Incognito Bistro: Roman with Scottish flair

incognito outside

ADDRESS:   30 West 18th Street

(Between Fifth & Sixth Avenues)

New York, NY 10011


TELEPHONE:  (212) 414-1231

HOURS:   Lunch:                         11:30 AM  -     4:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

Dinner:                          4:00 PM -     11:00 PM, Mon.-Sat.

        (Closed Sunday)                

Happy Hour:                 11:30 AM -  10:30 PM, Mon.-Fri.

                                        4:00 PM  -    11:00 PM, Sat.

(Italian small plates and ½-price on specialty cocktails

and select Italian wines by the glass.)                                         

CREDIT CARDS:  All major

PRICE RANGE:  Lunch (entrees):                                $16.00 – $30.00

2-Course Prix Fixe Lunch:               $20.00

Dinner (entrees):                               $16.00 – $30.00

3-Course Pre-Theatre Dinner:      

(5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Mon.-Sat.):     $35.00

DRESS:   Smart Casual 

RESERVATIONS:  Recommended

SEATING CAPACITY: Dining Room:                      60

Bar/Lounge:                        50

Private Party Room:         40


(Private Party Room seats 40)

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request

(Private Party Room and entire

restaurant are available for customized

private parties and special events.)   

incognito chef & wife

Paolo Montana & Adriana Moretti, The Dynamite Duo Behind Incognito Bistro

New York has always been an amazing restaurant town, but It surprised me to no end, when we discovered a fist class, affordable relatively-undiscovered in the Flatiron District, with the unlikely name of  Incognito Bistro.  The stylish Bar/Lounge is enhanced by a 20-foot high ceiling, custom-made tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto a lively street to create a modern, lively Bar/Lounge. It features an impressive selection of regional Italian wines.  A variety of wines are available by the glass.  In addition, a premier choice of spirits, liquors, after-dinner drinks, dessert wines, Single Malt Scotch,and inspired specialty cocktails such as When in Rome (Gin, Punt e Mes, Aperol), Flying Scotsman (Scotch, Glayva, Cointreau), and Italian Kiss (Prosecco, Grand Marnier, Brandy) are also available. Cocktails are extraordinary and Incognito Bistro produces the best Negroni in town.  The Lunch, Dinner, and Happy Hour Menus are available at the bar. (See Below).


incognito the-bar-1

The stylish  dining room is enhanced by an 18-foot high ceiling, custom-made tables, a wraparound champagne-colored leather banquette, walnut wood floors, dramatic painted columns, original color photographs of Italy and Scotland, vintage black-and-white framed photos of casual elegant dining inEurope, original abstract paintings by acclaimed Scottish artist Patricia Moretti. Art Deco ceramic sconces, and an open kitchen create a contemporary Roman atmosphere. There is an attractive Private Party Room, located in the back of the restaurant, features custom-made tables with white tablecloths, custom-made wood chairs, vin as well.


incognito in2

All in all, it’s a knock-out room, but the the real reason to head for Incognito Bistro is Owner-Chef Paolo Montana delicious menu featuring an eclectic selection of classic Roman dishes, refining and updating them with a modern flair.  In addition, he recently introduced Scottish Corner, featuring classic Scottish dishes paying homage to his Scottish/Italian heritage. We loved the Roman-style pizza, especially the version featuring Smoked Scottish Salmon on a custardy base in the perfect crust.

Chef Paolo is a serious chef, using the best produce and cooking it with care. The Scottish Corner is a perfect way to sample his creativity. We adored the Highland Haggis, offering lamb sausage with turnips, creamed potatoes & whisky jus. Isle of Skye Scallops featured pan roasted with a fennel beurre blanc and parmasan crust .
Crepes stuffed with finnan haddock, cheddar bechamel & leeks were lovely. Next time we’ll leave  room for Ayrshire Pork with stornoway black pudding, grain mustard and apple julienne.

We did sample two pastas: an elegant homemade composite with lobster sauce and a light and airy gnocchi. A  Gazpacho was perfect for warm weather. A sampling of housemade desserts, including dairy-free chocolate cake was just delicious, as was the cappuccino.

incognito Scallops

Amazing Scallops With A Scottish Twist

incognito pasta

Memorable Pasta


incognito TOMATO-GAZ

A Perfect Summer Gazpacho

incognito pizza

The Pizza, Roman Style


incognito salmon

Refreshing Salmon Salad

incognito Pork

Scottish All The Way

incognito dessert

A Medley Of Desserts

Service is carful and attentive and the beautiful and vivacious Adriana Moretti (wife and co-owner) is the perfect front of he house and host. Don’t be surprised if she or Paolo serve you or come to your table and ask how you are enjoying yourself. Incognito Bistro is that kind of restaurant. Elegant, but easy to relax and enjoy.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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Roman-Inspired Italian Comfort Food in The Flatiron District

Bocca is located at 39 E. 19th Street between Park and Broadway, 212-387-1200,, and is open for lunch Mon–Fri, 12-3pm and for dinner Mon–Thurs 5:30-11pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-11:30 and Sun 5:30-10:30pm

Boca Int2

At Bocca, the team behind Cacio e Pepe have done everything to make sure diners are comfortable, from the simple but elegant décor and cushy banquets to the attentive service. Guests are greeted by the ebullient host Nico Di Stefano, (Il Buco and Quinto Quatro), who ensures that guests have everything they need. Make no mistake. Mr. Di Stefano is an expert and a reason in itself to visit Bocca.

Another reason is a new executive chef, James Corona, who has worked at some of the finest kitchens here and abroad including Po under Mario Batali, as well as at San Domenico and Bouley.  He also staged at El Bulli in 2006. Chef Corona’s take on Roman cuisine, as one of the original comfort foods, makes Bocca shine.. What’s more comforting than knowing that you can always rely on the kitchen to send out perfectly prepared classic Italian dishes done in a refined and modern way, an accessible wine list, and house-made desserts, all at comfortable prices?

Guests can begin in the bar with after-work happy hour for artisanal cocktails made with fresh juices (try the white wine sangria with spiced peaches and homemade aromatics), wines or prosecco by the glass, or choose from a selection of premium beers, along with bar snacks such as gorgonzola-stuffed dates wrapped in speck and chicken liver crostini with fig marmalade.

Boca s2012_6_25_Bocca0234

For antipasti, share a platter of cured meats and cheeses, or select the wonderfully tender timballino di melanzane all parmigiana, a mound of baked eggplant melting with mozzarella or polpettine della nonna, light and airy veal meatballs with tomato sauce, as well as refreshing salads composed of Greenmarket ingredients such as heirloom tomatoes or strawberries.

Then it’s on to the primi. The ultimate comfort food, the Roman version of mac and cheese, tonnarelli cacio e pepe is served tableside, the pasta twirled in a 25 lb Romano cheese wheel.  You can see the cheese melting as it coats the fresh, black pepper flecked pasta in a creamy sauce.  Another Roman favorite is carbonara, here made with egg, pecorino, guanciale, but no cream.  Oxtail ravioli with porcini and mascarpone is a rich and satisfying treat. Other house made pastas include black fettuccine with puttanesca sauce and calamari, and mint pasta tossed with braised lamb shank and fresh ricotta.

Boca Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe

tonnarelli cacio e pepe (Above)

Boca s2012_6_25_Bocca0341

Another delightful pasta creation

For the secondi, the porchetta is not to be missed.  One of the best in the city—pork shoulder is marinated for two days in fennel pollen and rosemary and roasted until moist on the inside and crackling on the outside served with broccoli rabe and red onion marmalade.  Another Roman classic that feels like home is pollo alla cacciatore, chicken braised with peppers, tomatoes and gaeta olives. For pescatarians, there’s tonno in padella con caponata, seared tuna with smoked eggplant puree and caponata, and baccala alla romano, Atlantic cod fish braised in tomatoes with olives, caper berries and potatoes.

For a house made dessert light enough to follow any meal, try the coconut panna cotta with a tangy passion-fruit puree. A bit richer, but still light, there’s also a sheep’s milk ricotta cheesecake and the classic rum-soaked tiramisu.

Boca s2012_6_25_Bocca0386

The all-Italian wine list features a broad selection of wines not found everywhere else.  Carefully selected to include wines made from indigenous grapes from Italy that are not mainstream or well known, the bottled wines are a great value.  You’ll always find something different that you may not have discovered before on the wine list.  Also available are excellent full-bodied Barolos and smooth Brunellos.  And for an extra value, join Bocca on Sunday evenings when all the wines are half price.

Centrally located between the Flatiron and Gramercy Park, Bocca is ideally situated as place to take a break from Fifth Avenue shopping and convenient from all parts of the city for birthday parties and date nights.  But you don’t need to wait for a special occasion:  Bocca’s comfortable cuisine at comfortable prices is perfect for everyday.

And don’t forget to ask for Nico.


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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kelari rotator-01

Location: 36th East 20th Street, New York NY 10003 (between Park Avenue & Broadway)
Phone: 212.777.8448 Fax: 212.777.3251
General Information :
Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:30am – 3:00pm
Dinner: Monday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 11:00am – Friday – Saturday: 5:00pm – 12:00 Midnight
Sunday Dinner: 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Brunch – Friday-Saturday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Seating Capacity: 135, with a private rooms for up to 50 people, including A/V capabilities.
Cuisine: Traditional Rustic Greek food
Signature Dishes: Yesterday’s Lamb
Variety of Savory traditional Mezedes (small plates or starters)
Neighborhood: New York City – Gramercy / Flatiron
Owner: Stavros Aktipis
Director of Operations : Stathis Antonakopoulos
Corporate Executive Chef: Gregory Zapantis
Restaurant Interior Design: Kellari Design Group
Graphic Design and Web Design: GiellaDesign

23rd Street 4 & 5
14th Street N & R
23rd ST -Broadway

Parking Directions: Street after 7:00 pm
In door parking: 21st street between park and broadway

Reserve OnlineKellari-Parea-Bistro-12

Kellari means cellar and is a gathering place where the ancient Greeks experimented and aged their wines and their precious foods. Parea is a gathering of friends and strangers.

Kellari Parea Greek Bistro, located at 36 East 20th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway is a traditional Greek restaurant, a Greek bistro that extends the restaurant group’s reputation for hospitality in a warm, welcoming and relaxed setting. As the name suggests (parea means group of friends in Greek),Kellari Parea Greek Bistro is an ideal place for friends to gather for a casual meal, to share mezedes (small plates) Greek appetizers along with an excellent selection of Greek wines, all in a homey neighborhood place.

In addition,Kellari Parea Greek Bistro is a green restaurant. The interior design makes use of recycled and reclaimed wood, recycled paper is used for the menus and business cards, and the cooking oil is repurposed into biodiesel. Everything in the restaurant, from the physical environment to the food, is natural and organic. kelari greek-pizza

The Greek Pizza (Above) 

The design pays subtle tribute to the Kellari name  and wine cellar theme with American oak wine barrels, displays of wine, and wood-beamed ceilings. The rustic design replicates the feeling of a country house on an Ionian island, warm with earth tones of beige and brown, cozy, comfortable, yet still elegant. The honey-toned floors and terracotta red ceiling wrap guests in a warm embrace

kellari Lamb_Shank_lr

The Killer Lamb Shank, Roasted 24 Hours (Above)

Kellari Parea Bistro, located in Downtown Manhattan, is a little sister restaurant with a big personality. The second Greek Mediterranean concept from the Kellari Hospitality Group, the first being the wildly successful, upscale Kellari Taverna in Manhattan’s theater district, has become a favorite of New York locals since it’s opening in November of 2007.

The more casual, yet cozy Kellari offers the same high-quality, whole-grilled Mediterranean fish as its predecessor, such as the signature Lavraki, a sensational White Snapper, whole Gigantic Shrimp, grilled in their shell and the most tender octopus this side of the Adriatic. There are some slightly more American dishes, like the Maryland Blue Crab cake burger with herbed fries, in an intimate setting that is idyllic for dates and close conversation. Don’t neglect perusing the fresh seafood display before ordering. That’s half the fun and the fish is priced by the pound.

We can’t resist enjoying the beautifully made cocktails (great Martinis and a house Mint Julep) with traditional Greek dips. The combination of our including a light yogurt-cucumber spread, taramasalata (salted and cured roe of cod or carp,dip), smoky eggplant puree and a spicy cheese concoction. The house-made pita bread is exceptional, as is the gratis bread assortment and accoutrements. Other not-to-be-missed starters include the best Spanakopita or Phyllo pies with spinach, leeks & feta we’ve ever tasted and a lovely  Zucchini Kefte (Squash, sage & mint fritters).

With our entrees, the exquisite White Snapper, which was perfectly filleted and served in a delicate lemon-butter-caper sauce and a  meat entree, whimsically called  Yesterdays Lamb, which was Roasted and marinated over 24 hours and served with oven oregano lemon potatoes, we enjoyed the perfect Greek Salad, a melange of tomatoes, cucumber, onions, feta (never lettuce).

A sturdy white, 2009 Domaine Tselepos Mantinia Moschofilero, was a bargain at $42. It came across with a slight petulance and viognier like fruit and worked beautifully throughout the meal.

Desserts are another surprise. A far cry from the soggy, overly sweet renditions seen around town, I have never had better Baklava, the traditional phyllo and walnut pastry with honey and rose-water syrup; Galaktoboureko, vanilla bean semolina custard with a phyllo crust and apple syrup and a terrific Yiaourti me meli or sheep’s milk yogurt with wild thyme honey and toasted walnuts. There is also a chocolate cake that is worth the short wait.

Kellari Parea Bistro doesn’t rest on its unique cuisine and décor alone. The restaurant delivers spectacular entertainment to its guests every Saturday night with Jazz performances in their underground Cava Room. This private space emulates the intimate feel of the main dining room with cabernet colored walls, plenty of wine on display and limited seating for around forty-five people.

The Bistro maintains its air of authentic Greek hospitality by celebrating guests’ most cherished events with complimentary champagne. The Kellari Friends and Family program provides a free bottle of champagne to registered members on their anniversary, birthday and Greek name day, every year. Guests simply provide their email and, like clockwork, two weeks before the big day, Kellari sends a reminder to let them know their champagne awaits them.

kellari Seafood_Entre_lr

Seafood Entrees (Above)

In addition to free-flowing champagne, Kellari Parea Bistro and Kellari Taverna boast the largest Greek Wine lists in New York City and is a proud recipient of the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for a well-balanced list that compliments the food and the Mediterranean region effortlessly.

Add to this warm, hospitable service and the feeling that you are really wanted as a customer and the commendable democratic practice of giving deuces the larger tables, until the restaurant gets too packed as it inevitably by 8 PM, because it is one of the best Greek restaurants in America. No mean feat.

kelari dessert-lr

 No Dinner Is Complete Without a Great Dessert (Above)

Copyright 2010 Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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Devi: New York’s Most Rewarding Indian Restaurant

Devidevi 1

8 East 18th Street (between 5th Ave. & Broadway)
New York, NY 10003
Reservations: (212) 691-1300 or make a reservation at

Original Opening Date: September 27, 2004
Reopening Date: October 22, 2007 (under the ownership of co-chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur)


Co-Chefs/Owners: Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur

Pastry Chef: Surbhi Sahni

Cuisine: Authentic home cooking from the diverse regions of India and
American Masala cooking

Overview: Celebrate the flavors and spirit of the Indian home at Dévi, where co-chefs/owners Hemant Mathur and Suvir Saran recreate authentic regional dishes to be enjoyed in a warm, sumptuous setting. Each plate is a journey-from regional street food to family recipes-with layer upon layer of tastes and textures.

Signature Dishes: Crispy Tangy Okra, Tomatoes, Red Onions (Kararee Bhindi); Bombay Bhel Puri; Kashmiri Mushroom Bruschetta; Manchurian Cauliflower; Coconut Shrimp Biryaani; Lamb-Stuffed Tandoori Chicken; Masala Fried Quail; Kerala Chicken and Egg Roast; Tandoor-Grilled Lamb Chops with Sweet & Sour Pear Chutney; Onion-Parmigiano Kulcha

Desserts: Mango Cheesecake, Rabri Waale Malpue (fennel-scented pancakes), Dévi Bombay Falooda

Wine/Cocktails/Beer: Wines are carefully selected from all over the world to pair with Dévi’s cuisine, emphasizing small producers, organic, biodynamic and sustainable production, as well as women winemakers. Cocktails are inspired by ingredients that are part of the culinary landscape of India; and the beer list features handcrafted, small production beers.

Décor: Architect Larry Bogdanow integrates elements of home and temple – using richly colored Indian textiles, multihued glass lanterns, a hand-carved white marble staircase, and beautifully carved wooden architectural accents.

Seating: 75 seats

Private Dining/Catering: Dévi can accommodate up to 75 for a seated meal; 100 for cocktails. Semi-private balcony accommodates up to 30. Catering is available for out-of-house events, including cocktail receptions, intimate dinner parties, corporate lunches and weddings. Please contact Sonny Solomon, General Manager, at (212) 691-1300.

Hours: Dinner: Mon-Sat, 5:30-11:00 pm; Sun, 5:00-10:00 pm
Lunch: Mon-Fri, 12 noon-2:30 pm
Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Price Range: Appetizers: $6-$14, Entrees: $14-$34, Desserts: $9
Chef’s Tasting Menu: $85 ($130 with wine)
Two Courses (appetizer, entrée), plus dessert: $35
Any Three Dishes (appetizer, entrée, side), plus dessert: $45
Any Four Dishes (appetizer, 2 entrées, side), plus dessert: $55
Lunch Prix-Fixe Menu: $25

Credit Cards: All major

déviDEVI Interior 1 8119300009

8 east 18th street
new york, ny 10003


devi 2

DÉVI, New York’s Most Rewarding Indian Restaurant

By Nancy Walman

Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur Continue to Delight With Authentic Flavors of Indian Home Cooking.

Originally opened September 27, 2004 and closed on August 27, 2007 by former owner Rakesh Aggarwal, Dévi is the brainchild of Saran and Mathur, who have been bringing fresh flavors to traditional Indian recipes for the past three years.

While several Dévi fanatics’ favorites still remain, such as Crispy Okra Salad, Manchurian Cauliflower and Hemant’s Tandoor-Grilled Lamb Chops with Pear Chutney; Saran has added “new classics” to the seasonal menus, such as Masala Fried Chicken, Spicy Mushroom Toasts and Shrimp and Scallop Poha Paella, inspired by his latest cookbook, American Masala (Clarkson Potter/Publishers).

Four-Year Anniversary, New Menus

Nestled in the middle of the block at 8 East 18th Street in the Flatiron District, award-winning Dévi restaurant, known for its superb Indian home cooking, continues to wow regulars, new neighbors and destination diners from around the world.

To spread their good fortune, Dévi’s culinary team has developed a new á la carte menu with options for guests to also compose their own tasting menus that include a complimentary choice of one of the restaurant’s famous desserts. Mathur and Saran will also introduce a new Chef’s Tasting Menu with seven courses. In addition, beverage consultant Jeff Bartels has created all new Cocktail, Wine and Beer Lists, specifically based on pairability with this dining venue’s distinctive cuisine.

Dinner Menu Designed To Satisfy Individual Appetites and Cravings
It’s the diner’s choice with Dévi’s new menu. Create your own well-priced prix-fixe dinner selecting from the á la carte menu. Choose from two courses (appetizer and entrée, $35), any three dishes (appetizer, entrée and a side; $45), or any four dishes (appetizer, two entrées and a side; $55); and then pick one of Pastry Chef Surbhi Sahni’s delectable desserts as a treat from Dévi.

To experience a full gustatory introduction to Indian home cooking, opt for the ever-changing, seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($85; $130 with wine pairings). We did just that and were delighted.

New offerings include: Double Decker Bread Pakoras; Fish of the Day (in our cases halibut) with Lemon Rasam was worth the price of admission and the best seafood dish we have ever tasted in an Indian restaurant. Sweet & Sour Butternut Squash and Masala Crispy Leeks; Kerala Chicken and Egg Roast; Pappadam Paratha; and Rabri Waale Malpue (fennel-scented pancakes with saffron syrup).

The Challenge of Pairing Beverages With Indian Food
Beverage consultant Jeff Bartels had his work cut out for him when he agreed to totally revamp the Cocktail, Wine and Beer Lists at Dévi. Mathur and Saran are particularly pleased with the outcome and are eager for guests to experience quaffs from all three new lists.

In the cocktail arena, Bartels focused on concocting drinks that reflect the culinary landscape of India. The Mussoorie is made from Rittenhouse Rye, pineapple and saffron syrup, and pineapple gelatin. There’s also Our Pimm’s Cup mixed by adding Pimm’s No.1, Indian tonic water, candied orange and lemon, borage, mint and Moscato, as well as four other new tantalizing cocktails.

Pairability with Indian cuisine was the prime consideration in compiling this new Wine List – eschewing wines with high levels of alcohol and tannins or a strong presence of wood. These qualities would negatively impact on one’s enjoyment of the food featured on Dévi’s menu. In addition, the list is not extensive, but carefully selected to support small producers around the world; winemakers who are farming sustainably; some who are producing biodynamic wines; and women winemakers. Wines are marked accordingly on the list, and in several cases, Bartels was able to procure the last cases of a particular label. A dozen well-chosen wines are available by the glass, and there’s a short list of Dessert, Madeira and Port Wines by the glass and some by the bottle. Bottle prices range from the mid-$30s for organic 2006 Le Cellier du Palais Apremont produced by Beatrice Bernard in Savoie to a $250 bottle of 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington, which is described on the list as “Speaks for itself.”

As with the wines, the focus of the Beer List was to find artisan beers from small producers – brewmasters who painstakingly select their ingredients and fermentation regimens. Again, the key to selection was which beers made Dévi’s food even more special. Included on the list are: Seson from Liguria; Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale from Ibaraki, Japan; Mead The Gueuze made in England and Belgium; and t’ Smisje, an IPA from a microbrewery whose name translates to “rainbow”, produced in Assebroek-Brugge.

Desserts created by pastry chef Surbhi Sahni, who is also Mathur’s wife, include the ethereal Mango Cheesecake and Emperor’s Morsel (crispy saffron bread pudding), as well as new sweet finales like Cashew Nut Kulfi and Fig Cake.

Located in the same spot in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, Dévi (named for the mother goddess) blends aspects of home and temple by using clusters of brightly colored lanterns, rich textiles, beautifully carved wooden architectural elements and a hand-carved, white marble staircase—a space that is both enticing and comfortable, which is a signature element of acclaimed architect Larry Bogdanow. The walls are draped with vibrant orange and gold gauze fabrics and banquettes are swathed in vivid red, burgundy, purple and charcoal colors. The result is an atmosphere of true glamour and style.

Combining Suvir Saran’s creative culinary force with Hemant Mathur’s
masterful command of the tandoor and practical kitchen know-how, Dévi continues to stimulate and delight, and is still a place where you feel warmth and welcome in every bite. If you thought of Indian food as a bowl of spicy curry, visit Devi and discover New York’s best representation of this world class cuisine, presented with elegance and originality. Devi rates A Major on The Walman Report.

DEVI Interior 2 8119300004

Copyright 2008 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved

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Stephen Hanson Scores Again

Wildwood BBQ NYC (37)


ADDRESS & TELEPHONE 225 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10011 (212) 533-2500
CUISINE Regional American BBQ
OWNER Stephen Hanson
PIT MASTER “Big” Lou Elrose
PASTRY CHEF Elizabeth Katz
SOMMELIER Laura Maniec
DESIGNER David Rockwell

THE SPACE 222 seats
OPENING DATE Wednesday, April 23
HOURS Mon – Thurs 1130AM – 1100PM; Fri 1:30 AM – 1200AM; Sat 1200PM – 12AM;
Sun 1200PM – 1100PM
PRICE RANGE Appetizers $ 5 – 10, Main Dishes $10 – 29, Side Dishes $5 – 7, Desserts $7
CREDIT CARDS Visa, Master Card, Amex and Discover
SIGNATURE DISHES Carolina Pulled Pork, Smothered Sandwiches, Memphis-Style Baby Back Ribs



Review By Nancy Walman

Wildwood BBQ NYC (29)

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. Wildwood Barbeque, The latest addition to Stephen Hanson and B.R. Guest Restaurants, offers an Urban Twist on Classic American BBQ, serving multi-regional American barbecue in a rustic urban setting and using all natural meats.

The Rockwell Group, in their first barbecue restaurant project, bring an urban perspective to the classic BBQ joint. The space focuses around a dramatic 50-foot-long bar, and illustrates the crossroads of rustic and industrial aesthetics, juxtaposing the expansive reclaimed wood-timber ceiling and rough hewn details with the steel-frame garage doors, mis-matched chairs and comfortable booths. It all adds up to fun in a deceptively casual atmosphere, with the excellent service and management that are hallmarks of Mr. Hanson’s restaurants.

The larger-than-life Corporate Pit Master willwood-big-lou

“Big Lou” Elrose presides over the pit and leads the team at Wildwood Barbeque. A former motorcycle cop, the six-foot-four Big Lou parlayed his personal passion for barbecue into a career through participation in the competitive circuit. After establishing himself in competitions, the Queens native opened Big Lou’s Breakfast & BBQ, a lunch wagon in Ozone Park, before becoming deputy pit master at Hill Country in New York City.

The menu centers on secret, proprietary recipes and incorporates rubs, sauces and cuts from all corners of the U.S. Barbecue lovers will savor the traditional ribs, brisket and pulled pork, and be pleased to discover the modern twists on barbecue such as Denver Lamb Ribs. The cherry and apple woods used to smoke the meat impart a slightly sweet, fruity smoke flavor that mixes perfectly with the assorted offering of sides including Crusty Cheddar Mac and Cast Iron Honey Cornbread.

Texas Jailhouse Chili smoked brisket with cheddar, onion and sour cream was a big hitter in the chili league. The use of black beans and just the right proportions of cheddar and sour cream, and its presentation in a black cast iron pot, produced a delectable dish. It got even better with a couple dashes of the lethally delicious “Dirty Dick” hot sauce (aka/Oral Abuse). The town’s best (and most affordable) Mint Julep was a perfect mate. We also went wild for the Bottle Caps beer battered fried jalapeño slices with ranch dressing, a steal for $5.75. And who could not adore the Smoked Sausage made from a house blend of custom spices & natural pork and jalapeño or Texas style. Both were perfect.

Now, lets talk BBQ: We sampled Carolina Pulled Pork with vinegar mopping sauce, Pork Spare Ribs dry dusted with Lou’s sugar & spice rub (our personal favorite), Fallin’ Off The Bone beef short rib queen cut, Denver Lamb Spare Ribs (a pleasant surprise) and Texas Smoked Brisket Cooked Low & Slow hand rubbed by Big Lou. Portions are huge, so bring your friends or take home a bundle and eat for a week. The sides, were all superior, but the two standouts were a delicious Classic Creamy Coleslaw and the best Homemade Salt ïn’ Vinegar Chips we’ve ever tasted.

In addition, Wildwood Barbeque features a comprehensive barbecue-friendly wine list from wildwood-Laura 0447 high res Corporate Sommelier Laura Maniec as well as extensive beers including Wildwood Organic Ale and a Pennsylvania beer with an “X” rated name that somehow vanished in our jumble of notes. The menu also features an awesome array of Bourbons and American Rye. If you every thought Cognac was the only finish to a grand dinner, check out the George T. Stagg Bourbon and the Black Maple Hill 23 Year old Rye and you’ll be impressed.

You can also try the latest creative cocktail offerings from B.R. Guest Corporate Mixologist Eben Klemm including, Southern Sangria and Green Tea Sour. When it’s time for dessert, the 8 Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake (which comes from the family’s sister restaurant, just up the street, Primehouse NY) is terrific, but the Carrot Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting (made for Wildwood by a bakery in Long Island) will blow you away. Wildwood Barbeque, 225 Park Avenue South (at 18th Street), is just 7 weeks old and already runs like a Swiss watch. That’s A Major” on the Walman Report.


Wildwood BBQ NYC (37)

Wildwood Barbeque IS barbecue in the big city

Wildwood BBQ NYC (6)

The Fabulous Bar

Copyright 2008 by Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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236 5th Avenue (27th St.)
New York, NY 10001

Phone Number 212-683-2929

Web site

Cuisine Contemporary Lebaneseilili-Main Lounge Bar Downstairs

The Best of Old Lebanon and Modern Mediterranean
Come to Life in New York City with the Opening of ilili

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. Old Lebanon and new Mediterranean meet on 5th Avenue with the opening of ilili, a stunning contemporary Lebanese restaurant offering inspired modern cuisine. Not even in Beirut can you get food this inventive. New York’s most exciting new restaurants offer Global, upmarket less familiar (to Americans) ethnic cuisines, packaged for a hip and knowledgeable clientel.

Served within a glamorous ocher dining room, Owner / Executive Chef Philippe Massoud’s menu offers appetizers like a mélange of Eggplant, Garlic, Tahini, Olive Oil and Pomegranate and the famed Manti dumplings, filled with Spiced Lamb, Tomatoes, Mint and Yogurt Foam. Progressive dishes include Mussels with licorice-liqueur, Garlic and Peppers and Kashkawan Cheese, baked with Duck Egg and Desert Truffle, served in a black skillet.

Not to be missed masterpieces include Brussels sprouts, fried w/grapes, fig puree, walnuts & mint (the best version of this mistreated vegetable ever encountered); Amber Jack Raw thin sliced tuna w/wasabi-spiced baba ghannouj;Parchment Filets of Rouget
w/ pita chips, Tahini, and lemon kibbeh Naya and buger-of-burgers: Spiced Beef Kafta, stuffed with flecks of buttery Foie Gras.

There is wonderful seafood as well as kebabs made with tender Kobe beef. For a no-brainer, go for the Lebanese Tasting menu. Complementing the international cuisine, there’s an impressive wine list featuring favorites from Lebanon and the Mediterranean, with a terrific selection by the glass and an interesting Cava Rose, as well as superb cocktails, whether they be a classic martini or the house margarita (an intoxicating mélange of Patron Silver, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Fresh Pomegranate, Lime and Sumac). Phoenician Lemonade is the runner up. For dessert, stick with the classic Essmalieh. a Napoleon of shredded philo and Achta (like clotted cream) and you’ll swoon. Service is wonderful.

Our first restaurant to review in the new year, ilili, 236 5th Avenue, is uniquely upscale, offbeat, and is not to be missed. That rates “A Major” on the Walman Report.

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Lucy of Gramercy

Lucy of Gramercyilli

Address: 35 East 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
(Between Broadway and Park Ave. South)

Telephone: (212) 475 – LUCY(5829)
Fascimile: (212) 598 – 3020

Hours: Dinner:
Sunday – Thursday, 6PM-11PM Friday & Saturday, 6PM -11:30PM

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. New American Cuisine Gets a Puerto Rican Accent at “Lucy of Gramercy.” Celebrated restaurateur Phil Suarez of Jean George has enlisted acclaimed chef Carmen Gonzalez, of Carmen the Restaurant in Coral Gables, FL, to lead the kitchen at Lucy of Gramercy, bringing the soulful flavors of Puerto Rico into the fine dining context.

A meal at Lucy’s begins in typical Puerto Rican fashion with a sampling of Picadera, a nod to the island’s tradition of street food. From grated yuca stuffed with stewed chicken to succulent Pork Bites with 35 East 18th Streetsauce, selections are perfect for sharing. Gonzalez’s signature Puerto Rican touches are showcased in First Plate selections such as Peekytoe Crabmeat and Avocado Terrine with Key Lime Mayonnaise and Arañitas, Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Malanga Mash and Coconut Gastrique, and Key West Shrimp and Sweet Plantain Pionono with Sofrito Sauce.

Main Plates run the gamut-from deep, robust meats paired with tropically minded trimmings to fresh seafood brightened by citrus-based sauces and flavorful broths. Choose from a juicy Pork Tenderloin served atop Gandules Guisados with Sweet Plantain Fufú; an elegant dish of Slow Braised Boneless Wagyu Beef Short Ribs with Funché is dressed with an Island Mojito sauce; and a delicately cooked Pan Seared Red Snapper is served with White Water Clams, Leeks and Chorizo. A selection of sides-Yuca and Roasted Garlic Mofongo, Crispy Tostones de Platano with Mojo Dipping Sauce, and Warm Wilted Baby Spinach with Toasted Garlic and Fresh Lemon Juice-are also available.

Gonzalez completes the meal with her selection of desserts, which focus on the interplay of seasonal flavors and traditional tastes. Specialties include Warm Mango Bread Pudding with Passion Fruit-Mint Sorbet, Warm Coconut Rice Pudding Tamale with Cajeta Sauce, Rum Raisins and Salted Cashews, and her signature dessert, Chef Carmen’s Flan with Caramel Sauce.

Like the menu, Lucy of Gramercy’s cocktail list reinterprets the traditional, offering guests libations such as the Pisco B with Pisco, thyme syrup, lemon juice and agave nectar; the Spanish Harlem with Maker’s Mark, Angostura Bitters, Garvey Pedro Xímenez Sherry; and the Cavalina with cactus pear puree, lime juice, Cava and a hint of Milagro tequila. The wine list is international in scope, presenting selections from diverse regions with an emphasis on Latin American producers.

Reminiscent of an inviting hacienda with its airy space, terra cotta ceiling tiles and rough-hewn wood beams, Lucy of Gramercy’s new design reflects Suarez and Gonzalez’s distinct personal styles. The whitewashed walls and blonde wood floors enliven both the main dining room and the lounge area. Chairs are natural wood with loose vanilla linens and large-scale still-life paintings depicting vibrant tropical fruit are peppered throughout the space. The bar is flanked by a lively grid of orange, yellow and red tiles and surrounded by plush seating strewn with richly hued pillows-an ideal space to settle in for an intimate cocktail with friends.

Lucy of Gramercy provides an ideal dining experience that is both authentic and memorable and rates “A Major” on the Walman Report.

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Meli Melo — Always Dependable

Meli Melo, the French/Mediterranean bistro at 110 Madison Avenue at 30th Street (212-686-5551
is having a special Thanksgiving dinner all day from 2:30pm to closing at 11:30pm. Choice of five appetizers, six entrees including turkey and choice of dessert and coffee or tea
prix fixe at $45. Bernard Ros, the owner and executive chef, is considered one of Manhattan’s most creati ve and innovative chefs.