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Soho's spring vibes

Soho NYC spring vibes

Romantic Indoor and Outdoor dining options in the heart of Soho's trendy Shopping District.

Springtime is all about new beginnings so it's the perfect time to try out some new restaurants and explore different cuisines. Who knows, you just might find your new go-to spot. After a long Winter, there's no better reason to get out of the apartment and discover what your city has to offer. The diverse neighborhood of Soho, with tons of art galleries and shopping options, also has a foodie and restaurant scene that is second to none.

Antique Garage - Soho

This charming, romantic restaurant is so very true to its name. Converted from an old, fairly decrepit auto-body repair shop into a fine dining establishment, back in 2003, the space's ambiance is enhanced by a collection of eye-catching antiques, most of which come from the personal collection of chef and owner Utku Cinel. As you might imagine, Chef Cinel's two passions in life are cooking and searching for antique furniture, accessories, mementos; really anything and everything that makes a unique statement. After all, the chef's menu embraces the diversity of the entire Mediterranean region, so why shouldn't the decor reflect that eclectic vibe?

Trained at the French Culinary Institute, Chef Cinel's delicious menu incorporates a healthy respect for traditional cooking methods along with a zesty flair for innovation. One thing is for sure: you won't be bored eating here at Antique Garage. Starters include the magnificently refreshing Santorini Salad. Earthy and tasty chunks of feta cheese crown a mound of organic chopped lettuce, scallion onions and fresh dill. You'll definitely want to sop up the remains of the lemon and olive oil dressing with a morsel of fresh-baked bread. The Zucchini Spring Roll appetizer gives you perfectly grilled zucchini that is stuffed with goat cheese and bell peppers. The chef and his team also do a wonderful Seafood Ceviche. The octopus, squid, shrimp and scallops are dressed with jalapenos and lime juice. But, there's no overkill going on. Chef Cinel's hand is light and deft to the touch.

One of the most popular entrees is the Grilled Organic Chicken Breast that is served with a bevy of veggies and tzatziki sauce. You should also look into the grass-fed, organic rack of lamb in an apricot brandy reduction, accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes. And, let us not forget the marvelous Seafood Begendi which consists of sauteed shrimp, and calamari. octopus, tomatoes and hot green peppers served over a divine smoked eggplant puree. Please try to leave room for dessert. It will be well worth your while. Two standouts from Chef Cinel's sweet endings menu are the Midnight Express, which is an addicting blend of silky dark, milk and white chocolate creams topped with a hazelnut crunch. The luscious Profiteroles are flaky pastry puffs filled with chantilly cream and enrobed in chocolate. They are irresistible.

Be sure to check out the bar area. The Antique garage serves up some of the tastiest cocktails in the neighborhood such as the Mercer Street, whose ingredients are Hendrick's gin, St. Germain and grapefruit juice with an orange wheel garnish. Super-refreshing is the berry Smash Whiskey, made with Knob Creek bourbon, and fresh muddled berries.

In addition to the outrageous brick-walled space, you may want to dine outdoors at their rather small but oh-so-cute sidewalk cafe. It's great for people-watching and when evening comes, the street lighting casts quite the romantic glow on the scene.

Location and Hours:

41 Mercer Street
New York N.Y. 10013
(212) 219-1019
www.antiquegaragesoho.com

Hours :

Monday to Thursday 5 PM to 10 PM
Friday 12 PM to 11 PM
Saturday 11 AM to 11 PM
Sunday 11 AM to 10 PM

Soho Park - Soho

A casual eatery, Soho Park offers a menu of elevated street food and American grilled classics as well as a dining space that will make you feel as though you've wandered into a greenhouse. There are flowers and plants everywhere as far as the eye can see. Lush green plants and vines are even hanging from the rafters. And, if that's not enough, Soho Park also offers a spacious outdoor dining area replete with palm trees, planters and the like. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, the garden atmosphere rules! Having been in business since 2006 and still going strong, Soho Park is a great spot to meet up with friends or treat the out-of-town in-laws to a lunch or dinner that they will remember fondly long after they have flown back home.

First of all, let us celebrate their All-Day Happy Hour which features $7 draft beers and Coronas, $ 8 house red and white wines and your choice of an Aperol Spritz, Mojito, or Margarita for only ten dollars. The a la carte drink list also offers superb cocktails like the Lychee Collins, a smooth blend of gin, lychee juice, cucumber juice and soda water. The barkeeps do a fantastic Cosmopolitan with citrus vodka, Cointreau, cranberry and lime juice. The Soho Park Mojito consists of light rum, muddled limes, sugar, mint and a splash of soda.

While the menu may not be super-duper adventurous, the food is solid, and tasty and the portions are generous. As far as appetizers go, you should look into the Roasted Tomato Soup with rye bread croutons, the Angus Beef Bowl of Chili and the Mesclun Greens salad ( tomatoes, cucumbers, shaved carrots and balsamic dressing.) The grillmasters here totally know their stuff so whether you order the grilled chicken sandwich, the steak with caramelized onions, or the Double Park Burger, made with TWO Angus beef patties, shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced pickles, tomatoes, onions and house sauce, your cravings WILL be satisfied. The kitchen also does a VEGAN Beyond Burger patty that will knock your socks right off! The beer-battered Fish and Chips plate comes with made-from-scratch tartar sauce. Tired of the usual frankfurter with sauerkraut? Then try the Shawn Dog which is your hot dog topped with warm red cabbage and some like it HOT curry mustard. Now THAT's a different kind of taste explosion in your mouth. The kitchen turns out some very appealing sides, as well, like the butter-slathered grilled sweet corn on the cob, Southern fried pickles and herb-buttermilk coated onion rings.

Location and Hours:

62 Prince Street
New York N.Y. 10012
(212) 219-2129
www.sohopark62.com

Hours :

Monday to Saturday 11:30 AM to 10:30 PM
Sunday 11:30 AM to 10 PM

Pera - Soho

The younger " sister " of Pera Mediterranean Brasserie in Midtown Manhattan, Pera Soho is less formal and a bit more bubbly and adventurous than her older sibling who attracts a business-attired, expense-account crowd. In short, Pera Soho fits the surrounding neighborhood like a glove, attracting a highly diverse crowd of local artists, designers,
couples on a date and families looking to enjoy a night out, leaving the cooking to others. The restaurant's menu and ambiance have been inspired by the celebrated Istanbul neighborhood where delectable cuisine, art, culture and nightlife converge. The interior of the restaurant is dimly lit and you can actually have a conversation here. There's no loud music being played in the background. Pera Soho also just happens to have one of the most beautiful and stunning outdoor dining areas on Manhattan Island. No kidding, the garden space is like a Broadway stage set, it is so visually appealing. The adjoining terrace area is heated in Winter time, so the elements won't prevent you from enjoying al fresco dining.

The folks at Pera have recently refreshed their Happy Hour menu and it's better than ever. The joy takes place Monday through Friday, from 4:30 until 6:30 pm. For twelve dollars, guests have a choice of ordering two mezes. Options include smoked burrata bruschetta, beef pastirma wrapped feta stuffed dates, phyllo rolls with yogurt and beet borani dip. They have a very nice selection of cocktails for the sum of $12 including their signature Blood Orange Martini whose ingredients are vodka, blood orange pure and orange bitters. You also might wish to wet your whistle with the Peach and Ginger Sangria made with Sauvignon Blanc, canton, fresh peach juice, ginger and sage. The Soho Blossom mixes sparkling wine with rose hip tea, orange blossom and St. Germaine.

Dinner plates emphasize fresh local produce and unusual ingredient blends. For example, the pan-seared salmon comes with grape tzatziki ( bet you've never had THAT before), an everything-spice crust and some peppery baby arugula. Delicious beyond words is the crispy Portobello gyro, which is served with lettuce, tomato, onions, spicy yogurt, tahini sauce and fries. The grilled lamb sampler is made for ravenous appetites. Your plate is filled with a baby lamb chop, marinated lamb brochette, lamb adana with pistachios and kasseri cheese and grilled vegetables together with an onion-sumac and parsley seasoning. Sea scallops can be found on many NYC menus but not like the culinary team does them at Pera Soho. Your flavourful scallops are accompanied by a Spring pea puree, pickled ramps, morrells and, get this, chamomile butter.

Location and Hours:

54 Thompson Street
New York N.Y. 10012
(212) 878-6305
www.pera-soho.com

Hours :

Monday and Tuesday 4:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Wednesday to Friday 4:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Saturday 11:30 AM to 11 PM
Sunday 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM

Little Ways - Soho

Located inside of a quaint townhouse that has a ton of history in its bones, Little Ways has become THE gathering place for those New Yorkers who are seeking a fun night out with great food and drinks. Taking up two floors, the restaurant's first floor is devoted to dining. The space is intimate and cozy. Some say that it evokes the aesthetic of a Soho artist's loft. And, who are we to argue the point? The second floor has the feel of a lounge straight from the 1970s complete with maroon velvet couches. The centerpiece is a sexy skylight in the middle of the roof. As the evening goes on, you can dance to some fine music courtesy of the house DJ. Hey, good vibes, always!

Start your evening with some Pink moon oysters accompanied by a Campari and black pepper mignonette. You may also choose a plate of crispy Brussels sprouts with rice wine, maple and Szechuan pepper or deviled eggs dressed with sesame seeds and wasabi. The mains really ARE main events, culinary speaking. Perhaps one of Little Way's finest entrees is the cauliflower steak with quinoa, green olives, smoked salt and served with a sunny-side egg on top. Dressed up in mustard sauce, the chicken schnitzel comes with an arugula and pine nut salad with shaved Parmesan. Regulars agree that one of the go-to dishes here is the maitake mushroom rigatoni. The generous portion of al dente pasta is tossed with confit tomatoes, chili flakes, basil and white wine. Right up there in the winner's circle is the crab linguine with a touch of lemon, cream, bread crumbs and parsley. The steamed halibut is oh-so good. The melt-in-your-mouth piece of fish is filled up with white beans, Swiss chard, turnips, black garlic and a mushroom puree that has to be tasted to be believed.

The bartenders at Little Ways are not short on talent or ingenuity. While they mix your drink it looks effortless, but a lot of work and hours of experimentation go into giving you some of the best cocktails on the planet. Yes, the drinks are THAT good. The Burbs blend a shot of bourbon and a pour of Campari with lime juice and ginger beer. The whimsically named Harry Styles mixes up mezcal and Aperol with watermelon juice and basil for a really good elixir. On the classic side of the bar, you'll find an excellent Negroni with gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. Dessert cocktails include the truly fabulous Chocolate Covered Strawberry. The combination of vodka, strawberry puree, espresso, Mr. Black, honey and dark chocolate hits the spot.

Location and Hours:

343 West Broadway
New York N.Y. 10013
(212) 991-8175
www.littlewaysnyc.com

Hours :
Sunday & Monday Closed
Tuesday to Friday 5 PM to 2 AM
Saturday 11 AM to 2 AM

Three of Cups - Soho

" Harvest, Feast, Fellowship, Rebirth." Those few but meaningful words sum up the philosophy of owner-restaurateur Michael Polesny and Executive Chef Santo Vicenzino.
At Three of Cups, it's all about community and making their customers feel welcome. You can also count on enjoying food that is sourced locally and a menu that is both comforting and imaginative.

The former owner of Doma and Doma Na Ronu in the West Village, Michael Polesny originally hails from the Czech Republic. Chef Vicenzino was born in Sicily and emigrated to NYC with his family at an early age. Both have adopted the Big Apple as their forever home. Michael and Santo bring a European sensibility to the menu as well as the tradition of hospitality. The decor of the restaurant emits a cozy vibe. And the outdoor patio is THE place to be on warm Spring nights as well as on a sunny weekend. What a perfect setting for brunch. By the way, inside the restaurant you will be treated, every so often, to visually stunning exhibitions from local artists.

Brunch is served on the weekends from 9 AM to 4 PM. No matter where you may hail from in the city, it is SO worth the trip, if only to enjoy Chef Santo's indescribable hash and eggs
dish. Your plate is filled with a hash made from potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and fresh herbs together with two fried eggs, slices of avocado and a wonderful masa-mole seasoning. Another must-have is the TOC Benedict. Two beautifully poached eggs rest atop a house-made English biscuit accompanied by smoked salmon, arugula, hollandaise and dill. At Three of Cups, your pancakes are infused with whipped ricotta and you have the choice of very berry, chocolate coconut, or spiced apple compote.

Regular customers rave about the hearty German Breakfast platter which consists of veal breakfast sausages, two eggs any style and a soft Bavarian pretzel. Brunch Booze is very reasonably priced at just $13 a glass and, believe us; it is NOT watered down. The bar serves up delicious Proseccos, Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Their signature TOC Mimosa is otherworldly with ingredients like Rose prosecco, orange juice and Pomegranate juice.

After your work day is done, make plans to visit Three of Cups for dinner and drinks. Chef Santo's menu has vegan-friendly options as well as fish and BBQ dishes that satisfy on so many levels. His nine-hour BBQ beef brisket is fork tender and so authentic and flavourful you won't believe that it came out of a kitchen that doesn't specialize in barbeque. The curry shrimp and wild striped bass gumbo bring just the right amount of heat. The gumbo is served over a bed of jasmine rice. The roasted root vegetable platter is a veggie lovers paradise. It's a veritable harvest of Japanese sweet potatoes, celery, parsnips, heirloom carrots and leeks with a side of mint yogurt raita for dipping.

To wash it all down, you can choose from a stellar selection of beer, wine, soft drinks, juices and, of course, cocktails. You'll adore the Paper Plane which pairs whiskey and Aperol with amaro and mulled lemon. The Espresso Martini will energize your evening with a shot of double espresso and nifty pours of vodka and vermouth. Then, there's the Chilli-Rita. This spicy Margarita is made with tequila, fresh lemon and lime juice and to top the merriment off, you'll taste a chilli rim on the edge of your glass.

Location and Hours:

150 Sullivan Street
New York N.Y. 10012
(646) 649-4221
www.threeofcupssoho.com

Hours :

Monday to Thursday 8 AM to 11 PM
Friday 8 AM to 12 AM
Saturday 9 AM to 12 AM
Sunday 9 AM to 11 PM

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Tuesday, 16 July 2024