Dining

By some strange alignment of the stars, culinary trends and real estate, my sweet little neighborhood of Murray Hill—the East 30s—has become a hotbed of hamburger joints, with five within, roughly, a five-block radius (and that’s not counting general places, diners and such, that also do a good patty). In approximately ascending order of fanciness.

Spies are known for their secrecy and evasion, but at Northern Spy Food Co.—a neighborhood-y East Village, farm-to-table eatery—the flavors are forthcoming (the name actually has nothing to do with the James Bond definition of "spy"—rather the joint is named after a type of NY-state heirloom apple—but that doesn't mean I can't pretend).

Aside from that great culinary institution, Aquavit, serious Scandinavian restaurants seem to be in short supply in NYC. (No, IKEA and its meatballs, fun as they are, don’t count.) Out to change that is newcomer Aamanns-Copenhagen, which—after several months as a daytime venue (flatbread sandwiches, etc.)—has just launched a dinner menu.

At ComeBuy, a tiny corner store which hawks the Taiwanese bubble tea specialty in all its delicious incarnations, the assembly line process is a delight to watch. You choose your tea variety and boba type, specify how much ice and how much sugar is added, and then voila!

I see London. I see France . . . and I'm stopping for a macaron. The sweet treat, fancied by Francophiles (or anyone with taste-buds, really), is done right at the eponymous Macaron Café.

Some people snap their fingers. Many manicure them. Others crack 'em. At Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue, you'll have no choice but to lick yours clean. The mavens of south-of-the-Mason-Dixie-Line cuisine have opened a location in Park Slope, and it's worth squealing about.

Corny as it sounds, I love the idea of a 24-hour restaurant in the city that never sleeps. It’s kind of like having the Statue of Liberty on the island: I may not visit often, but it’s so nice to know that it’s there. French Roast has been around as long as I can remember: when I first started in publishing over 20 years ago, I remember stopping by the West Village French Roast bar for a cabernet and conversation with, oh, about 25 of my closest friends.

Full marks to Ralpheal Abrahante, executive chef of seafood palace Thalassa in TriBeCa: His grilled octopus is the tenderest, most succulent I have ever tasted. What’s his secret? To begin with, octopuses are flown in fresh from the Mediterranean, packed in ice, refrigerated but never frozen.

Summer in the city... sometimes means you need a little escape. But when you can't get out of the town, don't forget that we are already quite near the sea. In fact, down in Red Hook, Brooklyn, the neighborhood feels like a veritable beach community, especially at Brooklyn Crab, a massive outdoor seafood palace serving up four kinds of steamed or boiled crabs that go ever so nicely with the frothy drinks on tap and jovial vibes.

How I love this overly caffeinated town of ours. On a recent glaringly hot and sunny Tuesday morning, I decided to venture into a new coffee bar in the city’s picturesque West Village for a triple espresso. Whynot Coffee (As owner Emil Stefkov explained, the name follows his life philosophy.

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