Glazed donuts at ABC Kitchen.

I’m back in Rome after spending a glorious month at home for the holidays. I dedicated a disproportionate an appropriate amount of time to reality TV (Hoarders, Intervention, Judge Judy, The Bad Girls Club, Jersey Shore, you know, the good stuff) and spent the rest of the time eating. I didn’t get through my interminable restaurant wish list, but did manage to do a bit of damage. Here’s a recap:

Luke’s Lobster: At the Hester Street Fair’s winter incarnation, you can eat lobster rolls while getting your Christmas shopping done. Killing two birds with one stone has never been so delicious. Several locations. Visit website for details.

Porsena: One of my first meals was at the newly opened Porsena, Sara Jenkins’ pasta-focused restaurant in the East Village. The crostino with burrata and bottarga, the olive oil poached baby squid, and a plate of spaghetti al pomodoro were all simple, flavorful delights. Porsena is located at 21 E7th St.

ABC Kitchen: I made a couple of stops at this Jean George Vongerichten restaurant for Scatti di Gusto. You can read the full review on that website here. ABC Kitchen is located at 35 E18th St.


Laboratrio del Gelato: This artisinal gelato shop just expanded to include another, larger LES location, just across Ludlow St from Katz’s Deli. The gelato here is kept at a colder temperature than it is in Italy and the consistency is more like heavy cream based ice creams. Still, this stuff is good. Two locations; visit the website for details.

Fatty Johnson’s: Zak Pelaccio and the Fatty Crew opened this West Village pop-up earlier this month. It will only stay open for 6 weeks, so get in on the action while you can. You can read more about my trip to Fatty Johnson’s here. Fatty Johnson’s is located at 50 Carmine Street in the West Village.

The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare: The (justifiably) hottest table in NYC is a feast for the senses. You can read about my trip to Cesar Ramirez’s two Michelin star prep kitchen here. Brooklyn Fare is located at 200 Schermerhorn St in Downtown Brooklyn.

The Breslin: Even though this place makes me feel old (it’s so loud in there!) the food is great, with lots of fat, pork, pork fat, and fried things. I really enjoyed the scotch egg, lamb burger, and donuts at dinner and pumpkin pancakes with spiced butter for breakfast. The Breslin is located at 16 W29th Street in the Ace Hotel.

The John Dory: April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman have moved their Far West Chelsea oyster bar to the Ace Hotel. The format is a bit different than the first time around. You can read my review for Scatti di Gusto here. The John Dory is located at 1196 Broadway.


Liang Pi Noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods.

Xi’an Famous Foods: This hole in the wall serves western Chinese cuisine, known for its unique combinations of flavors and use of Middle Eastern spices. The liang pi (literally, cold skin) noodles delivered a potpourri of flavors and the lamb burger and stewed oxtail were delectable. There are several locations; visit the website for details.

Keste’: Neapolitan style pizza in the West Village served with a smile. Not bad, but there’s no topping Naples. Keste’ is located at 271 Bleecker Street.

Ko: Obviously a great dining experience with excellent food, though a bit anticlimactic following dinner at Brooklyn Fare earlier that week. The orecchiette with cheddar and black truffles were a dynamite twist on mac-n-cheese and the final dish, squab, was off the charts amazing. Ko is located at 63 1st Ave.

Maialino: WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT? I know all the critics praising this place have been to Rome, and they obviously ate at some pretty shit places to believe Maialino measures up. If there was a way to bring charges against this place for the vomitious excuse for pizza bianca they serve, I would do it. Next time I’ll pass and go to Porsena.