Feasting at Fausto will leave you feeling full and fabulous

Fausto had been on my list for a while. When the Chef hails from L'Artusi then you know you're in for a good meal. The space was bigger than expected which I appreciated, cocktails were fantastic and service was thoughtful. The tan leather couches, open kitchen layout, low hanging lights makes this a fantastic date night spot or a place for an intimate gathering with friends. Every dish on the menu tasted like it was prepared with fresh ingredients and I love that all pastas are made in house. The only thing I would change is the portion size of the arancini balls. $9 for 3 tiny arancini balls does not much sense to me but thankfully the rest of the dishes were portioned appropriately. I left feeling so satisfied! 

Arancini- quadrello di bufala

Arancini- quadrello di bufala

Cauliflower- anchovy caper vinaigrette, currant, pine nut

Cauliflower- anchovy caper vinaigrette, currant, pine nut

Slow poached eggs- mixed mushroom, toasted farro

Slow poached eggs- mixed mushroom, toasted farro

Whole wheat bigoli al torchio- duck ragu, piave vecchio

Whole wheat bigoli al torchio- duck ragu, piave vecchio

Buckwheat Rigatoni- shitake mushroom, dandelion greens, parmesan

Buckwheat Rigatoni- shitake mushroom, dandelion greens, parmesan

Favorites

1. Arancini- These were crispy, gooey and topped with lots of parmesan. I just wish the size was bigger or that it was priced appropriately so I could have placed a second order!

2. Cauliflower- The texture in this dish was fabulous. The crunchiness of the cauliflower and pine nuts with bites of the softer currant made for a perfect vegetable dish. The anchovy caper vinaigrette added smokiness to the dish and I didn't find it too fishy at all. I was so surprised and impressed by this dish.

2. Buckwheat rigatoni- The mushrooms and greens breaks through the heaviness of the parmesan which lets you be able to finish the entire plate! It's a simple pasta but often times simplicity is all you need to accomplish great flavors.

You'll quickly become loyal to The Loyal

John Fraser knows how to run consistently delicious restaurants in NYC including Narcissa and Dovetail. His latest project, The Loyal, recently opened on Bleecker St. in the West Village. The Loyal is easy to miss because you would never assume it to be on Bleecker right next to Blind Tiger Ale and Bleecker St Pizza. Perhaps that is the charm of this unassuming place whose name gives away absolutely nothing and whose interior will also not prepare you for what's to come for dinner; but alas your patience will pay off once you see the menu. After a quick glance you will recognize that the dishes are all staples of American gastropub cuisine but elevated with spices from the Mediterranean, additions of Italian truffles and Japanese flavors weaved throughout the dessert menu. So how does one go about tackling such an eclectic menu? Go with your heart's desire. All the dishes I had were absolutely delicious. If there is one thing you can trust going into a John Fraser restaurant, it is that the Chef cooks with creativity and is unafraid to take risks. If The Loyal was in my neighborhood it would be that restaurant where I would walk into Friday night every two weeks with the promise that the food would bring me comfort all while keeping it interesting.

Steak tartare on pumpernickel

Steak tartare on pumpernickel

Tempura beech mushrooms with curry salt and lime

Tempura beech mushrooms with curry salt and lime

Pumpkin ravioli, shiitake consomme, fall spices

Pumpkin ravioli, shiitake consomme, fall spices

Prime hanger steak (medium rare)

Prime hanger steak (medium rare)

Potato puree with lobster gravy

Potato puree with lobster gravy

Roasted lamb, chermoula

Roasted lamb, chermoula

Moroccan pilaf

Moroccan pilaf

Black sesame ice cream, asian pear, yuzu mochi

Black sesame ice cream, asian pear, yuzu mochi

Favorites:

Steak tartare- It is the perfect bar snack to start off the meal. The marinade is delicious and you can tell how great the meat quality is.

Pumpkin ravioli- It tastes like these raviolis were handmade minutes before you put them in your mouth. The freshness of the ingredients especially the pumpkin and the broth will make you wish you had an entire bowl of it. The first bite which unveils fresh ricotta is the comforting sensation I love about The Loyal.

Prime Hanger Steak with potato puree with lobster gravy- This is the best version of a surf and turf dish one can dream of. The cook on the steak is perfect. The potato puree with lobster gravy has generous chunks of lobster in it. A bite of the main with the side is what I imagine heaven feels like. 

Pig Bleecker's menu offers so much more than just pig

The name Pig Bleecker would understandably lead you to think that this place is a pig lover's heaven. And you're not completely wrong because there is pork in every part of the menu but what's incredible is how many incredible more smoked meat dishes there are on the menu. This is not your typical BBQ restaurant. Pig Bleecker is innovative, pushing the bounds of messy BBQ while keeping it delicious and infusing the BBQ staples with italian classics. The cocktails (not pictured) deserve a lot of love as well. Many of them are mezcal and tequila based with a running theme of smokiness. After eating at Pig Bleecker it has become my go to Italian/BBQ place- now how rare is it to find a place like that?

BBQ Buffalo Chicken Wings with Hatch Vinegar & Alabama White Sauce

BBQ Buffalo Chicken Wings with Hatch Vinegar & Alabama White Sauce

Grilled Oysters with Spicy Garlic Butter & Breadcrumbs

Grilled Oysters with Spicy Garlic Butter & Breadcrumbs

Lasagne with Smoked Duck Ragu, Bechamel, Grandma's Gravy & Parmesan

Lasagne with Smoked Duck Ragu, Bechamel, Grandma's Gravy & Parmesan

Anson Mills Grits with House Made Boursin Cheese & Honey

Anson Mills Grits with House Made Boursin Cheese & Honey

Favorites:

1. Grilled Oysters with Spicy Garlic Butter & Breadcrumbs- How can you make something so simple like oysters taste even better? Garlic butter and breadcrumbs is the unlikely yet scrumptious answer. I loved the seasoning on the breadcrumbs and how well it paired with the butter and oyster.

2.  Lasagne with Smoked Duck Ragu, Bechamel, Grandma's Gravy & Parmesan- My lasagne had just the right amount of burned ends and that made the dish amazing for me. I hate when lasagna is sorry or too stiff but the shell here was perfect. Also duck ragu is so much more superior than beef ragu why do we not eat it more? 

3. Anson Mills Grits with House Made Boursin Cheese & Honey- This was my first time trying sweet and savory grits and I am a huge fan! Honey and boursin cheese is a delicious pair but throw in some grits and you've got a homerun. 

The latest in the ABC empire, abcV, is every food lover's dream

I came into my dinner at abcV a bit hesitant. Eating a complete meal with just veggies? Especially when my favorite meal is dinner? I didn't know how impressive vegetables could possibly be. Well restaurateur and Chef Jean-George is the genius that will change your outlook on what a dinner focused on the vegetables can look like. With the right pairing of flavors, experimenting with spices or roasting vegetables in butter, the team at abcV knows exactly how to make you forget about meat. You will be too preoccupied with the creamy green chickpea hummus and raving about how the roasted beets are the best ones you've ever had to even miss chicken or beef. abcV is a place meant for sharing plates so definitely bring a friend or two. I also suggest that you take a chance and forgo the cocktails for one of the juices or tonic drinks both of which are refreshing and pair excellently with dinner. No matter which way you decide to conquer this vegetarian menu, you will leave feeling full, satisfied and so excited to come back to try the rest of the menu. 

Green chickpea hummus, thai basil, fresh pita or crudité

Green chickpea hummus, thai basil, fresh pita or crudité

Fresh spinach spaghetti, broccoli, kale, preserved lemon, garlic, parmigiano, saffron crumbs

Fresh spinach spaghetti, broccoli, kale, preserved lemon, garlic, parmigiano, saffron crumbs

Warm crimini and chantrelle mushrooms, sherry vinegar, garlic, tarragon

Warm crimini and chantrelle mushrooms, sherry vinegar, garlic, tarragon

Slow roasted beets, dijon, avocado puree, chili aioli, pickles, lovage

Slow roasted beets, dijon, avocado puree, chili aioli, pickles, lovage

Morel wonton, summer vegetables, aromatic broth

Morel wonton, summer vegetables, aromatic broth

Half cauliflower, with turmeric-tahini and pistachios

Half cauliflower, with turmeric-tahini and pistachios

Strawberry rhubarb pavlova

Strawberry rhubarb pavlova

Favorites:

Green chickpea hummus, thai basil, fresh pita or crudité- The best hummus I've ever had! I've never had an affinity towards green chickpeas until now. How come we don't use these chickpeas to make the most texture balanced hummus ever?

Slow roasted beets, dijon, avocado puree, chili aioli, pickles, lovage- Beets taste the best when they are roasted and the addition of the avocado mousse only adds to the taste. I also loved the addition of chili aioli since it gives the beets more flavor and therefore more delicious to eat. 

Half cauliflower, with turmeric-tahini and pistachios- Think of this dish as the hero of the meal. The reaction I had to when this dish was presented at our table is one similar to what I would have if a nice NY strip was served to me. Turmeric sauce might not sound appealing but pair it with roasted cauliflower and you've achieved a winning combination.