Dish Du Jour
Yes, Yes, Nobu
You mention the name Nobu to any serious foodie, and they will nod knowingly. Here in New York, the trio of spectacular, celebrity-frequented Japanese restaurants owned by “Nobu & Co.” includes Nobu Fifty Seven, the glamorous Midtown outpost of chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The restaurant dazzles, with dangling white frosted mussel shells and bamboo mats decorating ceilings and walls, but the real dazzler is the food: the sweet contrasting textures of sushi tacos, fluke sashimi with the crunch of dried red miso (right) and yellowtail sashimi, perfumed with citrus and ponzu flavorings. Japanese at its most inventive.
» Nobu Fifty Seven, 40 W. 57th St., 212.757.3000
Country Life in NYC
Just because you are visiting Manhattan, it doesn’t mean you can’t also get a slice of rural life. County (left), a restaurant recently opened in New York’s sizzling-hot Flatiron District, offers barnyard aesthetics (walls and floors built with distressed barn sidings, shelves mimicking a country store with glass jars filled with candy, nuts and granola), and a hearty and wildly eclectic menu that combines traditional down-home offerings (country fry basket, ale-braised short ribs) with organic choices, international fare and charcuterie selections (mixed sausage and cheese plates, Swedish meatballs, vegetarian lasagna, baby schnitzel). The grilled spice-rubbed organic tofu is splendid, as is a light, buttery Dover sole and crunchy-sweet braised pork belly brûlée with sautéed butternut squash. You can elect to sit at one of the handsome square wood tables in the rear or opt for the more social communal high-tops up front, but either way, I reckon you will have one helluva good time.
» County, 34 E. 20th St., 212.677.7771
Just a stone’s throw from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Parlor Steakhouse, on New York’s Upper East Side, is a worthy visit. The neighborhood restaurant was packed on a recent Monday night, with a democratic mixture of men and women (no typical-steak-house-testosterone-overload here). The décor is clean, modern and warm: Neutral tones, varnished wood floors and well-cushioned chairs set the stage for hefty eating. Despite the meat redundancy, meatball slider appetizers are rich miniature marvels; lump crab croquettes are stuffed with celery hearts and apple; and the steaks (right) are as tender and well-flavored as prime beef comes. I’ll have a seat in this parlor anytime.
» Parlor Steakhouse, 1600 Third Ave., 212.423.5888