Food & Drink

FOOD: Couch Sessions Round-Up – Our Favorite Places to Eat!

by Lea Faminiano

If you read this site, you already know we’re into music, art, film, and style… but one thing we all fiercely love?  Food!  Though we all have our own specialties at The Couch Sessions, we’re all also foodies at heart.  Here’s a list of some of our staff’s picks at their favorite places to eat, from all over the country!

Stone [Couch Sessions co-owner, NYC]
Tonalli Cafe Bar – 3628 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
This place is a hidden gem located way uptown in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood. Skip the dinner and go straight for the brunch where you will find the best French Toast in NYC! The thick slices of brioche bread and fruit topping are downright amazing, I have yet to find another place that serves a better French Toast in the city. Weekends fill up by 1PM and there is usually a wait so get there early!

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[Bianca; photo from eat. shop. love. nyc.]

Bianca – 5 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
This has been one of my secret spots in the city that I’m now sharing
with the world. This is hands down one of the best date spots in NYC. In fact, it’s where my girlfriend and I share our anniversary every year. The small space is no frills and cash only, but serves some of the best Italian that I’ve had in the city at affordable prices. The dining room fills up quickly and there are no reservations, but you can grab a drink at the bar next door and the owner will come and get you when your table is ready!

Jon [Couch Sessions co-owner, NYC]
Tom’s Diner – Prospect Heights (pancakes)
Alice’s Arbor – Bed-Stuy (chicken and steamed mussels)
Do or Dine – Bed-Stuy (duck)
Puerto Viejo – Prospect Heights (Dominican pork chops)
Tai Son – Chinatown (pho)
La Superior – Williamsburg (fish tacos)
Egg – Williamsburg (egg Rothko)

Vickey [Editor-in-Chief, D.C.]

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[Drew’s Peanut Butter Bacon Burger from Ted’s Bulletin, photo from Washingtonian]

1. Ted’s Bulletin
Fave: Drew’s Peanut Butter Bacon Burger sesame seed bun, sweet and spicy Roma tomato jam on the side

2. The Greek Spot
Fave: Grilled Salmon w/ Greek Salad & Rice…AND they have the best FRIES!

3. Saint Ex
Fave: Sticky Date Pudding – bacon butterscotch, sour cherries, vanilla ice cream

Gregorio [Music, NYC]
Pho Grand, Chinatown (pho)
Gaby’s Pizza, Queens (pizza)
Shake Shack, Brooklyn (burgers)
The Commodore, Brooklyn (chicken and honey butter)
Red Rooster, Harlem (Hoagie Svenska)

Liz [Art + Design, NYC]
Republic [37 Union Sq West] – It’s loud but the food is so good it comes so fast and the drinks are amazing too, tofu like you never had it before! [recommended: seared marinated salmon, crispy tofu]

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[squid legs from Village Yokocho]

Village Yokocho [8 Stuyvesant St] – recommended: natto, spicy sashimi bowl, buttered mushrooms, fried squid legs.

Curry-Ya [214 E 10th St]  – I like their seasonal choices or any of the curries with pumpkin in it.

Pio Pio (many locations, 34th & Jackson Heights are good) – recommended: chicken with green sauce, ceviche.

Sabrosura (1200 Castle Hill Ave, Bronx) – recommended: shrimp mofongo

The Grey Dog [242 W 16th St] – noisy and crowded but so cute and awesome to be in.  [recommended: the #7: sliced granny smith apples with turkey, brie, and raspberry mustard.

Sam [Style, NYC/Boston]
Jim’s Deli and Restaurant [Brighton, MA]
Breakfast all day – Jim is always there and remembers all regular customers names – portion sizes are huge – they just keep it real!

Empire Garden [Chinatown, Boston]
Dim Sum almost every Sunday – Mr. Wong (owner) kept Chinatown standing while Mayor of Boston tried taking out some businesses – shrimp shu-mai is serious

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[Casa Adela; photo from Facebook]

Casa Adela [Avenue C, NYC]
Was raised in their food every weekend and they have not changed anything, which is what makes it the best – get the mofongo, and their chicken has mad flavor like no other – cash only, BYOB friendly, get authentic home cooked styled Puerto Rican food.

Jamaican Flavors [Jamaica, Queens]
Always get jerk chicken patty with coco bread and Ting ginger soda – patty is always crispy and flaky and meat is amazingly seasoned – another cash only spot.

Powell [Food + Drink, D.C.]
Granville Moore’s – H Street NE
Little Serow – Dupont Circle
Range – Friendship Heights
Toki Underground – H Street NE

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[Toki Underground; photo by Washington City Paper]

Danny [Food + Drink, Philadelphia]
Without a doubt, Little Baby’s Ice Cream is one of my favorite places. It’s so good I completely blew it on a date when I kinda said I didn’t want to share. They just opened a new store in West Philly this Saturday near my volunteer gig, which means I’m going to end up there a lot.

And just down the block from there is Dock Street Brewing Co., a brewpub and wood-fired pizzeria. Their “Dude de Garde”, a French farmhouse-style ale, is easily my new favorite and I can’t wait until it gets back in rotation.

Casey [Food + Drink, NYC]
1. Tipsy Parson for brunch (Southern) (20th st and 9th ave): Pig-in-a-Poke; The Farmstand; Mushroom Toast; a sweet or savory biscuit with tomato jam; Lemon Cornmeal pancakes

2. Terri – vegan, organic fast food, lots of gluten free options – the staff is so happy and friendly! (23rd st and 6th ave): Live Long and Green juice, “Meatball” sub; Portobello Pesto sandwich; Green Power smoothie

3. Boka (St. Mark’s): confession – I have no idea if this is what the restaurant is actually called. The triple-fried spicy chicken is so good I’m not sure it matters. Also, the jap chae (glass noodles).

4. Chelsea Chinese, doesn’t look special, and feels like the Chinese food restaurant you ate at with your grandparents when you were 9 years old, but there’s always a line (24th st. and 9th ave): pork soup dumplings; cold spicy sesame noodles; tea-smoked duck; shrimp toast; anything with the word “spicy”

5. Chop Shop (25th st and 10th ave): Thai-glazed St. Louis spareribs; Spicy Drunken Noodle

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[Rocket Pig; photo from Serious Eats]

6. Rocket Pig NYC (24th and 10th ave): they only make one thing – “smoked, spice-rubbed pork on a ciabatta roll with red onion jam.” Comes with sauces, pickles. They have desserts – bacon caramels

7. Wong (Cornelia st): noodles, duck fat ice cream with poached plums

Ray [Art + Design, NJ/NYC/Miami]
Raymond’s, Montclair, NJ. Eggs Hussarde – my favorite twist on eggs benedict, or anything on the brunch menu.

Keen’s Steakhouse, NY, NY. Prime Filet Mignon (like I had to write that), or Two Double Lamb Chops – old school NYC steak house.

Taqueria Aguila, Passaic, NJ – tacos al pastor –  the best fresh handmade tortillas on the planet!

The Commodore, Brooklyn, NY. FRIED CHICKEN!!!

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, Miami Design District, Miami, FL. Get the Harris Ranch Black Angus Burger, with blue cheese – power lunch with South Florida’s elite.

Bimini Boat Yard, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Pull up in your Rari or dock your 60 footer and feast – genuine yacht club atmosphere – get the brunch, or Havana Mahi Mahi.

Lea [that’s me! Food + Drink, NYC]
I’m a sucker for any hole-in-the-wall, out-of-the-way eating establishment so most of these places are like that!  This list might seem kind of long, but trust me, this is the short version…

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[one of many delicious dishes from Bab al Yemen]

For Asian, I just recently went to Hiroko’s Place, get the omurice with cheese, just do it.  Go Go Thai in Chelsea has the best pad thai and pineapple fried rice ever.  For Indian, go to the basement of Temple Ganesh in Flushing, best Indian I’ve had in the city, order anything, or everything, it’s dirt cheap.  Bab al Yemen in Bay Ridge is the only place you ever need to go to get Middle Eastern food, order anything with lamb.

I am crazy into Latin food of any kind and am not hard to please, Benny’s Burritos is my go-to when choosing a fun dinner with friends if you’re not trying to be super authentic (and there’s cheap, strong margaritas!) but my favorite Mexican food has been from Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos (it’s a tortilla factory and you can watch your tortillas be freshly made!).  I’ve only been to Puerto Viejo once (thanks Jon!) but it’s my new favorite, I loved my Bistec Encebollado and can’t wait to go back.  I could eat an arepa every day especially if it’s from Arepera Guacuco in Bushwick or Arepa Cafe in Queens (can’t decide which I like better!).

Bar Suzette in Chelsea Market has the best crepes I’ve ever had (maybe even compared to Paris, they know me by name at this place).  Best brunch I’ve had in NYC was in Park Slope at al di laS’MAC – favorite mac & cheese place, I’m obsessed, and Balthazar is pricey but it’s the best steak frites I’ve had, ever.  And finally, if I get rid of my wheat allergy, the first place I am heading back to is Artichoke Pizza!

Anyone agree, or disagree with any of our favorites?  Let us know yours – we’re always up for trying a new spot!