344 W. 11th St, New York


Phone: 212-352-2300

Wallse is the second Austrian restaurant I have tried in the city. I had a good experience at the lovely Café Katja in Lower East Side, so I decided to check out this higher end Austrian joint for brunch with a group of out of town friends on Saturday. Actually, I was quite surprised to see that there was no crowd when I arrived at the restaurant. I would expect to see more people, given that it is a one Michelin star restaurant and it was featured as one of the NYC Best Eats in 2007.

If you have been reading my blog for some time, you’d probably know by now that I love varieties when it comes to food (and pretty much anything else. Ha! ) But seriously, I love Wallse’ brunch menu. It was not the usual pancake and omelet menu, instead, they have dishes like Kaiserschmarrn, Viennese Weisswurst, Hungarian Beef Goulash, Wiener Schnitzel, Spätzle etc, which by the way, were all delicious. I was also impressed by their soft and buttery Viennese pastries. I would go back to Wallse just for the bread and pastries.

It was definitely a good brunch, with great company. I just wished we had a more pleasant waitress who wasn’t sulking the whole time.

Assortment of Viennese Pastries

Kaiserschmarrn with fruit compote and marinated raisins

Viennese Weisswurst with sweet mustard and potato-cucumber salad

Spätzle with braised rabbit, wild mushrooms, sweet corn and tarragon

Soft Boiled Eggs in a Glass

Wiener Schnitzel with potato-cucumber salad and lingonberries

Hungarian Beef Goulash with fresh herbed spätzle

Wallsé on Urbanspoon

Peter Luger Steakhouse


178 Broadway, Brooklyn


Phone: 718-387-7400

It's been a long time since I tasted a perfectly cooked steak. So last weekend, I went for lunch at Peter Luger with a pretty low expectation. I know, the restaurant is famous and it is supposedly very good, but I needed to be convinced. As it turned out, everyone was right about Peter Luger. I fell in love with steak all over again, and I almost felt sorry for myself for not eating there in the past decade living in NYC. The meat was cooked flawlessly – juicy, tender and flavorful, and their famous Peter Luger steak sauce complemented the meat so well. The whole table was also blown away by the bacon. You might ask, how good can bacon be? Well, go have some at Peter Luger, and you’ll see.

Sizzling bacon strips -BEST darn bacon!

Steak for four - USDA prime beef, family selected, dry aged in Peter Luger’s own aging box

Peter Luger Steak House on Urbanspoon

Merkato 55


55 Gansevoort St, New York



After conquering New York City with his Scandinavian restaurant, Aquavit, it is only natural that Chef Marcus Samuelsson returned to his roots and opened the first Upscale African restaurant in the city.

To me, this upscale African restaurant concept might not work if it was done by someone else; Having a star chef like Marcus Samuelsson does bring some sort of credibility, not to mention the ability to charge at premium for food that you can otherwise get from a Lower East Side restaurant for a fraction of the price. It is too early to tell if the restaurant will succeed, but there were a few before him who managed to “upscaled” Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine, ie spice market and fatty crab, and are doing fine, but both restaurants were with backings of famous chefs.

Now let’s talk about the food. Although I am not particularly familiar with African food, I have to say the dishes we ordered such as lamb kefta meatball, spicy chicken doro wat, berbere rack of lamb and honey glazed duck were delicious. The entire table was also delighted by the spicy shrimp chili sambal and cucumber sambal. Unfortunately, the desserts were a couple of misses; the avocado shake and the tamarind candy were sour and unpleasant.

Overall, our experience at Merkato 55 was exciting and satisfying. The service was lovely, although it could be better if the wait staffs would ask before taking away a plate of food which we were still working on.

Yellowtail tartare with green curry broth and citrus jam

Bread, sambals and dips

Berbere Rack of Lamb with grains of paradise sauce

Honey glazed duck with banana and plantain salad

Jerk pork belly with green mango and radish

Top right: lamb kefta meatball

Avocado shake and coconut macaroons

Merkato on Urbanspoon

Amy Ruth's


: 113 West 116th Street, New York


Phone: 212-280-8779

The verdict is out -- Amy Ruth's serves the best soul food in the whole NYC! The Rev. Al Sharpton chicken & waffle that Gan ordered was so delicious that it is artery-clogging worthy and the Ludacris fried chicken wings were finger-licking good! This is hands down the best place for good quality southern comfort food, where you eat your blues away! Did I also mention that their corn bread is delicious?

heavenly corn bread

The Ludacris Fried chicken wings with collard greens and baked mac & cheese

The Rev. Al Sharpton chicken & waffles (fried)

Amy Ruth's on Urbanspoon



240 West 14th St, New York


Phone: 212-229-1818

I know Crispo is famous for its Spaghetti Carbonara, but I was impressed with its antipasti and affettati more than anything. The Citrus Cured Anchovies were mouth-watering, Crisp Fuji Apple, Prosciutto & Parmigiano was terrific and its bone marrow " Arrosto Origanato" was sickeningly, GOOD! For the entrees, Gan really enjoyed the Spaghetti Carbonara but we both thought the Grilled Hanger Steak "Risotto di Carotta" was too chewy. Minus the hanger steak, I would say our dinner at Crispo was perfect. Good food, excellent service and great ambiance (be sure to ask for a table at the garden) - what more can one ask for?

(Left) Citrus Cured Anchovies, (Right) Crisp Fuji Apple , Prosciutto & Parmigiano - drizzled with some balsamic vinegar

Bone Marrow "arrosto oreganato" - I believe the bone marrows were cut opened in house and baked with some breadcrumbs and cheese

Spaghetti Carbonara "3p Classic"

Grilled Hanger Steak "Risotto di Carotta"

Tiramisu, Fresh Ladyfingers, Mascarpone & Espresso

Crispo on Urbanspoon