24 Hours In NYC
Disclaimer: This is a guest post with independent reviews of restaurants in New York City. This post is not sponsored in any way.
New York City one of the greatest cities of all time. It’s rough, busy, and beautiful. From an outsider’s perspective this city can be greatly misunderstood. When you live in an area that’s quite literally the opposite NYC can be overwhelming...but yet exciting. There’s so much to discover. Stores, bars, and restaurant are squeezed into every square inch of the city it’s impossible to see it all.
Every time I go to NYC it’s a different experience and that’s what I love about it - that I have never been to the same place twice. There are so many iconic restaurants and bars you could spend a lifetime trying to go to them all. My main goal for this trip was to eat at the restaurants of today’s titans of the culinary world and to discover some new places.
Ivan Ramen - The first place we went to once we got to the city was Ivan Ramen which is Ivan Orkin’s restaurant, we needed to eat there just out of pure curiosity. If you’ve never heard of this restaurant or the man behind it I highly suggest watching Season 3 of Chef’s Table to hear his compelling story. I needed to find out first hand if this white Jewish guy really makes some of the best ramen in the world. Now if your food appropriation senses are tingling I highly suggest that you taste it before you judge. Now I’ll be honest it was pretty good, but not the best I ever had, actually I was really jealous of the guy next me who had what looked like a raw egg yolk on top of his noodles. Sorry if this grosses some of you out, but I’m a total egg slut and will eat anything with a runny yolk in, on it, or on the side for that matter.
The service there was great and we were seated quickly, but that was because there were only two of us and we were more than happy to sit at the counter. The servers were knowledgeable about the dishes, they made sure to ask if we ever been there before knowing that most people come for the ramen. When my husband ordered a dish that wasn’t ramen, the server brought it to his attention, knowing that with this being his first time there he would definitely want the ramen. We also got a complimentary side of pickles, someone accidentally ordered extra and we got to eat them. There were delicious, salty, spicy, and fresh. Those little things of being knowledgeable, pleasant, and giving us a little hook up made the service from being just ok to great.
Momofuku - David Chang is one of the greatest chefs of our time with restaurants in NYC, Toronto, and Las Vegas. He’s also been featured in countless food documentaries. I am also a fan on his show Ugly Delicious, where he shares his belief food doesn’t need to look Instagram worthy to be good and just needs to be cooked with love to taste good. And without a doubt his food tastes like it was made with love.
I got the oxtail and I was instantly transported back to the first time I ever had beef stew, sitting with my dad bowl in hand after a full day of sledding. It was silky, beefy, and tender...it was actually better than the first time I ever beef stew. But that’s what makes a dish taste good, it reminds you of the best times of your childhood but still elevates to a place that you didn’t even know existed. I’m just happy that the meal lived up to the hype. There’s nothing more disappointing than finally eating at restaurant that you’ve been wanting to go to and realizing that the food is just ok.
Milk Bar - Hands down one of the best things that I have ever eaten has come from this bakery. Another Chef’s Table alumni Christina Tossi is the owner of this ultra hip but yet really simple bakery. I couldn’t tell you what the inside looked like because I sent Jay in while I snapped pics of the famous Milk Bar neon light hanging in the front window. This neon light is a beacon for all people with sweet tooths far and wide. Before we even got there I already knew that I wanted to get, a slice of crack pie and cereal milk ice cream. The crack pie is adequately named, immediately after we devoured it we legitimately contemplated going back in and spending $42 for a whole pie. Now if you’re thinking $42 is way too much for a pie, I would normally agree with you but this would be totally worth it.
I even contemplated making it at home because the recipe is available online, but I have this gut feeling that it wouldn’t taste the same and I just can’t deal with that kind of disappointment. One reason that I know that it won’t taste the same is because you need corn powder, something my cheap ass won’t buy. There are people out there who made it without the corn powder but those people never had the original crack pie, so therefore their recipe can not be trusted. Do yourself a favor, spend the $42 plus shipping and handling and order it online, or you can be like me and go to New York to shamelessly gobble this pie while looking like Golum from Lord of the Rings.
Sake Bar Decibel - In NYC there are these unassuming spaces that look like nothing from the outside but when you walk inside it’s a completely different world. One place in particular comes to mind, this underground sake bar called Sake Bar Decibel. The atmosphere alone makes you feel like you’re a part of this secret society for the cool kids of Japan. It’s dark, dank, and covered with stickers and graffiti. The only illumination comes from the hanging Japanese paper lanterns and the tea lights strewn across the bar. It smells slightly damp like your parents basement, but that’s understandable because you are underground. The music is loud, the ceiling is low and the drink menu is extensive. Between the lighting, the decor, and the other bar patrons you know that this is only an experience that you would have in NYC.
Manhattan never cease to amaze me, there’s always something new to experience. I suggest going back again and again and always trying something new. My biggest advice for people who’ve never been is to not overly plan your visit, but always have a couple of things you want to do in mind. If you drink, get drunk and talk to people this is the best way to find things that are off the beaten path. However the best piece of advice I can give you... just roll with the punches and let the city show you what it has to offer.
About the author
Sondria Harp is the creator of the food blog Lunenburg Mama. She's a home cook, food photographer, and a stay-at-home mom. When she's not busy with all of these things you can find her in her garden pulling weeds.