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!

Outdoor Seating

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. 


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)



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)


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)


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)


Randazzo’s – Seafood and sauce beyond delicious!

Randazzo’s Clam Bar

2017 Emmons Avenue (Between Ocean Ave & E. 19th Streets), Brooklyn, NY 11235

(718) 615-0010

B or Q train to Sheepshead Bay station; B44 or B49 bus to Emmons Ave

www.randazzosclambar.com

Cutting through the chase, our absolute favorites here are their fried calamari, the crab cake sandwich with fries (it’s just sooo good!), and the steamed seafood with pasta entrée.  However, we just can’t enjoy either of these without their signature sliced Italian bread, which is served a little stale and enjoyed while dipping in your choice of mild, medium or hot marinara sauce.  It’s unexplainably yummy, and gives this place a unique, “at home” feel.  Randazzo’s is really festive and is a staple in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood.  Its bright lighting and the festively loud conversation among the staff and patrons make it great for families, groups of friends and a really casual date.  Good for lunch or dinner.  Randazzo’s offers bottled beers and personal sized bottle wines.  We can’t say enough good things about this place.  The prices are comparable to the menu selections (which means that since you’re getting a great seafood selection, the food is greatly prepared and the service is hassle free, warm and friendly – you’re paying the best price for all of that).  Your visit is almost sure to be a great casual dining experience.  Do check it out.

Food

Good! (This place is sure to offer a dish you’ll find special enough to come back for).  If you love seafood, this is a promise!


Service Quality

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


Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp)


Decor

Good (Comfortable)


Graziella’s – Pizza you won’t forget

Graziella’s

232 Vanderbilt Ave (between Willoughby Ave & Dekalb Ave), Brooklyn, NY 11205

(718) 789-5663

G train to Clinton-Washington Ave station

www.graziellasmenu.com

This Italian eatery is very popular among the locals. With amazing food, and pizza that rivals old Grimaldi’s, you are sure to leave with your taste buds and tummy completely satisfied.  Our favorites are many including the shrimp oreganata appetizer, pizza vito, pizza pescatore and chicken parm. The quality of table service could use some overall improvement (more smiles from the waitstaff and bartender would be nice; they could stand to provide a clearer explanation of side dishes available with your entree, and a printed list of the specials in their menu be helpful – they seem to think patrons should memorize the chalk board from outside the restaurant). That said, you’re still likely to enjoy your dining experience. Graziella’s is the only place we visit for dinner and just can’t leave without a cup of coffee to finish off the evening.

Graziella’s offers a good venue for lunch or dinner with your family, friends or a romantic evening.

Pizza Pescatore (mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari)

Pizza Vito (delicious sausage pizza!)

Food

Higher-end (Excellent preparation, creative and delicious). This place offers dishes you want to come back for. We love the pizza pescatore. The flavors are like we’ve never had anywhere else.

Service Quality

Good (You’ll come back again.)

Price

Good/Moderate ($30 – $60pp) This is what you’ll pay for a really good time including appetizers, wine and main course.

Décor

Good/Moderate (comfortable, creative)


La Traviata – Delicious Italian food in Brooklyn Heights

La Traviata

139 Montague Street (between Henry St. & Clinton St.)

(718) 858-5592

N, R train to Court St. station; #2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall station

www.latraviatabrooklyn.com


Italian food that’s tasty and popular in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. For over 10 years, my favorite dish is the shrimp parmigiana.  I’d call it their signature because I’ve been to several Italian restaurants (Italian food might be our favorite) and, from regular to high-end restaurants, I like La Traviata’s shrimp parm the best!  Of course, they do offer other delicious traditional Italian delicacies.  There’s pizza shop seating at the front that’s darkly lit for a touch of class.  As for the overall atmosphere, it’s tasteful.  With regard to service the waiters here are good, not great, but you’ll be pleased overall. This is a nice place for festive family dining or to bring a date.  No dress code – you’ll feel equally as comfortable in business attire or a pair of jeans.  Mangia!

Food:

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


Service Quality

Good (You’ll come back again)


Price

Good ($30 – $60 pp)


Decor

Good (Comfortable, creative)