OK, you have some free time between the shows at Lincoln Center or runway presentations around and below 14th Street, and your stomach has started to growl. Well, Fashion Reverie has just the recipe to satiate your hunger, as well as provide the ambience that all fashionistas crave.
True to form, Fashion Reverie has come up with some great spots to eat, drink and be merry while you a have little downtime between the hustle and bustle of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Some of these locales are a little off the beaten path, but they are definitely worth the extra blocks.
Bea, located just a few blocks from the blaring noise and bright lights of Times Square, has downtown vibe in the heart midtown. “That’s the highest compliment we can get,” says Sotir Zonea, who has created a cozy neighborhood spot with comfort foods and herbally-infused cocktails.
Watching your weight or too tired to eat? There are plenty of small plates under $15—sliders, lamb meatballs with pita chips, and salads. I recommend the filet mignon pizza with a thin, crispy crust that will melt in your mouth. They offer a daily fish special and a daily special entrée ($18). If you’re really hungry you can find pasta, grilled chicken sandwich or steak and fries (under $20).
Favorites were the grilled lamb chops served with a sherry vinaigrette salad ($16), seasoned with a hint of sweetness. Other Asian influenced plates include steamed pork dumplings with ginger, scallion and plum sauce and spicy Thai chicken wings, prepared with fish sauce, chilies and mint.
Bea, 403 W. 43rd Street, 212-602-1910, www.beanyc.com, open seven days a week.
Want an evening of elegant dining? Hop a cab across town to Nerai, off Madison Avenue at East 54th Street. Start off with a dish filled with small spheres of creamy fresh sheep’s milk cheese rolled in herbs along with imported kalamata olives served with warm grilled pita.
There’s an array of appetizer choices like the Duck Moussaka with roasted potato and eggplant layers kefalotiri béchamel, crab cakes, smoked eggplant. Another great appetizer choice is Nerai’s Grilled Octopus served on a bed of chickpeas, red peppers and latholemono (a Greek emulsion of olive oil and lemon).
In the best Greek tradition, you can order seafood by the pound—Black Tiger shrimp, Icelandic langoustine, New Zealand pink snapper or Maine lobster—priced between $33–$60.
From the entrees, I recommend the Halibut a la Spetsiota, a flaky grilled filet with tomato marmalade with feta and bulgar pilaf ($38) and worth every pennys.
The bar offers a wonderful array of Greek wines and well-crafted cocktails . Try a champagne cocktail like Persephone, a blend of prosecco, cointreau, saint germain and pomegranate.
Nerai, 55 East 54th Street between Park and Madison, 212-759-5554, www.nerainyc.com
Traveling to Tribeca for shows or plan to browse in your favorite boutiques? When you’re ready to wind down with some snacking and sipping, Tablao has a table for waiting.
Sit down and relax, but first ask for their Manchego chips, warm, crispy thick-cut potato chips sprinkled with manchego cheese. Order a pitcher of sangria (red or white or sparkling Cava and they’ll prepare it tableside.
Try their twist on tapas such as Queso e Higo, fresh local goat cheese and sherry-marinated fresh figs layered with basil or Chorizo y Huevo, imported spicy Spanish sausage paired with fried quail egg. In a seafood mood? Try their Atún casi Crudo, barely seared ahi tuna topped with caramelized onions, capers, and sherry vinaigrette.
If it’s cold and snowy and you need a big plate of food, I recommend you choose the Pollo Tablao, grilled chicken breast with jumbo shrimp sautéed with Spanish sausage, peppers, and onions ($26). My favorite was the Baby Pernil, roasted Berkshire pork shank, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, served over a delicious corn and chorizo stew ($36).
There is also a full bar offering every kind of cocktail, as well as local and Spanish wines and microbrews on tap. Flamenco dancers perform at twice a week from 7–10pm, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Tablao, 361 Greenwich Street, www.tablaonyc.com, 212-334-4043.
Want to kick back with a crafty cocktail? Head to the Upper Eastside and The Drunken Munkey, an intimate East Indian food destination with tremendous charm and a sophisticated cocktail menu, designed by owners Arun Mirchandani and his uncle Raju, owner of the popular Bar and Books chain. Here even the ice matters.
“When the ice is bigger it melts slower, so it lessens the dilution of your drink,” he says with a smile. “It’s tedious and time consuming, but we’re doing it the way it should be done.” There are ice moulds for cricket ball spheres, long sticks for highballs and shaved ice for swizzles.
Try the ‘Paanch’ of the month, (Hindi for punch) is perfect for a celebration with eight friends, or less. The well stocked bar offers Indian-style and domestic beers, wines by the glass or bottle and fine champagnes.
There are plenty of traditional Indian appetizers and main dishes. “People walk in and we have to educate them to eat Indian differently than they are used to,” he says. “It’s Indian food outside the box.”
Their best seller is an appetizer with tiny whole okras fried with strips of crispy onions and other tasty bits. My favorite dish was the Tandoor-Baked Quail, which was literally finger licking good.
Drunken Munkey NYC, 338 E. 92nd Street, (646) 998-4600