Archive for the Restaurant Category

Benihana Lends A Hand.

Posted in Benihana, New York City, Restaurant with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2011 by mattyfresh697400


If the New York Yankees are my favorite sports team of all time and The Dave Matthews Band is my favorite band of all time then it is certainly safe to say that Benihana is my favorite restaurant in the world. After some loose calculations, I figure I hit up the NYC Benihana location 15 to 20 times a year. That is serious dedication!

So when a restaurant that you love does something great for the public in general, it makes you feel good to be associated and even better to simply love the place.

And that is exactly what Benihana is doing with its “ARIGATO” campaign! In response to the devastating earthquakes and Tsunami in Japan, The Benihana chain is galvanizing the support of its diners in an effort to help the citizens of Japan. Now of course Benihana is first and foremost a Japanese restaurant, but when Rocky Aoki founded Benihana in 1964 he did so in NYC , but the connection with Japan has always remained.

So it is in the spirit of basic humanity that Benihana is supporting the Red Cross in this desperate time of need. When you dine at any of the 80 worldwide Benihana locations, you can add any dollar amount you choose to your bill and in turn Benihana will match that dollar figure and all of it will go to those who need it most right now.

Normally its simply the amazing shrimp and garlic butter that makes me love Benihana, but the fact that MY RESTAURANT is helping people, well that just makes me love the place even more.

Benihana Dot Com

“Father Knows Best” – Fathers Day 2010

Posted in Family, Music, NYC, Restaurant, YouTube Classics with tags , , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

I had a very nice fathers day this past weekend , and of course not being a father myself, the day was all about my pops. First I caught a few minutes of the rubber match between the Yanks and the Muts on TV, in just enough time to see TEX hit a granny at my dads house before departing for a sunday matinée of JERSEY BOYS (very great musical , well at least the parts I was awake for.)

Fathers Day 2010

For those that don’t know “Jersey Boys” is the story of legendary singer Frankie Valli and his group the Four Seasons. I consider myself  a huge music fan and pretty knowledgeable about the history of the business, but clearly I did not do my homework on Mr. Valli and his Four Seasons. The numbers are actually staggering, Mr. Sean Carter aka Jay Z would be impressed. 29 top 40 hits as a member and lead singer of The Four Seasons and 9 top 40 hits a solo artist…Incredible.

Now of course I did know a lot of the songs, I just never knew Franki Valli was the man behind them. These songs are so legendary that at this point they are American Standards covered by everyone from Lauryn Hill to The Spinners. I mean when I hear “Ill Be Working My Way Back to You Babe” I think the Spinners from 1980, and when I hear “Cant Take My Eyes Off of You” I think Ms. Hill…ahh the generation gap.

The Spinners

(Click for a listen)


Cant Take My Eyes Off Of You

And the Video for “WALK LIKE A MAN” is priceless!!

But in retrospect that’s why the show has the staying power it clearly has, because the music is timeless.

Look at the list of Number 1 Hits…


Big Girls Don’t Cry,”

Walk Like a Man,”

Rag Doll

December 1963 (Oh, What A Night).”

My Eyes Adored You

Grease Is The Word

Grease.” (Shout to my sister Cortney on Grease, its a family favorite)

So Jersey Boys is not only great classic music from the 1960’s but also a nice little musical history lesson!

So what do you do after a Sunday Afternoon matinée on Fathers Day..well you have a huge steak dinner at Capital Grill, where the calorie listing on the Potatoes Au Grautin is actually a mathematical equation it’s so heavy.

I have little to say about Capital Grille other than it was delicious but made me want to sleep for three days it was so filling, proceed with caution.

Happy Fathers Day Dad, We Love You!!

IL Bagatto..LES Diamond in the Rough

Posted in New York City, Restaurant with tags , , , , on May 10, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

Trying to make a reservation at 12:00pm on a Saturday for the same evening is never that simple in Manhattan. But then again living in arguably the biggest city in the world has its advantages…We have plenty of restaurants to choose from. So after being shut down at a few spots that were booked up, I called upon my good friends Oliver and Taryn for some suggestions. Independently of each other (which is strange considering they are married) both suggested Il Bagatto on the Lower East Side.

I had no problem locking down a reservation and my night was planned.

Il Bagatto is a cute and  cozy place, those adjactives are actually perfect ways to describe this Trattoria. Before you are seated in the close but comfortable upstairs dining area , you are led to the downstairs bar, greeted by a massive bowl of homemade Sangria and a DJ playing classic soul and some old school hip-hop. The lighting is certainly very date friendly , not too dark and definitly not too bright, lots of candles , interesting artwork , family photos etc….

The menu has all the standards of a Roman Trattoria, I had an excellent chicken in a rich white sauce, with brushetta appetizer.

But there is a very home like quality to the restaurant. The Service was excellent and the staff could not have been friendlier. If you feel like trooping to 2nd Street Between A & B. Il Bagatto is worth the trip.


New York Magazine Dot Com Review

192 East 2nd Street (btwn Ave. A & B), NY, NY 10009
Reservations: 212.228.0977

T–Th: 5:30pm – 11:30pm
F–Sat: 5:30pm – 12:30am
Sun: 5pm – 10:45pm

Sushi of Gari

Posted in NYC, Restaurant with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

This past Saturday night I had not planned anything spectacular activity wise, but mid-day an invitation came my way that was hard to pass up. My best friend Oliver Brodlieb and  his lovely bride (and also of course my best friend) Taryn aka T-Dot invited me to join them at Sushi of Gari. Now I have been to Gari on a few occasions and each time I have had the pleasure of doing the tasting menu known formally as OMAKASE.

If you are going to make the trip to one of three Gari locations in NYC, then you must have the OMAKASE. Simply put I have never experienced Sushi like this before or since and each time I have it,  I marvel and the creativity, the presentation but most importantly the taste.

Let me preface this by saying I am a very average sushi person. I like my spicy tuna rolls, I dabble in yellow tail from time to time and if I am feeling like big pimpin I ‘ll grab myself a bunch of toro, but again this is basic stuff : Sushi 101 if you will.

Now the Omakase at Gari is like AP Sushi,  strictly for the honor roll top of the class sushi eaters and of course those with some adventure running through their veins.

The most challenging part of the Omakase  is describing the pieces,  It’s not just sushi, each pad of rice and fish is like a blank canvas, each worked over in a wildly different style that enchants and surprises. Whether it was the yellow tail with jalapeno or the seared toro, or the infamous salmon with a marinated tomato on top touched with an onion sauce..its all just Amazing.

I was able to find a few of the selections we had online….

Fatty Toro
Red Snapper with greens, Pine nuts and Lotus Root
Horse Mackerel with Plum Sauce and Ginger
Yellow tail with Jalapeno
Mackerel (I think) with buttered Enoki Mushroom
Blue fin Tuna with Tofu Cream cheese
Salmon with Marinated Tomato
Mackerel with Sesame sauce
Seared Toro

Being that I am not a professional restaurant critic and I did not bring a pad and pen to document each piece all I can say is GO!!! The experience is not cheap, roughly $100.00 per person, but in my mind worth every penny because its more than simply eating cool pieces of doctored up sushi, its culinary art for real.

Sushi Of Gari

402 East 78th Street

New York, NY 10075


The Standard Grill

Posted in New York City, Restaurant with tags , , , , on March 29, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

Saturday afternoon myself and the two amigos , Oli and Nahder hit up the Standard Grill for some Bloody Marys and some brunch. The Standard Grill is located where else but at the Standard Hotel. I have been a long time fan of the Standard brand as that has always been my go to hotel when I hit Los Angeles. (I prefer the sunset strip location due to its close proximity to the legendary Carneys)

That being said I had yet to go to the Standard Grill or even step inside the Hotel in New York. Saturday brunch in the meatpacking district is the best for people watching and after learning of the hour-long wait at Pastis, Oliver made a great call and we headed over to the hotel. Even though it was chilly the meatpacking district was plenty busy. With the highline lurking right overhead we hit The Standard. The wait was only about 30 minutes and the  scenery looked great , we were in.

The Bloody Marys were good and spicy, the burgers were quite tasty and the BLT was excellent. But let’s be honest, the food at the Standard Grill is secondary. It is all about the people. Great brunch spot…I highly recommend a visit.

I want to give a special shout to my boy Nahder P, who made a valiant and brave attempt at an afternoon love connection with a fellow patron at the Standard. You get the MVP of the day my brotha!

The Standard Grill

848 Washington Street

at 13th Street


A slice for a buck…..its 1985 all over again!!

Posted in NY Times, NYC, Restaurant with tags , , on March 16, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

As a kid growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a particular advantage us city kids had was that we could leave school property every day and hit the neighborhood spots for lunch. Many many years later this might not seem like a big deal, but as a 6th grader being able to roll out to the eating establishment of your choice was a big deal. But being 6th graders we were not terribly discerning, it was either Burger King located on 82nd and Bway ( Now Long Gone)…and there was BIG NICKS, also known as pizza Joint and Burger Joint. A Pizza and Burger spot connected inside that is still going strong today.

I can not tell you how many times the poor wait staff kicked me and my rowdy little friends out of that place, but every day they let us back in. Now the pizza was excellent at Big Nicks and of course the price was right. Which brings me to todays topic.

In 1985 for two dollars and 75 cents you could get two slices and a soda….even back then, with little lunch money in the pocket, that was a deal. FLASH FORWARD 25 years and lord have mercy… THE DOLLAR SLICE IS BACK!!

In the past few weeks I am sure you noticed “Dollar Slice” spots popping up all over the city. The original as far as I know (and the NY TIMES yesterday backs me up here) is 99 Cent FRESH PIZZA located directly behind Port Authority. Now being a resident of this neighborhood , I can tell you that you would be hard pressed to find a more down and out area. The less fortunate of our fair city congregate behind the bus station and in addition there is a homeless shelter on the same block. So not only is the proprietor helping all the average working people hit hard by the recession, but in fact he is helping the people who need inexpensive decent food the most! KUDOS to the team at 99 cents fresh.

And what is more AMERICAN than some good old fashion capitalist competition! 99 Cent Fresh is not the only dollar pizza game in town, Two brothers Pizza (originally located on St. Marks) has opened a few locations. One location conveniently right next to my office and let me tell you, YOU WOULD THINK they were giving the pizza away the way the masses line up. So last week I figured why not, I need to see what all the action is about, and in the immortal words of Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers ….

“Its like Pizza baby, even when its bad..Its good!!”

And the Pizza at Two Brothers was good, my two slices and my soda went down like it was 1986..not bad at all!  But in all seriousness I am not sure how long the dollar slice will last, but if the state of our economy is any indication, they might be around for a while, and that is a good thing…for all of us!!

Spigolo – Upper East Gem!

Posted in Restaurant with tags , on March 8, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

I am not a big fan of the upper east side when it comes to dining out. There are just other neighborhoods that I would prefer to explore and lets be honest the people watching element on the upper east can be a bit dull. Maybe I am still plagued from my years of taking the dreaded cross town bus at 86th street to get to High School.

But if you happen to be on the Upper East (as I was this past weekend) then I suggest stopping into Spigolo. Again its 81st street location makes you feel like you might be dining in Connecticut, but the food and cute atmosphere more than make up for it. I had a delicious jumbo shrimp appetizer , followed by some heavy gnocchi with pancetta. It was excellent.

The staff was and service were great and even though Spigolo is tight in terms of space, there was no wait to get a table.  If you happen to be in the no mans land that is 81st and second avenue, I highly suggest popping by Spigolo.


1561 Second Avenue (at 81st)