Bar Primi

I have been meaning to check out this new restaurant on Bowery for quite some time now.  Even from the outside, I could sense the lively, yet casual and relaxed vibe of the restaurant.  

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The large windows are perfect for taking in the summer breeze.

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I got the ricotta bruschetta with figs and Sardinian honey to start. This should have been an amazing bite, but somehow it fell flat. The fig was really fresh, but the ricotta was meh and I could hardly taste the honey. 

My main, Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, was also a disappointment. There was no flavor to the dish. A complete fail! Maybe I should have listened to the bartender, who tried to sway me away from the Orecchiette in favor of Fiore di Carciofi - artichoke filled pasta with smoked bacon and pecorino - and Campanelle with corn, maitake mushrooms.  Afterall, he was spot on in his wine suggestion. 

The dessert - fresh organic peaches topped with fiori di latte gelato, drizzled with sangria sauce - saved the day!  It was light, refreshing, and perfect for the summer!

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Verdict: A-. The food left much to be desired...but maybe I didn't order the right dishes. I am willing to give the place another try because I really do love its atmosphere. Perhaps this eatery is better suited for drinks (I did see the bartender make some seriously good looking cocktails) and snacks at the bar, rather than a full meal. 

Bar Primi
325 Bowery (Between 2nd & 3rd St.)
http://barprimi.com

Alder

Has anyone ever noticed that it often takes an out-of-town guest to bring together in-town friends.  Well...this was such an occasion.  An excuse to get together with a few girlfriends and reminisce our "Sex and the City" years.  We decided to give Alder, the relatively new, hip restaurant by Wylie Dufresne of WD-50, a try.   

True to Dufresne fashion, none of the dishes looked like what you would expect based on the name. Each dish was reinvented with an unique twist. The Scotch Quail Eggs were interesting.  I liked the Pigs in a Blanket, but found the Japanese mustard a bit overwhelming.  The Foie gras was nice and smooth. 

Scotch Quail Eggs - Pork Sausage, Ricotta, Onion Marmalade, Watercress Pigs in a Blanket - Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, Sweet Chili Sauce Foie Gras - topped with pineapple, almond, arbol

Scotch Quail Eggs - Pork Sausage, Ricotta, Onion Marmalade, Watercress
Pigs in a Blanket - Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, Sweet Chili Sauce
Foie Gras - topped with pineapple, almond, arbol

The Squid was fresh and cooked perfectly. The hummus mixture was good, but not memorable.

Squid Salad, with Black Chickpea Hummus, Summer Squash, and Lovage.

Squid Salad, with Black Chickpea Hummus, Summer Squash, and Lovage.

The New England clam chowder was nothing special. 

New England Clam Chowder with oyster crackers

New England Clam Chowder with oyster crackers

I quite like these jalapeño poppers. 

Jalapeño Poppers topped with Roe.

Jalapeño Poppers topped with Roe.

Many reviewers have said this dish tastes just like a pastrami sandwich. I'm not sure if I would agree with that.  I would have liked to have more pastrami in the dish. 

Rye Pasta with pastrami

Rye Pasta with pastrami

The steak was excellent!

Hanger Steak with moo shu vegetables.

Hanger Steak with moo shu vegetables.

Verdict: A-.  Overall the dishes were interesting, but the portions were a bit small for the price.  

Alder
157 Second Avenue
http://aldernyc.com

Unami Burger

Being away from NYC for two months means I am now a bit out of touch with the latest NY food trends and dining scene.  Everyone seems to be talking about a new pastry creation called the Cronut and this new Californian burger joint Unami Burger.

I have heard that the wait time at Unami can be upwards of an hour or two.  So, I decided to check it out during lunch time, as in 2pm…after the lunch rush is over.  I only had to wait about 15 minutes for a spot at the bar.  I got the Truffle Burger. The was one messy, but yummy burger.  And there's no mistaking the truffle in the burger. 

TRUFFLE BURGER - WITH TRUFFLED AIOLI, HOUSE TRUFFLE CHEESE, TRUFFLE GLAZE.

TRUFFLE BURGER - WITH TRUFFLED AIOLI, HOUSE TRUFFLE CHEESE, TRUFFLE GLAZE.

Verdict: A-.  I liked the burger at Unami, but it is no steakhouse burger.  A friend asked me if the Unami Burger is better than the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern.  My answer is, I would never try to compare the two. I don't consider the two burgers to be in the same league!  I think of Unami Burger more as a casual, neighborhood burger joint that serves interesting specialty burgers. 

Unami Burger
432 Sixth Avenue (West 9th & 10th St.)
http://www.umami.com/umami-burger/eats/umami-greenwich-village/