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September Restaurant Round-Up


Here’s where we went in September:

Bell Book and Candle

This little west village gem was the site of our bi-monthly book club meeting. It’s totally charming and pretty spacious given the location. The appetizers were varied, unique, and delicious – making this a great group spot. They even grow some of their own ingredients on top of the restaurant in their rooftop garden. It’s not necessarily the best meal I’ve ever had, but it was casual and fun, and an excellent value spot. Be sure to take advantage of the $1 oysters at the bar!

The Mark

Remember when I said that Jean-Georges restaurants tended to be hit or miss (last month’s review of ABC Kitchen)? Well, this was a miss. From the wall-to-wall carpet, to the been-there-done-that food, this place screamed hotel restaurant. With so many other amazing options in NYC, this one is a total pass.


Even though I mentioned this restaurant before, I have to rave about it again. Brad and I went here for our 4 year anniversary dinner and did it big with the 20-course tasting menu. It was AMAZING!!! If you are looking to do something really special in NYC, this is it. I seriously think I liked it better than the tasting we did at French Laundry (like that name drop? Just trying to keep things in perspective here!). The service is stellar and the food is inventive and ridiculously good. There were multiple times throughout the night when Brad and I would just look at each other completely unable to describe the amazing food in front of us. This place lives up to the hype!

Candle 79

People have been raving about this vegan, upper east side spot for ages. So when my mom was in town a few weeks ago, I decided it was just where we should try. Neither of us is vegan, but my mom is all into the Paleo thing and has some limiting diet restrictions, which made Candle 79 the perfect choice. I thought all of the food was very flavorful, but I really wasn’t fond of many of the “imitations” they tried to pull off. If you are vegan and haven’t had feta cheese in years (or ever), than you might love the nut version. But I just thought it was a poor second. Same for the meat substitutes. What can I say, I’m partial to my high-calorie, artery-clogging options. If you are vegan, you absolutely should try this place. If you aren’t, go with a vegan friend and stay away from any meat/cheese substitutes.

Gari Sushi

My new favorite sushi spot (sorry Yama!). This place totally rocked my world. I personally like my sushi with a bit of flare – some kind of fruit, crunchy topping, something that makes it more than just a piece of fish. My husband, sticking to his Japanese roots, likes the more traditional sashimi style, with an emphasis on the freshest fish available. We have found our happy medium at Gari. They are known for their “toppings,” which add just the right amount of oomph but still lets the beautiful flavors of the fish shine through. We tried the tuna with tofu puree, salmon with sauteed tomato, and yellowtail with jalapeno sauce, with the salmon being our favorite (multiple orders went down!). Brad was also totally in love with their mini bowls of udon. There are numerous outposts of the original Sushi of Gari around town, so be sure to stop in and give one a try!

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