Guess What? Something’s cooking….and it aint you! From the Super Hot Hotspots to the Best Kept Sleepers, Here is Your Saturday Night Dining Out Plan
Super Hot: Stephen Henderson can do no wrong in our eyes. We loved his version of modern comfort food at the 1930s styled, BYOB, dining spot Kitchen (21 East Palisade Avenue, Englewood, 201-568-4570) back when it opened in 2010, and now we love it even more at its new location, with more seating and the best vibe in the county. The “good for groups” space is still turning out consistently delicious cuisine and an abundance of yummy free starters. Must-tries include the Spinach Salad with bacon, Short Ribs and the Cheesecake S’mores.
Hidden Gem: MeKong Grill (24 Chestnut Street, Ridgewood, 201-445-0011) is Ridgewood’s best-kept secret. This family-run Vietnamese casual spot is the perfect place to steal off to when you don’t want to run into the neighbors. After graduating top of his class from the French Culinary Institute and running successful sister-restaurant “The Vietnam Restaurant” in Rockland, owner Tai Nham, brings his mouth-watering crispy tofu, buns, and other traditional dishes to Bergen. House specialties include the Bun Bo Hue Suong (with a kick) and Stir Fried Noodles.
Hopping the Border to Rockland
Super Hot: Obvious to some, and not new, the much hyped, long lasting tenure of Restaurant X (117 Rte. 303North, Congers, New York, 845-268-6555) as one of Rockland’s best meals is still just as true as it ever was. The New American cuisine served up in a farmhouse by top chef Peter Kelly still attracts foodies from near and far and is always worth the trip. Standouts include the Raw Bar, Cowboy Steak and Beef Wellington. Check out Sunday brunch which is an all day event and worth the trip.
Hidden Gem: The Commissary (65 Old Tappan Rd., Tappan, New York, 845-398-3232) is one of those places you may drive by and never notice if you weren’t looking for it, and we get the impression that Culinary Institute grad chef/owner Daniel Foti likes it that way. The neighborhood café boasts a cozy dining room with some of the most inventive and tasty New American cuisine in the area. Expect a smattering of non-typical starters (Szechwan Chicken Dumplings, Chopped Salad with Gorgonzola), house-made pastas (Wide Ribbon Egg Noodles with Braised Short Rib and Linguine with Maine Lobster) and entrees (Pepper Crusted Ahi) with a selective wine list to complement your meal.
The Big City
Super Hot: The owners of crowd-pleaser Abe and Arthur’s are at it again with their new-ish venture, Catch (21 Ninth Avenue, NYC, 212-392-5978), in the meat-packing district. The 14,000 square foot space, with Top Chef Hung Huynh at the helm, is the perfect place for a gaggle of pals, a scene, or just some very good seafood. We loved the Tuna Tartare starters, compliments of the chef, and the Simply Grilled fish which kept us honest on our New Year’s Resolutions. Call early for reservations.
Hidden Gem: Red Rooster Harlem (310 Lenox Ave, between 125th and 126th, 212-792-9001) is not exactly what we would call “hidden”, but just in an unlikely location. Gourmet comfort food in Harlem? Yes, it’s here, brought to you by star chef Marcus Samuelsson. This uptown brasserie has got a great crowd (we met Dutchess Fergie on a recent visit), tasty eats (yard bird, people), and is just plain fun. Reservations are almost impossible if not made in advance, but definitely worth the wait and great for those who don’t want to make the trek down the Henry Hudson.