blue ribbon sushi sashimi

Taste Testing New York City's Trendy Restaurants (Part 1)

New York is definitely a great place to eat. One of the things I love about visiting mega-cities like this is the vast array of options. Almost every world cuisine is represented and there's something delicious in every price range. An observation I made when writing about London's unusual restaurants, however, is the difficulty of discerning between the faddish and the fabulous in a city of this size. We usually face a few years gap between visits to NYC, and while our tried and true favourites usually remain, it's harder to suss out which of the newer restaurants are worthy.

So it becomes a case of trial and error, though who can complain when the challenge involves food? Let's see where our gastronomic explorations took us on this latest trip to the Big Apple...

Fedora (239 W 4th St,

Arriving in the West Village late in the afternoon on our first day in the city, we were after something close and happening.  Fedora's interesting American menu had us interested at first glance and we headed over for a somewhat early reservation, the only one we could get at such late notice. Here the bar takes up almost as much space as the dining area, with a boisterous yet friendly atmosphere.

fedora nyc sweetbreads

Crispy Pimenton Sweetbreads

The menu was hit or miss for us. I'm a huge fan of sweetbreads, though I found the sauce presented here to be a little overpowering. John tried one of the specials: toast served with a delicious pate-style spread that stole the show for both of us.

fedora pate

For my main, I enjoyed my dish of 'Krispie Fried Chicken,' presented right along with the chicken foot. John was less impressed with his Pressed Pork Sandwich, served with gruyere cheese and chipotle mayo and a side portion of shoe string potatoes. We still had a nice evening at Fedora, but had expected a bit more overall from the food, which felt a bit more like picnic lunch fare than a proper supper.

Fedora's 'Krispie Fried Chicken' and 'Pressed Pork Sandwich'

Fedora's 'Krispie Fried Chicken' and 'Pressed Pork Sandwich'

Blue Ribbon Sushi (308 W 58th St,

I would not file any of the Blue Ribbon restaurants under 'trendy.' Back when I lived in New York City, the original Blue Ribbon Brasserie used to be (and perhaps still is) THE place for the city's chefs to eat. It's open until 4am. so naturally the area's culinary talent could flock there after their shifts finished. I loved it because of the diverse menu and fresh, delicious produce. The same restaurant group also operates Blue Ribbon Sushi, which is my favourite place for high-end sushi in New York. While the first location opened in SoHo on the same street as the brasserie, they now have another outpost in Midtown West, inside the 6 Columbus Hotel.

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blue ribbon sushi sashimi

I was not disappointed by my return to Blue Ribbon sushi. Simply fresh sashimi and sushi, along with carefully prepared cooked Japanese dishes are what you'll find here. We enjoyed a delicious bottle of sake and relaxed after seeing a Broadway show. Most of all I love the variety of fish on offer at Blue Ribbon Sushi. A list of daily specials is a great place to start your journey.

blue ribbon sushi

Quality Meats (57 W 58th St,

Steakhouses are abundant in New York City. While Peter Luger is always my first choice, we didn't want to make my father trek out to Brooklyn  because he was only in town for one night. So we thought we'd try a new place, which seemed a good bet because it was part of the Smith & Wollensky group. Unfortunately we were pretty disappointed with the entire experience. My father's baby back ribs arrived already separated and weren't to his liking. John and I both had the Aged Rib Steak, which was good but not excellent. The side dishes were unique and not too bad; the restaurant divides them into "sides" and "new classics," and I actually really enjoyed the corn creme brulee. But when you go to a steakhouse, you want the steaks to shine. Service was chilly yet efficient, but I wasn't happy with the way staff hovered over us as we lingered to enjoy the rest of our conversation after we had finished eating. I know they probably wanted to go home, but when you drop a few hundred dollars on a meal and no one is waiting for your table, I think you should be allowed to stay until closing if no one else needs your table.

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In part two, we'll explore a few more New York restaurants and share the best meal we had of the lot.

What's your favourite place to eat in New York City?

A great place to stay in Manhattan, with plenty of great restaurants nearby, is The MAve Hotel. Here you'll find affordable boutique accommodation with excellent amenities. Thanks to them for hosting us during our time in New York.



  1. TammyOnTheMove 19 February, 2013 at 09:06 Reply

    That chicken is huge! NY has got some great restaurants. I still dream about the Spaghetti with meatballs I had in an Italian restaurant a few years ago. They were so good (better than those of my Italian mother in law – sorry Rosaria!) that we went back every single day.

  2. Sarah Park 17 February, 2013 at 12:11 Reply

    The first restaurant you got into obviously offered you less than what you expected. The presentation either is not that inviting. But I bet you enjoyed your stay on the Blue Ribbon Sushi.

  3. Ali 15 February, 2013 at 12:42 Reply

    Sorry some of your restaurant experiences were disappointing! I like a good meal, but I’m not much for fancy food, so the expensive steakhouses are kind of a waste on me anyway. I can’t tell the difference between a $20 steak and a $75 steak.

    • inspiringtravellers 15 February, 2013 at 20:23

      I agree, sometimes it isn’t worth it and for me, the best restaurants are not always the most expensive!

  4. Jess @UsedYorkCity 14 February, 2013 at 15:32 Reply

    I frequent Quality Meats a lot…not so much for the food (as I’m a vegetarian, lol), but because it’s close to the apartment and an easy place to pop in for a night cap. Their cream brulee corn pudding is my favorite of their dishes.

  5. Jennifer 14 February, 2013 at 13:27 Reply

    I love eating in NYC! My first trip there was while Sex and the City was still filming and I booked tables at many of the restaurants that appeared on the show. I figured if they were good enough to be highlighted in NYC, they’d be good enough for me!

  6. Antoinette 13 February, 2013 at 01:10 Reply

    I love Blue Ribbon sushi and Quality Meats! Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience :( If you ever want delicious aged steak without the fancy frills, try this French kosher steakhouse Le Marais in Midtown.

    • inspiringtravellers 13 February, 2013 at 16:37

      Oooh, French kosher steakhouse – sounds divine! Will put that on my list for our next visit, thanks =)

    • inspiringtravellers 13 February, 2013 at 16:34

      Far too many, Natasha =) But I cannot complain about the options! In Norway we have so few…

  7. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) 13 February, 2013 at 05:36 Reply

    Ok, I know you said that first meal was a bit underwhelming, but looking at the pictures, all I could think was “yum!” Traveling around Asia for 6 months has been excellent, the food even better, but sometimes I would give my right arm for some nice crusty bread and pâté. And we’ve eaten a lot offal in this part of the world, but oh how I miss sweetbreads!

    Tony & I both had the same reaction looking at your meals though: those portions are HUGE! Funny how perspectives change after a little time away! 😀

    • inspiringtravellers 13 February, 2013 at 16:36

      I completely agree about the portions in the US, Steph! I grew up there but have been away for over eight years now. We always forget and accidentally order too much in the States because we’re so used to ordering a starter and a main in Australia and Europe. I can rarely finish a main dish in the US…

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