After being open for only four months, Matt Lambert, the chef at The Musket Room, garnered a coveted Michelin star. It could be easy to lose focus working in a buzzy restaurant in the trendy neighborhood of Nolita, but Lambert continues to focus on making his restaurant better every day.
The Kiwi's menu has touches of New Zealand, a place Lambert is still very much connected to after moving to New York in 2006. In fact, he found himself "shell-shocked" by the city's size and pace when he arrived here. But he's chosen to live on the Upper East Side with his family, where he finds it more quiet and relaxed. Here are Lambert's favorite places to eat.
Pizza: My wife and I got pizza at Farinella the day my son was born and we've been going there ever since. The pies aren't round like you'd expect—they're made of rectangular focaccia bread. The pizza is delicious but, to me, it also has great sentimental value.
Burger: My favorite burger on the Upper East Side is the double stack burger at Shake Shack on 86th street. Of course everyone knows of Shake Shack, the burgers are consistently delicious. It's good to know you'll get real quality each time you eat there.
Sandwich: Blue Moon Deli is a little hole in the wall, but it's my go-to and I love it. Before I was working full-time, I used to get heroes from there five days a week, usually a warm turkey melt with pickles.
Bar: Penrose is one of my favorite spots uptown no matter what I'm in the mood for. It has absolutely fantastic cocktails, good bar food, and an incredibly professional staff. It's very popular and busy, rightfully so, but once you get in, It's great.
Fine Dining: Cafe Boulud is just a classic New York City fine dining institution. Chef Gavin Kaysen is one of the city's best! I've been here quite a few times and have never had a bad experience. Everything they do is very focused and refined. Frankly, I look up to them, they help me push myself when I eat at restaurants that good.
Bagel: Bagel Bob's on York Anenue is just awesome. I really love their flagels (flat bagels) and sweet bagels, like the cinnamon raisin flavor. I'm different when it comes to my bagels because I don't normally go for cream cheese; I prefer a bagel ham sandwich.
Coffee: Hands down the best coffee on the Upper East Side comes from Oren's Daily Roast. I can't start my day without it. Oren's roasts their own coffee, which is pretty rare in my neighborhood.
Bakery: Glaser's Bake Shop has been in the community since 1902. You can tell it really hasn't changed much over the years. They are known for their black and white cookies and my personal favorite is their buttery linzer tart.
Date spot: Sushi of Gari is really fun for a date. The tasting menu is some of the freshest fish I've had. If you sit omakase, you get to watch the sushi chef joke around with the customers, especially the ones on dates.
Take out: I really love pork and chorizo tortas from Sabor A Mexico for take-out. Considering I am in the kitchen every day, I eat take-out a lot when I'm home, so to try and stay healthy, I spend a ton of money on Juice Press.
Chinese: People are very particular about their fried rice. For me, the fried rice at Hunan Delight is what's up. I used to literally eat Hunan's fried rice multiple times a week. For an added treat, their barbecue pork bun is really one of the best.
Ramen: When I think of my favorite neighborhood places, Naruto Ramen comes to mind. Naruto is cash only but it is well worth it—the broth is super tasty and is even more delicious when you add their fried octopus. I swear I could eat those all day.
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