Kosher Comfort Food at Ben’s Kosher Deli

Kosher Comfort Food at Ben’s Kosher Deli

Cole Slaw and Pickles

I must have had a Jewish grandma in a previous life because I love Jewish / Kosher comfort food.  My routine at Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen is to sit at the kitchen counter and watch the action behind the deli counter.  Four or five employees expertly work the slicers in the frenzied space.  Cases are filled with homemade pastries and desserts – Rugulach, Babka, strudels and pies.  All look delicious.  A special treat for everyone dining at Ben’s is the complimentary plate of creamy cole slaw and pickles.

Beef Brisket Sandwich

Ben’s has been serving delicious Eastern European food for nearly 40 years.  The menu is extensive and features client-favorites like chopped liver, beef tongue, stuffed cabbage, knishes and overstuffed sandwiches.  The chopped liver is rich, smooth as silk and delectable when served on Ben’s warm rye bread.  Of all the overstuffed sandwiches including pastrami, corned beef, chicken / egg / tuna fish salad, my favorite is the fatty (in a good way), tender, juicy beef brisket.  When paired with a house made soup, each sandwich can be served as a half, which is more than enough for most diners.

Matzo Ball Soup

I’ve sampled Matzo ball soup at many restaurants and enjoy Ben’s version very much.  The huge soup bowl is filled with tiny egg noodles and a giant Matzo ball.  The broth is rich and flavorful, the noodles ultra-soft (the one instance I want noodles not done al dente), and the Matzo ball is tender and light, like it should be.

For those looking for outstanding catering services, Ben’s an affordable, dependable and delectable option.

Ben’s opened its first location in Baldwin, NY in 1972 and has grown to six, full-service locations in Long Island, Queens, Manhattan and Boca Raton FL.  I feel fortunate to have a location right in the heart of midtown to visit for lunch.

209 West 38th Street

New York, NY 10018

Ben’s delivers!

Settling on Just One Restaurant is Pure Hell in Hell’s Kitchen

For those of you who don’t live in Manhattan and aren’t familiar with the city’s neighborhoods, Hell’s Kitchen is, yes it’s a cliché, a truly unique place.  Located in the general vicinity of 9th Avenue and the 40s, it’s eclectic, nutty and foodie haven.  For locals, it’s worth revisiting Hell’s Kitchen if you haven’t been in a while.

Along 9th Avenue, hungry folks can sample from an interesting international array of restaurants.  Here are just a few of the places you should try in the area:

  • Mercury Bar:  Fun spot to watch football game while enjoying some pretty decent bar food and a nice selection of beer on tap.
  • Rachel’s:  Neat place to enjoy a casual dinner or Sunday brunch.
  • 5 Napkin Burger:  The place is so popular that there’s a line out of the door waiting for a juicy burger.
  • Xie Xie:  Stop by this trendy spot for the “1000 Year Old” Ice Cream Sandwich.  Chocolate cookie, black caramel…need I say more?
  • Esposito Finest Quality Sausage:  Besides being a fabulous old-world butcher shop, Esposito’s prepares first rate sandwiches.
  • Chez Josephine:  Neat $35 prix fixe menu perfect for pre-theater.

Wherever you land in Hell’s Kitchen, you’re sure to find something to satisfy any craving you might have, whether it’s Thai, a burger, Turkish kebab or something a bit more exotic.

Periyali for good Greek food in an intimate Manhattan setting

Periyali is intimate with its white-draped ceiling, white painted walls and casual tables and chairs. It’s reminiscent of Greece in its looks, the fresh ingredients it uses and the casual demeanor of its staff. The restaurant features French doors at its entrance which can be opened to let some of the patrons dine al fresco.

The food is prepared simply using the freshePeriyali's lamb shankst of ingredients. Guests are greeted with an amuse-bouche as they are seated. It’s a take on bruschetta, but with a Greek spin: tart feta cheese and just-off-the-vine chopped tomatoes on crispy toast with just the perfect amount of Greek olive oil. The freshness of the bite hints to the well-prepared meal to come.

Starters are of generous proportions, and some winners are the grilled octopus (five perfectly cooked large tentacles), the house-made sausages, known as Keftedakis, the grilled oyster mushrooms and the stuffed roasted tomato.

Recommended entrees are the melt-in-your-mouth lamb shank over orzo, the veal with wild mushroom sauce, the charcoal grilled filet mignon shish kebob and any of the uber-fresh fish dishes. Especially well prepared is the bronzini, which is often a featured dish.

The wine list is sizeable and unless diners are well-versed on the many Greek wines featured at Periyali, they should request assistance from the knowledgeable staff.  The wait staff is also helpful while considering the many menu options and is attentive while not being overwhelming.

Periyali is a quaint space with spot-on food and service.

35 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
Tel. (212) 463-7890

Lunch: Monday-Friday          12PM to 3PM
Dinner: Monday-Thursday   5PM to 11PM
Friday-Saturday:                       5:30PM to 11:30PM
Sunday:                                          5PM to 10PM

Aspen Social Club – New York, NY

Aspen Social Club Foyer

Aspen Social Club Foyer

Aspen Social Club – It’s part Colorado ski lodge, part sexy South Beach.  The space is beautiful.  The entryway looks like you’ve arrived at a slope side cozy restaurant with its log home look- and-feel.  The dining room is appointed in whites and features amazing rawhide banquettes that have a Danish feel.  Drastic contrast to the bar and foyer area.

The menu features tapas for sharing between diners and offers familiar dishes, but with an eccentric and fun twist.

Each dish is as scrumptious as the next.  The tuna sashimi stuffed deviled eggs were exceptional.  The, although a bit overdone, was very flavorful.  The shrimp quesadillas served with salsa verde was outstanding with just the right amount of citrus.  The artichoke dip was very different than others and quite tasty.

Drinks, as is the crowd at this trendy spot, are sexy and beautiful.  The Aspen Social Club is an excellent place for a fun date or to try with a group of friends.

Aspen Social Club

157 West 47th Street

New York, NY 10036

(212) 221-7200