North River Lobster Company

What better way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon than cruising along the Hudson River, basting in the sun, taking in the Manhattan skyline, all while feasting on lobsters!  Whoever came up with the idea of this floating seafood restaurant is a genius!

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The boat (the floating restaurant) sets sail from Pier 81 on the westside of Manhattan 5-6 times a day.  We decided to take the 630pm sail so we can enjoy the beautiful sunset.  We ordered our food and drinks at the bar and headed up to the sun deck.  

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We didn't have to wait long before the waiter brought us our seafood feast.  The lobster roll was amazing! Chunks of fresh lobster meat with only a slight bit of mayo sandwiched between a nice buttery roll.  The only thing I didn't care for was the gratuitous lettuce leaves.

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The peel and eat shrimp was good, but not spectacular. I think lobster is the restaurant's strong suit.

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My friend's whole lobster looked great against the Manhattan backdrop! 

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Even though the sails were only 30 minutes long, it was nice to be out on the water.  We were having so much fun eating and mingling with fellow diners that we decided to stay on the boat for the 8pm sail as well.  The two sails had completely different vibes. 

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Seeing the lit-up Manhattan skyline against the full-moon was just magnificent! 

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Verdict: A+. This is a great setting for a summer outing with friends.  Not only was it a fun experience, the food offerings were also solid. The lobster roll is one of the best that I've had in the city. I hope this lobster boat will be back next summer! 

North River Lobster Company
Pier 81  (near West 41st Street)
http://www.northriverlobsterco.com

Food Truck Lunch (@Fun Buns NYC)

Taiwanese pork bun is one of my favorites!  When I found out that there's a food truck that specializes in these buns, I was eager to check it out. 

Fun Buns NYC is a tiny little food truck. I think it's usually parked on 50th Street, beteeen 6th and 7th avenue. I confirmed its location via twitter before heading over. I was surprised that there was no queue during busy lunch hour. Made me wonder if this is a bad sign...

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I got the traditional pork belly bun which is also stuffed with relished greens, sugar peanuts, and cilantro. The buns looked better than they tasted. There were large ginger slices stuffed in the bun. Fooling people into thinking there were more pork belly than actually there? 1 slice of pork belly with 2 slices of ginger? Seriously?!  The little bit of pork belly that was in the bun was tender, but too much fatty bits.  

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I also got a Peking duck bun, which I modified (instead of cucumbers and scallions, which I hate, I asked them to garnish it with something else.  That something else ended up being kimchi, which really didn't go well with the flavors of the Peking duck). This was my bad. 

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Verdict: BB.  I really wanted to like this truck, but the quality is just not there. Even at $3 a piece, I'm not likely to return. It's a shame because I think there's a huge missed opportunity. I guess I'll continue to trek out to Flushing ( specifically Taipei Hong) to get my pork bun fix. 

Quest for Foie Gras (@Benoit)

Foie Gras is on the must-eat list whenever my friend visits from San Francisco, where foie gras is banned. Since today is my friend's last day in NYC, we set out to fulfill her foie gras quota. 

Having heard good things about Betony's foie gras dish, we decided to pay it a visit. Once seated, we noticed that the foie gras dish was missing from the menu! Apparently the foie gras dish is only available for dinner. Since we were on a mission, we apologized for not being able to have lunch at Betony afterall and promised to return for dinner at a later date.

We then beelined for Benoit, an Alain Ducasse restaurant that's only 2 blocks south of Betony.  We sat in the front room, where little cafe tables and chairs were set facing the street, reminiscent of cafes in Paris.

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COMPLIMENTARY CHEESE PUFFS AND WARM BREAD

COMPLIMENTARY CHEESE PUFFS AND WARM BREAD

The Duck Foie Gras Terrine with yellow peach chutney was excellent!  The foie gras was perfectly smooth and creamy. Mission accomplished!

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My cheeseburger and frites came with a mini pot of béarnaise sauce. The burger was a bit dry and over cooked. The frites tasted no different from McDonald's fries. This meal made me wish I was back at Cherche Midi indulging on its amazing Prime Rib Burger!    

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Verdict:  A+.  I have mix feelings about this place. I have been here before for a private dinner party where the meal was absolutely amazing.  Today's burger left much to be desired, yet the foie gras was to die for. I probably won't be in a hurry to go back...

Benoit
60 West 55th Street (Between 5th & 6th Ave.)
http://benoitny.com

Shake Shack

I am not a huge fan of the Shake Shack burger, but I do enjoy the Concretes (frozen custard with special toppings blended in) once in a while...especially on a hot summer night. 

CONCRETES IN THE MAKING

CONCRETES IN THE MAKING

PRETZEL THE CONCRETE - Chocolate custard peanut butter sauce, chocolate covered pretzels, and marshmallow sauce JELLY'S LAST DONUT - Vanilla custard, Doughnut Plant donuts, strawberry preserves and cinnamon sugar

PRETZEL THE CONCRETE - Chocolate custard peanut butter sauce, chocolate covered pretzels, and marshmallow sauce
JELLY'S LAST DONUT - Vanilla custard, Doughnut Plant donuts, strawberry preserves and cinnamon sugar

Shake Shack
891 Eighth Avenue (Between 43rd & 44th St.)
http://www.shakeshack.com

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop @ Gotham West Market

FInally had a chance to check out Gotham West Market, more specifically the Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop.  

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Honestly, I don't get the hype. The Shoyu Ramen was just blah! One small piece of chashu on the otherwise plain ramen, dressed up with a handful of scallions on top. There's nothing special about the broth either.  

CHICKEN DONBURI & SHOYU RAMEN

CHICKEN DONBURI & SHOYU RAMEN

My friend did enjoy her chicken donburi.  She described the Napa Cabbage Salad with bean sprouts, carrots, and miso sesame dressing as an Asian coleslaw. It definitely looked better than it tasted.

NAPA CABBAGE SALAD & SHOYU RAMEN

NAPA CABBAGE SALAD & SHOYU RAMEN

I don't think I'll be in any hurry to check out the new Ivan Ramen flagship restaurant in the Lower East Side. 

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop @ Gotham West Market
600 11th Avenue (Between 44th & 45th Street)
http://www.ivanramen.com/en/ivan-ramen-slurp-shop/