It's just the beginning for Mason Pacific, which opened last week in San Francisco's Nob Hill at (you guessed it) the corner of Mason Street and Pacific Ave. But I can say this: it's a nice place to have a glass of wine and the fanciest potato skins you've ever tried.
'apps only' on Serious Eats
Parish Hall opened last year, the sister restaurant to brunch-all-the-time Williamsburg mainstay Egg. As its menu is full of snacks, small plates, and salads, I stopped by to see how a diner would fare bypassing the entrées and sticking to a meal of smaller bites.
Peaches Hothouse, an offshoot of nearby Peaches, bills itself as a "country cafe," and while I'm not sure what that means, their menu of reasonably priced Southern classics has a lot going for it.
Donald Link's Cochon is at the top of our New Orleans recommendation list. After feasting through the city that never stops partying, we've concluded that bite for bite, it's among the most delicious food that Nola has to offer.
The Southeast Asian inflected food at East Village newcomer Ducks Eatery is adventurous and playful without being overwrought. I stopped in last week to see what a meal of their small plates would look like.
I tend to explore restaurants that I've never been to in this column, or places I've only visited once or twice. It's not usually a forum for me to rave about my favorite after-work bar, partly because my favorite after-work bar doesn't usually serve great food. Not so with Toby's Public House.
Walden is a solid restaurant with a friendly, inviting, professional staff, a nice selection of wine and beer, and a menu of tasty snacks and small plates (and some bigger options if you're very hungry). That's increasingly hard to find, and to my mind the people who can call Walden their neighborhood joint are pretty lucky.
At Wasan the menu is Japanese in its diligent attention to detail (the menu proclaims that a fluke dish is "boiled for 2.5 seconds"), but focused on using local ingredients to create the sort of seasonal dishes that are all over NYC's menus these days. What you end up with is something completely different, and delicious.
Nopa, often credited with remaking (and re-naming) the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco, showcases the glories of California cuisine: an emphasis on seasonal produce, close ties to local farms, and a casual, come-as-you-are vibe. We went for an apps-only meal of fries, calamari, flatbread, little fried fish, and more.
Everyone goes to Double Windsor in Windsor Terrace for their great beer selection, but a fair number of customers are also chowing down on burgers, other sandwiches, and other interesting snacks. So it seemed only natural to stop in and see how the food fared beyond those burgers (which are quite good). It fares very, very well.
Our first stop of the San Francisco Apps Only journey was at Locanda, a Roman-inspired osteria on Valencia Street opened by Craig and Annie Stoll of Delfina. We opted to share a handful of antipasti and a 'piccolo' sized dish from the 'quinto quarto' section, then finished off with a pasta. The highlight? A $12 plate of fried lamb brains and artichokes, each nugget delicately battered and well seasoned.
When it gets as hot and muggy as it has been the last couple of weeks in New York, I get seafood on the brain. And while I can't make it to New England for the real deal, there are plenty of options in the city for a quick fix. With a serious hankering for fried clams, I found myself at the counter at Mary's Fish Camp this week, trying to see if I could string together an affordable, satisfying meal, and the West Village institution delivered.
You could build a full meal from Woodland's creative but friendly snack menu.
You never know if tapas are actually going to be a good deal, so I was a bit apprehensive before visiting Tia Pol for the first time. Turns out that my fears were unwarranted. And the pig's ears would have been worth double what I paid.
Apps Only returns with a cheapskate visit to the bar at Gramercy Tavern. It's all about the bar nuts.
"I can't afford a whole meal there, but I could go for a drink and a snack at the bar." This was the line of thinking that reached its logical conclusion with Apps Only, the column I've written for Serious Eats: New York since the beginning of 2010. What I learned was that not only could I have a snack, but for about $15/person—sometimes more, sometimes less—I could get a filling meal at a place that I otherwise just couldn't afford. Sharing that with the readers of Serious Eats has been a huge pleasure. Now that I've wrapped up my last review, I'd like to share a few lessons I've learned while writing Apps Only.
The idea for Apps Only came from a number of places, but it crystallized at the bar at Back Forty. I came for the great happy hour deal—half price drinks from 6-8pm, Monday-Thursday—but lingered over fried squid, Greenmarket-driven salads, and the occasional pork shoulder slider.
When my dining companion arrived to meet me at Hearth, Marco Canora's upscale Italian restaurant in the East Village, I was already at work on a cocktail, and the bartender informed us that we could eat there at the bar, or at the pass, where the restaurant has set up bar seats overlooking the open kitchen. Any seat that lets you watch the action in a restaurant's kitchen is the best seat in the house in my book.
Last week, Carey visited West Village Mexican joint Ofrenda to check out their great happy hour deal—margaritas starting at $5, beer for $4, and plenty of snacks for just $6.50. I decided to stop by this week to see how the rest of their menu stacked up for an eater on a budget.
Olivia Bistro in the East Village serves mediocre food, and not nearly enough of it.