Restaurant Review: Highwater

Details: Located at 34-20 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106. The official site is https://www.thehighwaternyc.com/

Came here on a Saturday night with some friends. Ordered the Taro Fries (cost $9) with the Pork Belly Buns (cost $14). The fries were pretty shitty. The pork belly buns were okay, but they were tiny, way to small to cost fourteen dollars. If you’re going to order food, then the coconut shrimp looked decent. A friend ordered that.

I know they serve different things during brunch, but I came for dinner.

Service was fine. It was a hot day and they did not have any air conditioning. That sucked.

Overall, if you come here for food, prepare to be disappointed. It’s over priced and portions are small. This is a good place for drinks and nothing else.

Score: 4.5/10

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Bar Review: The Ditty

Details: Located at 3503 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 11105. Official site is http://www.thedittybar.com/

The Ditty is a friendly, casual, local bar in Astoria, Queens. If you live in the area, it’s a good place to get a drink and a bite to eat.

Service was great and everyone was really nice.

I ordered the Redneck Korean (a chicken sandwich with pickle brined fried chicken, buttermilk ranch, kimchi cole slaw on a sesame bun; for $12) which came with fries with their house aioli and curry ketchup. Pretty good chicken sandwich.

Most importantly, it was a place with a cozy, friendly vibe. It’s the kind of bar I could see myself going to again.

Score: 6.5/10

Restaurant Review: Red 58

Details: Located at 158 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019. Official site is http://red58ny.com/

What a shitty restaurant. Red 58 is the kind of restaurant that feels like it was opened by two frat brother with rich parents. One day, these two frat brother were sitting around and thought to themselves,” what if we open a bar/restaurant?” And then they did. But they didn’t know how to cook, so they hired a mutual friend who dropped out of culinary school and hired one of their Russian ex-girlfriends to be the waitress/bartender. Ask mommy and daddy for a little interior decorating investment and voilà, you have Red 58.

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Bar Review: Juniper

Details: Located at 237 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001. The official site is http://www.juniperbarnyc.com/

Juniper is a bar located near Penn Station. They’ve got bar and table service in the back. This place is usually pretty packed so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a seat.

Had the Vietnamese chicken wings for twelve dollars. They’re good to share, not so good to eat for a single person as the taste becomes overwhelming after a while. Someone else had the Mahi burger and said it was pretty good.

Service was okay. The music was deafening.

Overall, it’s an okay place to get a drink and some food.

Score: 6/10

Restaurant Review: Tuck Room

Details: Located at 11 Fulton St, New York, NY 10038. The official site is http://www.thetuckroom.com/

Tuck Room is a really comfortable place to get a drink and a bite to eat. It isn’t all that cheap though.

The first thing you notice when you walk in is just how nice it is inside. It’s a big space. The seats are comfortable, the waiters/waitresses are all really nice, and there was a live DJ and a lady playing an electronic violin. Not something I often see for a bar and restaurant.

I had the Tuck Room Marrow Burger. It was fine. Just a slightly above average burger that came with a side of fries for twenty-four dollars… which is kind of steep for a slightly above average burger.

The cocktails here were pretty good and they even gave us a complimentary drink to try.

Overall, if you feel like paying extra for a comfortable place to eat and drink in the financial district, this isn’t a bad choice. It is a little pricey though. If I come back here again, I will definitely try their ribs. Those looked good.

Score: 6.5/10

Restaurant Review: Fuku+

Details: Located at 15 W. 56th Street, First Floor, New York, NY 10019. Official site is https://fukuplus.momofuku.com/

Fuku+ is a small bar under the Momofuku brand name. There’s some seating, but not a lot.

I came here to try their spicy fried chicken sandwich and fries. The spicy fried chicken sandwich costs eight dollars and consists of a friend chicken patty (tasted like dark meat) with pickles on a potato bun. It came with their Ssam sauce on the side, which mostly tasted like Korean gochujang sauce. I kind of wish they had some mayo or aioli type sauce on the sandwich, but it was fine even though the sandwich itself had no sauce on it. Fries were three dollars and average.

Overall, this is just your standard bar food. Nothing extraordinary, nor do I think it was intended as such. Just your average small bar inside a hotel. Additionally, there’s a Momofuku Milk Bar in front of the place, but bring credit card if you want some dessert because that’s all they take.

Score: 5.2/10

Restaurant Review: Sakagura

Details: Located at 211 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017. The official site is http://www.sakagura.com/

I’ve never walked out of a tapas place completely satisfied. Not European tapas, American tapas, Asian tapas, or any kind of tapas. It’s mostly because tapas — at least in New York City — generally cost a lot of money for a little bit of food. I always walk out of tapas restaurants with an empty wallet and mostly empty stomach. The same was true of Sakagura.

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Restaurant Review: Sushi Deli 2

Details: Located at 135 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101. The official site is http://www.sushidelitwo.com/

I’ve written about it before, but there are tiers of sushi. In terms of price, high-end is generally around a hundred dollars or more for omakase (e.g. Masa, Nakizawa), the new middle is now places that offer omakases at around fifty dollars (e.g. Sugarfish), and then there’s the low-end that price around twenty dollars or less. If you want some low end, but still satisfying sushi, Sushi Deli 2 is a great place to go.

I came here at night during a weekend. It was packed. They don’t take reservations here. You have to physically come here and write your name onto a list. Then you wait outside until your name is called. I don’t think they call or text or anything, so you just have to physically wait their until your name is called. Kind of annoying, but there were still a ton of groups waiting with me outside the restaurant… for about an hour.

Like many lower end sushi places, they had “specialty” rolls. It’s stuff with ingredients like fruit, cream cheese, smoke salmon, etc. It’s stuff that traditional, higher end sushi would never put in sushi, but there is a need and desire for this kind of food and Sushi Deli 2 fulfills that desire.

I ordered the Verano Roll (spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, avocado, cilantro, crab surimi, lemon slices, spicy sauce) for around nine dollars. It was okay. It was a little odd that they actually put thin slices of lemon, rind and all, on top of the thing.

I saw a lot of people order the nachos. Maybe that’s good. I wouldn’t know since I didn’t get it.

The environment was fun. It’s a Japanese restaurant, not a bar, but one where you’d feel comfortable drinking as if you were in a bar. The service people were nice.

Overall, an okay place that serves a very specific need. It’s cheap Japanese food with heavy Western influence, to the point where you could argue that the restaurant is more American than Japanese.

Score: 5.8/10

Restaurant Review: Blacktail

Details: Located at 2nd floor, Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004. Official site is: https://blacktailnyc.com/

Blacktail is a sister bar from the founders of Dead Rabbit, the world’s best bar according to http://www.worlds50bestbars.com/. Accordingly, my expectations were high.

The first thing you notice as you walk in is the decor and the service. I love how this bar looks. It tries very hard to emulate that high-class, old time-y speakeasy feel. Everyone who works here is also very welcoming.

We ordered a bunch of food items and drinks. I think we had some sliders, chicken lollipops, and the Cuban sandwich. Most of what we ordered were around twenty dollars. They tasted all right, but the price they charged for the quality and quantity of food was ridiculous. So much so that if someone were to ask me what’s good to eat at Blacktail, I would say nothing. This is a bar first, restaurant second. Don’t get any of the food here. It’s not fantastic nor is it worth it.

You should however get drinks because that is the main draw of this place. We ordered a bunch of mixed drinks, which were all great. I had the Clairvoyant, a seasonal drink that tasted like coffee and had egg and cream in it. I always wanted to order one of these cocktails with egg in it, but at your local bar, they don’t do that. Even worse, if they do have drinks with egg in it, I wouldn’t trust them enough to make it. Given the reputation of Dead Rabbit and Blacktail, I was willing to give it a try. Drinks generally price around sixteen dollars.

Overall, I liked this place even though I thought it was very expensive. The main draw of Blacktail is the good service, the energy and ambiance of the room, and the quality drinks that you can only get here. I’m glad I tried this place, but I don’t make enough money nor love drinking enough to be a regular here.

Score: 6/10

Restaurant Review: The Malt House, Financial District

Details: Located at 9 Maiden Ln., New York, NY 10038. Official site is http://www.themalthousefidi.com/

I came here on a Thursday night. It was pretty packed. I’m always surprised to see people out on a weeknight, but then again, Thursday is the new Friday.

I have no opinions on alcohol. If a connoisseur can’t tell the difference between expensive and cheap wine, how the hell am I supposed to be able to.

As for food, I ordered the Wagyu house blend burger (bacon, pesto aioli, tomatoes, lettuce, and choice of cheese) which came with fries for the price of $17. It was a pretty good burger, although pricey for a burger. The fries weren’t bad either.

I think the most important part of a bar like this is the energy and ambiance. It was lively with lots of people, music, televisions, and a separate area for people who wanted to sit and eat. Regardless of whether I liked the burger or not, it was a fun place to hang out.

The service people were nice.

Score: 6/10