Ian MacGregor's parents moved into a brownstone on Convent Avenue in the 80's, long before any signs of gentrification reached Hamilton Heights. Not much has actually changed. While MacGregor, the owner and chief fishmonger of The Lobster Place, still lives in the house he grew up in with his wife and two children, there are a few restaurants that have popped up. It's still a challenging task to find decent places to eat in Hamilton Heights, but here are some tips from MacGregor.
Washington Heights, Manhattan
As one of Bob Lape's friends put it, the number of restaurants this man has forgotten is probably longer than the most serious food lovers even remember. When he's not out reviewing restaurants throughout the tri-state area, he's got a good idea of what's happening in Washington Heights, where he's been living for the past year and a half.
The aptly named Moscow on the Hudson right off the 181st Street stop on the A train feeds the Russian community of Washington Heights. It's not Brighton Beach, for a lot of Manhattan residents, it's a closer-by market for Russian staples.
Everyone comes to Patacon Pisao for the namesake plantain-based sandwiches, but there's plenty more on the menu at this Washington Heights street vendor turned Elmhurst brick and mortar. Take, for instance, the cachapas ($6.50 to $7), sweet corn cakes folded over like quesadillas, stuffed with cheese or a number of meats.
[Photo: Max Falkowitz] The Venezuelan plaintain sandwiches at Patacon Pisao are like drunk food for sober people. Hefty fried plantains are smashed, then fried again to get extra crispy, then used as the sandwich "bread" for a variety of...
The fútbol and the playlist can work against romance, to be sure (and not taking plastic may irritate some), but the raucous atmosphere of tapas joints further downtown--Casa Mono, say, or Boqueria--is dialed back at the comparatively restrained Manolo, making it more conducive to courting. With its almost-there atmosphere and range of authentic, interesting dishes Manolo is best for: a getting-to-know-you date.
New Leaf Restaurant and Bar's greatest asset is the synergy between its food and locale. Located in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, one of the highest points in Manhattan and the home of the Metropolitan Museum's medieval art branch, the restaurant is unique not only because of its beautiful setting in a cottage-like building in the middle of the park, but because it is actually a charitable and environmentally responsible operation.
Essentially a variation of a curry chicken salad sandwich with Roma tomatoes and baby greens, the cubed chicken is juicy with the right amount of curry-flavored mayonnaise; the layer of sliced tomatoes add acidity.
Baby corn cakes used like slabs of bread for a sandwich? I'll definitely try that.
If there's a pulled pork sandwich on a menu, I'm going to get it. The BBQ Pulled Pork Panino($10) from Indian Road Cafe in Inwood oozes with apple-chipotle barbecue sauce, but doesn't drench the meat.
In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check...
Editor's note: In "Fast Food International," Krista Garcia will take us around New York to the many international fast food chains that have landed in the five boroughs. She blogs at goodiesfirst.com. Country of origin: Guatemala Locations worldwide: 300+ in...
Not to be confused with the beef tripe soup known as mondongo, mofongo is a hearty ribsticking dish made from mashed plantains.
If you love fried chicken as much as I do, living in New York makes it very difficult to satisfy the almost daily hankering I have for great fried bird. The fried chicken is pretty good at Blue Smoke, but...
I really enjoyed Kim Severson's poignant piece on hospital food in today's NY Times, in part because I just spent the better part of two days at New York-Presbyterian Hospital (formerly Columbia Presbyterian) in upper Manhattan tending to my son,...