Cruising for the full dining experience! Join us as we cruise New York’s asphalt in pursuit of restaurants and bars focused on giving their customers more bang for their buck – coupling tasty, well prepared food and drinks with good quality service! You don’t have to be a member of the royal family to be treated like one!

American

Bill’s Bar and Burger – Burgers, served up New York Style

Bill’s Bar & Burger

22 Ninth Avenue at West 13th Street, New York, NY

(212) 414-3003

A, C, E train to 14th Street station

16 West 51st Street at 5th Avenue, New York, NY

(212) 705-8510

M, B, D, F train to 47-50 Rockefeller Center station

www.billsbarandburger.com

After cruising through the streets of Manhattan all day enjoying street fairs, window shopping, gallery exhibits, and more, we decided to end the day’s journey in one of our favorite parts of town. We hit the Meatpacking District for a late lunch and chose Bill’s Bar & Burger. We’ve often stopped in, but only for drinks. Today, we dined. We’d been “cruising” the whole day, so we worked up quite an appetite. After a few cocktails, it was time for the burgers. Harv ordered the turkey burger and I ordered the shrimp burger. He loves the lean quality of turkey and its versatility as a burger (almost anything tastes good on it), and I am a shellfish lover. I’m almost always attracted to any dish offering a non-traditional method of preparing it. After reading the description on the menu, that shrimp burger had my name written all over it. As we enjoyed good conversation and glimpses of afternoon sports programming, we noticed the place was becoming progressively more crowded. The surrounding conversations were growing in volume, and so was the background music. The heightened sounds brought along a rapid energy. It was obvious that the evening was setting in and festive energy permeated the venue. The feeling was so New York. Before we knew it, we were talking louder and faster and laughing even more. At the end of a giggle, it was time to refocus on the menu. We needed a side. Our server suggested that we order the cheese fries with gravy. Her exact words were “They’re amazing. If you hate them, you can punch me in the face!” Now, we’re not sure how many times she’s used that line, but given that she looked more like Josie Bissett than Rocky Balboa, we felt safe in her judgment and ordered those fries. Before long, there were three plates in front of us. Each contained a smoking hot medley of color, aroma and sumptuousness. It was all we could do to pause and take pictures. While the burgers aren’t enormous, we thought they were enough to satisfy. Everything was on point – not too little or too much. I dove into that shrimp burger, which was topped with strips of crispy fried onions, flavored mayo…..it was soooooo good! Then a bite of those sinfully yummy gravy fries with cheese. The conversation Harv and I were having, went from verbal to non-verbal communication, enhanced only by the occasional grunt-inspired deliciousness we experienced with each bite. As we swallowed our final mouthfuls, a small crowd started to enter the restaurant. The gust of wind from the opened doorway was like a splash of water in our faces, waking us up from what seemed to be a dream as we looked down at our plates and saw nothing more than dishes. After paying our check, we rose, did that final sigh looking at our empty plates, and thanked our server for such fine service, conversation and recommendations. We then moved slowly to make our exit. After all, why rush to leave that kinda experience? We like this place a lot. We visit often and also enjoy their midtown Manhattan location as well. It’s the same great quality of service and offers a larger venue. It’s great for business lunches and finding a well-to-do hip crowd after work. Always, a good time is had at Bill’s Bar & Burger.

The Meatpacking location is opened Monday – Sunday

Hours: noon – late (after midnight, up to 1am, 2am, 4am)

Check their website for the Rockefeller Center location hours

Turkey Burger

Cheese Fries & Gravy

Food

Good (This place likely offers a dish you’ll come back for)

Service Quality

Good (You’ll definitely come back again)

Price

Good ($30 – $60pp) This amount will definitely buy you a burger with a drink and more

Décor

Good (Comfortable, creative)

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Southern Hospitality – Service That Fits it’s Name

Southern Hospitality

645 9th Avenue (Corner of 45th Street), New York, New York 10036

212-265-1000

42 St – Port Authority Bus Terminal (A, C, E)

50 St (A, C, E)

49 St (N, Q, R)

 

1460 Second Ave. (btwn 76th & 77th Streets), New York, NY 10075

212-249-1001

77 St (4, 6, 6X)

68 St – Hunter College (4, 6, 6X) 

www.southernhospitalitybbq.com

While walking around Hell’s Kitchen one weekend afternoon, we looked in the window to explore the menu at Southern Hospitality.  The selections looked sure to please, so we walked in and grabbed two seats at the bar. We got a couple of drinks, asked the bartender for some recommendations, and waited for our orders.  As we chatted amongst ourselves, the bartender came over and started a conversation on some of our menu selections and drink choices.  Before we knew it, another patron walked in, sat at the bar and we were all involved in friendly conversation.  About 5 minutes into that, the free show started – a gentleman with a guitar singing classics. Almost everyone started singing along to the familiar tunes.  Our food arrived shortly after that and WOW! We’d been eating all day, so decided to sample a few items from their ‘sides’ selections. For $5.95 each, we had the dry rub ribs, buffalo shrimp, and the buffalo wings.  Those ribs were soooooooooo good! They were falling off the bone and were juicy and flavorful.  We devoured them.  The buffalo wings and shrimp were also very good, but the ribs were an instant favorite.  The  other patron suggested we come back and try a few of the other items, which we’re sure to do! As we completed our meal, we noticed the place was packed. Everyone looked happy, engaged and energetic.  The singer told Harv that he liked our energy and dedicated a song to us.  We laughed and talked with our awesome bartender a bit more before paying the check and heading out.  We could have stayed there for hours.  Looks like we’ve found ourselves another favorite! 

Hours

645 9th Avenue

Mon-Thu 12 pm – 11 pm,  Fri 12 pm – 2 am,  Sat 11:30 am – 2 am 

1460 Second Ave

Mon-Thu 12 pm – 11 pm,  Fri 12 pm – 12 am,  Sat-Sun 11 am – 12 am

Smokin’ Hot Wings

Fried Buffalo Shrimp

Dry Rubbed Ribs

Dry Rub Ribs, Blackeye Pea Salad & Mango Margarita

Mashed Potatoes & Fried Chicken

Banana Pudding

 

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious).   

 

Service Quality

Higher-end (Makes everyone feel comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient) 

Price

Cheap/Good ($20 – $60 pp). For a really good time here, this amount can get you appetizers, entrée and a drink or two.  You can also have just a drink and appetizer for under $30 

Décor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation). We like the large words around the venue, the TVs, the wood finish.


Plan B – It may just be your Plan A

Plan B

626 Vanderbilt Avenue (Between Park Place & Prospect Place), Brooklyn, NY 11238

(347) 240-2171

#2 or #3 train to Grand Army Plaza station, or B or Q train to Seventh Avenue station

www.planb626.com

One of the most relaxed places to visit along the Vanderbilt Avenue strip.  The manager, Rob, makes sure that everyone is happy and smiling and that they return.  Plan B, located in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, offers a variety of tasty treats including some of the best sandwiches and salads.  Enjoy dining at Plan B for lunch, dinner.  Also, stop by for happy hour 4:00 – 7:00pm.  Plan B is a small venue, offers outdoor seating, ok for any occasion, ok for children (during the days, of course). The atmosphere’s always friendly.

Plan B is also great place for sports viewing. They show all the games (football, soccer, hockey, tennis, etc), and you can count on always having someone to cheer along with.

Hours

Mon-Tues  4pm – 1am,  Wed  4pm – 2am,  Thurs  4pm – 3am,    Fri  4pm – 4am,

Sat  12pm – 4am,  Sun 12pm – 12am

 

The ” Shrimp Po’ Boy” sandwich served with mixed greens and raspberry vinaigrette

Fried Calamari appetizer


Jamaican jerk wings appetizer

Grilled corn appetizer

Turkey Burger with shoestring fries

Turkey Burger with shoestring fries

Garlic Parmesean Chicken Wings with shoestring fries

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings with shoestring fries

 

Food

Good (This place is sure to offer a dish you’ll find special enough to come back for) Menu is specific to appetizers, salads and sandwiches.  Our favorites include the Buffalo wings, jerk chicken salad, fried fish sandwich (tilapia), pulled pork sandwich, and calamari.  Rob also enhances the dining experience by altering the menu every so often.  Plan B offers good beer selections (includes beers on tap). They also offer a nice weekend brunch menu.  All-in-all, Plan B offers more than just your standard bar fare.

Service Quality

Good (You’ll come back again) Personal attention from the management is just super.  Be sure to ask for Rob when you visit Fridays during happy hour, Saturdays and Sundays for lunch.

Prices

Cheap ($10 – $30 pp). $20 – $30 will take care of you here.

Décor

Good (Comfortable, creative).  Still evolving as management continues to add sports memorabilia


The Livingroom at The Standard – OH YEA!!!

The Livingroom at The Standard Hotel

848 Washington Street (near West 13th Street), New York, NY

(212) 645-4646

C, E or A train to 14th Street Union Square

http://www.standardhotels.com/new-york-city/

We ABSOLUTELY love this place!  Located in the Meatpacking district, The Standard rates huge in every way.  It’s a regular spot for fun and fabulousness! Even the restrooms are great. Dress casual but be sure to look good.  The entire neighborhood is chic and there’s achance to meet celebs.  This place is a must visit whether you live in NY or are just visiting.  You’ll feel relaxed and part of New York’s elite crowd.  The cocktails here are delicious.  Our favorites are the cosmonaut and Rick Shaw! Favorite menu items are the shrimp cocktail and the turkey club!  Even if you’re not an official part of New York’s elite, the staff here ensures your personal enjoyment.  It’s classic service with a smile.  We enjoy Livingroom at The Standard mostly during a nice afternoon lunch, evening and late night cocktails.


Jumbo Shrimp cocktail

 

The Rickshaw

Turkey club w/crispy fries

 

The Cosmonaut

 

Food:

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious) 

Service:

Higher-end/Splurging (Makes everyone feel comfortable; always pleasant, attentive and efficient. You’re sure to leave 18% or more for gratuity)

Price:

Good ($30 – $60). This is a great spending range for this place. You’ll enjoy yourself

Décor:

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation)



Dean Street – Should be on every street

Dean Street

755 Dean Street (@Underhill Ave), Brooklyn, NY 11238

A or C train to Clinton-Washington Ave station

718-783-3326

http://deanstreetbrooklyn.com/ 

This newest establishment on Dean St and Underhill Ave, had big bright windows which attracted us from outside. As we entered and took in the decor, we were immediately intrigued. We grabbed a seat at the bar and got busy sampling the menu. The host and waiters were all upbeat and help to bring a nice energy to the overall experience.  Stopping in for a quick drink can easily turn into a pleasant evening. You may even find yourself engrossed in interesting conversation with a stranger. The menu is unique and seems to have a touch of southern flare. We tried a variety of appetizers including the calamari, cheese grits and the collards and beans. All were very good!  Stop in Dean St for happy hour (Monday – Friday 4pm – 8pm), lunch, and weekend brunch 11 – 5pm.  Dean St also offers live music Wednesday nights. 

We stopped into the Café (enter it on the Underhill Avenue side Monday – Friday 7am – 3pm) one weekday afternoon this summer.  We had one of the specials – the omelet with gruyere, tomatillo salsa verde, which comes with potato or salad.  This omelet was sensational!!! I ordered a side of bacon. It was a good portion too.  We also had their crabcake appetizer, which was better than we thought it would be, and a Caesar salad, which comes with anchovies and anchovies in the dressing. We opted out on that.  The service was wonderful, and the food was obviously prepared with care.  

Lunch served Mon – Fri 12pm -2pm 

Dinner served daily 5pm –midnite

Midnight happy hour available Sun – Thurs until 2am

Crab cake appetizer served with a special mayo and a little mixed greens

Omelet with gruyere, tomatillo salsa verde served with mixed greens

 

Ceasar salad

Open buttermilk biscuit sandwich w a fried chicken patty, andouille, sausage gravy, 2 sunnyside eggs & cheese grits.

Open buttermilk biscuit sandwich w a fried chicken patty, andouille, sausage gravy, 2 sunnyside eggs & cheese grits.

A Jameson & a Cosmopolitan

Calamari appetizer

Collard greens & beans appetizer

Crawfish, andouille & cream cheese omelet with home fries

Crawfish, andouille & cream cheese omelet with home fries

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious).  

Service

Higher-end (Makes everyone comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient) 

Price

Higher-end ($61 – $100pp) We found it to be worth every penny. This is what we paid for their fried calamari appetizer, about 2 drinks each, and two seafood main courses.

 Décor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation, cool)


Garage – You won’t believe what’s inside

Garage

9 Seventh Ave So. (near Grove St), New York, NY 10012

(212) 645-0600

#1, #2 train to Christopher St – Sheridan Square station

B, D, M, F train to West 4th Street station

www.garagerest.com

 

Mmm….mmm…..amazing! 

Garage is special for so many reasons. The food is deliciously prepared, the drinks are delectable, the service is pristine and the decor is so artistic and tasteful, it provides great conversation during your meal. Garage is great for lunch or dinner.  They also offer live jazz nightly.  You’ll definitely pay upward for a dining experience at Garage. It’s worth the trip for a wedding anniversary or other special occasion/celebration.

The Maryland Crab Cake & Lobster Cake served with mashed potatoes. Absolutely delicious

Calamari appetizer

The Blood Orange Martini

 

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious).

 

Service

Higher-end (Makes everyone comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient)

 

Price

Higher-end ($61 – $100pp) We found it to be worth every penny. This is what we paid for their fried calamari appetizer, about 2 drinks each, and two seafood main courses.

 

Décor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation, cool)


Junior’s Restaurant – more than just cheesecake. Really!

 Junior’s Restaurant

386 Flatbush Avenue Ext (near Lafayette Avenue), Brooklyn, New York

(718) 852-5257

B,Q,N,R to Dekalb Avenue or the #2, 3, 4 or 5 to Nevins Street

http://juniorscheesecake.com

Hands down, one of the BEST places for a good, strong drink!  They don’t offer beers on tap, but have a really nice selection of bottled beers and lots of alcohol.  Everyone knows about Junior’s cheesecake, so we won’t get into that. This place offers so much more.  The bartenders and wait staff are experienced and uniformed.  Also, breakfast at Junior’s is an absolute favorite. Come early to enjoy sounds from the big band era and get treated like royalty.  Junior’s is one of our favorite places anytime – breakfast, lunch, dinner or just for drinks.  Dining is good for families, friends, business meetings and any occasion. We find it’s most crowded on Mother’s Day.  

The menu selection is wide offering mostly old fashioned American fare. We recommend the lobster roll, the salmon club sandwich (swap out potato salad for collard greens or something else), buffalo shrimp appetizer (unique and just delicious), crab cake appetizer or dinner, catfish appetizer or dinner, Buffalo wings, Thai wings.  There’s a lot more to enjoy as well.

By the way, breakfast is served all day, and late kitchen hours (until 1am) are available Fridays and Saturdays only.

Hours

Mon-Thurs  630am – 12am,  Fri-Sat  630am – 1am,  Sun  630am – 12am

Crab cakes topped w/corn salsa, served with mashed potatoes & corn on the cob

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Catfish, mashed potatoes & corn on the cob

Breakfast mimosas

Lobster Roll & Steak Fries

Lobster Roll & Steak Fries

Patrami Omelette

Pastrami Omelette

Pastrami with Swiss & Steak Fries

Pastrami Sandwich with Swiss & Steak Fries

Food

Good (This place is sure to offer a dish you’ll find special enough to come back for)! We can’t get enough of our favorites including the buffalo wings with sauce on the side, catfish finger appetizer, buffalo shrimp appetizer, lobster roll entree, salmon blt sandwich, great burgers (beef and turkey), crab cake entree.

Service Quality

Higher-end (Makes everyone comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient)

Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp) You’ll definitely get appetizer, entree, dinner and some of their famously delicious cheesecake if you spend in this range

Decor

Good (Comfortable, creative)  General atmosphere is pretty festive any day or time of the week.  We love Junior’s during holidays too. The decorations, especially around Christmas/New Year are warm and classic. Mother’s Day is most crowded, and most holidays have a long line for cheesecake, but SOOO worth it!


Black Swan – Bed Stuy’s wonderful surprise

Black Swan

1048 Bedford Ave (near Lafayette Ave.), Brooklyn, NY 1205

(718) 783-4744

G train to Bedford-Nostrand Ave station

http://www.blackswannyc.com/ 

Black Swan offers something great every single day of the week.  It’s a great place for all beer lovers, sports lovers, and lovers of really good food.  Black Swan offers about 10 or so beers on tap, and they offer a large selection of bottled beers.  Our first visit to this BedStuy gastropub was on a breezy and very warm summer afternoon.  Their menu selection offers a delectable and indulgent looking selection. We kept it safe and first enjoyed their Fried Calamari appetizer and the Blackened Salmon BLT. Since then, we’ve tried a number of other menu selections including their Buffalo Wings and also the Curry Chicken Salad sandwich served with delicious crispy fries.  The decor at Black Swan is tasteful and filled with natural dark wood. Outdoor seating is available. Large televisions are at the bar for sports viewing. The brunch menu offers a little more than typical omelets and pancakes. Happy hour is offered daily 11:30-8pm.  Late night kitchen available Thursday – Sunday.

If you like bloody marys, don’t miss theirs.  It’s topped with……wait for it…………………shrimp, bacon, and cheese on a skewer! Oh yeah! They’re not kiddin’ around. Stop in for brunch, lunch or dinner.

Chicken wings

Black Swan cajun chicken salad sammich & crisp fries

 

Food

Higher-end (Good preparation, creative, delicious) 

Service

Good (You’ll come back again) 

Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp) While you can certainly spend $30 or less and have a great time, a little more will get you a couple of extra drinks, and they are good!

 

Décor

Higher-end (Eye catching, inspires conversation)


1849 – Old school with some buffalo wings thrown in

1849

183 Bleeker St (between MacDougal St & Sullivan St), New York, NY 10012

(212) 505-3200

A, B, C, D, E, F, M to West 4th St station; #1, #2 train to Houston St. station

www.1849nyc.com

1849 is a cool, fun venue offering lounge seating downstairs and table seating upstairs. The weekend wing specials are great.  This place is great for a lot including enjoying sports in the afternoon.  1849 is also a great place to hit for happy hour and evening – dinner, dancing and DJ on the weekends. The vibe here is great, and it’s just a lot of fun anytime you’re in. The wait staff is consistently attentive and even remembers a lot of the regular patrons, which we think is a nice touch.  Our favorites are the wings, but their other menu items are prepared to just about anyone’s liking.

 

Food

Cheap (Not unique or outstanding, but definitely tasty!)

 

Service Quality

Higher-end (Makes everyone feel comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient)

 

Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp). This should take good care of you here

 

Decor

Good (Comfortable, creative)


Branded Saloon – Happy hour, live music, good brunch and more

Branded Saloon

603 Vanderbilt Ave (@ Bergen St), Brooklyn, NY 11238

(718) 484-8704

#2, 3 train to Bergen St. station

http://brandedsaloon.com/

 

An quiant imitation of a classically styled saloon, and it’s located on the Vanderbilt Avenue strip. Branded offers many unique things, but their service is what makes them stand out most. Can’t say we ever received service that was less than attentive, and they always have a smile. This place offers a pool table, live music on the weekends which helps to make this a place you’ll want to return to again and again. 

You absolutely must stop in for weekend brunch (11am – 5pm) to try their Smoked Duck and Potato Cake Benedict!

Smoked duck n potato cake benedict, salad, jameson & becks

 

Food

Good (This place offers a dish you’ll come back for).  We love that duck dish on the brunch menu 

Service

Higher-end (Makes everyone comfortable, always pleasant, attentive and efficient) 

Price

Cheap ($10 – $30pp). $30 will take care of a drink and appetizer or main dish

 

Décor

Good (Comfortable and creative)