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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
In Provincial France, a Mas is known as a country farmhouse that grows all the products to nourish the estate onsite. Though located in the heart of the West Village, Mas (la grillade) seeks out seasonal ingredients from small, organic and sustainable farms in communities surrounding New York City—thus forming its “estate.”
Since 2004, chef Galen Zamarra has been a leader in farm-to-table dining at Mas (farmhouse), his first WV establishment. Utilizing his years of experience, farmer connections and sustainable approach to fine dining, Galen opened Mas (la grillade) in late 2011. He showcases a seasonal menu of locally grown, sustainably raised foods cooked solely over fires of oak, apple and other hardwoods. When you open the Seventh Avenue South doors, you’ll be greeted by the sweet fragrance of smoky, burning wood. A small bar and glass-walled wine room open into an elegant split-level dining room filled with wood tables, white tablecloths and a bright skylight ceiling.
The prix fixe and à la carte menu debuts fresh starters, like a salad of sliced roasted beets, pickled onions, marinated cucumbers and velvety smoked ricotta. Precise fire-grilled preparations let the flavors and beautiful qualities of the ingredients shine in each dish. An entrée of grilled duck presented succulent smoky medallions, rimmed with a thin layer of fat beneath the skin, plated over tender Swiss chard. Perfectly seared scallops laid atop a bed of grilled fennel and spring greens, drizzled with vibrant saffron-dill aioli. A subtle smokiness permeated every element on the plate; it was lovely.
Grilled vegetables, like wild ramps and hen of the wood mushrooms, along with fruit-based desserts, artisanal cheeses and house-made ice creams complete the menu. Creamy ricotta and local honey ice creams were already melting when placed on our table; nonetheless, they provided a tangy, refreshing finish to an overall wonderful meal.
My review as published in the Clean Plates Manhattan 2013 Restaurant Guide Book (purchase it here) and on CleanPlates.com. Photo courtesy of Mas (la grillade).
For one of the most autentico Italian experiences around, get your appetite ready and head to Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. NoHo’s rustic market, salumeria, bakery, wine bar and restaurant is an extension of former chef Ignacio Mattos’s original Il Buco, located on adjacent Bond Street.
In the front Alimentari grocery section, you can purchase artisanal dry goods, cured meats, and freshly baked bread to enjoy at home. Or settle into the warm, cozy Vineria and restaurant to sample seasonal specialties featuring organic, local produce and proteins from eco-friendly farms—which chef Justin Smillie precisely crafts using traditional Italian methods. Varied individual and high communal tables invites sharing the love with friends—or making new ones. Belly up to a spot by the open kitchen for a front row view of the staff busily churning out delicacies.
While the atmosphere charms, the simple, straightforward cuisine is most likely to entice a repeat visit. Served with crusty, chewy Italian bread, the house-made ricotta is a must have starter. A pillow of soft curds garnished with sugar snap peas, toasted pine nuts, mint, granola and a swirl of honey offered an inviting sweet-savory sensation. Another knockout appetizer of Manila clams arrived resting in zesty roasted pepper and garlic broth, thick cubes of pancetta sprinkled throughout.
Vegetable contorni, charcuterie and fresh pastas, seafood and meats complete the menu. Try the delicate twirls of “busiate” pasta coated with almonds, anchovies, sun-ripened duana tomatoes and capers. For a heartier entrée, the signature spit-roasted short ribs presented large chunks of tender, peppery meat edged by darkened, chewy bark. They were both exceptional mains.
Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is a solid choice for a romantic date night or breaking bread with a group. Make a reservation to guarantee a prompt seating—then prepare to mangia.
My review as published in the Clean Plates Manhattan 2013 Restaurant Guide Book (purchase it here) and on CleanPlates.com. Photo courtesy of LocalEats.com.
Happy one year anniversary to Alobar! Since opening in November 2011, this cutting-edge dining destination in Long Island City has taken “pub grub” to new heights, and has become renowned for serving rustic nose-to-tail American fare paired with carefully selected craft beers, whiskeys and handcrafted cocktails. Alobar even earned a coveted place on Michelin Guide’s 2013 Bib Gourmand List.
To celebrate its first anniversary on November 15th, Alobar is hosting a week of especially delicious events:
Whiskey Tuesday with Four Roses Bourbon | Tuesday, November 13th: To kickoff the celebrations, Beverage Director Chess Lankford presents a complimentary tasting of Four Roses Bourbon, along with a brand rep to share insights on each variety of the Kentucky spirit.
Alobar Charcuterie Night | Wednesday, November 14th: Paying homage to its favorite meat curing styles, Alobar is offering one large platter of eleven of the tastiest house-made delicacies ($50; serves 2-3), with varieties including: Pig Ear Terrine, Duck Breast Prosciutto & Foie Gras-Apple Terrine.
Anniversary Beer Dinner | Thursday, November 15th: Commemorate Alobar’s one-year with an indulgent 5-course menu (including Smoked Trout, Grilled Quail & Rosemary Sausage, Roasted Rack of Lamb & Braised Shoulder, and more) paired with beers from San Diego’s Stone Brewing Company ($50 for dinner & pairings, view the full menu here).
Weekend Pig Roasts | Friday & Saturday, November 16th-17th: Kick up your heels and get ready to pig out at Alobar’s weekend-long pig-filled feast served family-style ($30 per person for mains & sides).
Reserve your spot today! AlobarNYC.com | 718.752.6000 | 46-42 Vernon Boulevard, LIC NY
And to savor the flavor of Alobar at home, mix up their addictive Maple Bacon Popcorn recipe:
Maple Bacon Popcorn | Recipe from Alobar (serves 6)
Preheat an oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon strips and cook until crisp, turning occasionally. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings.
Crumble bacon. Toss bacon, drippings, maple syrup, black pepper, and salt with popcorn. Spread popcorn mixture in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes, rotating trays halfway through, stirring occasionally. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Images courtesy of Alobar Restaurant