants group uses only plant-based, non-GMO, sustainable, artisanal and organic produce in their food. They source these from small and family farms located near and far that meet their strict criteria.
There’s probably no one more suitable to head the kitchen here than @chefnealh who’s been a vegetarian since he was eight years old. He was headhunted by @chefjgv who use to dine at his now-defunct restaurant a number of times. Smart move by Chef JG considering how wildly popular AbcV has become, especially with the ladies.
I too enjoyed the various made-from-scratch dishes served that morning when Chef hosted us for breakfast. Surprisingly for dishes so unbelievably wholesome (the kitchen team works closely with an in-house dietician to develop the menu), the taste was astonishingly delicious thanks to creative twists and unexpected touches. I will post more about each one soon but if you take the coconut yogurt as an example, you’ll know what I mean. It was dressed in fresh berries, rhubarb lime jam, pistachio granola and surprise, surprise, Thai basil ($19). Definitely not straightforward but the combination worked like a dream. And the texture of that coconut yogurt was so light and airy, it felt like I was spooning up clouds.

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H O S T E D
Quiet in appearance but a banshee on the tastebuds, well not quite but you get my drift 😊. It is rare to find wild Atlantic halibut prepared in such an unusual but irresistible style. The glorious sauce on which the ridiculously fresh fish and perky spring vegetables sit, serenades the senses with a beautiful harmony of aromatics. It seemed to me an inspired take on “assam pedas”, a popular dish found in Malay, Indonesian and Peranakan cuisines albeit executed with a modern twist, refinement and flair. I’ll leave you to imagine how amazing this must taste considering that even in a meal as faultless as the one we had, it managed to stand out.

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H O S T E D
A modern interpretation of sushi in two styles was the second course to be served at our lunch. At the back is the Tasmanian sea trout dressed with chipotle and honey on an oblong of crispy rice. I Ioved it. But the sushi in the foreground with creamy Santa Barbara sea urchin on toasted black bread, zinged up in the citrusy heat of yuzu kosho, I loved even more!
Both are must-haves when you dine at @jean_georgesnyc, and dine there you must when you are in New York.
#notallstarsareequal #someshinebrighter

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Ranked No. 4 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2019 (they were no. 1 in 2017) and wreathed in stars (three from Michelin and four from The New York Times), “Eleven Madison Park” has also picked up numerous other accolades such as the Grand Award by Wine Spectator and even appeared in an episode of “7 Days Out” on Netflix. Quite understandably, my excitement to dine there was off-the-charts.
However, as special as the entire experience was (the service alone deserves a blue ribbon), not every single course in the 5-course Bar Menu ($175 per person before taxes) took my breath away - and that was a bit of a bummer.
Perhaps it’s because I have been spoiled by too many excellent meals at several restaurants in Singapore. Or maybe, it’s just a personal thing because taste is terribly subjective. Despite that tiny glitch, I still had a wonderful time and found most of the dishes very, very good, with the first-to-arrive Eggs Benedict-inspired caviar, the third course of lobster with coriander sauce, the main of Aged Duck as well as the lemon and black sesame dessert being my favourites. I am sharing about them in detail in separate posts.
What I found particularly fun and engaging though was the mini kitchen tour which incorporated a little game. We were given three sodas to sip and had to guess which of the three spices laid out in front of us were used in which drink.
The belly-warming apple whisky they served at the end of the night along with a mixed chocolate pretzel, was really lovely too.

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I am making it official:
“Jean Georges” is where T.H. and I had our most enjoyable and therefore, favourite meal of our week-long trip to New York.
Yes, Chef-owner Jean George was kind enough to host and even curated a special menu for us. But hands on our hearts, our opinion would not change if we had paid for it in full.
There is something to be said for a 22-year-old restaurant that continues to BLAZE in one of the most relentlessly competitive cities in the world. It has amassed a plethora of awards and accolades that includes Four Stars from The New York Times and being named one of the Top 5 French restaurants in NYC by Michelin.
After chatting with Chef Jean George, I learned that he and his close-knit team of Director of Culinary Development Gregory Brainin (@gdbrainin) and Executive Vice President Daniel Del Vecchio (@dbldzl), have stayed at the top of the game by constantly tweaking and evolving while staying true to the restaurant’s DNA.
The meal we had was truly stunning, unerringly perfect in every way if I may add. We were spoiled by dishes of the freshest ingredients that were outstanding in flavour through creative and carefully calibrated combinations. I shall go into detail about each of them in separate posts but suffice to say, they were flawless.

FUN FACT: There are three
Singaporeans working with Exeutive Chef Mark Lapico (@marklapico) and Executive Pastry Chef Sean Considine (@chefseanconsidine) on the #JeanGeorgesNYC team and I got a chance to meet them all. So proud to see Sommelier Asher (@chinochubs) who happens to have had training as a chef, and Chefs Eunice (@eunicengyn) and Glenn (@subscribetoglenn) flying the flag high for Singapore!

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H O S T E D
Can you guess what those tiny golden brown cubes on the oyster are? They are potatoes, cut neatly and very small, then cooked to a crisp. Such meticulousness shows the approach they have to cooking at “Jean Georges” where no effort is spared to ensure a dish is as exquisite as can be.
Coddled in basil cream and warm from being baked, the luscious and plump Whitestone oyster does not just have the crunchy potatoes for a more exciting mouthfeel but also the unexpected spike of heat from wasabi to tease the nasal passages. The result is an oyster that is multi-faceted in texture and flavour, and utterly irresistible. I could have downed half a dozen of these in a flash.

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Thanks to Van (Instagram: @mrs_vanity), we got to try the iconic “Pepperoni Square” at Prince Street Pizza (@psp_nyc). The walls of the establishment are covered in framed photos of famous people, ranging from celebrities in show business to politicians to sports stars.
From the time of our arrival at this iconic New York joint until I had my slab of pizza gobbled up and fingers licked clean, the queue of customers (it stretched out the entrance and down the street) never ceased. Yup, there is no denying their pizza is popular. There is also no denying it is as oily as hell due to the way the discs of pepperoni curl up during the cooking process to become mini “reservoirs of oil”. But such unbridled deliciousness (it’s loud, it’s proud, it’s highly expressive in flavour) can inspire all caution (along with conscience) to be thrown to the wind.

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My eyebrows shot up when I bit down - this cheeseburger at @fiveguys was a tremendous surprise in tastiness. However, I think I’m entitled to some credit for that 😁 After all, it’s built on my decision to go with double patties of beef and toppings of cheese, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, fresh jalapeños (this adds a bloom of fragrance and heat) as well as hot sauce (which I’d asked to be served on the side so I could dip my fries in). Oh, by the way, Five Guys’ fries are excellent! Crispy out and a little soft within, the skin is left on them so there is no doubt you’re chomping on an actual potato. And in case you need to know what kind of potato it is or where it came from, they have a sign on the wall with the info handwritten in marker.
I just learned there is a @fiveguyscanada located a few kilometres away from our AirBnB. Guess it’s obvious where I’ll be heading over to very soon.

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Although there were three options for the main in the 5-course Bar Menu, TH and I zeroed in on the Aged Duck. It is after all, a signature of @elevenmadisonpark and fortunately, it was every bit as delicious as it’s reputed to be.
What I loved was how the skin, having been lavished with honey, cumin, sea salt, black pepper and Szechuan peppercorns, became a vital element in the dish, adding extra texture and flavour to every bite of the tender breast meat. The citrus duck jus and crunchy radish joined in to give a lift and brightness too.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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