New York City Top 25 Restaurants: April 2018

New York City Top 25 Restaurants: April 2018

Temperatures are finally starting to warm up again and we are all beginning to make our way out of our fleece blanket cocoons and back out into the concrete jungle. In anticipation of your spring and summer food adventures, Foodable Labs has churned out its latest ranking of the best restaurants in New York City!

With a little movement in the NYC Top 25, we have 5 restaurants BRAND NEW to the list.

At No. 1 we have newcomer Simon and the Whale, a beautiful neighborhood restaurant that draws its culinary inspiration from the American coasts. Nestled into the Freehand New York, the restaurant got its name from Owner Gabriel Stulman who was inspired by the whale-patterned gifts his son, Simon, had been receiving. Chef Matt Griffin created an American menu for the concept with several raw seafood starters, simple options like a fish sandwich with coleslaw, and more demanding dishes like the roast guinea hen. If you’re trying to kill two birds with one stone, Stulman also runs Studio upstairs at the Freehand, the No. 6 ranked restaurant on our list.

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Rising Culinary Stars in New York City's Restaurant Scene

Rising Culinary Stars in New York City's Restaurant Scene

Narrowing down the best of the best in New York City's food scene can be tough. Thankfully, there is our Foodable Top 25 to help guide us. From that list, we took the top ten leading chefs at New York City’s most beloved restaurants and highlighted them, uncovering their background to success. Here are the finest chefs in the city highlighted from Foodbable's Top 25 restaurants.

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Gusto 101’s Chef Zennoni Menu Offers Something For Everyone

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

Toronto is arguably one of Canada’s top foodie cities. Having 10 Torontonian restaurants listed in our Top 25 list alone, it’s not hard to believe why restaurateurs place such importance on not only its food, but architecture and restaurant experience as a whole, to stay ahead in the competitive market.

That is the case for: Gusto 101— a five-year-old restaurant located in the heart of downtown Toronto, which serves up modern takes on Southern Italian cuisine. The casual eatery was born inside a repurposed garage, featuring concrete, metals and an overall industrial look to the space.

“The Gusto design... Janet has quite the eye for that... it did win international design awards…,” said Gusto 101’s Executive Chef, Elio Zennoni, who was referring to Janet Zuccarini, Gusto 101’s owner, and the Hospitality Design Award the restaurant and Munge Leung interior design firm won back in 2013 in the casual restaurant category.

The space also features a retractable glass roof for the rooftop dining area that was allows Gusto 101 to provide a patio experience to its guests year round, especially during the fall and winter months.

To complement the innovative restaurant design, Gusto 101 is equipped with a tech forward kitchen which Chef Zennoni, who has been cooking for over 20 years now, notes it is something that appealed to him from the beginning.

“[This is] probably one of the most high-tech kitchens I’ve ever worked in. We have a full-induction burners, combi oven, so on and so forth…It’s at the top of the level of, as far as, the future of kitchens, and the future of restaurant design...,” says Zennoni.

Chef Zennoni, who was first introduced to international cuisine through shows like Wok with Yan and Pasquale’s Kitchen Express, likes to keep the Gusto 101 menu light, fresh and accessible. The menu features creative salads, pasta (which they prepare in-house), flatbread pizza, grilled detailed dishes and sweet desserts. Their goal is to provide plenty of options, something for everyone who visits.

In this Table 42 Vignette, Chef Zennoni demonstrates for us Gusto 101’s signature dish: a Tuscan Wood Fired Grill Pollo with grilled chicken, butternut squash puree, farro pickled radicchio, toasted hazelnuts.

He begins by first preparing a butternut squash puree with shallots, nutmeg and cream butter. After, he sautés some farro with pickled radicchio. The dish also carries toasted hazelnuts which are rolled on a flat surface to break off its dark brown skin and later are tossed in olive oil.

The chicken breast is lathered in olive oil and brine made out of salt, clove, garlic and fresh herbs. Then it is grilled and later sliced on a bias, or roughly 45 degree angle, “to fold it in on itself just so it looks like a chicken sitting in it’s own nest.”

After plating the beautifully prepared dish, Chef Zennoni adds the last touch --- a dash of Maldon sea salt flakes.

Watch the episode to learn more!

Chef George Sabatino's Aldine Restaurant Celebrates Year Two

Philadelphia’s burgeoning food scene has attracted talent from some of the top culinary hot spots in the country. You simply have to walk around Center City to see the growth and the richness in choice and experience that have become available to the Philly foodie.

“The current food scene in Philadelphia — the best way to describe it — is flourishing,” Chef George Sabatino of Aldine Restaurant said.

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In this “Table 42” vignette, we follow Philly native Sabatino, who opened Aldine Restaurant just two years ago, but the business has already made huge strides for being so young. (For one, this restaurant is No. 1 on Foodable’s Philadelphia Top 25.) Aldine’s kitchen reflects the cuisine and style that is entirely Sabatino’s own. What is his greatest culinary motivation and inspiration? To bring a local, farm-to-table cuisine with a passion for aesthetic and, of course, flavor that is uniquely Philadelphia.  

“I think a lot of chefs kind of go and travel… Go to Chicago or New York and work with big name chefs. I never did that. I kind of got fortunate — I’ve cooked here my entire time,” he added.

Our recent exploration of Philadelphia has revealed a group of culinarians with sense of pride and community.  Make sure to check out our other episodes Fast Casual Nation featuring Matt and Marie's, Table 42 Vignette featuring A. Kitchen, and Across the Bar featuring A.Bar as we continue to explore the growth in Philadelphia.

a.kitchen's Mike Fry Makes the Most of Summer Bounty in Philly

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

As the food scene in Philly continues to boom, we decided to make our way to the City of Brotherly Love to visit one of Philadelphia’s Top 25 Restaurants. a.kitchen, located at AKA Rittenhouse Square, boasts an impressive wine program along with its Modern American cuisine.

Mike Fry, sous chef at the High Street Hospitality Group restaurant, talks to us about how a.kitchen makes the most out of its summer bounty.

“We try to make use of preservations techniques, which is another staple of the Pennsylvania Dutch, taking the bounty of the summer, stretching it out throughout the seasons, which is something that has been going on forever in every culture, but Pennsylvania Dutch are especially good at it, as far as canning, preserving, drying, using that to stretch your produce throughout the year,” said Fry.

The menu is constantly changing in accordance with the seasons, however.

“If in December we know that we can not longer get [a] really high-quality tomato or squash, then we take it off the menu and replace it with something that we can get locally that is going to be good in the winter. For instance, root vegetables or something dry or preserved,” Fry added.

In this Table 42 Vignette, Sous Chef Mike Fry demonstrated for us a.kitchen’s signature dish: a seared Long Island duck breast with mushroom ragu, baby summer squash, and a mushroom exodus sauce.

He begins by rendering the duck breast on a pan to achieve a crispy skin with a medium rare center. Then, he seasoned wild mushrooms with olive oil and salt and simply grilled them. Baby summer squash is later sautéed in a pan for a short period of time because it does not require much cooking time. Finally, he creates a ginger and chilies sauce hydrated with duck stock to add depth to the dish before plating it to perfection.