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.

Read More

Foodable Labs Ranks Most Romantic Restaurants for Valentine's Day

Foodable Labs Ranks Most Romantic Restaurants for Valentine's Day
  • Foodable Labs ranks America's most romantic restaurants using social media conversations.

  • Top restaurants Marc Forgione, Carbone, Sinatra, and Spinnasse specialize in ambiance, service, wine, and menu.

Valentine’s day is fast approaching and restaurant reservations are being snatched up fast. You may not even know where to start, but don’t worry. Us here at Foodable have you covered.

Foodable Labs has ranked the country’s most romantic restaurants so you can woo your partner on the most lovely day of the year.

Foodable Lab’s “most romantic” rating was calculated using total conversations & restaurant mentions on social combined with overall sentiment for the restaurants. Then, the score was averaged across the two data points to determine the 16 most romantic spots in America.

Over the past year, there were a total of 22.5 million conversations related to 25 key terms indexed across more than 118k restaurants.  The restaurants on this list all have excellent service, fantastic food, alluring cocktails and wine lists, and a romantic ambiance. Check out the full list below and be sure to note the top restaurants in specific categories like ambiance, service, and wine!

Read More

The Role of Bread In An Elevated Dining Experience

Ahh, bread.

As a guest in a fine dining restaurant, either you love it or... you don’t understand it!

Has anyone ever advised to not eat too much bread, because it can ruin your appetite? Or, maybe you had that one friend who would refrain from eating the warm doughy loaf in hopes of maintaining or improve their figure. These mixed attitudes towards bread have left the ancient food with a negative reputation.

To restore that reputation, the rise of the "bread program” movement highlights the significant role of bread in an elevated dining experience.

“It’s incredibly important,” said Chef Marc Forgione, whose restaurant serves an elevated version of the classic potato roll, brushed with clarified butter, sprinkled with black salt and served with a side of caramelized onion butter. “It’s the first bite you have at the restaurant, so it’s the first impression you’re getting of our food and the experience.”

Traditionally, bread has always been part of fine dining (usually, at no extra cost.) But, when a bread program really shines, it’s because it offers something unique or of the best quality.

Bringing the best product forward to each guest takes extra time, effort and money. Some restaurants achieve this by producing fresh, house-made bread daily, while others, leave the job to local artisans who have mastered the craft and only worry about the logistics of getting the quality loaf to the patrons' table.

In some cases, restaurants may do a combination of both depending on their menu offerings.

This is the case for Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink (MGFD,) the flagship restaurant of James Beard award-winning chef and owner Michael Schwartz.

“We know that somebody else has better resources who does it to perfection. We like to promote those people, because they are doing something special,” says MGFD’s Pastry Chef Maria Garcia, referring to Miami-based artisans from Zak the Baker, La Parisienne Bakery and True Loaf that provide bread for the bread course and some sandwiches on the menu at Michael’s Genuine.

Avocado Toast with spicy crab, cilantro, lime, Zak's Rye #thisismgfd #mgfdbrunch

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

Oof that's lunch. #mgfdlunch #pastramisandwich #falafel #mezze @zakthebaker 💗

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

A lot of thought and effort goes into ensuring the best quality breads make it to guests’ tables, therefore the bread course at MGFD is offered for an extra charge.

“A lot of restaurants with our style of cooking are doing this nowadays, because in all honesty, it’s so much better to bring something that is actually really special that people can get excited about, and granted, yes, you have to pay, but it is so worth it,” said Chef Garcia, who attributes her love for bread to her family from Spain and her respect for its role in an elevated dining experience to Chef Michael Schwartz and Chef Bradley Heron.

“I think Schwartz and Brad have a really good philosophy and they have managed to teach it to all of us, so we can appreciate the good things,” added Chef Garcia.

Not only is Garcia in charge of confections as Michael Genuine’s pastry chef, but she also oversees the production house-made breads for MGFD and their sister restaurant cafe, Ella. These include: focaccia, pizza dough, pita bread, donuts, buns and bagels.

Her day begins at 6 a.m. at a commissary kitchen, where she spends the first three hours of her day.  An everyday task in the day-to-day prep list, is assuring the dough being fermented in bulk, is done so appropriately.

Soppressata Pizza 🍕🍕 crushed tomato, chile flake, honey, mozzarella #mgfdpizza #mgfdlunch

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

#eggsandwich with grilled bacon & cheddar on a brioche #mgfdbrunch #michaelsgenuine #miamidesigndistrict #baconandeggs #sundaybrunch

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

🍩🍩 cookies & cream donut #sobewff #thisismgfd #brunch #donutlovers 😍

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

“The quality of your bread will rely on how well you ferment things and how they behave. So, we bulk ferment so the dough can develop a lot more flavors, so the alcohol doesn’t have that yeasty flavor. We like to give time for it to slow down and give time for the bacteria to grow, so it allows the bread to slowly ferment,” said Chef Garcia, who considers bread-making both an art and a science.

“It’s understanding the elements, their behavior and qualities as well as the artistic beauty of good bread.”

Foodable Labs ranked the following restaurants no. 1 in their respective cities when it came down to sentiment scores towards bread.

  • Portland - Le Pigeon
  • Miami - Michael's Genuine
  • New York - Marc Forgione
  • Denver - Work & Class
  • Chicago - Monteverde
  • Los Angeles - Animal

Watch the video to learn about other restaurants doing in-house bread!

Menu Prep With Christopher Zabita, Sous Chef at Restaurant Marc Forgione

Menu Prep With Christopher Zabita, Sous Chef at Restaurant Marc Forgione

By Erica Nonni, Foodable Contributor

Chef Christopher Zabita (34), Sous Chef at Restaurant Marc Forgione in NYC’s Tribeca, is an experimenter, a forager, an open mind, and a rising star who maintains a flair for reconsidering things that is charmingly down-to-earth for such a revered restaurant. He has worked with Chef Marc “Forge” Forgione since before the latter won Season 3 of “The Next Iron Chef” in 2010. Here, Chris shares his ideas about menu creation at one of this city’s most respected restaurant groups.

I sat down in Restaurant Marc Forgione in Tribeca on a late afternoon in September, right after the staff meal and before the restaurant opened for the day. Chris walked over to join me, stopping on the way to hand something small to Chef Forgione, which he popped in his mouth while taking a phone call and pacing the floor.

An approving nod. 

It’s good, right?

Read More

Foodable Reveals Five Star Awards, Celebrating Industry's Best

Foodable Reveals Five Star Awards, Celebrating Industry's Best

In the restaurant industry, accreditation is a powerful way to separate the who’s who: which chefs are worth the hype and which ones fall flat. It also brings to light which more obscure establishments are beaming with talent. In the past five years alone, restaurant reviews have changed significantly, with consumers in the driver’s seat, typing away their opinions on platforms like Yelp. There are few institutions, however, that take restaurant reviewing to a more serious level, where a rigid set of guidelines must be met in order to grant the restaurant any published review at all. Michelin is most notably one of them. But what if you took the same type of principles as the Michelin Guide — where a score is based on consistent factors across the board for each restaurant — and brought that into the land of social media, where the analysis of consumer sentiment, engagement and influence in relation to a restaurant determines the ultimate score of achievement?

Enter the Foodable Five Star Awards.

Read More