Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s

 

It makes sense that Luzzo’s, the famous pizza restaurant in New York City, with amazing thin crust “Bufala” Pizza (hearty tomato sauce, soft – thin mozzarella di bufala, aromatic basil), started its own Italian food eatery. But, what Luzzo’s has done is truly special: it has created a restaurant that specializes in gnocchi, aptly named Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s.

Gnoccheria has numerous types of gnocchi. You can order classic potato, purple potato, or spinach gnocchi. Then, you have the option of ordering a stuffing for the gnocchi (cheese-stuffed, mushroom-stuffed, and asparagus-stuffed). Next, you have a choice of many sauces from the Pomodoro to the Sorrentina to the Ragu to the pesto to the Quattro Formaggi (four cheese — like a fondue covered gnocchi).

While I enjoyed the spinach and purple potato varieties, I liked the classic gnocchi the best. It was the lightest and fluffiest of the three, and very flavorful. For me, the Sorrentina was the standout sauce – a tasty tomato sauce with gooey mozzarella and fresh basil already folded in. The other sauces were quite good as well, ranging from the heavy Quattro Formaggi, (a four cheese-like fondue sauce with a strong Muenster flavor) to the light Pomodoro sauce, (a simple tomato gravy).

I really loved the Gnoccheria. No other spot that I know of will exhibit more dedication to the art of gnocchi and that alone is worth experiencing.

Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s: 234 EAST 4TH ST NEW YORK, NY 10009

Wafels and Dinges Flagship Restaurant

Wafels and Dinges food trucks have roamed and ruled New York City serving fresh Belgian waffles in all boroughs for many years. Fortunately, the staple also has a Cafe on Avenue B that on which you can always count. Serving everything from “De Hashbrown Waffle” to “WMD – Waffle of Massive Deliciousness,” the cafe has a larger selection than the Wafels and Dinges trucks.

Definitely check it out!

FLAGSHIP W&D CAFÉ: 15 Avenue B (at E 2nd st)

Extraordinary Lunch at Tempura Matsui

Tempura Matsui is a Japanese restaurant focusing on tempura (fried vegetables and seafood). The small, 20-seat restaurant is located in Murray Hill, hidden approximately 50 feet to the right of the entrance of a hotel. Tempura Matsui calls their style of making the art that is tempura “The Matsui Way” after their grand chef Mr. Matsui.

While numerous restaurants in New York City makes tempura, Matsui’s paper-thin batter gently coats the ingredients and enables the juices and subtle flavors to stand out. The lunch is a set menu, priced at 40 dollars.

I sat at the ten-seat tempura bar, right across from the two chefs and a large pan of bubbling oil.

To start, they served a plate of cold, round udon noodles accompanied by a bowl of sauce to dip. With two slurps, I inhaled the tiny amount of noodles. When dipped, the noodles hold onto the sauce, adding a nice saltiness and a bit of tang.

Next, the star of the meal: the tempura courses. Piece by piece, the chefs placed the delicately fried shrimp, fish, and vegetables onto a small block in front of me.

My favorites were the eggplant, the onion, and a fried mixture of chopped vegetables (including pumpkin, sweet-potato, and string bean). Each piece of tempura is accompanied by radish and tempura-sauce to cool down and add another layer of complexity to every bite.

Biting into the fried slice of eggplant produced a burst of juices enclosed in a thin layer of lightly-salted dough. I was shocked by how hot the interior of the eggplant was, so be cautious.

The god-father of an onion ring, the onion tempura held absolutely no greasiness. The sweet flavor of the onion worked beautifully with the crispy coating.

Lastly, I really enjoyed the fried mixture of vegetables. All veggies were cubed in precisely the same size and bound together on a bed of fried, flaky dough. The sweetness of the potato and pumpkin added to the texture of the firm cuts of string bean.

The whole special tempura experience is definitely unlike any other in NYC and worth a try.

Tempura Matsui: 222 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016

 

Over 100 types of Licorice at Myzel Chocolates

Although Myzel Chocolates does not have the word licorice in the name, it is basically licorice heaven. There are more than 100 types of licorice from around the world. I loved the licorice cats (from Denmark) as well as the shoe laces. The black licorice seems tough, but it is actually smooth and has no bitter finishing taste. The selection of licorice is unparalleled.

Myzel Chocolates is definitely worth a trip.

Myzel Chocolates: 140 W 55th St # 1, New York, NY 10019

Tasty Dumplings and Peanut Noodles at Buddakan

While Buddakan is well known for its “scene” and appearance in the first Sex in the City Movie, it has some unbelievable dishes. I especially enjoyed the “General Tso’s Dumplings” as well as the “Chilled Udon Noodles.”

The dumplings at Buddakan are all very tasty, but the General Tso’s Dumplings stand out. They are compact chicken dumplings that are injected with sweet and sour broth, making them similar to soup dumplings. They are served five to an order and arrive piping hot, so be wary when you take your first bite. The mixture of sweet and sour creates a flavor similar to that of a classic General Tso’s sauce.

Also, the “Chilled Udon Noodles” were noteworthy. The dish is basically a spicy, refreshing version of cold peanut noodles but with fluffy, thick udon noodles. Because the udon noodles have more surface area, the sauce holds on to every single bite.  Served with some sliced spicy peppers and a scoop of lime sorbet, the dish has a cooling, smooth flavor and is very easily inhaled.

Buddakan: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011