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The Library at the Public

I’ve walked by the Public Theater numerous times on my way to and from the East Village. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I discovered that there was actually a restaurant inside the theater! The Boyfriend had mentioned that he read about a restaurant called, The Library at the Public Theater. A quick Yelp search helped me discover this cool venue – coincidentally right smack in the middle of NYC Restaurant Week. An OpenTable reservation later, we were set for Tuesday dinner at the Library.
We arrived very early but they were nice enough to seat us anyways (I think this is a trend for us!). The Library’s Restaurant Week menu offers three courses divided into three “Acts” – just like a play. I thought this was really cute and clever of them. Act I, the appetizers, offered five options. Act II, the entrees, had four options. And lastly, Act III, had three dessert options. I was pleased to notice that their RW menu features items that are on their regular menu.
For Act I, I opted for the Burrata with green market vegetables. The burrata was very nice – moist and stretchy. I just wished that there was more!
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The Boyfriend had the Crispy Calamari with shishito peppers and chipotle aioli. The portion size was huge and this appetizer is definitely made to be shared! The calamari was crispy and crunchy – fried perfectly. The best part was the chipotle aioli, which was super tasty.
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For Act II, I had the Flat Iron Steak Frites with bitter green salad and Maitre D’Butter. The steak was cooked perfectly to my requested medium rare. The salad wasn’t bitter at all and went really well with the steak. The best part, though, was the huge portion of fries that we were able to share. It felt like they were never ending!
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The Boyfriend chose the Steamed Branzino with Madras curry and summer vegetables. We traded bites of our dishes so we could try both and I really liked his branzino. The fish was tender and the curry flavor was very subtle. It wasn’t a kick-you-in-the-face curry, which was very complimentary to the summer vegetables.
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For Act III, I had the Vanilla and Chocolate Soft Serve with Pocky sticks. They had me at the Pocky sticks! The ice cream was such a huge portion ice that I couldn’t finish it. I’m not quite sure what kind of chocolate was used to make the ice cream but it was really good – not too sweet with just a hint of chocolate.
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The Boyfriend had the Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with Vanilla Soft Serve. His dessert was also huge – it’s definitely shareable between 2-3 people at least. The crumble was served warm, which contrasted nicely with the vanilla ice cream. But alas, we were too full from dinner to finish it.
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Service was attentive and our waitress was super nice. I must compliment the Library for serving their regular menu at regular portion sizes for Restaurant Week. A lot of places often create items that aren’t on the menu or downsize items that are on their menu for Restaurant Week. Props to the Library – I’ll definitely be returning!
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Restaurant Week – Clement in the Peninsula Hotel

I’ve been to Fives in the Peninsula Hotel before – it was actually my very first Restaurant Week meal back when I was still a teenager. When I heard a new restaurant, Clement, had replaced it, I was instantly interested. And better, it was on the Restaurant Week list! A quick OpenTable reservation got us right in for a 1:30pm lunch on a Friday afternoon.
Clement is located on the second floor of the Peninsula Hotel. When you first walk up the stairs, you’re greeted by the bar area to the left and the dining room to the right. We were seated right away and our waiter explained the Restaurant Week options as well as the $10 wine options to go with the RW menu. I opted for a Rosé while the Boyfriend went for a White. Both were very light on the palate. The RW menu offers three options for both appetizers and entrees and one option for dessert.
For my appetizer, I chose the Green Asparagus with crispy hen egg and lemon. The dish was very good – very light and refreshing for a hot summer day. Clement cooks their poached eggs sous vide style inside the shell before cracking it onto a spoon. This equals a smoother and silkier poached egg, which was effortless to pop.
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The Boyfriend chose the Fluke Crudo with white soy, grapefruit gel, and rice cracker. I had a bit of his fluke crudo and just like my appetizer, it was light and refreshing. The grapefruit really helps open up the appetite.
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For my entrée, I had the Fresh Tagliatelle with roasted mushrooms, parmesan, and sherry essence. The pasta itself wasn’t the best that I’ve had – it didn’t taste like it was made in-house. The mushroom and parmesan sauce, however, was very good. I liked that they used an assortment of mushrooms, since each tastes slightly different with a different mouth-feel.
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The Boyfriend had the Clement Burger with brioche bun, spicy mustard, and fries. The burger was pretty tasty – but not the best burger we’ve both had. It tastes very good with the spicy mustard so make sure you slather some on before taking a bite! The fries were thin and crispy and a very generous portion. The burger would probably be the biggest portion size on the RW menu if you’re a big eater.
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For dessert, we both had the Peach Almond Tart with salted caramel and mascarpone ice cream. The tart shell was pretty hard (and slightly difficult to eat) but the filling was very good. It tasted even better with a scoop of ice cream, which wasn’t too sweet and complimented the slightly tart flavor of the peaches.
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Service was very attentive. We had coffee at the end of our meal (2 cups actually!) and weren’t rushed to leave even though we were the last ones left in the restaurant. The coffee is very good and you get unlimited refills – but just a heads up, it is $9 a cup. All in all, Clement is a very solid Restaurant Week lunch.

Restaurant Week Brunch – All’onda

I had first visited All’onda when it opened last year for the Boyfriend’s birthday. All’onda had caught our eye since the head chef used to work with the Altamarea Group, which we’re a little obsessed with. I was pleasantly surprised by my meal – the Ventian-Asian inspired flavors were refreshingly new and different. When Restaurant Week (or month?) rolled around, I opted for brunch reservations to All’onda so my mom could give them try since I’ve also been introducing her to several Altamarea restaurants.
We arrived on time for our 1pm reservation for Sunday Brunch and was promptly seated upstairs in a booth table. I love sitting at booth tables because they give me so much room to sit back, relax, and enjoy my meal. All’onda’s Restaurant Week Brunch menu offers four appetizer, five entrée, and three dessert options, which is a lot more choices than most RW restaurants!
For my appetizer, I opted for the Stracciatella with salsa verde, plums, and grilled sourdough. The stracciatella was smooth and very mild. The salsa verde and plums gave the otherwise flavorless cheese a nice kick. The portion size is generous and I actually could’ve used another slice of sourdough.
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My sister and mom both went with the Polpetti alla Veneziana, or veal meatballs with tomato and parmigiano fonduta. The meatballs were very tender and airy. The sauce was really nice – I think I saw some bonito flakes on top of the meatballs, which was an interesting addition. I think this was the best appetizer on the menu.
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For my entrée, I had the Bucatini with smoked uni and spicy bread crumbs. The bucatini is one of their most popular pasta dishes so I knew I had to try it. For the Restaurant Week menu, there is a market price supplement charge, which ended up being $7 per dish for us. The dish was divine! For uni lovers, this is a special treat. The pasta is cooked to a perfect al dente and is super creamy. There is a generous portion of uni tongues dispersed throughout the dish. I highly recommend this!
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My sister opted for their Pollo al Limone, or roasted lemon chicken with braised kale and pan sauce. I think this is the RW menu option that provides the biggest potion size. The chicken was very tender and not tough at all, which can happen to chicken breast. The kale was too salty for all of us, but we were pretty much full from our appetizers and entrees to even finish the kale!
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For dessert, both my mom and I had the Olive Oil Cake with ricotta gelato, strawberry, and basil seeds. I’ve had this dish before so I knew what I was getting. The olive oil cake is soft and light and pairs well with the ricotta gelato. I always enjoy this dish because it’s not too sweet and is a nice, light finish to a savory meal.
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My sister ordered the Bellini Sundae with Prosecco sorbet and peaches. The Prosecco sorbet was a bit melted when it arrived so the pictures aren’t terribly appetizing but it was a very tasty dessert. The Prosecco gave the sorbet a bubbly texture and ensured it wasn’t too sweet. I just wish it wasn’t so melted by the time we began eating it!
Service was attentive and we were able to sit and chat during brunch without being rushed. I highly recommend visiting during Restaurant Week to take advantage of the reducing pricing of the Bucatini with Uni. I remember the market price surcharge being pretty hefty the last time I visited!
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Restaurant Week – Telepan

I’m a huge fan of restaurants that offer items from their regular menu on their Restaurant Week menu. This allows me to try something that a restaurant would normally offer and determine if I want to come back when Restaurant Week is over, which I think is should be the while point of the event. Telepan falls right into this category. Their RW lunch menu allows patrons to pick an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert off of their regular menu for the low price of $25.

The moment Restaurant Week reservations opened up, I quickly snatched reservations for lunch at Telepan for a Friday afternoon (taking full advantage of my summer Fridays!). We arrived early for our reservation but they sat us anyways. The dining room was quiet despite having a few other tables filled. Our waiter stopped by with the offer of water and left us to peruse the menus, which had the biggest selection of options I’ve seen during Restaurant Week.

For my appetizer, I went with the House Smoked Brook Trout with corn blini and green onion sour cream. This dish was divine. The smoked trout was flavorful without being too salty or fishy. The corn blini was soft and served as a perfect foundation for the smoked trout.

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The Boyfriend had the Poached Egg and Frisée Salad with wild mushrooms and mustard vinaigrette. We were both pleasantly surprised when we each took a bite. This salad is simple – there are only a grand total of 4-5 ingredients in it but it was so flavorful! Each bite tickled our taste buds and left us wanting more.

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For my entrée, I had the Roasted Chicken with carrots vinaigrette, organic grits, and wild spinach. The spinach was a bit bitter but everything else on my plate was perfection. The chicken was so tender and soft, I barely had to chew each bite. The carrots vinaigrette was very good – it felt more like a sauce/gravy than vinaigrette, which suited me just fine. I think this is one of the best pieces of chicken I have ever had.

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The Boyfriend had the Maine Pollock with salsa verde, heirloom tomatoes, and eggplant. The portion size was very generous and he really liked it. There was a nice crunch to the Pollock and it was very nicely flavored.

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For dessert, I had the Telepan S’more, which was heavenly. It comes with a dark chocolate brownie with marshmallow in the middle and graham cracker ice cream on top. The marshmallow was fluffy and slightly melted. It was also a bit warm, which tasted so good when mixed with the coldness of the graham cracker ice cream. I highly recommend coming to Telepan just for this dessert!

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The Boyfriend had the Coconut Cake, which comes with coconut whipped cream. We both thought the dessert was a bit lackluster and didn’t quite belong on the menu. The cake was very crumbly and the icing tasted like it might have been cream cheese. The end result was a slice of cake that was a bit on the heavy side. Compared to the delicious and airy coconut cake at Orchid’s in one of my previous posts, this one was legions away. The coconut whipped cream was tasty though, so that was the saving grace.

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Service was attentive without being overbearing. Our dishes came out in a reasonable amount of time – we had enough time to chat and enjoy our courses without feeling rushed. I huge pet peeve of mine is a rushed meal! I would definitely return to Telepan – even on a normal basis because their dinner prix fixes aren’t even expensive! Keep in mind, however, that for the rest of Restaurant Week, they only do lunch Wednesdays to Fridays from 11:30 – 2:30.

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Restaurant Week – Delmonico’s

Delmonico’s has been on my radar for a while now so when my mom mentioned she’d like to have dinner during Restaurant Week, I quickly made reservations. The restaurant has a lot of history – dating back to 1837. It’s credited as the 1st American restaurant to allow its customers to order a la carte, instead of prix fixe. The building itself is a site to behold – it’s on the corner and the restaurant takes up the entire bottom floor. At first glance, it might be easy to walk past it. But once you’re inside the restaurant, it’s like you’ve been transferred to another much older world. You feel like you’ve walked into another time!

Our waiter came by with menus, explained the Restaurant Week menu and left us to peruse our options. Delmonico’s menu is pretty similar to other Restaurant Week menus – there are three options for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. There are three addition options for both appetizers and entrees with supplements. If you want one of their more classic dishes like Lobster Newburg or Delmonico’s Steak, you have to pay extra.

Both my sister and I opted for the Chef’s Chilled Soup of the Day since it was so hot outside (boarding around 95 degrees). The soup of the day was a Butternut Squash with lobster chunks. It was so good – it wasn’t very cold, which was nice. The butternut squash was strong and nutty, which mixed well with the lightly salted lobster. I think this was my favorite dish of the night.

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My mom went with the Gulf Shrimp Risotto with heirloom tomatoes, charred corn and basil.  I liked her risotto but I’m not a huge fan of corn in my risotto. The portion was decent for an appetizer.
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For our mains, both my sister and I had the 8-ounce Filet Mignon with chef’s seasonal vegetables. The filet mignon is only available for the dinner menu for Restaurant Week. I’m a huge fan of filet mignon – it’s probably my cut of choice because I don’t like big, meaty steaks. I don’t like to saw through a huge steak so this was perfect for me. The portion size is generous and cooked to my requested medium-rare. The sides were green beans and fingerling potatoes, which are two of my favorite steak sides. Both were very tasty. The combination of steak juices and the potato sauce made for a great dipping for my steak.
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My mom went with the Grilled Striped Bass with maitake mushrooms, sauce Americain, marble potatoes, and Maine lobster. The portion size was very generous and my mom couldn’t even finish her dish. The Maine lobster was a nice garnish to the striped bass and everything blended well together.
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For dessert, we ordered all three so we could try them all. My mom ordered the New York Style Cheesecake with strawberry compote (pictured first). My sister ordered the Dark Chocolate Mousse with salted caramel sauce (pictured second). I opted to pay the $6 supplement and try their famous Classic Baked Alaska with walnut cake, banana gelato, apricot jam and meringue (pictured last).
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The Dark Chocolate Mousse was my favorite – there was a nice crunch at the bottom of the mousse. The dark chocolate was nice because it cut the sweetness of the mousse. The Baked Alaska was a bit underwhelming – I found it a bit too sweet. And I have a sweet tooth so if I think it’s too sweet, that’s saying something! It’s also a huge portion so it’s definitely sharable.

Service was attentive throughout dinner and all our dishes came out very quickly. We barely waited 5 minutes between courses. I didn’t particularly feel rushed but it did end up being a quick dinner. Delmonico’s is a very classic and well-oiled steakhouse. I’d probably return again to try out their classic Delmonico’s steak with sides (I spied them on the table next to us!).

Oahu Good Eats

Even though we had three amazing and delicious sit-down dinners, I feel like some of the best eats we had were from little stops all over the island of Oahu. Often times, it is these little stops along the way that makes the trips more fun and exciting. It’s also these little stops that offer the most authentic, Hawaiian island feel.

Our first full day on Oahu took us away from city and along the coast line up to the North Shore. We made our first top at the Dole Plantation, where we stopped for some light souvenir shopping (Dole’s pineapple macadamia nut cookies are by far, the best) and Dole Whip! Every single time we’ve been on the island, we’ve had Dole Whip. It is just that good! I’ve had the Dole Whip at Disney and my cousin has had the Dole Whip at Leonard’s but none of them compare to the one at the Dole Plantation. The whip is creamy and sweet – not overly tart at all. Most people write off the Dole Plantation as a tourist trap but we will always make a stop for the Dole Whip.

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Along the way back from visiting the North Shore, we hit up the famous shrimp trucks. I’ve had Fumi’s and my cousin has had Romy’s – we both agree that Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is the best. The shrimp is de-veined and headless – perfect for eating. All the shrimps are pretty much the same size and you get a heaping portion of rice with garlic sauce with each order. The garlic is definitely the strongest here – you’ll smell it in your car for days! Be sure to get a side of their mac salad, it’s pretty darn good to go with the delicious Shrimp Scampi.

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Dinner that same night was a hurried stop at Pa’ina’s Café for some delicious poke. They close at 6pm on weekends so we had to rush back from the North Shore to pick up some poke bowls. We ran in at 5:45pm and managed to order their Ahi Tuna Crunch Poke Bowl (XL). The portion sizes are unreal – the amount of ahi tuna inside my poke bowl was so generous that two of us couldn’t even finish it. The ahi was super fresh and tasted oh-so-good. Be warned though – the crunchies can get soft if you don’t eat the poke bowl right away.

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Another hidden gem that I absolutely love is Nisshodo Mochiya, which my cousin introduced us to the first time we visited Oahu. It’s located inside a warehouse and you literally cannot find it unless you have a GPS or someone to show you. Nisshodo sells homemade mochi products, but my favorite is their Chi Chi Dango, small pieces of plain mochi that are squishy, soft, and just a little sweet. They’re super affordable and very easy to just gobble down an entire pound.

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I don’t have a picture of this – because I keep gobbling them down before I take a picture, but the Poi Doughnuts at Kamehameha Bakery are literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It doesn’t taste like taro at all – it just tastes like sweet, pillowy heaven. The doughnuts are so soft – even after a 10 hour plane ride back to NYC.

Jump into your car and venture off into the tiny pit stops along the road – they have the best eats and the most authentic Oahu feel. While I love a sit-down meal with waiter service – I also really love discovering delicious, cheap eats.

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Seamore’s

When I first heard about Seamore’s, I knew I had to eat there! Fresh seafood is one of my favorite things in life so it really was a no-brainer for me. I bookmarked them the day they opened but it wasn’t until about two weeks later that I got to try them out. After a much needed spa day (facials and a manicure) in Chinatown, I offered to treat my mom to dinner at Seamore’s. We rolled in at 6:30 and were quoted an hour wait time. So we put our names down and went in search for a coffee shop still open at that time. No more than 25 minutes later, I got a text saying a table was ready.
We were seated in their huge and airy dining room – they had opened up all the windows to let the breeze in. Our waitress greeted us right away and explained the menu to us. Seamore’s sources locally so their fish comes from anywhere between New York and Maine. They have about three to four fish options every day. These options are never kept for longer than 24 hours at a time so they’re super fresh. Each day they have a little wood board that tells you the options for the day.
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We opted to start off with the Poke ($13.00) with ponzu, peanut, and avocado. The fish of the day for the Poke was Tuna, which is pretty standard. If I’m in Hawaii, I actually prefer the Salmon Poke, but I like tuna as well since it’s the more traditional fish. The poke was fresh and tasty – it’s definitely not the standard shoyu poke from Hawaii but it’s a very good interpretation.
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We decided to split two different dishes as entrées so we could try something new. First we had the Seared Seasonal Fish Tacos ($15.00), which comes with two huge corn tortillas topped with black bean sauce, lettuce, pico, avocado, and crema. The fish of the day for the Seared Tacos was a yellowtail flounder, which was amazing. The flounder was so tender and soft – it practically melted in our mouths. The combination of fish juice, pico and crema made the dish a bit sloppy to eat but I highly recommend it – the flavor is amazing.
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We also split the Reel Deal ($21.00), which is their signature entrée. You choose a fish of the day and a sauce. The dish comes served in a bowl with three of their daily sides. On the day we visited, we had warm quinoa salad, roasted summer squash and collard greens. We opted to go with the Monkfish with Miso Brown Butter Sauce. The Monkfish was very tender and fresh – also very filling. The miso brown butter was very tasty – there was a hint of miso and lots of buttery goodness. I would definitely dip my lobster in this!
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Even though we were quite full from our entrées, we always have room for dessert! Seamore’s makes it simple by only offering one dessert option – Kaffir Lime Soft Serve from OddFellows. The only options you have are (1) Coconut Granola Topping and (2) cone or cup. We opted for the coconut topping and cones. The soft service was very tasty – just a bit tart and very refreshing after a savory meal.
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Service was great throughout the meal – our waitress was very attentive and really helped make our first time at Seamore’s effortless. The tables are closely packed together and the music is also quite loud in the high-ceiling dining room so I wouldn’t recommend them for a first date. Their tables are very group friendly, however, so grab some friends and check them out!