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Manhattan & NJ (Bergen County) Restaurant Reviews

Ian Hunter's Guide to Manhattan and Bergen County, NJ's Best Restaurants, Bars, and Gourmet Markets

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TURKISH / MISCELLANEOUS EUROPE

 

Burke & Wills:  Australian. 226 W 79th St @ Amsterdam-B-Way; 23/22/$55; 646-823-9251; Expertly prepared authentic Australian; Manhattan cricket club meets here upstairs; Excellent happy hour featuring 2 for 1 of everything; Menu features a raw bar including 4 Jonah Crab claws for $12; Hamachi; Kangaroo Burger; Grilled Pork Chop; Rack of Lamb; Roasted Salmon.  Not a huge menu. Brunch has a Bloody Mary Bar.

 

Pasha: Turkish. 70 W 71st @ Columbus-CPW; 22/19/$41; 579-8751; Exotic décor and cuisine; Less expensive than Istanbul; Colorful, relaxing setting; Good date spot; Neighborhood favorite; Authentic Turkish cuisine. One of the few solid Turkish options on the west side. Great effort made by caring staff. Try the baklava dessert.  Website has photos of all the dishes.

 

Wallse: Austrian. 344 W 11th St @ Washington; 25/22/$78; 352-2300; Kurt Gutenbrunner owned;  Like dining in Vienna; Intensely authentic; Charming, semi-formal setting. One of the city’s best wine lists; Artful décor; Michelin 1 star rated; Service is spot on;  Braised rabbit on the menu is outstanding;  4 course tasting for $90, 6 courses for $120;  Halibut, Lobster, Roasted Monkfish, Icelandic Cod; Venison cheeks; and Sea Bass all usuals. Cocktails are $15; 

 

Old Tbilisi Garden: Georgian. 174 Bleecker @ MacDougal; 22/18/$45; 470-6064; Clean, well maintained dining room; Garden in back- sit there; Excellent service; Hand made food from scratch – authentic; Try the Khinkali – soup dumplings with lamb meatball inside; Lamb Stew; Cornish Hen; They have oven baked dough filled with cheese; Chicken stew with stewed tomatos; Huge menu – opportunity to be adventurous.

 

Batard: European. 239 W B-Way @ White-Walker; 27/22/$95; 219-2777; New European masterpiece cuisine; Michelin 1 star; Tasting menus and beautiful presentation; Tasting menus: 2 courses $55, 3 courses $69 and 4 courses $79.  Maine Lobster; Yellowfin Tuna; Barley Risotto; Roasted Cod; Amish Chicken; Drinks are generally $10-$14.  James Beard 2015 best new restaurant.  

 

Blaue Gans: Austrian. 139 Duane @ Church-W. BWay; 21/18/$47; 571-8880; Another Kurt Gutenbrunner owned Austrian restaurant; Cheaper than Wallse; The Schnitzel stands out. Sausage city; Berlin bistro setting; Great beer selection- 1 liter drafts available;  Brunch and lunch available; Unique experience with so few German/Austrian restaurants in the city.  Happy hour 4-7pm Mon-Sat.  

Musket Room: New Zealand. 265 Elizabeth @ Houston; 26/24/$88; 219-0764; Opened in 2013 and immediately got 1 Michelin star; Striking décor including a 20 foot walnut timber bar; 70 seats – romantic and classy; Dishes represent all era of New Zealand cuisine;  6 course tasting menu for $75 well worth it; Try the Red deer, Berkshire Port, or Cod. Foodie type of menu – exotic ingredients.  

 

Café Katja: Austrian. 79 Orchard @ Broome-Grand; 24/18/$34; 219-9545; Known for nearly perfect sausages & fine wine and beer; Cozy setting, this authentic, friendly and affordable Viennese spot is a star. Wildly popular and strongly reviewed on Yelp; Get a .5Liter stein of Hofbrau; Thing to get here- pretzel and sausage; Ideal for a mid-afternoon weekend drink/ light meal; Super friendly staff;  Brunch served.  Has burgers, Goulash, and sampler platters. 

 

Flinders Lane: Australian. 162 Av A @ 10th-11th; 25/20/$51; 228-6900; Southeast Asian inspired Aussi food served expertly in a casual environment; Closed Sunday; Michelin recommended;  Some of  the better dishes include: Pork Rib Soup, Salt & Pepper Squid, Poached Chicken Salad, Laksa Curry with Crab, Crispy Tofu, Orange Fish curry, and Australian Lamb Shank.  Not a huge menu but each dish cared for.

 

Mari Vanna: Russian. 41 E 20th @ BWay-Park; 21/24/$65; 777-1955; Try not to have too many flavor infused vodkas before you eat so you can enjoy the authentic Russian food here; Chicken Kiev or Beef Stroganoff;  Gorgeous elegant dining room – extremely fancy looking; For $75/ person you can get 4 cold appetizers, 2 hot, 1 soup and 2 entrees and 2 desserts; Order a la carte as well. Lunch available.  Like dining in a Russian palace.  Love the menu here. 

 

Turkish Kitchen: Turkish. 386 3rd Av @ 27-28th; 23/17/$40; 679-6633; So good; Under radar; Known for Sunday Brunch buffet; Succulent kebabs;  Funky red-everywhere décor; Unique martinis; Zucchini pancakes; Grilled Talapia; Sunday Brunch all you can eat $25; Lunch Prix fixe for $16 or $20; Website is great – pictures of all the dishes. Great bang for the buck.  Really a must-try in the genre.

 

Sahara’s Turkish Cuisine: Turkish. 513 2nd Av @ 28th-29th; 23/16/$35; 532-7589; Huge portions of authentic Turkish food;  Friendly, helpful service;  All at a great price with left overs for sure; Local neighborhood favorite; The Mixed Grill Kebab platter is yummy; Even have 5 fish entrees including Branzino and Tilapia; Perfect for lunch as well. Seafood salad, Pastrami Cigars looks great. 

 

Breslin Bar: British. Ace Hotel; 16 W 29th @ 5th Av; 24/22/$53; 679-1939;  Michelin 1-star rated from the owners of Spotted Pig; Meat-centric menu; Dark hunting lodge setting; No Rez policy; Excellent people watching- advantage of being in a hotel; Overall – more of a gastro pub than anything else; Limited dinner menu but note lunch, breakfast and brunch available.

 

Ali Baba: Turkish; 212 E 34th @ 2-3rd; 21/15/$31; 683-9206; Neighborhood favorite; Large portions; Dirt cheap, even for genre. Small place but gracious hosts. Garden in the summer. Always popular and crowded as it is an authentic bargain. Kebabs to die for. Multiple lamb selections on menu – can’t go wrong. Hummus also stands out.  They clearly make a great effort to please customers.

 

Pera: Turkish/ Mediterranean. 303 Madison @ 41st-42nd;  22/21/$62;  878-6301; Authentic food, fun atmosphere; Happening bar scene; They offer Brunch as well – features a “Boundless BBQ” (family style) – meat lovers dream; Tons of small plates and Mezes for appetizers; Seafood entrees like Mackeral, Cod, Salmon and Branzino on menu besides a huge assortment of meats; Prix Fixe available. Moussaka; Baklava; 

Akdeniz: Turkish. 19 W 46th @ 5-6th;  22/14/$29; 575-2307; Turkish; Dirt cheap, bargain prices for excellent meze, breads, spreads, amazing grilled fish. Good service; Small spot’ While décor isn’t anything special- the food can be. Huge menu with Greek/ Mediterranean influences. They put in a strong effort to please. Large menu including Grilled Bronzino, Lamb Chops. 

 

Sip SakTurkish. 928 2nd Av @ 49-50th; 21/14/$37; 583-1900; Hole in the wall setting but truly tasty delights; Tons of specials & genius appetizers; Lamb kebabs and specials, salmon; Festive local atmosphere; Very inexpensive and they offer gracious service; Try the Osso Buco, Grilled Lamb on skewers or the Lamb Chops. Sea Bass and a nice local Wine list.  Lamb Osso Buco. 

 

Aquavit: Scandinavian. 65 E 55th @ Park Av;  27/24/$130;  307-7311; 2 star Michelin masterpiece; Nordic cuisine at its best this side of the Atlantic;  $52 for 3 course lunch might be way to go; Gravlox sent from heaven; 3 options for dinner – all prix fixe: $95 (3 courses), $115 (6 courses) or $145 (9 courses) a person; Has a strong Swedish influence. Worthy of a once a year splurge.

 

Beyoglu: Turkish. 1431 3rd Av @ 81st; 22/17/$35; 650-0850; Outdoors seating; Meze’s- appetizers/ small dishes. Hummus, Kebabs amazing;  Crazier downstairs;  Fun time and unique food. Always packed and ultra popular – one of the best Turkish places in Manhattan; Hummus is a must; Even vegetarian platter good. No website. Can get cramp; Lively crowd.