Luna Sur Latin Bistro Takes Diners through Latin America, With Great Drinks and Expert Cuisine

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Luna Sur is located at 802 Ninth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, (212) 262-1299, www.lunasurnyc.com, and is open for lunch Mon-Fri from noon to 4PM. Dinner is served Sun-Mon from 4PM-11PM, Tues-Sat 4 PM-midnight and brunch, Saturday and Sunday from 11AM-4PM. Stay tuned for pre-fixe menu for pre-theater dining coming soon.  

There’s an indisputable connection between sun and fun that is clearly reflected in the food and culture of Latin America. Mario Zarate (owner of the very popular Cuban restaurants Guantanamera in the Theatre District and Amor Cubano in Harlem) has teamed up with Chef Isaias Ortiz (also of Guantanamera) at Luna Sur (Southern Moon) in Hell’s Kitchen to take guests on a tour of Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba and other Latin nations.  Inspired by people who are open to a range of experiences and flavors, Zarate has created a getaway, a Latin bistro where diners can indulge in a mix of Latin cultures, with Bold Flavors, Bright Colors and Brilliant Cocktails

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You can feel the warmth from the moment you enter:  From the friendly servers who greet you dressed in brightly colored shirts, suspenders and matching converse sneakers, to a palette of bright orange, tangerine and lime on the painted wood paneled walls to the colorful placemats, and from the skylight that brightens the back dining room, as well as a floor-to-ceiling glass garage door that opens up in warm weather for service on the back patio, in addition to sidewalk seating.

The ideal meal begins with cocktails and tapas.  The restaurant has designed a cocktail menu that includes twists on classic Latin bebidas, using infused spirits and fresh fruit purees. You’ll find traditional Pisco Sours, as well as the Peruvian favorite made with pineapple, orange, or cinnamon-apple infused Pisco. The Watermelon Fresca is muddled fresh watermelon, fresh lime juice, and basil in a gin cocktail.  The famous Cuban rum cocktail, the Mojito, is served in classic mode, as well as in versions prepared with rum-infused with fresh fruit: guava, pineapple, raspberry, mango, coconut and passion fruit. In addition to a choice of fresh or frozen margaritas, and the option of fruit puree flavors, there is also the Pepino Picante Margarita, a spicy, refreshing margarita made with jalapeno-infused tequila, cucumbers, fresh lime and agave nectar. And for a real blend of cultures, try the Sangrita, a frozen margarita shot through with red Sangria. There is also a choice of beers by the bottle and on tap, white or red Sangria by the glass or pitcher, and a changing selection of wines from Argentina, Spain, Chile, the US and France, by the glass or bottle.

luna Ceviche

With drink in hand, diners are ready for a selection of small plates for sharing such as Pulpo Al Oliva, tender slices of octopus paired with a creamy, thick Kalamata olive sauce and Chorizo al Vino, slices of savory Spanish sausage marinated in Spanish red wine. Also not to be missed is the Cauza Limena, a traditional dish from Lima, Peru, wonderfully subtle, composed of smooth, delicate mashed potato layered with avocado and crab, or the addictive Luna Llena, avocado blended with Manzana, apple-strawberry-cinnamon sauce, served in the avocado shell and topped with grilled shrimp.

Larger plates include Pechuga Rellena con Salsa de Pina y Guayaba, crispy breaded chicken stuffed with ham and cheese, paired with a luscious guava sauce and served with flavorful, well-seasoned black beans and white rice.  Salmon Salcero is a wonderful well-balanced mixture of sweet and savory, grilled salmon with roasted sweet plantains and tender spinach, and Tropical Mahi Mahi, garlic marinated with mango, pineapple and papaya pico de gallo, and yellow rice.  But perhaps the stars of the show are the classic entrees—Lechoncito, completely tender suckling pig roasted for eight hours, served with garlicky mojo sauce and cassava; Arroz Con Mariscos, saffron-flavored rice abundant with shellfish (mussels, clams, shrimp, octopus, squid, scallops), the famous pressed Cuban Sandwich with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles, and the National Dish of Argentina, El Gaucho Churrasco, fire-grilled skirt steak served with Luna Sur’s signature chimi-churri sauce.

For dessert, there are classic Latin sweets—creamy Flan with homemade caramel sauce, Tres Leches Cake (light sponge cake soaked in three milks), Cuban Rum Guava Bread Pudding, made from Cuban bread, with rum-infused guava, and the Torta de Chocolate, Mexican hot chocolate in a cake, flavored with cinnamon, chili and cayenne.

luna Cauza Limena

To add to the fun, there’s live music, three sets per evening, 6 nights a week (Monday-Saturday), beginning at 8:00 PM, featuring Salsa, Merengue and Latin Jazz with a changing roster of artists, including Xiomara Laugart, a Cuban singer who recently debuted off-Broadway, portraying the Latin music legend in “Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz” as well as a live DJ for weekend brunch.  Wednesdays from 4 PM until closing, margaritas, sangria and mojitos, all flavors, frozen or regular are all just $6.   A bar menu to complement the cocktails will be introduced soon.

The Hell’s Kitchen location makes it a great spot pre- or post-theater. Downstairs there’s room for special events, cocktail parties, cooking classes, wine dinners, private dinners, or business meetings.

Great place with really friendly service. Absolutely one of the best bangs for the buck near the theater district.

Luna Sur 2

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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DESMOND’S STEAKHOUSE Brings Destination Dining To Fashion Avenue

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247-Seat Restaurant to Boast City’s Largest Open-to View Dry Aging Room

Desmond’s Steakhouse is located at 513 Seventh Avenue, with its entrance on 38th Street.  It is open daily for lunch and dinner.  For reservations and more information, call (212) 391-6900 or visit www.desmondsnewyork.com.

Click Here To Make a Reservation

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The latest entry in the high stakes arena of New York steakhouses is Desmond’s Steakhouse,a contemporary interpretation of the classic genre, melding stylish décor and service with culinary substance.  Located in Manhattan’s energetic Midtown West on Seventh Avenue at 38th Street, Desmond’s is less beef-centric and offers more diverse dining experiences than typically associated with steakhouses.  Certainly, the imposing 8,000 square foot, 247-seat restaurant showcases USDA prime beef (five different cuts in six sizes), its 50-day matured-to-perfection process finished in the city’s largest open-to-view dry aging room and expertly prepared by executive chef Silvestre A. Mora, formally of Bice.  Desmond’s, however, also presents a large array of non-bovine related offerings, including: succulent selections from the glistening raw bar that will rival the dry aging room as visual food porn; a collection signature dishes such as skillet seared sea scallops, truffled mashed potatoes, asparagus; and steaks of a piscatorial persuasion, including grilled yellow fin tuna, complemented – as are their beef counterparts – by an array of house made sauces.

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The diversity of the menu is complemented by that of the experiences Desmond’s Steakhouse affords diners.  From a quick bite at the 70 foot-plus marble topped bar, anchored by the raw bar, or a casual meal in one of the bar area’s high backed leather-clad booths to a business one at the dining room’s spaced-for-private-conversation tables or a romantic dinner at one of its cozy banquettes. There are also sexy crescent-shaped booths for gatherings of up to six and a semi-private dining room.

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Being on Fashion Avenue (the local moniker for Seventh), Desmond’s takes a more modish approach to traditional New York steakhouse ambiance. A dramatic Deco glamorous staircase sweeps up from the street level entrance on 38th Street where the predictable burnished wood paneling is enlivened with distinctive architectural elements including glass brick and field stone walls, antiqued red brick coffered ceilings and beige brick framed dark wood floors.  Decorative accents such as white subway tile, regal cream crown molding and richly textured wall paper accents are bathed in the glow of the theatrical lighting from statement-making fixtures throughout.

desmonds int stairs

It is an unabashedly swank setting in which a cocktail program showcasing pre-Prohibition concoctions, such as the Gold Rush and Mamie Taylor seems fitting.  While the wine room visible behind the bar is testimony to Desmond’s commitment to the appreciation of the viticulture arts.

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In addition to the striking atmosphere and warm, attentive service, Desmond’s also offers some of the most pure renditions of everything from pristine oysters and clams and divine lump crab meat to zesty tuna tartar and an eye catching seafood plateau for appetizers.Steaks, whether a massive “Racquet Ball” Ribeye or sirloin are impeccably aged and fired to perfection. The fork-tender, subtly flavored veal chop is a best buy (and the best in town) and even chicken and seafood are treated with respect. If there are better steak fries and fried onions in steak-house-land, we have yet to find them.

There is a short wine and beer list, which I suspect is a work in progress and simple desserts, the best of which was a lovely bread pudding on our visit. The pleasant live piano music in the background added to the festive experience and rumor has it that a parking deal is in the works, so drivers inquire.

Barely discovered, now is the time to visit Desmond’s. You are going to like it.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Hey Mambo Mixes Fun & Great Food On the Upper West Side

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Hey Mambo is located at 487 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-595-5050, http://www.heymambonyc.com/, and is open for Dinner: 6-11pm, 7 days, Lunch: 11am-4pm, Mon-Fri, Weekend brunch: 10am-4pm, Tea Time: 4-6pm, Mon-Friday

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Tuvia Feldman has traveled the world over. He believes in love, happiness and the finest things in life. So it’s no surprise that as the owner of new restaurant Hey Mambo, these generous and sophisticated qualities are finely distilled into its atmosphere, décor and especially its food. Located on Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side, this colorful, warm and joyful eatery brings a new twist to neighborhood dining with an eclectic, global menu.

mambo booths

Ignore the façade.The restaurant itself is beautiful and modeled after an Orient Express railroad car from the 1920’s and its furniture and fabrics are heavily inspired by Bauhaus design. Warm, cheerful colors and gently curved ceilings combine with metal and stone to bring this Art Deco vision to life. The restaurant is filled with several stunning pieces from Tuvia’s private art collection; the owner also commissioned an entire wall’s worth of original oil canvases from Israeli artist Dgant Bechner to boldly illustrate art, film, music and NYC architectural icons.

Tuvia chose Executive Chef Moussa Thiam, hey mambo mousaborn in Senegal and raised in the French region of Auvergne, who was a key participant in the opening of NYC French staples L’Express, French Roast, and Nice Matin. Thiam is bringing his French-influence to Hey Mambo’s world-inspired cuisine and launching a menu that will take diners from breakfast to late-night snacks without missing a beat. He is a seasoned pro and his food is delicious and contemporary, without trend or pretension.

Specialty cocktailshey mambo drink created by house mixologist Blake Poon are wonderful, offering hey mambo blake i loose interpretations of favorites and exotic condiments like fresh rose petals and candied ginger. In time for spring drinks like a ginger-pineapple mojito, cucumber martini and spiked lemonade-like Heather-on-the-Hill are served at the Italian marble bar with calfskin and leather stools.  Five specialty beers, like the Ithaca Flower Power IPA and Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ ale,are also available on draft. Classic martinis are some of he best in town.

mambo cigar

Begin your global journey with a great selection of crudos, including melt-in-your-mouth sushi-grade swordfish belly dressed lightly in citrus and olive oil, capers, scallions and slices of fresh grapefruit and orange, and thinly sliced fluke with tomato soy rice vinegar. Other light appetizers include a unique salad of warm leeks rolled in Bresaola over a soft pillow of mache and thin slices of Parmesan cheese for a little kick. Entrees run the gamut from comfort to classic, and promise to satisfy any appetite.

Try the house signature pasta Baked Taglioni with its creamy béchamel sauce, ham and baked cheese topping, or the perfectly cooked pan-seared scallops balanced atop polenta, a sweet corn puree, braised fava beans, leeks and a scattering of crispy prosciutto for crunch.  Or try the Oven Braised Short Rib with roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Plats du Jour are offered every evening and standouts include the Sunday night Moroccan-inspired Couscous Royal with chopped vegetables, chicken, grilled lamb and merguez sausage (absolutely fabulous), and the Thursday night special of Seven Days Duck. Roasted and marinated duck breast comes tenderly adjoined to steamed baby bok choy and whipped sweet potatoes slightly sweetened with orange and ginger. Stop in Saturday nights for a special Osso Bucco served with couscous pilaf.

Inquire about specials: a Frito Mixto was a gorgeous mélange of calamari, soft shell crab, and mixed seafood, crispy sautéed and served with a zesty tomato sauce. A raw artichoke salad with avocado and cheese was equally appealing. Portions are generous and the warm focaccia and  assorted olives was a terrific giveaway.

mambo fish

Lunch starters include salads like gold and red roasted candy beets atop citrusy, wilted spinach leaves, united with crunchy walnuts for texture and tangy blue cheese and a selection of Panini Mambo can be enjoyed as an entrée or shared at the bar. The Emilia-

Romagna cradles tangy olive tapenade, fresh mozzarella cheese, copa prosciutto and thinly sliced pepperoncini for a bite of pure Italian heaven, while the Sardinia combines smoky speck with the sweet of caramelized onions, tang of melted Gruyere cheese and spice of arugula.

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An eclectic Tea Time menu will be trotted out between 4pm and 6pm to take the place of the standard happy hour. Order a la carte or try the special, which consists of a two-course meal with a complimentary beer or wine.  A frisee and lardon salad is topped gently with a poached egg and chunky blue cheese, and the Mambo Triplet Slider Burgers consists of three 3-ounce marinated patties of beef with basil mayo, lamb with harissa sauce and turkey with house-made bbq sauce.

Brunch is a vital meal on the Upper West Side and Hey Mambo does not disappoint. An extensive coffee program is of the highest quality, with blends created and roasted especially by the owner. Coffee cocktails like a spiced rum cappuccino or a peaches and cream latte also make a perfect accompaniment to this weekend meal. An assortment of dishes will satiate any craving, including the Norwegian Salmon Hash, tossed with diced zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, onion and sweet red pepper, then topped with poached eggs and finished with hollandaise sauce, or ultra-satisfying Croque Monsieur with gooey melted gruyere and béchamel sauce.

Desserts include the classic French apple tart tatin with vanilla ice cream and a selection of house-made sorbets and ice cream.

A charming outdoor garden with 36 seats is open in warmer weather. Tables carefully crafted from Indonesian Inges wood will be available for al fresco dining and cocktailing, while stainless steel and enamel sculptures in glorious colors will festoon the fences for a festive atmosphere, and a long, wooden bench can be commandeered for whiling away a few hours. Whether coming for a meal, bringing the kids for an early dinner or stopping by for a pint of craft beer and conversation—this open-air space is not to be missed.

Her Mambo is beautifully managed by Jose Torres. Service, table and glassware and food and beverage all add up to a fine dining experience at moderate prices. And let’s not forget the fun.

Definitely one of the best restaurants to open on the upper west side this year. We loved it.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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GRATA Brings Affordable Dining To Fashionable Sutton Place With a New Chef and Relaxed Atmosphere

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GRATA Restaurant & Wine Bar

Address:1076 First Avenue, between 58th and 59th Streets

Reservations strongly suggested; 212-842-0007

Click Here For Website 

Click Here To Make a Reservation

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Grata Is A Welcome Addition to the Midtown-East dining Scene

One of the best to open last year was Grata. From the moment one walks through the 1st Avenue door, taken and restored from a 1920’s Roman villa, they are welcomed by the visions of the NYC-based designer: C3D Architecture PLLC.

From the cream-colored, beamed ceilings, sections of blanched, exposed brick walls, and handsome tables made from huge chunks of rich cordova-colored mango wood from Indonesia, the attractive 85-seat restaurant pleases the eyes with its hardwood floors, and a long curved bar that greets guests near the entrance. Single diners can ease into an inviting communal table that looks out on First Avenue.

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The Spacious Elegant Booth Seating (Above)

Grata, is a restaurant serving world-cuisine with Mediterranean influences and doesn’t dwindle its efforts on a single country or region..After nearly six years, a long shuttered prime Midtown location (formally a Greek, then Middle-Eastern restaurant) has new life.This hot, newcomer to the food scene displays the pedigree of its creators and chef, and is a welcomed invitation to success . . . . which brings us to the restaurant’s name.

GRATA is Latin for a type of welcome. Originally, grata connoted being “under the protection of.” Now, it’s become the proprietor’s promise: “You are going to be well-taken care of here.”  On a recent Wednesday evening, the room was packed by 8 PM and, to these eyes, the customers all looked like happy campers.

GRATA’s creator/owner is Mirso Lekic, the mastermind and owner of the storied and much-missed Il Valentino restaurant. Mirso, a life-long food lover and businessman. His new Executive Chef:, Hido Holli,.has an extensive background here and in Paris.

The menu boasts tempting selections with shared dishes and appetizers.We enjoyed, Grilled Artichokes and delicious and tender Charred Baby Octopus. There is also a wide variety of creative pastas.

Although one can live on appetizers alone, it would be a shame to miss a selection of carefully prepared entrees like a moist Grilled Branzino with Root Vegetables, Ras El Hanut Braised Lamb (like Osso Buco) with dried figs, market carrots, quinoa, and almonds or our personal favorite: a classic Dover Sole, done is the traditional French style.

Bread is fresh and offered with oil and Balsamic vinegar; cocktails are generous and well made. Desserts are simple and well done. A Lemon Meringue Tart and Miniature Cheesecake were perfect.

Already discovered by foodies and the neighborhood crowd, reserve in advance and we think you will agree. And yes . . . . you will very definitely feel WELCOMED.

Click Here To Order On Seamless Web

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Paname Brings Paris To The Upper East Side, With Style and Affordability

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Paname’s, Delightful Tartar

Address: 1068 Second Ave
Midtown East
New York
10022
Cross Street: between 56th and 57th Sts
Venue phone: 212-207-3737
Venue website: Click Here For Website
Opening hours: Daily 11am–11pm
Transport: Subway: N, Q, R to Lexington Ave–59th St; E, M to Lexington Ave–53rd St

Manhattan’s most pleasant new restaurant find is this  45-seat restaurant, *Paname, named after a nickname for Paris. The executive chef/owner Bernard Ros—had closed the popular *Meli Melo following a fire in 2011. He makes his return to Midtown East with this casual and upscale French bistro.  The kitchen turns out first rate Gallic classics such as plump escargots de Bourgogne, terrific mussels à la Marinière and a Provençal seafood bouillabaisse drizzled with garlic aioli that will make you think you are in France.

The veal chop is deliciously tender and beautifully sauced and all seafood is fresh and as good as it gets. Good European wines are available by the glass as well as the bottle, and beer choices include standards like Stella Artois and Heineken.  There are white-clothed banquet, topped with butcher paper and comfortable tables. The walls are hang with Art Deco mirrors and large Erté-inspired paintings done by Parisian Beaux Arts students And oh what lovely vases of flowers..Don’t fail to sample the excellent desserts, such as crepes, doused with Grand Marnier liqueur. Paname would be a welcome addition to any neighborhood and If Mr. Ros can hold the prices.
it may be the best value in upscale French cuisine on the east Side.

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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

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Le Périgord , the unpretentiously pedigreed Sutton Place dining institution,may be over 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.

perigord George & wife

A recent dinner starting with a dozen sparkling East Coast oysters, followed by a fresh ramp Vichyssoise, then miraculous baby soft shell crabs in butter almond sauce and airy soufflés, not to forget the grand dessert carte, breads and superb wine selection, all at affordable prices, keeps Le Perigord the reigning star of NY luxury French restaurants. If there could be just one host in this town, George Briguet would be the king. Our personal favorite!

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SOUTHAMPTON GETAWAY

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SOUTHAMPTON

75 main

75 Main

75 Main | 75 Main Street | Southampton, NY

631.283.7575 | 75main.restaurant@gmail.com

www.75main.com | @zacherdem | Facebook.com/75MainSouthampton

NEW FOR 2013: Recently named as one of Long Island’s best brunch spots by USA Today Travel’s 10best.com, 75 Main has exciting changes sure to spice up the 2013 season. This summer, 75 Main Delray Executive Chef Mark Militello will be bringing his award-winning dishes to the Southampton eatery, adding a touch of South Florida to the East End. Locals and visitors can enjoy 75 Main even earlier, with breakfast and brunch now being served every day from 8:00am until 4:00pm.

OVERVIEW: For the past 20 years, 75 Main has remained a Southampton staple and celebrity favorite, bringing both Italian and American cuisine to the East End. Owner, Zach Erdem has revamped this Hamptons hotspot, transforming the space into a year-round restaurant and lounge. Throughout the week, the post dinner crowd can take advantage of the various entertainment 75 Main offers, including well-known DJs, live bands and drink specials. 75 Main maintains the perfect balance of Hamptons style and New York nightlife.

CUISINE: Chef Mark Militello will present his new menu, featuring a variety of impeccably flavored dishes including Grilled Lamb Chops, Halibut, Truffle Crumb Stuffed Chicken Breast & homemade pastas. While dining, guests can enjoy the restaurants extensive wine list, which showcases a collection of the finest Italian, French and Californian wines.

DÉCOR: With its classic yet chic design, 75 Main elegantly brings together traditional elements and contemporary décor. The restaurant evokes a relaxing atmosphere that can be felt throughout the year, with an outdoor patio, hardwood flooring, modern artwork by famed artists Chris Brown and photographer Raphael Mazzucco, in addition to a soothing, white color palette.

CELEBRITY FANS: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jonathan Cheban and Vice President of the United States Joseph “Joe” Biden, Jr.

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