Serious Eats Neighborhood Guides: Emeric Harney's Chelsea
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Emeric Harney is a third generation tea blender in a family that's made a name for the beverage. His grandfather is the president of Harney & Sons Fine Tea, and Emeric is the General Manager of their Soho store. Business trips to India and Asia helped to refine Emeric's palate, which he exercises on chicken liver mousse, ostrich burgers, Pork Vindaloo, and frozen margaritas. After a long day at the tea shop, Emeric loves heading home to his Chelsea neighborhood to cheat on his trainer's diet recommendations—but only once in awhile.
Pizza: With a great selection of beers on tap and a warm ambiance that can only be inspired by their wood-burning stoves (700F), Co. is a great place to meet friends for a pie. I recommend the decadent Flambé (béchamel, parmesan, caramelized onions, lardons) or the basic Rosa (crushed tomato, garlic, oregano and chili).
Burger, cheap: Lucky's Famous Burgers always makes a great late-night burger run for me. Applewood-smoked bacon, Haas avocado, and cheddar cheese on a burger with a spicy chipotle mayo? Yes, please.
Burger, fancy: Bareburger isn't exactly what I'd call a fancy place, with its exposed brick walls and Sony PSP-carrying waitresses, but the ingredients are top-notch and definitely make for a fancy burger. It's got to be one of the best joints in the neighborhood. I recommend getting an ostrich burger with a rice bun (gluten free). Definitely check out the sriracha pickles.
Bagel: Murray's Bagels on 22nd and 8th makes the best bagels in Chelsea. With loads of schmear options I usually go for an everything bagel, but if I'm feeling guilty, I'll get a healthy one with the insides scooped out. They also carry some stellar tea by a company named Harney & Sons...
Breakfast: Petite Abeille might be in the Flatiron, but it's just one of my favorite places. With outdoor seating in the summer and Tintin covers on the walls, it brings me back to my summertime youth in Southern France. I recommend getting a Gaufre (Belgian waffle) to split with the table and then either the Ardennaise Omelette (bacon, mushroom, spinach & onion) or a Croque Madame.
Coffee: Café Grumpy has to be one of my favorite places for coffee in the city; it has some of the best baristas I've ever seen. I strongly recommend any of their espressos, as the baristas pay super close attention to the gas content, temperature, and humidity of the beans to pull the best shot around.
Indian food: After I got back from sourcing tea in India last year, it took a while to find a place that does the cuisine justice, but Bombay Talkie gets pretty close. Order ankurs (pomegranate and tequila) for the table and don't miss out on the kathi rolls and dosas to start. For the main course, try the chicken korma, pork vindaloo or the bhindi. Don't forget loads of cilantro and chili naan for dipping.
Dive bar: Barracuda is a great place to grab a barstool and a drink. Walk into the back for more comfortable seating that's still in dive fashion. Occasional drag shows spice up the evening at midnight. What to get? It's a dive bar. Something with alcohol.
Beer, wine, or cocktail bar: Rocking Horse has possibly the best frozen margaritas I've had in the city. After a nice, sweaty yoga session, I feel the need to detoxify, and the salted-on-the-rim frozen margarita is the perfect way to do that.
Ice cream: Ronnybrook Ice Cream in Chelsea Market is SO creamy. I grew up 15 minutes away from the farm, so it's great to be able to get it in the city too. Raspberry is a nice addition to the evergreen fruit flavors you find elsewhere.
Late-night eats: Izakaya Ten is literally my favorite place in my neighborhood. It's a Japanese restaurant with a saké selection so intense the menu is listed on a quadrant map with Fruity, Dry, Light and Rich parameters. The kitchen is open till 2:30 AM Thursday through Saturday, with a late night 2 for 1 happy hour from 11 to 3. Try the takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls with bonito), geso tatsuta age (deep fried squid legs), buta kimchee (stir fried pork belly with kimchee), or the kalbi (short ribs).
Date night: Tipsy Parson is a great Southern hospitality restaurant. If you're looking for a casual bite, hang out at the bar and grab a whiskey sour, an order of the pork ribs, the Grafton cheddar mac & cheese and the fried oysters. If you're sitting in for something longer, split the bourbon chicken liver mousse, and be sure at least one of you gets the soft shell crabs or the catfish. Don't tell my trainer I told you this, but for a brunch date they have fried chicken & waffles, and you can get a scoop of ice cream on the waffle!