Blue Caravan

 blue exterior Blue Caravan

ADDRESS: 467 Columbus Avenue

(Between 82nd and 83rd Streets)

New York, NY 10024

WEB SITE: www.bluecaravan.com

TELEPHONE: (212) 595-4300

FAX: (212) 595-4333

HOURS: Breakfast: 8:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Mon.-Fri.

Lunch: 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

Dinner: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Mon.-Sun.

Bar/Lounge: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Sun.-Thurs.

5:00 PM – 1:00 AM, Fri-Sat.

Brunch: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Sat.-Sun.

Happy Hour: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

CUISINE: Modern Tapas and Global Cuisine

Restaurateur/Chef Mei Chau

CREDIT CARDS: All major cards accepted

PRICE RANGE: Lunch: $ 7 – $20

Dinner: $ 7 – $30

DRESS: Casual Elegant

RESERVATIONS: Recommended

SEATING CAPACITY: Dining Room: 40

Bar/Lounge: 30

Private Party Room: 30

Outdoor Café: 20

NUMBER OF ROOMS: 3

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request

(Private Party Room and Bar/Lounge are

available for customized private parties and

special events.)

blue caravan bar 

On Monday evenings, from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, the

Bar/Lounge features live world music.

OUTDOOF CAFÉ: A charming outdoor café on a lively street will seat 20 people.

OWNER/CHEF: Mei Chau

BEVERAGE/WINE DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Palumbo

OPENING DATE: April, 2011

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Blue Caravan, is a stylish, spacious Upper West Side eclectic brasserie, featuring modern tapas (small plates) and global cuisine (dinner plates). The restaurant, which opened in April 2011, is owned by Restaurateur/Chef Mei Chau. formally of the award winning Franklin Station Café in Tribeca, which was one of our favorite restaurants in its day.

Blue Caravan is also one of the most exciting restaurants to open on the Upper West Side in years and is an outstanding discovery. The ambiance reveals itself through a 12-foot high ceiling, lacquered wood candlelit tables, rattan and fabric-upholstered chairs and beautiful contemporary photography and artwork adorning the walls of the restaurant by the owner’s husband, Marc Kaczmarek (check out his bio: www.marckaczmarek), an acclaimed professional photographer. There are Brazilian cherry wood floors, stylish chrome mirrors, mood lighting, and an open kitchen to create a handsome setting.

Blue Caravan’s seasonal global menus are sophisticated and creative, yet simple and earthy.  Mei Chau’s menu is inspired by the multi-cultural influences of her native Malaysia and its popular small plates. As such, it showcases modern tapas (small plates) and global cuisine (dinner plates), thus allowing Mei the creative freedom to create new dishes regularly so that the menu constantly evolves. It is also an outstanding bargain with appetizers starting at $7 and entrees from $16. A copious dinner of small plates can be enjoyed for a token $20 per person or less. It is prudent to save room for the elegant entrees and to accompany one’s meal with a selection of the excellent wines from a user friendly list on the back of the menu.

Blue Caravan features a fine selection of global wines. The international wine list, created by Mei and Beverage Director Jeffrey Palumbo, changes seasonally and is continually evolving. A variety of wines by the glass are also available. We enjoyed wines a full bodied Pinot Gris, from Bott Freres 2008 for $32 the bottle and a fresh and sprightly Rioja Lan Crianza 2006, also $32. There is also a food friendly Riesling and Pinot Grigio by the glass (glass prices from $7 to $10).

When ordering, note that Ms. Chau’s global dishes and sauces are enhanced by an eclectic selection of fresh, flavorful herbs and spices from all around the world. Her use of fresh fruits, seasonal ingredients as well as a variety of global flavors is the foundation of Blue Caravan’s culinary style.

Recommended small dishes include a succulent Shrimp, with garlic, parsley and white wine; zesty Chicken Wings ginger and soy sauce; a fabulous Jasmine Tea Smoked Mackerel, with seaweed tartar sauce and beetroot crisps.; Kabocha and Potato Gratin with cucumber and dill salad (the best vegetarian dish we’ve tasted in ages; Nyonya Mussels, were mildly curried, delicious and also offered Provencal style); Steamed Clam chorizo, white wine, garlic: light and luscious Braised Oxtail Dumplings In Their Own Broth with thai basil beansprouts and crispy shallots; a terrific Pork Bun filled with slow roasted pork belly, ginger hoisin sauce, shitake mushroom, garlic show pea shoots and two dishes, soon to be on the menu from Malaysia that are worth requesting: Laksa (There are two basic types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles. Thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are most commonly used). Here, the chef demonstrates a free hand and uses Udon Noodles to great advantage. Steamed Seafood in an ethereal fish mousse is another original creation sourced by Mei’s homeland.

Entrees offer a lovely PAN SEARED RED SNAPPER with Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a terrific ROAST MONKFISH with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts; Eggplant Fan roasted eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato fans, quinoa stuffed artichoke; and a minor miracle: Giant Prawns, perfectly grilled with herbs and spices. and Ginger Red Pepper Sauce. If in doubt, go for the DAILY CHEF’S TASTING PLATE.

We were too full to sample desserts, but the seductive coffee machine emitted a haunting aroma, which we will sample on another occasion, perhaps brunch. Blue Caravan, with its romantic setting, friendly and attentive service, superb kitchen and gentle prices along with a personalized and welcoming proprietorship, offers a unique dining experience for all to enjoy. Absolutely a delight!

blue caravan shrimp

 

 

blue palte

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Graffit: Modern Spanish Cuisine With An Artistic Touch At Its Best

Graffit,

141 West 69th Street www.graffitrestaurant.com
646-692-8762

graffit garden

The Magical Graden (Above)

FOUNDING PARTNERS Jesús Núñez, Jesús Sese Buil, José Pédro
Gomez, José Ignacio Lopez
EXECTUTIVE CHEF/PARTNER Jesús Núñez
WINE DIRECTOR & MANAGER Nacho Monclús
MANAGER Rogelio Espin Hernandez
ARCHITECT/DESIGN Garrett Singer Architecture & Design
GENERAL CONTRACTOR Aerial Design & Build Services
LOCATION 141 West 69th Street, New York, NY
TELEPHONE 646-692-8762
WEBSITE www.graffitrestaurant.com
FACEBOOK/TWITTER Graffit / Graffit_NYC

CUISNE Spanish, a mirror of today’s culinary scene
in Madrid

BEVERAGE All Spanish Wine list; beer, cocktails; cavas
HOURS Monday-Friday Dinner 4:30pm-12am
Sat Brunch 10am-4pm; Dinner 5pm-1am
Sun Brunch 10am-4pm; Dinner 5pm-1am
Weekend Lunch Beginning Spring 2011
METRO 1 train to 66th Street-Lincoln Center, or 2/3
to 72nd

CAPACITY 79 total: 31- Tapas & Bar Room; 26- Dining
Room; 22- Garden Room
PRICE RANGE Appetizers $11-$17, Entrees $25-$30, Desserts
$10, Tapas $9-$14, Cocktails $11- $14, Brunch
$11-$18

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS No
CREDIT CARDS All major
RESERVATIONS Recommended
Jesús Núñez, Executive Chef/Founding Partner

___________________________________________________________________

Graffit main2

Chef Jesús Núñez Brings Modern Spanish Cooking to the

New York Culinary Scene

Graffit, is the New York debut of Spanish born chef Jesús Núñez, who built his reputation for artistic and modern Mediterranean food at his highly regarded Madrid restaurants, Plenta and Flou. Núñez has been hailed as one of Spain’s leading chefs by the likes of the Spanish editions of Vogue, Elle and Gourmet, and both of his restaurants have been at the forefront of Madrid’s culinary scene.

The design concept by Garrett Singer Architecture and Design (Hill Country Chicken, Klee Brasserie) is striking and  divides Graffit into three distinct spaces: a minimalist Tapas & Bar Room, an elegant Dining Room and a delightful sunlit Garden Room.

Singer and Núñez cleverly collaborated to translate the chef’s plating artistry onto the restaurants walls, adapting Núñez’ culinary style to the space’s interior through the use of variations of color, transparency and layering of surfaces. Graffit has commissioned Chilean-born graffiti muralist DASIC to paint explosions of color and dynamic intrigue throughout the restaurant (www.dasicfernandez.com). Aerial Design and Build, a NYC boutique construction firm, worked diligently with the design team to deliver high-quality workmanship.

graffit mural

Núñez brings New York an outlet for the modern cuisine that has put Spain on the culinary map as one of today’s international gourmet destinations. Graffit  is a meeting place for authentic Spanish flavors and nontraditional techniques, a crumble of Mediterranean and multicultural ingredients and molecular methods.

 

graffit not your average egg

Not Your Average Egg (Above)

The stage for these edible works of art offers it’s diners two unique dining experiences. In the Tapas and Bar Room guests can enjoy Chef Núñez’ reinterpretations of Spanish tapas, such as the Tortilla Espanola Deconstruida (traditional Spanish omelet in seven textures). But some of the chefs most delicious creations have roots in his mothers kitchen, such as Albondigas De La Abuela jesús’ abuela’s or beef meatballs with sweet potato cream and purple potato confit. Simplicity shines in the light and flavorful meatballs, cotrasted by the crunch of the purple potato and sweet potato cream. Also excellent, Pulpo A La Gallega galician-style. Tender octopus with potato, spanish smoked paprika and spanish virgin olive oil. Tapas are large and a selection can make a meal in themselves. We liked Graffit so much that we suggest experiencing it twice and saving the main event for a second visit. If that is not possible, leave room, because the fine dining option is equal to some of the best restaurants in Europe.

graffit dessert2

The Dining and Garden Rooms offer a beautifully created dinner menu featuring Núñez’ signature exploration of shape, color and most importantly flavor.

Not to be missed appetizers include a light-as-air Savory Carrot “Cake” filled with Mahón Cheese and garnished with crisp Asparagus.. There is also an interesting Pear Salad, composed of Valdeón Cheese, Quince and Walnuts. Not to be missed, is a gorgeous excess called Not-Your-Average Egg, Perhaps the most interesting appetizer offering is the whimsical “Fake Truffles” on “Edible Dirt”  where falafel is gussied up  with squid ink to look like a plate of the fungus, served with jet-black pulverized olives.,molecular yogurt and a splash of truffle oil. What a divine riff.  

Truffle Graffit (Below)

graffit Truffle Graffit

When it comes to entrees, don’t miss Bacalao En Salsa Verde, Ñora, Prawns Cream and Egg Yolk. Salt cod comes on an oversized plate with strategically scattered  steamed asparagus, and a  raw egg yolk. The whole is decorated with prawn purée and salsa verde.LOVELY! Also terrific are the Slow Roasted Suckling Pig with Garlic Cream, Pimentón, Natural Jus and  an intensely flavorful Duck Breast,with Apple and Potato.

graffit Duck Graffit A Memorable Duck (Above)

Núñez’ menu is accompanied by a beverage program replete with well-paired signature, innovative cocktails, such as a refined version of the traditional Andalusian Rebujito,  and specially selected Spanish wines, including wine from the vineyard of one of Núñez’ partners, who is affiliated with Spanish winery Enate.
(www.enate.es/enaeng/intro/intro.htm).

Upper West Side Cocktail (Below)

graffit the upper west side cocktail

The Upper West Side Cocktail, served with 4 huge frozen red grapes and a Tequila Old Fashioned were as potent as they were memorable. Kudos to the amazing wine list and affordable pricing. We adored an elegant, floral and engaging 2005 Rioja, made from the Mazuelo grape from Valserrano, suggested by the personable manager Rogelio Espin Hernandez. At $65 per bottle, it lays claim to being one of the best wine values in town.

Desserts are fun and flavorful. Check out the Warm, Liquid Chocolate Fritters and A “Study in Spanish Moscatel, Service, from reception at the door to waitstaff and busboys is as good as any three star restaurant in Manhattan.

Graffit with its superb location, near Lincoln Center, convivial atmosphere, affordable prices and excellent food, alas, is discovered, so reserve and enjoy.   

 graffit Savory Carrot Cake, Graffit

Savory Carrot Cake (Above) Graffit Edible SangriaEdible Sangria (Above)

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CLAIRE MARTIN & RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT CLOSE OAK ROOM’S SPRING SEASON MAY 31-JUNE 18 IN “A COUPLE OF SWELLS”

algonquin MartinBennett

British musical stars Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett love American music, and among their favorites are the songs of Irving Berlin, subject of Claire and Richard’s sparkling new salute, “A Couple of Swells,” from May 31st through June 18th, the final show of the Oak Room’s Spring season.

The very pretty Ms. Martin’s head voice may recall June Christy while her rich chest voice is somewhat reminiscent of Cleo Laine, but make no mistake: Martin is a seasoned vocalist/performer and the end result is uniquely original. Mercifully, the act is straight forward, without distracting patter and historical references. Sir Rodney gives subtle support on piano and offers a solid left hand, which is a good rhythmic stand-in for the non-existent rhythm section. 

Berlin gems with arrangements by Richard and vocals by Claire include a catchy opening syncopation of Puttin’ on the Ritz, a terrific rendition of Change Partners, a strikingly insightful What’ll I Do?, and the best versions of Let’s Face the Music and Dance and Cheek to Cheek we’ve heard in years. There are a smattering of lesser known tunes as well, contrasted by such tried and true standards as How Deep is the Ocean and Midnight Choo Choo.

Confirming the old adage , , , less is more, Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett offer a fitting conclusion to a memorable season of the fabled Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel and deserve you patronage. A class act. Don’t miss it.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11, with a cover charge of $50 weeknights and late weekends, and $60 early weekend shows, plus either a $30 minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner, with dinner seating at 7. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

Renowned for her unmistakably unique “cool, burnished tone” (NY Times) and the flawless technique of “England’s most impressive female jazz artist” (LA Times), Claire Martin has performed with such artists as James Brown, Curtis Stigers, Jamie Cullum and Tony Bennett, who lists her among his favorite singers. She made a smash debut at the Algonquin in 2007 and followed up with Richard Rodney Bannett in 2009 in an acclaimed show celebrating the music of Cy Coleman. She has released 12 recordings for Linn Records and has a jazz interview show on BBC 3.

Knighted in 1998 for his services to music, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett is one of the UK’s most renowned musical figures, having achieved phenomenal success across a wide range of genres. In 2006 he premiered “Reflections on a Scottish Folk Song” commissioned by HRH Prince Charles in memory of the Queen Mother. He is an Oscar-nominated film composer…for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Far From the Madding Crowd and Murder on the Orient Express.

He has enjoyed great success as a jazz pianist, arranger and vocalist, having appeared with Marion Montgomery, Dame Cleo Laine, Mary Cleere Haran and Annie Ross.

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Le Périgord Reins as NY’s Grand Dame of Luxury French Restaurants

Le Périgord

405 East  52nd Street

(212) 755-6244

Website: Click Here

Reserve Now: http://www.opentable.com/le-perigord

perigord

Le Périgord , the unpretentiously pedigreed Sutton Place dining institution,may be 45 years old, but a spiffy refurbishing and the always wonderful food keeps celebrities, U.N. delegates and loyal regulars returning year in and year out, to make this Grand Dame NY’s most satisfying luxury French restaurant.

The remarkable $65 fixed price dinner ($32 at lunch) makes Le Périgord  a dining bargain as well. The Appetizer display is fresh and beautiful, with tempting choices of smoked salmon, steamed asparagus and an array of salads and cold dishes.

perigord appetizers

Entrees like daily seafood and game specials. a stunning Roasted free range chicken in wine sauce with morrels and potato gratin or the best rack of lamb in town will make you swoon.

perigord chicken

The dessert cart is decadently tempting with a luscious chocolate mousse, fresh fruit tart of the day or floating island., and a small surcharge delivers a noteworthy soufflé. ,

Le Périgord remains a bastion of high-powered Gallic gastronomy and classically refined service.  And thanks to its charming owner/host, Georges Briguet, even first time visitors feel a warm welcome. One of Manhattan’s restaurant gems. Rating: A Major.

perigord George & wife

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WITH “RHYME, WOMEN & SONG” KT SULLIVAN SALUTES MUSIC-MAKING LADIES IN THE OAK ROOM MAY 3-28

KT_greendress_adj

Photo: Heather Sullivan

                                                                         The Dean of Divas Raises The Bar at The  Legendary Oak Room

Being the capital of cabaret, New York City has no shortage of world class cabaret performers. In a medium where the dolls outnumber the guys, KT SULLIVAN has established herself as the ultimate doll and dean of the divas of “The Great American Song Book.”

Her new act at the Oak Room proves to be her best ever. The material and carefully crafted patter flow in a stream on steroids from the lesser and (better known) songs of Kay Swift, including an especially poignant “Can’t We Be Friends,” through a rollicking version of Carolyn Leigh’s “The Best is Yet To Come, the ultimate camp rendition of” Mary Rodgers “The Boy From …,” and surprising interpretations of Edna Pinkard’s “Kitchen Man,” Peggy Lee’s “He’ll Make Me Believe He’s Mine,” Carole King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,”

It all began with her acclaimed salute to Dorothy Fields, who set the standard for female songwriters. In “Rhyme, Women & Song,” KT Sullivan expands her vision to display the work of Dorothy’s peers and heirs who have enriched the Great American Songbook. Sullivan contrasts the inimitable Dorothy’s “Sunny Side of the Street,”with an amazing take on “Good Morning Heartache,” that rivals the gold standard set by Billie Holiday, who introduced it in 1946.

An hilarious closing medley of 29 cleverly linked songs (“my age” Sullivan says as a throwaway), concludes with a subtle and sensitive rendition of Jerome Kern’s and Dorothy Fields eternally lovely “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Ms. Sullivan has never been in better voice and her dramatic range, comedic timing and versatility  shine.

The amazing Jon Weber is musical arranger and accompanist., while John Webber(with an “h” and 2 “bs”) admirably assists on bass, giving Sullivan outstanding backup.

Not only is The Oak Room New York’s most consistent cabaret experience, it is also a genuine bargain. The show, including a three course dinner (food has improved markedly over the years) is about the price of a ticket to the anemic offerings on Broadway. And besides a venue steeped in history, you may be one of the fortunates who get a glimpse of Matilda, the latest in a chain of indomitable felines.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11. There is a $50 cover charge for weeknight and late shows and $60 for early shows Friday and Saturday, plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.

 

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