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On The Loose in New York City


When your family is  otherwise occupied for the holidays, a culinary tour of New York City’s restaurants, art galleries and theaters is a close second (please don’t tell them, but it’s a pretty awesome substitute).

The expedient thing about NYC is that you can often check out art and great food at the same place. One such venue is the new Whitney Museum of American Art and its newer restaurant, Untitled. Every dish we tried wasn’t a tasteful masterpiece—although many were—but all were mat-and-frame worthy. The most arty was the potato dish with capers, trout roe and miniature potato chips. The best-tasting one, however, was the Cabot cheddar fondue with maitake and Asian pear. I would have licked the bowl if the odds of getting caught in the background of a selfie weren’t so great. The cauliflower soup at the upstairs restaurant at the MoMA gave art lovers another piece of art to enjoy.

At Maialino, a Danny Meyer restaurant located in the Gramercy Park Hotel, we had brunch reservations so I wasn’t able to try the Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe, which was named one of the “New York Dishes You Need to Eat Before You Die” by a cultural website for stylish women. I hope this means I’ve shaken off the mortal coil until my next trip to Maialino. To die for, however, were the tiny fried artichokes and the mimosa with a hint of ginger. The pork hash topped with a sunnyside-up egg was also worthy of accolades.

The Le Parker Meridian, where we stayed, is home to one of the best brunch spots in the city, a cosmopolitan bar that is a long dark hallway lined with couches and low tables, and Burger Joint, a regular winner of the city’s best burger awards. At the bar, complimentary snacks include breaded and deep-fried green olives and two kinds of nuts, served in a silver holder. The line for Burger Joint regularly wraps around a cueing system in the lobby, where 30 to 40 people at a time wait for takeout or dine-in orders. Because the clientele at the hotel (as well as NYC) is multi-cultural, the menu is printed in five to six different languages and inserted into separate holders on the wall.

The drink to order at the bar combines three parts prosecco, one part St. Germaine over ice with a twist of lemon. The ice serves as hydration.

But the most unusual dish I sampled was the chips and dip at Decoy, a tiny Chinese eatery stashed underneath the better-known RedFarm that franchise consultant, Jeff Kolton, recommended. The chips were fried fish skin and resembled the old-fashioned pork rinds I used to eat as a kid until I realized what I was eating. These fish chips had the same effect on me. If I couldn't see the gray scales, I might have eaten them with a little more gusto.

But in the arty world of NYC, food needs to be seen as well as eaten.

potatoes The pretty potatoes at Untitled at the Whitney
eggs The Pork Hash at Maialino
Burger Joint Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridian


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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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