When friends or coworkers ask for restaurant recommendations, they expect good tasting food, but are also looking for restaurants with the right atmosphere that fit the occasion. Whether that be date night or a girls (or boys) night out, atmosphere plays a huge role in making a satisfying restaurant experience. We recently took a trip to the Upper East Side (a rare occurence for us Brooklyn kids) for some delicious Anglo-Indian food at Drunken Munkey. This eatery brings a refined dining setting with a whimsical colonial Indian backdrop perfect for those nights you’re feeling a little grown-up.
The Drunken Munkey is easily identified with its hazy red lights and the monkey statue that welcomes you at the door. The darkly lit den is adorned with vintage artwork and monkey chandeliers and candle holders. Unfortunately, all tables were reserved that night, but we were able to grab two seats at the bar. Naomi ordered a refreshing glass of Elderflower Champagne Cocktail ($13) that consisted of Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace, fresh squeezed lemon juice, rosemary infused St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and club soda (recommended if you’re in the mood for something classy). I ordered the Dark N’ Stormy ($13), which included Gosling’s Black Seal rum, ginger beer, fresh squeezed lime, sugarcane. The black seal rum creates this beautiful dark and cloudy layer at the top of your drink, and the best part is this drink comes in a beautiful vintage cocktail glass.
For food, I ordered the Drunken Munkey Lamb Biryani ($19, pictured) and Naomi ordered the Butter Chicken Tikka Masala ($18). During the two centuries of colonial rule, British, French, Dutch, and Portuguese recreated variations of their own dishes with Indian ingredients resulting in the new genre of dishes called Anglo-Indian cuisine. Drunken Munkey pays tribute to these historical flavors with their dishes. The Tikka Masala was a delicious bowl of creaminess with well-seasoned chicken and a few pieces of perfectly chewy naan bread. But we have to say, the lamb biryani was our favorite. It came in something that looked like a pot pie with naan bread baked over the metal bowl. The generous portions of lamb really tied this dish together, pairing well with the spice-filled rice.
Look out for more delicious dishes from the Upper East side. Don’t be surprised, there’s some good eats up there!
338 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128
One of the things we love about Ippudo is their constant ability to get experimental with their dishes. This Monday, August 8th was Hakkaisan Day—Hakkaisan (translated: Eight Peaks) is a famous sake brewery known for their top quality sake—and to celebrate, Ippudo’s Ramen Master Fumihiro Kanegae (aka Foo) created a dish called Hakkaisan Ramen. This special bowl of noodles claimed to be the world’s first clear miso ramen, where the broth consists of Hakkaisan and kombu, dark roasted rice that was aged for two years, red and white miso, and kagura nanban pepper radish for some added spiciness. And of course, it wouldn’t be an Ippudo specialty if each ingredient didn’t represent something: the aonori (fragrant Japanese seaweed flakes) infused noodles and soup represent the Land, the Duck Chashu is Mount Hakkai, and the grated daikon radish infused with wasabi is the snow. Eaten all together, the broth had a delightfully sweet, light flavor and the noodles hinted at an earthy aonori seaweed flavor. All this was accompanied with Hakkaisan’s Tokubetsu Junmai—a crisp, smooth sake with the a hint of sweetness—that came in Snow Peak’s special Double Wall Titanium Sake cup that kept our beverage chilled. We wish you could have tried this, but to make things a little better, we got word from Ippudo that they will be reinventing their entire menu this coming fall!
65 4th Avenue
New York, NY 10003
321 W 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
With its dark wood interior and brick walls covered in vintage Thai artwork, Uncle Boons is a darkly lit den that’s both charming and inviting located right in the heart of Nolita. We were immediately seated right under a window with hanging plants dangling from the ceiling, a fresh contrast to the restaurant’s dark interior.
To start out our meal, we both ordered a glass of summery cocktails—Naomi got the Watermelon and Campari (watermelon, campari, and Cremant de Loire) and I got the Guava Sour (guava, botanist gin, lime, basil, and St. Germain), which was our favorite. For an appetizer, we got the Pork and Rice Sour Sausage ($8), a delightfully fragrant dish with hints of jasmine rice and other Thai spices that lay atop a bed of spicy cabbage salad. Finally, for our main dishes, we got the Kao Pat Puu ($26 – pictured), a traditional crab fried rice with egg, cilantro, and lime. This dish came with large chunks of real crab (not imitation crab!) and a spicy and tangy side sauce that matched perfectly with the savory fluffy rice. We also got the Massaman Neuh ($25), which came with boneless beef ribs that melted in your mouth—we can imagine had been simmering in a pot for a long time—along with Massaman curry, mini potatoes, red onion, peanuts and green peppercorn. Portions were quite generous, leaving us filled to the brim by the end of our meal.
For the more adventurous, Uncle Boons offers garlic and soy sauce marinated frog legs over glass noodles and another dish with green curry snails – maybe next time!
7 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
It’s July 17th, and that means it’s officially National Ice Cream Day! What better way to celebrate than to share our favorite, Sundaes and Cones. This little gem is one of our go-to spots for when we’re craving a good scoop of ice cream. Some of our favorite flavors include coconut, taro, and an orange creamsicle flavor that combines both creamy and fruity deliciousness. But besides these flavors, there’s plenty more to choose from and the other great part is, they make custom ice cream cakes too. Finally, how can we not mention Sundaes and Cones is located right on a beautifully treelined block, with benches outside where you can enjoy your little (or big) ice cream with a friend or two.
Sundaes and Cones
95 E 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
Tapas culture is proliferant here in New York City and for those of you who love the cuisine, we’ve got something special for you. Despaña, located on Broome Street can be thought of as the deli of tapas. Once a chorizo factory, Despaña has been supplying the ever growing tapas industry in New York since 1998, and has built a name for itself as a respectable and reliable source for authentic flavors and ingredients from Spain.
Despaña is a great spot for a quick sit-down or to-go meal, and for scoring Spanish cuisine staples like chorizo, cheeses, and various premium condiments. We dropped in for a few delicious tidbits, a quick and satisfying solution for lunchtime. I wanted Naomi to try their Picante that I always get, a warm sandwich with spicy chorizo, mahon cheese, basque guindilla peppers, tomatoes and aioli smothered between two pieces of crispy homemade artisanal bread. The spiciness from the chorizo, the tanginess from the pickled peppers, and the creaminess of the aioli make a pretty tasty sandwich combination. We also ordered two sides that resembled a tarting-like creation (pictured). The “Pintxo Boquerones” came with marinated white anchovies and sliced tomatoes, while the “Pintxo Mojama” came with dry cured tuna, goat cheese, tomato, marcona almonds, and olive oil with arrope. Our favorite was definitely the latter, as the cured tuna doused in sweet arrope oil and goat cheese created the perfect marriage.
The eating area in the back corner of the store is never too crowded, but if not, benches outside the store and the nearby Petrosino Square offer alternative seating as well.
408 Broome St