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!

Manhattan

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)


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.


Nelson Blue – New Zealand in New York tastes soooo good

Nelson Blue

233 Front St. New York, NY 10018

212-346-9090

#2, 3, A, C to Fulton Street station

www.nelsonblue.com

 

Ooooooh! Nelson Blue is great! We’ve come into this New Zealand bar and grill a couple of times for weekend brunch and for Friday evening after work when we’ve wanted to head near South Street Seaport.  We have loved every visit. The staff here is so great. This establishment has become a fast favorite for us.  Everything on the menu looks like something that will taste delicious. For appetizers, we tried their grilled wings.  I think these are now our absolute favorite wings.  They’re perfectly sized and grilled and seasoned to perfection and have a bit of a tangy and citrusy flavor.  They come with a unique sauce too.  Even the staff really loves these.  We also tried their lollipop grill chop, which is priced by the piece and cooked to perfection.  The final appetizer we tried was the salmon skewer which tasted even more amazing served with their fresh tasting dill mayo.  During the weekdays, you must be sure to try the Fried Egg Club served with a salad. I ordered mine without runny eggs, and I loved every bite of that sandwich.  Harv had the Grilled NZ Lamb Lollipop Chops.  His meal included 5 delicious chops served with a potato and pea cake, and rosemary sauce.  He hasn’t stopped talking about it.  For the brunch (served weekends only), you must try the Salmon BLT which is served with some amazing bacon!  Additionally the Grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich served with arugula, tomato and pickled onions, also comes with a mango chutney that takes this sandwich over the edge! Both of these entrees were served with a salad.

My new favorite drink is their Full Nelson.  It’s a combination of Firefly vodka and lemonade. We had ours with a little extra kick.  Yeah….it’s a really good drink!

Hours

Mon-Thurs  1130am – 230am,  Fri-Sat  1130am – 4am,  Sun  1130am – 200am

Grilled Wings appetizer

Salmon Skewer appetizer served w/ curry mayo (we also had the dill mayo)

Grilled Lollipop Chop appetizer (sold by the piece)

Fried Eggs Club (served with bacon, avocado)

Salmon BLT w/delicious bacon & dill mayo

Grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich served with arugula, tomato, pickled onions & mango chutney

Grilled NZ Lamb Lollipop Chops served w/a delicious potato & pea cake

 

Food

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

Service Quality

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

Price

Good/Moderate ($30 – $60). For a really good time here, this amount can get you an appetizer an entrée and a drink.  You can also have just a drink and appetizer for under $30 

Décor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation). We love their big screen TVs, showcasing news and sports. 


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)



Cafe Espanol – Delicioso courtesy of Spain

 Café Espanol 

172 Bleecker Street, NY, NY

#1 or #2 to Houston St., A, C or E to Spring St 

http://cafeespanol.com

In one word…WOW! That describes the entire experience in a nutshell. From the first time we ever walked in and tasted their food, we have been hooked. We’ve been coming here for years and haven’t been dissatisfied yet. The flavors are unbelievable! This is Spanish food at its finest. Reservations are recommended, though walk-ins are usually accommodated. Café Espanol is a great spot for lunch, dinner, and special occasions or for impressing a date. The wine list is good, and their red sangria is delicious. We have a lot of food favorites here including their paella (1 order is enough for two), sizzling shrimp appetizer and our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE IS THE SURF AND TURF – the fillet mignon and lobster just can’t be beat! YUMMMMY! Considering the portions and care in food preparation, the prices are more than reasonable.

Hours

Mon-Thurs  12pm – 12am,  Fri-Sat 12pm – 1am,  Sun  12pm – 1130pm

Lobster tail & Shrimps

Lobster Tail & Shrimps

Seafood paella

Seafood Paella

IMG_1368

Tres Leches

 

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

Price

Good/Higher-end (You’ll probably spend $40 – $70 pp for a really great time)  

Decor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation)



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)


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)


Alma 33 – You’re gonna love it

Alma 33

33 West 8th St. (between 5th and 6th Ave) New York, NY 10011

(212) 380-8794

A, B, C, D, E, F or M train to West 4th Street station

www.almanyc33.com



Love love love this place!  Alma 33 is a stylish, dark and sexy venue. Great music plays all the time.  Alma’s menu is Argentinean and Spanish, serves tapas, entrees, great drinks, wine, brunch, lunch and dinner.  We enjoy this place immensely and highly recommend it as a great place for appetizers and/or drinks before dinner.  You’ll also find it great for after dinner drinks and dessert. The Pionono is not to be missed!!! A huge plus is the service!  The owner, Rich, always takes a personal interest in the customers and really wants everyone to have a great experience. We like sitting at the bar.

We love their drink menu and our favorite appetizers include the variety of skewers and empanadas.  When you add the menu selection, exclusive drink menu, wine list, sexy décor, music, festive atmosphere and the top notch services and the prices, you’ll find yourself enjoying an ultimate dining experience without breaking the bank.  Stop in anytime. We like after work/late evening best.

Steak skewers & fried polenta lollipop tapas

Pionono (sponge cake, seasonal berries and cream). It's slammin' and simple every time!

Argentinian flan

 

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious)

 

Service Quality

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


Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp) This will take good care of you here. An appetizer with a drink or two


Decor

Higher-end (Eye-catching, inspires conversation)



Empire Szechuan Village – A little Chinese food, a little Japanese food, and a lot of good times…

Empire Szechuan Village

173 Seventh Avenue South (near Perry St.), New York, NY  10014

(212) 243-6046

#1, 2, 3 train to 14th Street station

www.empireszechuanvillagenyc.com

 

Offers a wide selection of Chinese and Japanese delicacies. All of the dishes we’ve tried have been delicious; makes it difficult to choose favorites. In addition to their wide menu selection, they also offer a wide selection of alcohol and beer and at really good prices! Their decor is quiet and mostly comfortable.  The staff is super friendly (we’ve found we’re not the only ones to get a big “Hey! How have you been? Or, “So nice to see you again!”) The management at Szechuan Empire definitely understands the value of return customers. It’s highly likely that your first visit won’t be your last.

Our only critique on the downside is that it often gets a little too warm in there, especially after a few cocktails.  As far as drinks, while they serve really good cocktails at a really good price, they’re not exactly on par with pairing the cocktail with the right glassware.  I can’t tell you how many times they’ve served me a whisky sour inside of a champagne flute. Lol.  It’s a little funny. We love this place.

 

My favorite is the Seafood Teriyaki dinner. It comes with fish, shrimp and scallops. Because I don’t like scallops, I ask them to swap out scallops for extra shrimp.  YUM!!!!!  Harv really likes the Beef & Scallops dinner.

Food

Good (This place is sure to offer a dish you’ll find special enough to come back for)

 

Service Quality

Good (You’ll definitely come back again)

 

Price

Cheap ($10 – $30pp) $30 will secure an appetizer, drink and main course for sure!

 

Décor

Good (Comfortable, a little creative)