Jack’s Wife Freda

After a few failed attempts by all of us on separate occasions to try Jack’s Wife Freda, we finally managed to have dinner at their original location in Soho. I know that they’re famed for their brunches and lunches, but we were in the area and the wait was only around 30 minutes for dinner. We were seated in their corner booth and were given time to look over their menu, which also works as a placemat.

We opted for two appetizers to share: the Salt & Pepper Eggplant ($8.00) and Spiced Beet Dip ($9.00). The Salt & Pepper Eggplant was diced into cube-like shapes and then lightly fried. The cubes are paired with a delicious Tzatziki sauce that I actually used later to eat the fries. The Spiced Beet Dip was a nice surprise. I was a bit apprehensive about it since I’m not usually a fan of beets but it was pretty good. The dip was a bit sweet and was topped with one of my favorites – goat cheese. The Beet Dip was served with warm pitas, which I quite enjoyed.



I had the Peri-Peri Chicken ($20.00) with a diced salad of cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. I quite liked the diced salad because it was sweet and vinegary at the same time – great for opening up the appetite! The chicken was very tender and juicy. The portion size was huge and had I not given pieces of it away to the other members of my party, I probably wouldn’t have finished!


I also sampled their Bloody Mary Mussels with Fries ($18.00), which was really good. I was skeptical because I’m not a big fan of Bloody Mary’s as a cocktail but with mussels, it works. The broth was tomatoey and just a bit spicy, which didn’t overpower the mussels at all. The mussels themselves were super plump! There was so much more mouthfeel to each mussel than the smaller ones in other restaurants.


We opted to skip dessert since we were all so full but I did have an iced latte. They serve Stumptown! This was a huge plus in my books because I absolutely love Stumptown coffee and love restaurants that serve it. Service was  attentive enough but I do think the space is too small. The tiny space meant a loud dining room so I don’t recommend Jack’s Wife Freda if you’re looking for an intimate date location. Come for the food but definitely plan an alternative if you want to sit and talk.


Kiin Thai Eatery

I’m a huge fan of Thai food – both authentic and Americanized. Sometimes I just get a craving for some Pad See Ew, which my boyfriend tells me they do eat in Thailand but it’s not common (source: his aunt is from Thailand). But sometimes, you want to try something that you haven’t eaten before and that’s why we love the new influx of Northern Thai restaurants like Somtum Der. When I heard that the folks behind Somtum Der were taking over the space left by Cafetasia by NYU, I was instantly interested.

We arrived at around 6pm on a weekday night and were seated by the windows. They run Happy Hour every day from 4pm to 7pm. You get 20% off all noodle dishes and ½ off the price of all drinks. It’s a pretty sweet deal since it’s basically buy-one-get-one free cocktail.


We opted to try their non-alcoholic drinks since I knew we’d be eating some spicy dishes and would need the extra liquid to cool down our tongues! I had the Tropical Sunset ($6, HH price of $3), which features a mixture of mango juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine. It was very tasty – flavorful without being too sweet. The Boyfriend got the Vermillion ($6, HH price of $3), which is a mixture of fresh raspberries, lychee guava juice, lime and ginger ale. Look at how pretty they look!


We started with the Golden Bag ($8), which features diced potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, water chestnut, corn, green peas, and cream cheese wrapped in rice paper and lightly fried to keep the bag shape. I’m not normally a fan of things that resemble fried wontons but these were so good! The rice paper was only lightly fried so they were a bit crunchy but not hard. The mixture in the bag blended so well together and tasted really good with a sweet chili sauce on the side.


We opted to split two entrees instead of each ordering our own – this way we would try out more dishes! The first to come were Grandma’s Grilled Pork with Grilled Coconut Sticky Rice ($13). The minced pork patties are caramelized with milk when they’re grilled so they were sweet and salty at the same time. The grilled sticky rice was a bit crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside, which had a great mouth feel. A bite of pork and a bite of rice = best combination!


We decided to take advantage of the 20% HH deal off noodles and ordered the Pad Thai Shrimp with Egg Crepe ($15, HH price $12). I’ve been told that traditionally, pad thai is served this what in Thailand so this was pretty cool. The rice noodles are sautéed with shrimp, silken tofu, egg, bean sprouts, peanuts and chili peppers. Our waitress said it wasn’t really that spicy but we both thought it was pretty spicy. There were lots of water involved while eating this dish – but we wouldn’t stop because it was so flavorful and delicious.


We finished our meal with a pot of Jasmine Tea ($5) to share and an order of their Green Tea Panna Cotta ($7), which is served with sweet milk. The dish was super cute and also super delicious. The sweet milk helped cut the bitterness of the matcha in the panna cotta. The panna cotta was textured perfectly – it was smooth without being so fragile that we couldn’t keep it on the spoon.


Service was attentive – sometimes a bit too attentive with their rush to take away plates. But they did leave us alone with our tea and dessert for almost an hour. We arrived at 6pm and didn’t leave until a little after 8pm and we weren’t rushed at all to leave. Make sure you make a visit to the bathrooms before you go – there are 3 stalls but it’s completely unisex.


Wok Wok

I discovered the deliciousness that is Wok Wok for the first time just last month. We learned about Wok Wok through a friend, who told us they order take out from there all the time. I had no idea that the Lobster House that used to be in the Wok Wok space even closed – let alone a new South Asian restaurant opening up! We decided to try it out since we were sick of always going to Nyonya and New Malaysia for Malaysian food. And we were pleasantly surprised!


The décor looks like it belongs in a trendy neighborhood like the East Village or Williamsburg. The interior is all wood planks and earthy colors. There’s a chalk board on the right side wall with hand-drawn images of items on the menu. Speaking of the menu, Wok Wok specializes in hawker food – or street-style food from South Asian countries. I’m a huge fan of street foods and small bites, so this was plus 1 point already for me!


On our first visit, we decided to order a bunch of appetizers to share so we could try more things. First up was the Roti Canai ($3.75), which came with a bigger portion than the other Malaysian restaurants in Chinatown. The roti was soft and crispy at the same time. The curry chicken and potato dipping sauce was flavorful without being too spicy.


Next we had the Kaya Butter Toast ($2.50), which features homemade coconut pandan jam, or kaya, on buttered toast. This was phenomenal! Not many places serve Kaya Toast in NYC – let alone homemade kaya. Kaya is a staple in Malaysian breakfasts and it’s super tasty – a hint of sweetness. They sell containers of their homemade kaya butter for $6.00 by the counter.


Following the toast was an order of the Satay Chicken ($5.50), which comes with four sticks of charcoal grilled chicken with a sweet + spicy potato dipping sauce. The portion size is a bit small for the price but the chicken was tender and the dipping sauce was delightful.


We also ordered the Thai Lettuce Wrap ($6.95), which might have been my favorite dish of the night. The dish comes with fresh lettuce and chicken cooked in a lemongrass marinade. The chicken was so flavorful and fragrant! I highly recommend this dish.

On our next visit, we decided to try some new dishes. I’d like to particularly point out the Squid with Water Spinach, which comes in a huge portion size. The squid is cooked perfectly, crispy and chewy. The spicy peanut sauce on top of the squid and water spinach was perfect to eat with rice. Even though I’m not a fan of peanuts, I gobbled this dish up.


The Hainanese Chicken Rice Bowl is also a highlight – the portion size is huge! I feel like you definitely get more chicken here than at the other aforementioned Malaysian restaurants. They separate the chicken and the rice into two separate bowls so it’s easier to eat, which I appreciate. I hate getting chicken bones in my rice!


Service is always attentive and the servers are super nice. They’re willing to answer any questions on the menu and are very knowledgeable. I also highly recommend ordering a Malaysian Milk Tea or Coffee to go with your meal – they make it just right!


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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.