New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television – a non-profit Chinese and multi-language TV network headquartered in New York City. NTD broadcasts to over 200 million potential viewers via satellite, cable and the Internet.

The Emperor’s Banquet Benefit Gala, preceded by a unique two day Chinese Culinary Competition in Times Square presented by New Tang Dynasty Television. This banquet celebrates a decade of championing press freedom and the promotion and sharing of traditional Chinese culture. Transforming Times Square into the kitchen arena of ancient China, the competition is designed to showcase the skills and artistry of over 50 Master Chefs from around the world. Celebrities and renowned chefs will participate in the closing “Lightning Wok Challenge.” The winners of the International Chinese Culinary Competition will then prepare a sumptuous 10 course feast in celebration of NTD’s tenth anniversary.

Fierce competition for the Gold Medals. A major donation to CITYMEALS when these Chinese chefs from around the world will donate huge meals to the homebound and Senior Center in a China-US touching hands celebration

Thursday, September 22, 2011 and Friday September 23, 2011 –
NTD’s Fourth International Chinese Culinary Competition

9:00 a.m: Commencement of the Culinary Competition (Eight rounds
lasting between 45 minutes to an hour)
7:00 p.m: 15 minute Kung Pao Chicken Dish “Lightning Wok Challenge”

Sunday, September 25, 2011 – NTD’s 10 Year Anniversary Benefit Gala
5:00-7:00 p.m: Reception and Silent Auction
7:00-9:30 p.m: The Emperor’s Banquet 10 Course Haute Cuisine Dinner
Includes Han Couture Fashion show and Live Auction

International Chinese Culinary Competition – Times Square

The Emperor’s Banquet – Pier 60, Chelsea Piers, New Yorkimage


Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved



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Lair Restaurant & Lounge is Hip, Hot, User Friendly and Yes Mom, You’ll Like The Food:)


Restaurant | Lounge

Established: October 2010

Location: 201 Lafayette Street | Btwn Broome & Kenmare Streets (Nolita)

lair room 1

lair room 2

New York City

Telephone: (212) 334-5247

Fax: (212) 334-5248



Managing Partners/

Owners: Michael Levin

Illarion Parmit

Executive Chef: Chris Cheung

Venue Size: 2000 sq. – ft

Capacity: Den – 50

Bar/Standing – 100

VIP – 100

Total – 250

Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday

5:00PM to 2:00AM

Thursday – Saturday

5:00PM to 4:00AM


Specialty Drinks: Mamma Mule Feel Good

Absolut vodka, cinnamon five spice syrup, apricot & ginger beer

Flame de Milo

Saffron infused Bombay dry gin, liquor 43, cava, flamed orange peel

Pass the Grapes

Barsol pisco/Appleton reserve, agave, red bell pepper puree, mescal ringe, red wine float

Mr Hot Pants

Herradura reposado, mescal, campari, passionfruit, thai chilli pepper agave

Maid in the Cave

Hibiki 12 year Japanese Whiskey, ginger infused agave, cucumbers muddled, club soda


Specialty Dishes: lair chips

Chicken ‘Pillows,’ Crispy Chicken Skin,

Johnny Blue Sauce

v Roasted Bone Marrow, x/o Marmalade,

Scallion Pancakes

lair oysters use

v Oysters On The Half Shell, Seared Scallop, Truffle Essence (Above)

v Lobster, Bacon, Avocado Salad in Crispy

Wonton Rolls

v Eggplant and Mushroom Sui Mai

lair chicken

v 28 Dry Aged Black Angus Beef Dumplings

Sweet Plate Menu:

v Shanghai Walnut Crusted Marshmallows

v Scoop Caramel Apples, ‘Crispy Plum’


               lair bar

                 Lair Restaurant & Lounge

Safari meets urban glamour at this nighttime haunt where a chicly rustic interior of exposed brick, distressed wood, hand-painted ethic art work are accented by the earth tone color palette and lavish throw pillows. With a collective mix of music and a hip downtown crowd, Lair has all the settings for any night out. Located in New York City’s Soho/Nolita area, Lair is a bar, lounge, restaurant and private event space, all in one! With plush banquettes and the glow of glittering chandeliers and candlelight, this stylish venue features low table tops, an extensive bar, delicious modern Dim Sum plates and cozy seating arrangements. Lair is the ideal location for an after-work drink and appetizer or post-drink and small bite recap!

Conveniently located downtown in the Soho/Nolita area this dynamic newcomer embodies a chic lounge, restaurant and private event space, all in one. Lair is intentionally designed to be just that. The distinct rustic metal work is innovatively crafted, resembling to some a Paris train station and to others a private chamber. Socialize with fashionistas, models, celebs and the corporate clientele in front of the cleverly designed and ever-changing lighting that exudes from the 30 foot bar or burrow into a dimly lit corner under the hand drawn ancient cave murals for an intimate encounter. lair flowers

We are always surprised by the excellence of the cuisine in clubs and Lair is no exception. Experience the succulent dishes created by the renowned Chef Chris Cheung (a veteran of Nobu, Ruby Foos and Monkey Bar), while sipping on specialty cocktails. Our favorite libations being Mr Hot Pants, a sexy blend of Herradura reposado, mescal, campari, passionfruit, thai chilli pepper  and agave. For something more potent and with a bit more kick, go for Maid in the Cave, where Hibiki 12 year Japanese Whiskey, ginger infused agave, and cucumbers are muddled,in club soda.. Average price is $15.

While there is an expensive bottle list, wine by the glass ranges from $8 to $11 and  The Stella is always dependable and just $7. We appreciated the friendly service and lack of attitude, making Lair a perfect spot for first dates and corporate or holiday parties, product launches, cocktail or fashion events, dinner parties, birthdays and more. The staff is professional and knowledgeable to facilitate your event needs. Lair provides a quality of visual, edible and audible sensory appeal that makes you want to come back again and again. The music is not too loud and if you hit it right, there may be live entertainment as well.

The Inventive Cuisine: is Modern, Kosher and might be described as global Dim Sum. Two appetizers per person provide a copious meal and range from about $9 to $13. Favorites include delicious Chicken ‘pillows’, with crispy chicken skin, Johnny Blue sauce; and unusually delicious Roasted bone marrow with X/O Marmalade; a classy rendition of Oysters on the half shell, seared scallop and truffle essence;
Mango ‘noodles’ salad, rock shrimp, chili lime; Coconut bao bread, 5 spice local honey hoisin butter; and Lobster, bacon, avocado salad in crispy wonton rolls. Don’t miss the Dry aged black angus beef dumplings or the light Chicken and foie gras san jin dumplings. We loved the Eggplant and mushroom sui mai. For dessert nut crusted marshmallows arrive beautifully scorched with a delightful brittle and real chantilly cream (worth a visit on its own).

Lair is the go-to for hosting and catering any event! and will help plan any soirée including: corporate and holiday events, fashion shows, dinner parties and luncheons, birthdays, meetings, product launches, wedding receptions, album release events, film/photo shoots and more! They will even design and accent the event with decorations and entertainment including: balloons, flowers, banners, logo branding, customized themes, DJs, comedians, dancers, live bands, drummers, video games, casino tables, Tarot card readers, Champagne Ice or Martini Bar, flat screen TVs and more! and the Celebrity Clientele include Adam Lambert Ally Hilfiger Craig Robinson, Richard Branson, Tika Sumpter and Tommy London.

But you needn’t be a celeb to get behind the velvet ropes and enjoy one of the most pleasant club experiences around, a local feel of being wanted and some really good vittles.

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved \


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Casabe Bistro Latino

casabe int1

Casabe Bistro Latino

ADDRESS: 208 E 58 St.

PHONE: (212) 750-7766

LOCATION HISTORY: Previously Nino’s 208

OPENED FOR DINNER: October 19, 2010

Manager: Richard Huguenot

Sous Chef  Lenis Gonzalez

OWNER: Nino Selimaj nino

BACKGROUND: Known primarily by his first name, which lends itself to Nino’s family of popular Italian restaurants, Selimaj makes his first venture into Latin American cuisine with Casabe Bistro Latino, marking a new partnership with notable Latin chef Ricardo Cardona. His career started upon his arrival to New York City as a young boy, whereupon he took a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant on East 58th, the same street he returns to with this new concept. After working his way up the ladder and opening the first Nino’s on First Avenue, he has developed expertise as a seasoned restaurateur, his portfolio now boasts such successes as Nino’s Positano, Osso Buco, 208 and Nino’s Tuscany.

CONCEPT: A Latin Bistro, Casabe (pronounced ca-sah-beh) is named for a traditional yucca-based bread commonly eaten in Colombia, the Caribbean,South America. and the Dominican Republic. The restaurant will use the bread as a base for many of its signature dishes, and the menu as a whole will emphasize refined Latin American comforts. Rather than focusing on any one geographic lens, the menu will blend the flavors and traditions of all Latin American countries with modern and unique presentations. Ambiance will be lively, with salsa music, a Mojito lounge on the second floor, and live entertainment one night a week.

This Spanish, Caribbean and South American Menu features Nouveau Latin cuisine with dishes like Churrascos, Ceviches, Arepas, Paella and Tacos. The Mojito Bar Lounge offers live latin music and a selection of specialty drinks

CONSULTING CHEF: Ricardo Cardona

BACKGROUND: Chef Ricardo Cardona is a self-trained chef with over twenty five years experience in creating cutting edge Nuevo Latino cuisine. He is most well known for his use of unique ingredients that dig deep into the heart of the Latin culture while making surprising, unexpected choices that are delivered with gourmet flair. Chef Cardona has helmed such popular restaurants as New York’s Hudson Terrace, Mama Juana NY, Sofrito, 809, Tabaco y Ron and Sazon, as well as his own recent project, Gabbana.  His cuisine regularly serves such luminaries as singer Marc Anthony and wife, Jennifer Lopez; the members of the New York Yankees baseball team and New York Knicks basketball team; actor Andy Garcia; boxer Oscar de la Hoya; designer Oscar de la Renta; singer Julio Iglesias; and guests at the Premo Nuestro Awards, among many others.

PRICE POINT: Under $25

SIGNATURE DISHES: Cazuelita de Bacalao Guizado with Sweet Plantain Fufu, Salmon con Casabe (Casabe crusted salmon), Free Form Chipotle Ravioli with Rioja Braised Short Ribs, Arroz con Pollo.

WINES AND COCKTAILS: The wine list will focus on American, South American, and Spanish bottles at an affordable price point; cocktails will be designed by Mamjuana mixologist Roger Gonzeles, whose focus will be on balancing the sweetness of tropical Latin fruits with traditional South American spirits and wines. A Mojito bar on the second floor will feature a Mojito bar inspired by seasonal flavors.

AVAILABILITY FOR PRIVATE PARTIES: The second floor will be available for private events, as well as off- and in-premise catering.

TAKEOUT AND DELIVERY: Both will be available

HOURS: Lunch 11:45 AM – 3PM 7 days a week; Dinner 5 – 12PM Monday through Thursday, 5PM – 1AM Friday through Saturday, and 5 – 10PM on Sunday. Brunch will be introduced shortly after opening.

TOTAL CAPACITY:  70 seats downstairs, and another 50 on the 2nd floor, including seats at the Mojito bar.

CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED: All major Credit Cards

It’s no surprise that, in an effort to unite the myriad flavors of South America and the Caribbean, chef Ricardo Cardona and owner Nino Selimaj chose cassava as their fugue—an ingredient to come back to over and over again, to reveal its multifaceted permutations, and even inspire the very name of their first joint venture: Casabe Bistro Latino. After all, it’s the cornerstone of nary every Latin comfort food—an under-glorified ingredient due its star turn in the increasingly chic world of Nuevo Latino flavors. Named for the traditional yucca-based breads commonly eaten in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, Casabe is Cardona and Selimaj’s ode to refined Latin comforts and traditions—a lively spot where the food and the music exude a festive environment worth coming back to. casaba int main

            Housed in the same space that once held Nino’s 208, Casabe is very proudly the sum of its esteemed parts. A prominent fixture of the Manhattan restaurant scene, owner Nino Selimaj humbly started his career as a dishwasher in a small eatery on East 58th Street—it’s the same street he fatefully finds himself returning to today, after developing a successful portfolio of much-cherished Italian gems like Nino’s Positano, Osso Buco, and Nino’s Tuscany. Assisting him with his first foray into Latin American cuisine is Chef Ricardo Cardona (Sazon, Sofrito, Mama Juana NY), whose twenty-five years of experience developing Manhattan’s Nuevo Latino scene have led him to this, his latest venture. Together, the duo bring their personality into each aspect of the restaurant’s execution, from food to ambiance to décor.casabe int2


The bi-level interior by Nick Grande offers an elegant bistro feel with a Latino flair, the space features a vibrant color palette with green and yellow hues, a tiled floor, and chic banquettes. Overall, the atmosphere can be best described as “modern with a tropical kiss.” There is a wonderful working fireplace, an elevated level by the window with a view of passersby and comfortable booths and tables.

It only takes a few steps into the restaurant to understand you’re in for a fun ride: from the salsa and bossa nova overhead to the warm Latin reception, the tone is set for an evening filled with sabor. Open your appetite with an artfully concocted drink at the Mojito bar upstairs—the Coco New York (Ciroc coco, Godiva white and crème de cacao) or the Yerbabuena (Red Peach Bacardi, Strawberry-kumquat puree, mint and lime) have proven to be early favorites. Then make your way towards the main dining room—where the show really begins.casabe drink1

            The menu revolves around refined Latin comforts, incorporating the diverse flavors of Latin America: the Caribbean, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Mexico all play major roles. Riffing off dishes that he’s custom created for the likes of Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, the Yankees, and Oscar de la Renta, Cardona bridges authentic flavors with a modern sensibility.

            Start with an upscale twist on tacquitos, or veer towards the Argentinean inspired empanadas, with fusion flavors like pork and sweet plantain or eggplant and goat cheese. Cuban Tamales get a similar haute treatment as the Tamalito con Langosta, served here with a lobster enchilado filling and topped with garlic and lime crema, sweet pepper, sofrito, and truffle oil. Call it umami or dub it delicioso—it’s a must-try no matter the language.

Equally successful are the Arepas, or sweet corn cakes, which bridge distinct Colombian and Jewish flavors (surprising to many, the two do overlap in many communities) when topped with smoked salmon, goat cheese, caramelized onions and fresh caper berries. And for its grand appearance towards the start of the meal, cassava makes a thick, sweet crust for the Camarones en Yuca: tall, towering tails of wrapped-up shrimp set atop a smooth passionfruit chili sauce.

Ceviches carry a singular ability to drive away the winter woes, especially with the tropical fruit flavors they incorporate. Tuna, for instance, gets “cooked” up in a Chipotle Pineapple Mojo, while Salmon is marinated in Aguachile, a reduction made with boiled serranos and jalapenos. Shrimp ceviche is made Ecuadorian style, with spicy fire roasted tomatoes and a shout of orange. Across the board, Cardona says, traditional flavors are “New Yorkified”—a process that both tames down excessive heat and plays up the sophistication quotient.

Cazuelitas are the perfect foray into the kitchen’s most substantial flavors—in Latin tradition, the cast iron skillets are both the cooking and serving vessel. Here, they’re filled with Filet Mignon cooked with red wine and cabrales, a strong Spanish blue cheese, or more casually, crab and spinach queso fundido, to be scooped up with an array of homemade malanga, yuca and plantain chips.casabe steak2

             But of course, it’s the entrees that drive home the joy and comfort of good Latin cooking. Bistec Latino, a beef paillard topped with balsamic and onion escabeche, will strike any Spanish speaker as reminiscent of home—kicked up a notch. With its accompaniments of sweet plantains, avocado, rice and beans, it’s the perfect example of Latin food done right. Salmon gets encrusted in yuca—and served atop a yuca manchego mash. With a dash of Coconut Creole sauce to invigorate familiar flavors, it’s a surprise twist to keep returning to. Perhaps the chef’s favorite dish, Cordero, yields a criss-crossed quartet of Frenched lamb chops, perfectly seared and served atop a colorful bean stew: a balance of indulgence and comfort.casabe steak

             A word to the wise: Save room for dessert. Turning savory ingredients into sweet superstars is a talent of the Casabe kitchen, where plantains become spongy bread pudding with caramelized chunks of freshly braised fruit, all topped with vanilla ice cream and a syrupy plantain sauce. It’s not unlike the more familiar banana variety—a pleasant surprise that makes sense, after all. Traditionalists may prefer the chocolate molten cake, enhanced here with cajeta—a condensed milk syrup—and chipotle. And for its final chorus, close the meal with just a little more cassava—this time in its sweet, ground form, so much more commonly known as tapioca. A Pina Colada inspired treat, the pearls are layered with fresh pineapple and shaved coconut like a bubble-based martini.

Casabe Bistro Latino is located at 208 E 58 Street in Midtown East, and is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5PM to 11PM, Friday and Saturday from 5PM to 12AM, and Sunday from 5PM to 10PM.  Casabe is also open on weekdays for lunch from 12PM to 3PM. Brunch will launch in December. For reservations, please call (212) 750-7766 or visit

Copyright 2010 By PunchIn International. All Rights Reserved.


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Christmas & New Years 2010 – A Rroundup Part 1


Calvisius Caviar

Just for the holidays, until New Year’s Eve, Calvisius Caviar is offering 15% off any order of caviar from their website,  What better way to spruce up the holidays than with the most pure-tasting caviar on the market?  Because the caviar is farmed and controlled, Calvisius is able to provide the best quality of life for the sturgeon, giving them high-quality feed.  With a direct-to-farmer relationship, not only is Calvisius Caviar environmentally beneficial, but their caviar is less expensive as a result.  The caviar is highly recognized and internationally acclaimed, and is used in top restaurants including Le Bernadin and Marea.

The tins are available as gifts, exquisitely wrapped, all ready for the festivities! Along with their nation-wide shipping, take advantage of this special online offer sure to provide a royal experience for anyone this holiday!


Part of the Italian Christmas tradition involves serving seven courses of fish for good fortune.  While white wines would be the obvious complement to this feast, Melissa Muller-Daka, Executive Chef of Sicilian newcomer, Eolo, is taking things in a slightly less conventional direction.  It’s out with the old and in with the slightly different this holiday season as Muller-Daka pairs her Fish-centric Christmas Eve Tasting Menu with reds in addition to whites.  Muller-Daka wanted to continue the theme of Sicilian essence in her food as with her wines by using reds from Planeta, Siciliy’s pre-eminent winemakers.  However, because Sicily bears more red wines than whites, pairings for the fish-filled holiday menu posed a challenge.  With no holiday miracle necessary, Muller-Daka unexpectedly and successfully pairs pine-nut sardine filet with Merlot, seafood and juniper risotto with Cerasuolo di Vittoria, or octopus carpaccio with rose, just to name a few.  Be a rebel, step out of the box and try this unique pairing menu this Christmas Eve!


190 Seventh Ave.
(646) 225-6606

The Tea Set Organic Tea and Champagne Room

Stop in at this West Village spot with a friend between the 20th and the 24th and with the purchase of a glass of champagne, you’ll receive a second glass to toast with, compliments of owner Jacques Doassans.  Also, dont miss his must-see holiday window display, featuring a spectacular Pommery Champagne tower that adds a “pop” to this uniquely social setting, which serves custom-created, organic, fair-trade teas.  Also in the window is a decked out Christmas tree with gifts, such as tea samples and tins, for customers.   The displays will be up through New Years.

235 W.12th Street

(646) 894-0511

Orient Express

Another West Village hotspot, Orient Express, is serving up special holiday cocktails ($14 each) from now until January 1st.  This nostalgic train-themed cocktails & small plates bar is featuring:

·      Winter Julep: a twist on Mint Julep, served hot

·      Four Roses Hot Toddy: lemon, honey, bourbon

·      Mulled Wine

·      Pumpkin Manhattan

·      Bijoux: chartreuse, g vine gin, vermouth


325 West 11th Street

(212) 691-8845

Timi’s Gelateria Classica Italiana

This brand new cutting edge gelateria is offering special gelato flavors for Christmas, which will run through the new year until January 7th (since La Befana doesn’t show up until the eve of the 5th). Get a nice big scoop of holiday spirit with the following flavors:

·      Panettone – made with Malaga cream, panettone pieces, chocolate, candied fruit, and raisins

·      Choco Mint

·      Vanilla Cinnamon

·      Chocolate Sorbet with Pear

·      Spicy Chocolate Cherry

37 St. Marks Place, near 2nd Avenue

(212) 533-2077

Scarpina Bar & Grill

Have a Merry Christmas at Scarpina with their special Christmas Prix-fixe Menu.  On Christmas Eve for $35 per person, choose one appetizer, one entrée and one dessert from their delectable selection consisting of shrimp bits in champagne fondue or a roasted leg of lamb with rosemary au jus, brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes.  Desserts range from apple cobbler to pumpkin crème brulee.

Also, ring in the New Year with Scarpina’s New Year’s Eve Prix-fixe Menu. For $69 per person, this 3-course meal comes with a complimentary glass of champagne.  Dishes include beef carpaccio with shaved manchego cheese, arugula salad and truffle oil or a Filet Mignon with brandy green pepper sauce, lobster mashed potatoes and haricot vert.  The night is complete with noisemakers and a DJ to keep the celebrations going.   


88 University Place

(212) 645-4525

Casabe Bistro Latino

Casabe also offers two prix-fixe menus this holiday!  Their $35 per person Christmas Eve Pre-Fix offers the likes of yuca crusted salmon filet or a sweet plantain bread pudding with vanilla ice cream.

Their New Year’s Eve Prix-fixe is priced at $75 per person, consisting of three courses and an amuse bouche of oyster fritters and caviar sauce.  Enjoy lobster empanadas with yellow tomatoes, leeks and an ahi amarillo sauce for a first course or an entrée of sautéed red snapper, served with baby scallops and lobster on Valencia rice.  For dessert a sweet duo of champagne toast or a chocolate fondant cake with plantain bread pudding await you.   


208 E.58th Street

(212) 750-7766


MacarOn Café! macaron

Who needs shiny new toys when you’ve got glittery new macaron flavors and designs this holiday from MacarOn Café! The haute designers of the baking world, MacarOn’s signature French treats are created as collections befitting the season.

  • Chocolate/Raspberry makes its debut for Christmas, combining two popular flavors together. 
  • Favorites Vanilla and Pistachio will both be decked out in a sparkly, shiny look sure to rival the allure of the ornaments on your tree. 
  • Chocolate/Coconut will be topped with little sugary Christmas trees for a festive touch.

If you want the ultimate luxury look, all macarons in store will be shiny on December 23rd & 24th.  Perfect gifts for the holidays, all festive flavors and designs can be packaged in MacarOn Café’s new luxury gift boxes.
Be sure to also check out the magnificent golden macaron tree display in the window at the recently opened Madison Avenue location (photo attached)
MacarOn Café
625 Madison Avenue, entrance on 59th Street
(212) 486-2470
485 7th Avenue, entrance on 36th Street
(212) 564-3525


Copyright 2010 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

South Houston: Downtown at it’s Best


sh interior-longbarshot 331 West Broadway at Grand Street


Phone 212-431-0131


Cuisine New Southern Comfort


Owner Michael Carpinillo

Executive Chef Omar Drammeh sh chef2

General Manager Walter Roeder

Seating Capacity Total Seats: 46

Bar: 10 bar stools

Hours Sunday – Wednesday; 11am – 2am

Thursday – Saturday; 11am – 4am

Credit Cards All Major

Accessibility Wheelchair accessible

Reservations Highly recommended




sh interiorshot2 Fun New Southern Comfort Flavors Pair Up With An Extensive Beer Offering in the Heart of SoHo

Bringing Southern comfort up North to SoHo, South Houston showcases regional Southern cuisine with a modern twist. After countless hours of testing recipes and experimenting with ideas, Owner Michael Carpiniello (owned the now closed Lusso) and Executive Chef Omar Drammeh (Amy Ruth’s, Le Bernardin) have put their own spin on Southern cuisine.  Like they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in this case, beauty is three mini corndogs with jalapeno and cheddar dipping saucesh Corn Dog 4 (Above), popcorn doused with butter, brown sugar, bourbon and bacon (you must taste it); and fried chicken and waffles with peach Amaretto syrup.

Visitors to South Houston step into a casual, friendly, comfortable atmosphere. There is a cheerful bar-room with windows overlooking the West Broadway scene. The focal point of the dining room is a large cast iron map of the area from 1968, which pays homage to the history of the neighborhood. There is also a full wall chalk board that local artists are leaving their mark on with graffiti style words along with pigs, cows and chickens all with a little extra personality.  south hous mac

Keeping the meats smoking and the food sizzling is Executive Chef Omar Drammeh. He creates delectable appetizers like Grilled Chicken Wings covered in a delicious peach and apricot bbq sauce (or try it the traditional Buffalo style) Below.shdm-wings

Crusted Calamari tomato jalapeno relish and chipotle crema, which showcase his dual skills in Southern cuisine and international accents. Salmon Tacos with jalapeno remoulade, tomato salsa and pickled onions could be a star at any first rate Mexican restaurant and the Hushpuppies are worth a visit on their own.(The best we ever tasted). The terrific Bacon Pecan Brittle would make a fine dessert. south houston chicken pie!cid_9BF5DA94-C730-4706-88DD-E6CF86C9786D

The Chicken Pot Pie (Above) with its juicy, tender chicken and crispy, flakey crust  is sure to satisfy any comfort food fix (it’s made to order and takes a worthy 14 minutes,wait). Smoky Bacon, Wrapped Individual Meatloaf with molasses bbq sauce, imparts a haunting flavor that is simultaneously sweet and savory. The BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and the Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Bacon are two must haves, but almost everything on the menu at South Houston is a must have. For something unique, checkout The Hot Brown, inspired by Louisville’s fabled hotel, it combines turkey, prosciutto, fried egg and mornay sauce on an elegant brioche base.  shdm-chickenwaffles

Other signature dishes include the amazing Chicken With Waffles (Above) and the housemade Hotdog (beef or pork), pictured below. (The fried onion rings are amazing). There are some good entrees if you still have room. Try the Steak, Pork Chops or BBQ. Desserts are fun and what’s more fun than a South Houston Sundae with belgian waffle, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, ice cream, banana, caramel and chocolate fudge toppings, whipped cream and, of course, a cherry.


While the cocktails are not to be missed, including stand outs like the Huckleberry Fizz (44 North Huckleberry infused vodka, blueberries, raspberries, lemon) and the Sarsaparilla Root Mojitio (Bacardi Limon, Lime, Mint, Maine Root Sarsaparilla Organic Soda), the beer program is sure to be a major neighborhood draw.  South Houston features 8 weekly rotating taps, showcasing both local breweries and international finds.  To kick things off, they filling the taps with Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA (Baltimore, MD), Nectar Ales Red Nectar (Paso Robles, CA), Gaffel Kolsch (Cologne, Germany), Delirium Tremens (Melle, Belgium), Kelso Pilsner (Brooklyn, NY), Ithica Apricot Wheat (Ithica, NY), Gogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar (Newport, Or), and Atwater Michigan Lager (Detroit, MI).  And to make the beer lovers out there even more elated, South Houston offers growlers, filled to the brim, with these delectable brews to take home and enjoy.  sh bathroom

The service staff, from General Manager Walter Roeder to waitpersons, bartenders and busboys are helpful and warm. South Houston is a restaurant for the 2010 expectations of low price points, delicious food and drinks and casual, comfortable atmosphere. It’s New York Downtown at its best. Don’t miss it!

 Copyright 2010 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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jack jones cdcover%20copy

The legendary Algonquin welcomes back double Grammy Award winner Jack Jones for his annual exclusive three-week Oak Room engagement. From October 26th through November 13th, Jones offers classic renditions of the timeless standards that have made him an international superstar in an age of rock and hip-hop.

His voice has matured over the years and displays a vast range and impeccable breath control. Mr. Jones uses an appealing huskiness in the lower register that soars to a clear head voice, whether in full throttle or in falsetto. His stage presence and acting shine through clearly in such renderings as the easy opening (and closing reprise), “Friends”“  and “I Am A Singer.” “Love Makes the Changes,” an obscure Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman song, that with an understated rendition of “The Impossible Dream” are theatrical highlights, and a striking interplay and riffing with the incredible Musical director/pianist Mike Renzi  and the agile Chris Colangelo on bass. Kendall Kay on drums adds the perfect musical balance.

With 52 years in show business going for him, Jack Jones presents a youthful demeanor and at 72 and is without question the best act in town.

Shows are Tuesday through Saturday at 8:30 with no late shows. There is a $75 cover charge per person Tuesday through Thursday and $100 Friday and Saturday, plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner, with dinner seating at 7 pm. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or

The Algonquin Oak Room reigns as the best cabaret venue in New York with its inspired roster of  entertainers, ever improving restaurant, benevolent service and aura of bygone civility.

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This Alto Gives an Unfortunate Performance

alto interior 2


11 East 53rd St


Alto offers a four-course prix fixe dinner ($85) menu Monday through Thursday, from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. A seven-course chef’s tasting menu is available for $130. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and features a three-course prix fixe menu ($38). Diners can also order a la carte for lunch and dinner. Alto is located at 11 East 53rd Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues in Midtown Manhattan. For reservations, contact Alto at 212.308.1099.

New American Food With An Italian Accent

Alto (a reference to “alta cucina,” the term for highly refined Italian cuisine) was designed by partner Vicente Wolf. Alto features a dramatic interior. Decorative, glass-enclosed wine cabinets showcasing thousands of bottles rising to the ceiling flank the restaurant’s western wall; Alto’s extensive wine list is housed beneath the restaurant in a one thousand square foot temperature-controlled cellar. Alto’s rich visual and textural palette is sophisticated, yet accessible, including modern lime-green Italian chairs, muted gray banquettes, titanium bar, frosted glass wall panels, polished steel I-Beams, upholstered silk and finished concrete walls, and both cordovan leather and sheer curtains. Split-level dining consists of an intimate 80-seat main dining room downstairs and a mezzanine above accommodating versatile private dining for parties of eight to twenty-four guests.


In the dining room, sommelier Eric Zillier, formerly of Veritas, offers a wine program that pays fitting tribute to Northern Italian white and red wines as well as a remarkable selection of fairly priced vintage Bordeaux and Burgundy. By working closely with private wine collectors, Zillier develops and oversees Alto’s extensive list of over 2,500 selections, which draws upon the rich variety and unique characteristics of notable wine regions around the world. Zillier’s wine program affords a broad and deep range of red, white and sparkling wines. Rounding out the program is an ambitious selection of specialty cocktails, drawing inspiration from northern Italian ingredients and the flavor combinations of authentic dishes. Featuring fresh-squeezed juices, house-made spirits and seasonal fruits, selections include the Limoncello Cosmo, a twist on the classic made with house-made limoncello and infused lemon vodka; JB Combine, a refreshing blend of gin and fresh basil; Flashlight Cocktail, pairing aperol and aqua di cedro with lime juice; and Amaro Montenegro and Grapefruit. If you scan the list carefully, as we did, you may find a hidden gem, such as a lovely Spanish Priorat for under $60. We suggest you do this. (On our visit, the sommelier only became user- friendly after we discovered it).

Service is benevolent and professional. But at a recent dinner, the kitchen’s performance was less than bravura .

Executive Chef and partner Michael White was a visible presence during our visit. michael white portrai1 V2
Yet he was not concerned (or didn’t notice) that two orders of different pastas were returned to the kitchen, because they were unbearably salty. (Our waiter tasted them and agreed). The excuse given was that the cooking water was over salted. But that couldn’t explain why the play on “Uovo In Raviolo Al Burro Nocciola Tartufato” (Homemade soft egg-yolk filled raviolo with truffled butter), San Domenico’s glorious egg-filled giant raviolo, morphed to “Uovo Di “Bergese” (truffled egg yolk filled raviolo with ricotta and baby spinach green asparagus ragu and parmigiano), was carelessly executed. The egg arrived almost hard boiled, embedded in gummy ricotta cheese.
I’m not sure Osso Buco lends itself to a scaled down portion and a Soft Shell Crab special was leaden: All presentation with no concession to taste. On the other side of the water, a Salmon preparation was quite good.

For a sweet end to the meal, diners can choose from pastry chef Deborah Snyder’s dolci, including Malted Chocolate Tartaletta with malt custard and crème fraîche sorbert; Panna Cotta with rhubarb streusel cake and rhubarb sorbet; Lemon Mouse Semifreddo with Sicilian pistachios and white chocolate cream; Budino, carrot caramel cake with ginger-spice gelato and candied kumquats; and house-made Sorbetti and Gelati with biscotti. Whatever your choice, it will be a high point of the Alto experience.

Alto opened with moments of greatness, despite spottiness. Today, Alto offers more disappointments than pleasures and rates B Minor on the Walman Report.

Copyright 2008 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved .