Celebrity Restaurants & Deals - Manhattan, NYC
Let's look at a handful of restaurants in Manhattan, NYC, that are being run by some of the hottest celebrity chefs of our time and offer great savings.
The Stanton Social - Lower East Side
A restaurant that defines cool yet defies trends, The Stanton Social appeals to both the A-list celebrity crowd as well as long-time neighborhood residents.
Since The Stanton Social opened its' doors way back in 2005, this colorfully decorated lounge and restaurant has, to paraphrase the immortal Justin Timberlake, brought "sexy" back to the East Side in a big time way.
Now, no matter how nice a restaurant appears to be in terms of decor and design, hot looks will only take you so far. It's good to taste that matters. And The Stanton Social has an absolute game-changer of a menu, courtesy of chef and owner Chris Santos.
Even if you've never eaten at one of Chris' restaurants, you are probably more than familiar with this eccentric (in a good way) and talented chef from his appearances as a judge on the Food Network's long-running show Chopped.
As one of the show's most popular celebrity judges, Chris can always be depended on to keep things real. His critiques of the contestant's dishes are consistently fair and insightful.
At The Stanton Social, Chris has assembled an eclectic small plate menu that pays tribute to the multi-ethnic culinary background of the surrounding neighborhood. Influences range from Italian and Eastern European cooking to Latin and Asian. All dishes were served with that unique Chris Santos twist.
The vibe here is fun, fun, fun! There's always some great beats playing in the background, as well. This should come as no surprise since, when Chris is not busy cooking up a storm at The Stanton Social or Beauty and Essex, the chef moonlights as the founder of Black Light Media, a record label that specializes in hard rock and heavy metal.
A music buff extraordinary, one of Chris' all-time favorites is the legendary rocker, Lita Ford. Chris, in fact, was on the Chopped panel when Lita appeared on the show, competing with Dweezil Zappa and other rock legends for a shot at the Chopped crown. Chris, may, in fact, have a hand in introducing the next big thing to the independent music scene. Good Tiger is a breakout band, led by guitarist Derya Nagle. Fans are really responding to their debut EP on Black Light Media.
The Stanton Social has an interesting menu concept. Rather than offering individual starters and main courses, in the strict sense of the word, Stanton's kitchen serves dishes that are designed for sharing. these tasty creations are brought to the table steadily and continuously throughout the meal.
Reflecting the ethnic diversity of Chris' menu, you can choose from hearty Polish-influenced potato and goat cheese Pierogies and tuna poke wonton tacos to a perfectly delightful Peruvian salmon ceviche with sweet potato and roasted corn.
The Rhode Island lobster roll is a tribute to the chef's home state while his delectable Philly Cheesesteak is an intriguing twist on the traditional version, substituting a truffle and goat cheese fondue for American cheese.
Other noteworthy dishes include a satisfying saffron cream bucatini pasta, Brussels sprout ravioli and old school meatballs with basil and ricotta cheese.
Beef Wellington is one of the dishes that Gordon Ramsey is most known for. It just so happens to be Chris Santos' signature dish, as well. And he does it proud!
The Stanton Social's Beef Wellington is savory and delicious. A perfectly grilled filet mignon, foie gras mousse and a bevy of mushrooms are all wrapped together in a light puff pastry.
Chris Santos knows that hard working New Yorkers love a great deal. That's why the Stanton Social offers several budget-friendly options during the week.
On Social Mondays, from 10 PM until 1 AM, you can score 2 for 1 cocktails in the lounge area. Their regular happy hour brings you dollar oysters and sliders for five bucks. Selected beers are available for the price of $5 and house wine goes for seven dollars a glass. On Sundays and Mondays, happy hour extends from 5 PM until close. On Tuesday through Friday, the hours are 5 till 8 PM.
Out-of-the-box imagination and great culinary chops are the hallmarks of chef Chris Santos mouth-watering menu at The Stanton Social.
Location and Hours
99 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002
Monday to Friday 5 PM to 12 AM
Saturday 11:30 AM to 1 AM
Sunday 11:30 AM to 11 PM
Butter - Midtown
A well-respected taste-maker on the New York restaurant scene, chef Alex Guarnaschelli is all about comfort food re-invented. As the executive chef at Butter, a trend-setting restaurant in the heart of Manhattan, chef Alex has cultivated a fan following that encompasses everyone from hard-core foodies to those hungry New Yorkers who are in search of a delicious, magnificently executed dish that will touch their heart and soul, as well as their palate.
A certified Iron Chef, who vanquished the competition on Iron Chef America, Alex can also be seen as a judge on Chopped. Wearing her emotions on her sleeve, Alex roots hard for the contestants to put their best foot forward. Yet, she also brings a keen eye for food styling and an expert palate to the Chopped panel.
Recently, Chef Alex lent her talents to Guy's Big Project, a series where out the immortal and outrageous Guy Fieri set out to find the Food Network's next big star. Her best-selling cookbook "Old School Comfort Food" mixes up some of Alex's favorite recipes with anecdotes about her personal and professional life.
For anyone who has watched Alex Guarnaschelli on TV or eaten at Butter, this entertaining and insightful book is a must-read.
While it took awhile for Alex to feel comfortable with her fame, being a cookbook author came naturally for this hard-working and modest chef. Alex's mother edited cookbooks for many years. Working with some of the finest publishing houses in the city, her mom tested the author's recipes right at home, in the Guarnaschelli family kitchen. As a little girl, Alex first became interested in food by watching mom at work in the kitchen.
At Butter, the decor befits a restaurant who has a Food Network star running the kitchen. Rustic, but with a sleek, smart and sexy edge, the ambiance is rustic and inviting. Communal tables and cozy booth seating are surrounded by warm, dark and light wood tones.
High, arched ceilings and a glass wall that overlooks Butter's secret garden, create an air of wide open space and allows for plenty of natural light.
The garden is more like a hip, outdoor lounge rather than a basic, generic Manhattan-style garden or patio. Greenery covers the walls around the bar area. Soft, red cushioned easy chairs and sofas call out for those who seek solace from their never-ending workday.
But at Butter, the best part of all is when you sit down to dinner and let Alex Guarnaschelli's remarkable talents in the kitchen, take over.
Chef Alex utilizes green market offerings to create a varied and delicious menu that changes with the seasons. Commence your culinary experience with a light appetizer or salad. Regulars here just adore the slow-roasted rainbow carrots with feta, charred figs and harissa as well as the divine escarole Caesar salad.
Alex does pasta like few other chefs. Her gnocchi mac and cheese is one of a kind as is the cavatappi pasta with spicy lamb sausage. The pan-roasted chicken breast is cooked in its' own juices, making for a very tender and flavorful dish. Alex's fork tender salmon is served with braised baby turnips.
The chef also puts a great deal of thought into her sides. If you can, try to order at least one, particularly the bone-marrow flavored shoestring potato cakes.
At the bar, they've got some fantastic happy hour deals going every evening, from 5 to 7 PM. You can get some delicious cocktails for only nine bucks, which is almost unheard of in this part of town. Quench your thirst with a seasonal draft for just $6!
There are over half a dozen food options available during happy hour including house-made herb fries for $9, a plentiful cheese and charcuterie board for eleven dollars while oysters on the half-shell come in at $1.50.
Location and Hours
70 West 45th street
New York, NY 10036
Monday to Thursday 11:30 AM to 9 PM
Friday 11:30 AM to 10 PM
Saturday 5 PM to 10 PM
Sunday 11 AM to 8 PM
Fusco - Flatiron District
If you've been anywhere near a TV or iPad recently and are any kind of a confirmed foodie, then celebrity chef Scott Conant is no stranger to you. His array of television appearances include The Today Show, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart Living, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Top Chef, Beat Bobby Flay and, of course, as a guest judge on Chopped.
But Chef Scott's first and true love is cooking up a storm over a hot stove in the kitchen of his newest masterpiece Fusco. Proud to be of Italian descent on his mother's side, Scott named his first new Manhattan restaurant in more than a decade, after his grandmother Carminella Fusco.
Scott wanted his new restaurant to capture Carminella's personality, old-world courtesy and hospitality. Everyone who visited Carminella's home and ate at her table was made to feel like family. That is the exact feeling that Scott wants his customers to come away with after they've dined at Fusco.
No doubt, Nonna Fusco would approve of the elegant yet warm decor of the restaurant. Carminella took pride in painstakingly hand-rolling all of her pasta and taking hours to get the tomato sauce just right. Well, at Fusco, the cooking may be a little less rustic, but Scott and his team take the same care of using only the freshest ingredients that grandma did.
A winner of the James Beard Foundation's award for the best new restaurant, for his debut eatery L'Impero, Scott Conant has simply outdone himself with the tantalizing menu at Fusco.
Scott has a deep and abiding respect for tradition, especially in the kitchen. But, that doesn't mean that this imaginative chef is content to just replicate the classics. Innovation is Scott Conant's signature style.
Just when you think that you already are familiar with the dish set down before you, Scott throws out a culinary curveball that places an entirely different spin on things!
Chef's tender and savory beef sirloin are accompanied by carrots, pearl onions and a Parmesan fonduta. His delightful chicken is poached, not pan-seared, in olive oil. Moist, melt in your mouth scallops are accompanied by crispy prosciutto and leeks. Do you get the picture, si?
Scott's hand-crafted tortellini make a pretty picture with goat cheese and broccoli rabe' at their side. But what really sets this dish apart is the pickled apricots. Two other dishes that you'll want to look into are the potato gnocchi with sausage and pasta pomodoro with Scott's signature ragu.
Dolce delights include a scrumptious Quince and apple cake, Tiramisu affogato with Mascarpone and Carminella's indulgent and rich chocolate mousse.
Fusco hosts a whole range of special events, the hottest ticket of which is the collaboration Dinners. Held regularly throughout the year, these dinners see Scott team up with one of his friends from the celebrity culinary scene, to prepare an Italian-American themed five-course dinner. And YOU are the guest of honor!
Scott recently welcomed his Chopped co-judge Amanda Freitag to the Fusco kitchen. Check the Fusco website for announcements of special events and offers. During Winter Restaurant Week, Fusco offered a special three-course prix-fixe meal (appetizer, entree and dessert) for only $42.
The time-honored saying tells us that everything old is new again. That could not be truer than within the taste-tempting environs at Fusco, Scott Conant's heartfelt ode to an era when going out to dinner was, indeed, something very special.
Location and Hours
43 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10003
Sunday to Thursday 5 PM to 10:30 PM
Friday and Saturday 5 PM to 11 PM
The Red Rooster - Harlem
At forty-six years of age, chef Marcus Samuelsson has enjoyed success beyond his wildest dreams. At the helm of a restaurant empire that literally spans the globe, Marcus had the distinct honor of being asked by President Barack Obama to plan and execute a State Dinner on the South Lawn for the Prime Minister of India and hundreds of distinguished guests.
But it's not just recognition by world leaders, multiple James Beard awards, a flourishing television career as a judge on Chopped or the astounding success of his restaurants, Ginny's Supper Club and The Red Rooster that defines Marcus.
This hard-working and personable chef's definition of success goes a lot deeper than material rewards or fame.
Born in war-ravaged Ethiopia, Marcus was adopted as an infant by a loving and kind couple, Ann Marie and Lenart Samuelsson, who brought Marcus to their native Sweden.
Marcus was a citizen of the world, long before the phrase became hip and trendy.
During his formative years, Marcus, together with his sisters Anna and Linda, spent Summers in Smogen, a small town on Sweden's charming and scenic west coast.
Here, Marcus loved to go fishing with his dad and uncles. Spending most of their mornings on the water, the Samuelsson clan caught all kinds of fish, from lobster and mackerel to crayfish.
But after the fishing was done, their work had only just begun. Lennart taught his children how to smoke and preserve the fish they caught.
However, the eager youngster's interest in food was taken to a whole other level when his grandmother Helga took him under her wing. Marcus could not get enough of watching Helga pickle vegetables, make savory Swedish meatballs from scratch as well as whip up ginger snaps, cookies and apple jam.
Marcus' other window into food came from his Ethiopian roots. Ethiopia is a country where spices are a key ingredient in almost every dish.
His multi-cultural upbringing taught Marcus an appreciation for food as a bridge that can bring people together and break down barriers. A man who relishes the creative process, chef Marcus is influenced by art, music and fashion. The inside of the Red Rooster looks as though it was designed by an artist. There is so much going on in terms of splashes of color, stylish furniture as well as one or two endearingly eccentric touches.
One of the more popular dishes here is the savory biscuits and gravy soup. A traditional base of onion broth is graced by chunks of chorizo, a farm fresh egg, an oh so tasty buttermilk biscuit crumble and a pickled onion.
Grandma Helga's delicious meatballs are the star of Marcus' very special Renaissance cottage pie. Those delectable morsels of meat are joined by a potato knish and assorted pickled vegetables. Foodies flock to the Rooster, from near and far, to enjoy the hot honey yard bird. Light and dark meat both come together with garlic mashed potatoes, braised cabbage and dirty gravy to create a medley of unforgettable flavors. This dish certainly lives up to its name with a nice spicy kick that's offset by a touch of honey.
The Lenox smash burger is also a big-time winner with, not one, but two all beef patties, lettuce, cheddar cheese and, get this, both onion marmalade and tomato jam.
No matter which entrée you end up ordering, though, you'd be well advised to pair your dish up with one of Chef Samuelsson's tantalizing sides. The Mac and greens consist of pasta, cheddar and Parmesan cheese as well as a mound of collard greens.
If you just so happen to be out on a first or even second date or are a married couple enjoying a respite from the kids on date night, then Chef Marcus has something special planned just for you.
His aptly named For Two section of the menu gives hungry couples their choice of several shareable meals. The taco truck option is a huge platter filled with roasted lamb, pulled jerk chicken, grilled shrimp, poblano sauce Guajillo chile crema, house-made corn tortillas and charred peppers.
The Fried Bird Royale consists of a whole fried chicken, mac and greens, honey biscuits and hot-hot honey!
Chef Marcus is the undoubted maestro of flavor, spice and everything nice. And, he's a heck of a nice guy to boot. Talk about being a down to earth kind of guy. Marcus' favorite way to relax is to play a game of soccer with his friends in the local park and then go home and cook dinner for them.
Location and Hours
310 Lenox Avenue
New York, NY 10027
Monday to Thursday 11:30 AM to 10:30 PM
Friday 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Saturday 10 AM to 11:30 PM
Sunday 10 AM to 10 PM
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