Fairly sure that Fairfax is the all day cafe you've been looking for

Fairfax is a new all day cafe in the heart of the West Village. The place is cozy, unassuming and decorated with all the things you love to look at in West Elm. You have many options to sit at whether it's the communal tables, the leather quilted bar chairs, lounge chairs and those cushy leather sofas. Centering the restaurant is the sprawling bar where you can choose to day drink or order that espresso to get you through the day. And the food is just as good as the vibes. I appreciate that the menu is designed to make any restaurant goer happy- whether they are famished or if they're in the mood for something lighter. You can get anything savory, sweet or better yet both. Fairfax is the all day cafe I wish my neighborhood had. This place is ideal for catching up with friends, dining solo while doing some work, or an intimate meal with that person you can't stop thinking about. 

Fairfax lunch and dinner menu

Fairfax lunch and dinner menu

Foccia with olive oil

Foccia with olive oil

Chicken leg with za'atar stuffing

Chicken leg with za'atar stuffing

Cubano with roast pork, shaved ham, swiss cheese, pickles

Cubano with roast pork, shaved ham, swiss cheese, pickles

Favorites:

I am a fan of everything here! My fiancĂ© did say that his Cubano could use less horseradish; it was very strong and dominated the other flavors in the sandwich. 

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. 

Loring Place is easily one of the best restaurants of 2017

I've been to many farm to table restaurants throughout the city and the undeniable truth is that they are all delicious. When chefs care about sustainability, sourcing and the well being of the environment we live in it shows through their food. The menu at Loring Place embodies the hard work of farmers and the treasures you find at the local farmer's markets on Sundays. However, Chef Daniel Kluger's menu goes above and beyond the simplicity and freshness of farm to table cooking. In fact the use of spice and subtle flavors that are woven throughout his dishes are exceptional and shine not just amongst the farm to table scene but can compete with any of the Michelin starred restaurants. The Japanese influenced tempura battered zucchini fries pays homage to zucchini that's just been picked from the farm but is cleverly spiced with smoky flavors. The sauce on the spicy meatball pizza is a work of art where you can taste the tanginess of the ripe tomato sauce, the freshness of the mozzarella and basket cheese tied with in with the simple yet sweet fennel that adds acidity to the dish. I'm so impressed with Loring Place and how well thought out every dish was. It is easily one of my favorite restaurants of 2017. 

Zucchini 'fries' with with lemon-parmesan dressing 

Zucchini 'fries' with with lemon-parmesan dressing 

Heirloom tomatoes with parmesan croutons, lemon and herbs

Heirloom tomatoes with parmesan croutons, lemon and herbs

Spicy meatball pizza with fennel, mozzarella and shepherd's basket cheese

Spicy meatball pizza with fennel, mozzarella and shepherd's basket cheese

Black pepper cavatappi with duck, corn, chanterelles and green tomatoes

Black pepper cavatappi with duck, corn, chanterelles and green tomatoes

Favorite dishes:

If you couldn't tell from the praise above I loved every dish on this menu. I suggest going with a friend or two and sampling one or two dishes from each of the small to large plate sections. This menu's farmer's market to table journey is evident but the actual skill required to elevate these fresh ingredients is impressive.