ABC Kitchen

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While a dinner reservation here is pretty challenging, you absolutely need to make it a point to visit ABC Kitchen in The Flatiron District at some dining point, where it’s lunch, brunch or dinner. 

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This Jean-Georges restaurant is everything you’d expect it to be from him, nothing shy of amazing. I’m pretty obsessed with the aesthetic here too, it’s rustic, meets French countryside, meets woodland nymph. Food wise, everything here is locally sourced, organic, and, well, delicious. 

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To start, as a snack for the table, we ordered their House Cut Fries. These are so amazing. They’re perfectly seasoned, crisp herbs and rosemary really add a nice dimension to the already tasty, crisp fries. 

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Then, I went for their prix fixe lunch menu and, for my first course I had the Line Caught Tuna Sashimi (marinated with ginger and mint). Amazing. The dish has a little bit of spice to it with a nice hint of the ginger. The tuna itself is perfect and seems to almost melt in your mouth.

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Next, for my entree I had their Veggie Burger (minted yogurt and housemade whole wheat pita). I loved this. First off, the burger and pita are super substantial and hearty. The veggie burger is housemade, of course, and lightly dipped in an egg bater and quickly fried, giving it a nice crisp exterior. The minted yogurt was especially nice with this too, adding a nice creaminess to the meatiness of the burger. I really loved the carrot slaw here too, they had the nicest balance in texture between being tender and crisp, and lightly dressed in an olive oil. 

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Then, for dessert, I had the Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae (candied peanuts & popcorn, whipped cream, chocolate sauce). Holy $&*!. This was so incredible, it’s basically heaven in a bowl. The salted caramel ice cream is rich, and silky, and almost has a burnt sugar appeal. On top is a housemade whipped cream, light and airy and not even all that sweet, balancing well with the rest of the sweet dish. The chocolate sauce on the bottom is warm, and rich and chocolaty and almost fudge like. Then, you basically have a homemade crackerjack box confecting the sundae. It’s all ridiculous and insanely delicious. 

The Shorts:
Name: ABC Kitchen
Location: 35 East 18th Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Uh, DUH! Faster than you can say ABC. 
Would I recommend it? In a heartbeat. The food was delicious, the service was outstanding and friendly, and the Sundae. Can we talk about that again? In love. 

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Trattoria Belvedere

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I love Italian food from the Tuscany region. And if you’re looking for a non-pretentious environment that really makes you feel like family (sorry, Olive Garden), head to Trattoria Belvedere in Murray Hill. 

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Everything here is made and served with lots of love and attention to detail. To start, we were served a complimentary Bruschetta E Pomodoro (Italian bread with tomatoes). The bread is crisp on the outside and just toasted enough to hold up the generous amounts of fresh tomatoes, lightly dressed in olive oil and pepper. 

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For appetizers, we ordered a couple of things. First, I had Mozzarella E Pomodoro (fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil). This was really great. The tomatoes are fresh, plump and flavorful, and the mozzarella is rich and creamy. The olive oil and basil all bring the dish together very nicely. 

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Next, I had their Grilled Calamari. The portion was generous, and the squid had a really nice char to it. I usually really prefer a nice grilled calamari as opposed to fried and breaded, so this was perfect. 

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For my entree, I had one of the specials that night, Yellowfin Tuna with sautéed spinach. This was really nice. The fish was seasoned very simply, letting the tuna shine and not get overpowered. I especially liked the sautéed spinach with had a really unique balance between crisp and charred and soft and creamy. 

The Shorts:
Name: Trattoria Belvedere
Location: 165 Lexington Avenue
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, the room is set in exposed brick, warm and cozy, and the service is great. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, tasty food and very reasonably priced too.