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Sasabune – Where you won’t find Californian Rolls

When I was a kid, my mom and dad made it possible to have breakfast and dinner together as a family. All around the table. As my dad had his own company, some days he would come home for lunch as well. Food and sharing a meal is something I learned from the very beginning. It’s about making time for each other, to come together, listen to each others stories and checking in with each other.

When I moved to The Netherlands and I bought a house with my boyfriend, I only had 1 requirement: I wanted a huge table in the kitchen with at least space for 8 people to sit. Both of us came from a family with 4 brothers and sisters so having the option to invite all of them them over for dinner at our place was most important for me.

Since I moved to New York, I discovered so many other different eating cultures. The one that amazes me the most is the Japanese culture. It’s very much focussed on the quality of the food, the presentation and the hospitality.

Last week, a friend of mine invited me over for dinner and took me to Sasabune in the Upper East Side. Never heard about it before. Doesn’t show much of fuss out on the street either. The only sign they had: We don’t serve Californian Rolls, trust me.

Whenever I go to a classic Japanse restaurant, it strikes me they never have music in the back ground. But that doesn’t mean the experience isn’t on point!
We were welcomed with the most generous Japanse hospitality you can imagine and decided to sit in the back area.

We choose from the a la carte menu what basically really just sushi is supposed to be. Raw fish with rice.
Tuna, uni, miso black cod, river eel, horse mackerel, fluke, red snapper, scallop,…

Forget about those ‘All you can eat-sushi’ places.
If you want to eat real sushi, go to Sasabune!

Sasabune NY
401 E73rd street
New York, NY 10021

Photo credit: Sasabune 
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Colonie – You can decide which neighborhood you’re in …

I spend my first summer in New York mostly in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
With a full view of downtown Manhattan’s skyline, plenty of lawns, a little beach and multiple hide out benches, it’s the perfect place to unwind, relax, wander or people-watching.

Maybe I should write some posts on all the great things that happened to me so far at this park? – Keep going, we’re all ears!

Anyhow, after one of my days at the park, I wasn’t really in the mood for cooking at home. – Reading all those reviews, you wouldn’t think I’d actually know how to cook at home, would you? So I was walking home and stumbled upon Colonie. Oysters and pasta on the menu, fun people inside, a bar, planters on the wall… Yeah, found my dinner spot I guess!

Ever since that first time, I’ve been visiting Colonie on many occasions. With Mr. P., with P&C – my ‘NYC-parents’ for brunch, with I. to catch up on our friendship. The vibe is lively, food simple American but always on point. Can’t remember a single time when I didn’t have a good experience at Colonie.

And since Hospitality is keeping me alive in New York, I know I can always get my free shot here!

Colonie
127 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Photo credit: Colonie

Ukiyo – New Rising Star in Food Heaven

‘If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,
It’s up to you, New York, New York’
That’s what Frank Sinatra sang couple decades ago.

So when you hear that a dear friend and old co-worker is the new chef of this new restaurant, there is no reason not to visit the place!

I’ve known Marco since we worked together at Oud Sluis (***) in The Netherlands.
Besides that we worked together, we also connected very well personally.
My ex-boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend covered the wine section in the restaurant so there were often weekends and/or holidays we would spend with the 4 of us learning, tasting, eating and enjoying life.

And it was such a pleasure seeing Marco doing his thing here in New York!
With an 18 seat counter, every guest has full exposure to what happens in Marco’s domaine. He brings a lot of knowledge from all around the world onto his plates.

So if you mix the delicate flavors of Zeeland with the exuberant lifestyle of Belgium, you add couple Japanese influences and some culinary memories, there is nothing missing in this eclectic cocktail of great hospitality!

Be adventurous and let Marco lead the way.
It will take you to flavors you didn’t even know existed!

Ukiyo
239 E5th street
New York, NY 10003

Photo credit: Ukiyo 

Maison Premiere – Keeping it raw

Working in high end restaurants has it’s perks.
Yes, I know, the pressure of delivering constant high quality service can be challenging.
On the other hand, it creates a bond between the team that can be extremely strong.
So when I made the decision to come to New York, couple of those friends took that as an opportunity to visit me and obviously discover the ‘next-best-places’ to eat in New York.

Finding those new exciting places takes time and a feel for quality.
There isn’t a formula that will tell you: If you do this, put this on your menu, put those plants on the table and hire only young girls with tattoos, you will be successful.

You need to have a great concept, and that’s exactly what they had at Maison Premiere.
So when a bunch of us old co-workers decided to try the ‘raw-bar-Sunday-Brunch’, we went for the complete experience!

I agree, sitting at the bar is fun when it’s just the 2 of you.
With 6 people, logistically not the best choice.
But that was the only place where we could order the complete set of oysters, uni’s and clams! And be sure they have A.LOT!

But even if you’re not a party of 6, I would still choose a seat at the bar.
It’s just so much more easier checking out the bartenders!

Go and enjoy!

Maison Premiere
298 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11249

Photo credit: restaurantgirl.com

Tetsu – it’s not Masa

Every Spring I get really excited!
New season! Yay!
Great for fashion lovers, flora enthusiasts and beach addicts!
It’s when they all prepare for summer time! Even the city does!

Not that I am a fashion lover – I do appreciate nice summer dresses though.
I’m more preparing for my friend Mr. P. to come back to New York!
After a long, cold winter, it’s always such a pleasure seeing him again.

So when I got his text:
Hi Foodie Friend, Back in the City,
Where to go for our ‘Welcome, Happy-to-be-back-in-NYC’ dinner? Let me know!
I got all excited and pulled up my hit-list!

The exact same week as I got this text, a friend of mine told me he had applied for a new job at this amazing Japanese neighborhood restaurant called Tetsu.
I had never heard about it, but did some research and made a reservation.

You know, New York is a city full of opportunities, where it’s great to share idea’s, concepts and experiences. And that’s exactly what we did at Tetsu.
We shared our food – YAY! Wagyu ragout! – had a nice bottle of wine, caught up on life and where amazed by their goat cheese cheese cake.

A place like Tetsu will make you happy.
And that’s more then enough reason to go!

Tetsu
78 Leonard Street
New York, NY 10013

Photo Credit: Dacia Pierson for Tetsu

Momofuku Noodle Bar

Quite some time ago, I ran into this cute guy.
Happens in New York.
He was fun to spend time with and he lived in East Village.
He also showed me some great Asian spots but none of them could match up my all time favorite around his corner: Momofuku Noodle Bar.

I can’t even remember the amount of times I’ve had their Ramen Bowl.
It’s really that good and worth the trip.
Even if you’re coming from the Upper East Side after cheering for runners of NYC Marathon.

Or if you want to impress your date or a friend who has never had noodles before.
You have got to set high standards. Always.

And no, you don’t need to be seeing a cute guy to enjoy the experience of their hospitality, you’re more then welcome by yourself too.
Ask for a seat at the counter and take a glimpse of what happens in the kitchen!

But even if none of the above matches yours, just go.
You won’t regret it!

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Photo credit: Momofuku Noodle Bar

21 Greenpoint – Colorfull neighborhood spot

First day of summer in New York asks for fun times out.
Preferably with great company – Thanks Alex! – and plenty of new spots to try out!

Ever played that game where you need to make combo’s of 4 cards?
Our cards of the day where: Barista – Sommelier – Beer enthusiastic – Food lover.
Think about it … and it was just the 2 of us! Can’t go wrong with that!

So ‘what about for dinner?’ led us to ’21 Greenpoint’.
Want to know where they got the name from?
It happens to be their address, simple as that!

Sitting at the counter or a table for 2?
Although it wasn’t really a date, we took that cute little side table for 2.

2 glasses of wine, bone marrow, watching the group of people sitting in front of us, enjoying the atmosphere, discovering that there is a whole back area, enjoying the passion in the open kitchen till using the -very spacious and colorful- bathroom.

The whole neighborhood comes together here.
They even invited Michelin one day – and Bill Murray too.
But that’s because of his son …

21 Greenpoint 
21 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Photo credit: Open Table 

The Fat Radish – Vegetarian Heaven

Where would you take a friend who knows something about food and is an architect? You take them to The Fat Radish, order the Fat Radish plate, the Pot Pie and some doughnuts.
You share a bottle of wine, some life lessons and great experiences and you call it a day.

One of the places I love to recommend to friends visiting New York.
The industrial setting is perfect for a great night out.
And after all those American burgers and T-bone steaks, vegetarian options are more then welcome!

Waiting for a table or craving another drink after dinner?
Just cross the street and visit The Leadbelly.

Sometimes it’s just that simple…

The Fat Radish
17 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002

Photo credit: Our Little Black Book 

Desnuda – Ceviche 2.0

The first time I had a ceviche was when I was working in a Michelin star restaurant in the Netherlands. The chef there had a Ceviche recipe from his mother.
It was amazing! I absolutely loved it!

The first time I had the Ceviche from Desnuda, it blew my mind!
This was even better than what I had before!

I ran into this place randomly, I was looking for dinner while strolling in the East Village. All places around looked good, but none of them looked as appealing as Desnuda. It was really a secret whole in the wall, hard to find – unless you knew it was there – the menu looked good and all the people inside seemed to have a great time.

I ordered Oysters to start with and the Salmon Ceviche.
A glass of white wine and pretty nice company.
Want to impress your date? Take them to Desnuda!

Desnuda
122 E 7th street
New York, NY 10009

Photo credit: NY Time Out Magazine