Tartinery

For my sister’s birthday dinner this year, she chose Tartinery, located in the Nolita area. We have both heard good things about Tartinery but never got a chance to go try them out. Since we were ending our post-Christmas shopping in Soho, she thought it would be a great place to grab her birthday dinner. Quick tip: you definitely need reservations if you plan on arriving later in the night. By the time we left at around 8pm, there were a few groups waiting outside.

We were a group of five so we ordered two appetizers to share. First up was the Pata Negra Plate, which consists of iberco ham and garlic & tomato paste served with toasts. The ham was very fragrant and tasted great when paired with the tomato paste. I wish there was more ham!

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Our second appetizer was the Burrata, served with grape tomatoes, olive oil and toasts as well. The burrata was pretty tasty – absolutely no complaints. The portion size was generous and we had more than enough to go around. Although, I have to say that the burrata was not as good as the divine one I had a Murray’s Cheese Bar.

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My sister, the birthday girl, went with the Croque Madame Tartine with ham chiffonade, gruyere cheese and a fried egg on top. I had a piece of her tartine and I thought it was one of the best Croque Madames I have ever had. The cheese was melty and gooey. And the leaky egg yolk really helped round the entire taste combination up to a perfect little package.

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I had the Steak Minute Tartine with filet steak, caramelized onion and horseradish mayo. I didn’t care too much for the caramelized onions but I really loved the horseradish mayo. It had a hint of pepper and spice, which was a nice compliment to the steak. I was really too full to finish the bread along with the steak but I did it because of the delicious mayo!

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For dessert, I split the Tarte Tartin, a warm, caramelized apple tart, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The warm apple tart was a nice, sweet finish to the otherwise savory meal. I only wish there was more ice cream!

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Service was pretty attentive throughout the entire dinner. Beer prices are pretty reasonable but some wines are definitely on the pricey side. My glass of Riesling, although good, was $11, which can buy me a whole bottle at Astor Wines. Come for the tartines, but skip the wine list if you’re on a budget!

Ed’s Lobster Bar

Every year for my mom’s birthday we always go out and have a nice dinner the week before. This year we opted to have dinner at Ed’s Lobster Bar since both my mom and sister have never been. We arrived around 6:30pm and was seated right away in the back area. While the menu at Ed’s isn’t large, it still has a fair amount of selection, which made it hard to choose since everything sounded so good!

We opted to have the Jumbo Shrimp to start along with two soups. I’ve written about both Ed’s Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder before so I won’t rehash it here. The Jumbo Shrimp, though, was super sweet and huge! I kind of wished I could have another one!


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I opted for the Day Boat Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and fresh veggies. I actually ended up switching my dish with my sister, but more on that later! The Scallops were seared to perfection and tasted really buttery. The mashed potatoes weren’t as creamy as I’d like but was a nice compliment to the scallops. I dislike strong-flavored sides when I have scallops because I feel like they mask the taste of the scallops.

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My sister went with the Peekytoe Crab Fusilli with asparagus. I ended up eating this dish as my main (after a few bites of mashed potato and a scallop). I’ve had peekytoe crab pasta before so I’m used to the very particular taste the crab gives the dish. It’s a bit tart and very fragrant. I liked the dish, although I definitely don’t think it’s as good as the peekytoe pasta dish at All’onda.

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We opted out of dessert since we were so full. But they brought over tiny lobster-shaped chocolates! They were so cute that we almost didn’t want to eat them.

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The food was good and the service was attentive. It did get pretty loud near the end of our dinner because of the increasing crowd. The restaurant itself is pretty small so make sure you come early in order to snag a table!

Sweetgreen

One of the best parts of working in Flatiron was my discovery of Sweetgreen, which serves some of the most delicious salads and rice+veggie bowls I’ve ever had. The model is very similar to other salad places – you can make your own salad from a variety of veggie bases, toppings and dressings. But Sweetgreen has amazing signature salads that are so good you don’t even want to think about making your own!

There are an abundance of signature salads to choose from – some of them are set and served all year round and others change with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Each time I come to Sweetgreen, I keep saying that I’m going to make my own salad but I always end up picking one of their signature salads because they sound so good!

My very first Sweetgreen salad was their Kale Caesar made with a base of shredded kale and chopped romaine. It is mixed with cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan cheese, roasted chicken, parmesan crisps, freshly squeezed lime juice and caesar dressing. You get the option of picking between light, medium or heavy for your dressing. It’s the same price no matter which option you pick, which is great for those of us who like their dressing on the heavy side. The salad is crisp and super delicious. The parmesan crisps are a great supplement to the standard crouton.

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There are a bunch of other options on the signature menu but my favorite – even before the yummy Kale Caesar – is the Avocobbo, which features shredded kale and chopped romaine mixed with tomatoes, raw corn, half an avocado, bacon, an egg, roasted chicken and a blue-cheese dressing. I’m a huge fan of cobb salads and this one is just 10x better because it has avocado and blue-cheese dressing, which makes the salad super creamy. The ingredients all mix together perfectly to form a fresh and hearty salad.

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The best part is that they give you a piece of bread to soak up the dressing! The bread is usually pretty soft and easy to eat. Even though the line looks intimidating, it’s always moving. The workers behind the counter are very efficient and you’re usually in and out within 15 minutes – which is a steal during peak lunch hours!

If you’re in the mood for a fresh, delicious, gourmet salad, Sweetgreen is the right place for you!