Looking back on the month of May (which flew, by the way), I had a few quintessential NYC dining experiences that I already want to repeat. I made it to Le Coucou the week that it was rated by James Beard, and am happy to report that the hype is real. I also continued to explore the Harlem dining scene, which always surprises me in the best possible way and forces me outside of my Manhattan and Brooklyn comfort zone. Read on for my top NYC dining picks this month.
Le Coucou – Recently named James Beard’s “best new restaurant of 2017,” this classic French experience is the perfect blend of modern and old world. A reservation is a must – you can’t walk in, and there is no dinner service at the bar, so plan this one in advance. The duck breast (served with foie gras and duck heart) and the rabbit three ways were divine, and the lobster quenelle was my starter of choice. And save room for the pave au chocolate for dessert.
Daily Provisions – This little Danny Meyer spot next to the new Union Square Cafe is officially home to the best donut I’ve ever had. They call it a crueller, it’s maple flavored, and it is literally a fluffy pillow of heaven. The gougeres and breakfast sandwich were good too, but it’s the crueller that’s worth going back for (preferably after a Soul Cycle class).
Xixa – From the brilliant folks behind Traif, Xixa is their Williamsburg homage to Mexican food. Served in small plates-style, with the exception of the brilliant duck carnitas lettuce wrap tacos (which could easily feed four), I loved the carrots elote and their buffalo-style take on Mexican street corn most.
Casa Mono – Tucked away on Irving Place, this long-standing, Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant is pure NYC magic. The wine selection is fabulous, the whole leg of jamon Iberico is utter delight, the tapas and specials are always a home run, and the vibe is more casual than one would expect.
Vinateria – Harlem is quickly becoming a destination for Manhattanites looking for food and culture outside of their typical stomping grounds, but I’ve found that I’m not always in the mood for a meal as heavy as Red Rooster or Sylvia’s. Enter: Vinateria. This little wine bar and Italian small plates joint is just the ticket for a shared meal with friends, and is on a hustling and bustling main drag that’s perfect for an after-dinner stroll.