Momosan Ramen & Sake - Morimoto in Midtown

I first met Jae Lee in late 2012 through a mutual friend while Jae was sous chef at Morimoto’s eatery called Tribeca Canvas. Before they closed a year later, I was a regular there not just because it was across the street from my office, but because I enjoyed their Japanese take on comfort food (lamb ragu buns and braised pork ribs with a side of fried rice risotto was addictingly good). Jae did a short stint at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare before landing at Lexington Brass. My next dinner with Jae was at Zuma where he fed my friend and me copious amounts of sushi, black miso cod, and a huge tray of dessert that turned us into Violet Beauregard twins.

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Tuome - Hitting all the High Notes

The process of trying out a new restaurant is familiar to all of you in varying degrees.  Most people assess the merit of Yelp reviews or ask their friends for suggestions on what dishes to order and ignore. Some dive deeper by reading reviews on Eater, Chowhound, or Grub Street. A few may even research the menu ahead of time and figure out what they want before stepping foot in the restaurant. All this due diligence for what? To make sure you don't order the wrong thing and waste your hard-earned money in one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

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New York Sushi Ko - Tribeca Pop-Up

I first heard of New York Sushi Ko a year ago ago when I saw Instagram pics of a sushi chef blowtorching bluefin tuna skin until the rendered droplets of fat dripped onto the piece of toro tartare waiting below.

After I wiped the drool from my phone, I learned that the chef’s name was John Daley, a 6’1” American from New Jersey with awesome RICE and FISH knuckle tats.

With only 11 seats at Sushi Ko, I tried and failed a few times to snag a table so I gave up. Fast forward a year when my opportunity came up two weeks ago when my friend, Nina, mentioned Sushi Ko’s popup at Church Street Tavern, a restaurant right across my office.

Fate was knocking, and I was ready to answer.

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Virginia's - New American in Alphabet City

My coworker Peter first introduced me to his friend, Reed Adelson, a few years ago when he was the manager at Locande Verde. I remember hanging out there for lunch and enjoying the most tender meatballs and pasta while chatting with Reed. Always the consummate host, he always accommodated my group (he handled last minute changes to a coveted reservation for the renowned Trufflepalooza dinner back in Nov 2013 with ease) and always treated everyone with respect and courtesy.

When I heard he was branching out and opening up his own restaurant with chef Christian Ramos, I was incredibly happy for them. You can't help but notice the airy vibe when you walk into Virginia's, (named after Reed and Christian's mothers) with the open windows and natural sunlight pouring in.

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Chef's Club New York - Ben Sukle, Birch

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I have been dining at “Chef’s Club Studio” a few times recently. Conducted in the private room of a gorgeously decorated restaurant called Chef’s Club, the Studio seats only 16 guests per dinner for chefs that visit every month. These “popups” last 1-2 nights with a menu that hovers around 5 courses.

I keep coming back because it’s essentially a “new” restaurant every time with refreshing menus heralding from Providence, Dallas and Austin, and Portland among others. Each dinner is a unique experience filled with people from all walks of life; food bloggers, sous chefs at Michelin restaurants, culinary magazine editors, or just civilians who aren’t in the industry but enjoy the food and the interactions that come along in sharing a meal with like-minded folks.

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