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How to Talk About Restaurants You've Never Been To

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Are you afraid of looking like an uneducated, uncultured slob around your foodie friends because you haven't been to some of New York's most popular restaurants? Have no fear: here's a list of things to say about five new hot spots that everyone is talking about. You can choose from safe bet responses where you don't actually have to lie, half-truths that will help you keep the conversation going, or huge fibs that will make you look like a bona fide culinary know-it-all. Use one or all of them — nobody will call your bluff.

There are four types of responses to choose from: The Honest Abe (no lying involved), The Safe Bet (some lying involved), The Dedicated Gourmand (lots of lying, with added pretension), The Contrarian (mostly pretension, some lying involved).

The Dutch:

The Honest Abe: "Who doesn't love fried chicken and ravioli? Can't wait to try it for brunch."

The Safe Bet: "You know, Carmellini created a great space and a solid menu, and the kitchen is firing on all cylinders."

The Dedicated Gourmand: "The Carms nailed the okonomiyaki, and that ribeye for two is just brilliant. But yeah, if I want lamb neck mole or barrio-style tripe, I'll just go to my favorite place in Gravesend where I won't have to wait an hour for a table."

The Contrarian: "Give me a break. Who needs more comfort food? Not me."

The Meatball Shop Williamsburg:

The Honest Abe: "Finally, the perfect drunk food spot for Williamsburg. Michael Chernow is hot."

The Safe Bet: "Those guys have a real hit on their hands. Yeah, it's crowded, but it's cheap, there are more tables than the first location, and their spicy pork meatballs are great."

The Dedicated Gourmand: "The kitchen seems a little wobbly post expansion, but the meatballs are still on-point. I usually order the vegetarian items — they're the best things on the menu."

The Contrarian: "Give me a break. Who needs more comfort food? Not me."


The Honest Abe: "The West Village needs more great Mexican places. With Fedora just a few doors down, that stretch of West 4th street is becoming quite the hot little restaurant row."

The Safe Bet: "Mexican food from the former pastry chef of wd~50? Sign me up. I like the guacamole and the tongue tacos."

The Dedicated Gourmand: "The large format dishes are really where it's at. Stupak still needs to do a little work in the taco department, but that Kobe ribeye with chimichurri is out of this world. Oh, and the sopes. Those are awesome."

The Contrarian: "Give me a break. If I want authentic tacos, I'll get them off the back of a truck, thank you very much."

Kin Shop:

The Honest Abe: "I never thought Harold Dieterle would do a Thai restaurant, but more power to him. The Perilla team strikes again."

The Safe Bet: "I love that there's a signed photo of the Beastie Boys on the wall. I could eat that pork and crispy oyster salad every day."

The Dedicated Gourmand: "I had my doubts going in, but Dieterle really got the curries right and more importantly, he's doing his own take on Thai food, not just some cookie cutter version. Sometimes I crave that squid ink soup, and the Massaman-braised goat. "

The Contrarian: "Give me a break. If I want Thai food, I'll go to Woodside where it's cheaper and better, thank you very much."

Boulud Sud:

The Honest Abe: "A really interesting choice for Daniel Boulud. With Bar Boulud right next door and Lincoln across the street, there's finally some good food near Lincoln Center."

The Safe Bet: "It was so crowded the night we went that we had to go to Epicerie Boulud next door, and that was really good. But, I can't wait to go back and try the falafel and the rabbit porchetta."

The Dedicated Gourmand: "Aaron Chambers is a talented chef. The tropezienne was one of the best vegetable dishes I've had all summer, and I really enjoyed the duck leg kataifi. The dining room is 100% DB, but still, it's easily one of the best options in the neighborhood."

The Contrarian: "Give me a break. Have you ever heard of a place called Mamoun's? That's authentic too, and a meal there only costs $2.50."

Boulud Sud

20 West 64th Street, Manhattan, NY 10023 (212) 595-1313 Visit Website

The Dutch

131 Sullivan Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 Visit Website


230 West 4th Street, New York, New York 10014

Kin Shop

469 6th Avenue, New York, New York 10011 Visit Website

The Dutch

131 Sullivan Street, New York, NY

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