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Richard Morgan

Richard Morgan

Richard Morgan is the Food & Drinks Editor at Time Out New York.

Articles (2)

Micah Melton dragged NYC cocktails from Prohibition into the 21st century

Micah Melton dragged NYC cocktails from Prohibition into the 21st century

The city’s best cocktails took a quantum leap forward when Micah Melton turned one of the best hotels in NYC’s bar on the Upper West Side into a five-star getaway. In doing so, he shattered the status quo among the city's bartenders and dared them to abandon their too-long-held faith in Prohibition-inspired cocktails served in speakeasy-style bars. In The Aviary NYC, Melton offers the opposite of that cliche: an adventurous passport to the 21st century. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to New Yorkers of the Year So much of New York’s cocktail scene is locked into a few camps—the Sasha Petraske crowd (Milk & Honey, Little Branch, Attaboy), the Audrey Saunders branch (Pegu Club, Bar Goto) and the Julie Reiner crew (Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club, Leyenda, Suffolk Arms). It has the strength of being chummy and the weakness of being inbred. What was it like to come in as an outsider? We weren't bartenders in the violet hours of the Milk & Honeys of the world, so we walked with a target on our chest. That has been great for us. It means we don't have the option to fail, the allowance to fail, because we don't really have a support system here in New York. So come at us with your criticisms, please, because look at what's happened on the other end where everyone is just cheering and congratulating each other. I get that I'm from Chicago. But the thing about New York is, it’s never just about New York. It’s about what’s next.   The criticism you get is that this is all flash and folly, focuse

The 100 best new dishes and drinks in NYC 2017

The 100 best new dishes and drinks in NYC 2017

You eat all the time. Your taste buds speak every flavor’s language—even umami—and your stomach is a general assembly meeting of the culinary United Nations. You eat things you can’t pronounce. You’re not even always sure what’s on your plate. But you’re up for it. We get you. So we’ve put together the 100 absolutely best new dishes and drinks we tasted this year—no, we haven’t eaten at Eleven Madison Park yet, either—with a wallet-friendly average price point of just $14. And we’ve divided them into 10 categories: everything from favorites at food trucks and crafty cocktails at the best bars to vegan delights and the latest in dreamy desserts. Gorge responsibly. RECOMMENDED: See all of the best dishes and drinks in NYC

Listings and reviews (25)

Pig Beach

Pig Beach

3 out of 5 stars

If you have a hankering for some BBQ, this outdoor Brooklyn venue is the perfect place to munch on some savory dishes in a fun picnic-style setting. Your mouth will water at the possibilities—baby back ribs, the Pig Beach Burger (which comes with delicious secret sauce), brisket and so much more. Sides including mac n’ cheese with Goldfish, house pickles and smoke jalapeno coleslaw add the perfect finishing touch to your meal. Added bonus? Pups are welcome in the outdoor space, too!

Vinum

Vinum

5 out of 5 stars

We almost didn’t run this review in favor of keeping Vinum our little secret. But the truth wins out. If Leonardo da Vinci had painted Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, the rustic, Italinate result would be Staten Island’s most charming offering since Working Girl or Colin Jost. The duck prosciutto and truffled veal meatballs are mere bonuses. An older couple who sat next to us, holding hands under the table, introduced themselves: “She lived four blocks away. I fell in love with her when I was 10 but didn’t have the guts to ask her out until high school.” When we commented that they were living the plot of The Wonder Years, they lit up: “Oh, there’s more! I’m Tony. She’s Marie”—he pivoted to her and clasped her hand—“like West Side Story.” I like this island of Staten! There is a time and a place for this oft-forgotten borough; it’s here, in this elbows-on-the-table wine bar that seems, amid the bustle of Bay Street, more like a cozy Italian tavern nestled in Calabria or Sicily. When you walk in, you get the sense that you have entered someone else’s home, then later find yourself surprised that the home is yours. Wine bars rarely accomplish this feat. They are mostly marked-up mousetraps ensnaring bougie wastrels with thoughtless cheese and throwaway olives, all while being run by reverse Jesuses who turn wine into water. Vinum elegantly sidesteps such woes by pairing glasses and bottles with authentic Italian fare designed to elevate an ordinary wine list rather than debase it.

DaDong NY

DaDong NY

2 out of 5 stars

When Michelle Obama visited Dong Zhenxiang’s famed Beijing restaurant to try his yijing (“artistic conception”) cuisine, she ordered six whole ducks for her party of 14. Even healthy-living advocates become gluttons here. Now the 6'4" chef known as DaDong—da means big in Mandarin—has opened his first restaurant outside of China. It’s a big deal. Or is it? Our broad wish list of a half-dozen dishes was organized into courses for us. So thoughtful! But then the dishes arrived randomly. The kitchen didn’t realize they were out of our appetizers. Soups arrived after the duck. Our dining companion, a Chinese American and extreme foodie who recently returned from Beijing, whispered, “This would not happen in China.” The signature dish, Peking duck, is best served with a $42 caviar supplement so it can be eaten four ways: slathered in caviar, dipped in sugar, wrapped taco-like in thin flour pancakes or stuffed pita-like into a crispy sesame puff bun. The duck skin, which Dong brags is the only one in the world that can shatter, is a crackling treat. The ducks, bred for DaDong at a farm in Indiana, are lean (as a selling point for the health-conscious) and lack the typical greasy juiciness. They taste more like leftover Thanksgiving dark-meat turkey: tough and stringy. DaDong’s Beijing menu has 240 items but New York offers only 44 (of which 12 are signature dishes). Squid ink soup with wiry white tofu is a wholly alien adventure, a pulpy, creamy umami chowder. Crystal vegetable buns

Szechuan Mountain House

Szechuan Mountain House

3 out of 5 stars

In Chinatown or Curry Hill or Flushing or Koreatown, it’s a simple task to find expats and first- or second-generation immigrants eating authentic dishes from home. But Szechuan Mountain House has accomplished this legitimacy on St. Marks Place, its first expansion outside of Queens. It helps to have above-and-beyond ambience and dishes this tasty. The chili, garlic, fermented vegetables and pork on the string beans is a hat trick of flavor—freshness, spice and umami—reminiscent of mapo greens. The jellyfish salad has a dazzling, surprisingly wet crunch and is a perfect refresher. The short ribs disappoint after pyrotechnic tableside razzle-dazzle, and the accompanying buns are too bland and doughy. But overall, if Manhattan won’t go to the Mountain, we’re lucky the Mountain has come to Manhattan.

Da Xi

Da Xi

4 out of 5 stars

This reviewer studied abroad in Chengdu, in Szechuan province, and has been searching ever since to rediscover those exceptional flavors. That quest finally came to a delicious end at Da Xi, the unlikely palatial restaurant on the second floor of Flushing’s New World Mall, above the Main Street stop at the end of the 7 train. (The service, however, can be oddly confrontational: “That’s spicy!” “That’s cold!” “That’s a lot!”). Mix the shredded potatoes with the Chengdu-style sautéed pork for the kind of culinary adventure that will have you pining for these sumptuous tastes for years, too. Keep a bowl of black fungus salad handy as a refreshing—if sharp—palate cleanser, and wash down the spice with sour plum juice. Presentation highlights include the $1.99 dry Tibetan pork ribs served in a flowery birdcage and a fried dessert (K5 on the Chinese menu only) served as doughy little red bean–filled pears (replete with smart burnt-carrot stems). We were back later that week, waiting for the restaurant to open. And we were not in line alone.

The Highwater

The Highwater

4 out of 5 stars

Astoria was created to lure Manhattanites; it was named after John Jacob Astor in the hope that he would invest in it. Of course, it has always featured great spots, but only recently has its appeal caught up with its ambition. Now the hippest neighborhood in Queens has a literal Highwater mark. Bright and breezy, the Highwater is a tropical oasis for both the down-to-earth and the down-to-fuck. The 50-seater is lit up by the sunny disposition of its 6’7” Majorcan bartender, Gabriel Colom-Rocha (an easy double for Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa). His contagious playfulness can run as subtle as a can of pineapple cider or as boisterous as the Rick y Morty cocktail, a gummi-infused vodka drink (with gummi garnish) that transforms Midori and triple sec into a grown-up version of the vintage radioactive-green Hi-C Ecto Cooler. “This is great,” said our drinking companion, a recent California transplant. “It’s like Santa Monica.” At the Highwater you feel like you’re exhaling the whole time. It’s liquid yoga. And yet just when you think it’s all silly, surfy froth, the bartender serves the tobacco-smoked Clint Eastwood—brawny and aromatic enough to wash over your tongue as it wafts, puffing its chest, through your nose—or the potent Darkest Hour, a barrel-aged mix of cacao-infused Scotch, fernet and vermouth. With a kiss of kitsch, the flashy, turquoise $28 Blue Macaw, served for two in a copper pineapple, tastes like cotton candy–flavored bubble gum in the best, cutest way, an evoc

Nusr-Et

Nusr-Et

1 out of 5 stars

"So…it's sex," said our dining companion, a meat-and-potatoes Chicagoan, as he wiped his face. Meat juice had squirted onto his cheek during the tableside theatrics. Salt Bae had come, short and silent, and writhed so performatively in his tight, white deep-V (and black pants by Sherwin Williams) that his nipples visibly hardened over the course of the show. He pressed his bare fingers into our $130 ottoman steak as he sliced it. He walked away without saying a word, smirking from behind his bow-chicka-wow-wow shades. Did you see that?! Damn, it was awesome! But no, it's not exactly sex. And it's not exactly food either. Nusr-Et is the global-chain brainchild of Nusret Gökçe (aka Salt Bae, an Internet sensation adored by 11 million Instagram followers, including Leonardo DiCaprio). As a brick-and-mortar meme, it's a miracle. As a restaurant, it's a mess.  "Sorry, we don't have tap water," our waitress said, pushing $10 bottles of still Voss instead. Later, she offered unbidden a confession that she knew only a few words of Turkish, including the word for "dolphin." Similarly, another server rambled that he had been an EMT and Allstate insurance agent but had lived enough of his life behind a desk (he was 23). A third server spoke about Salt Bae with mafioso reverence: "Chef is very loyal. If you're good to Chef, Chef is good to you. I'm talking trips to Dubai, Miami, all expenses paid." A fourth inexplicably made choo-choo train sounds as he carried our $20 slice of baklava f

Bo Peep

Bo Peep

4 out of 5 stars

There are moments when a bar transforms right before your eyes: that bursting cheer when the underdog trivia team at the pub squeaks out a win; that tsunami of heyyy that washes over couples when all the lights dim at once; or, at Bo Peep, whenever bartender D.J. Ingalls takes the mic to accompany the live piano music. We heard him sing in English, French and Spanish—all love ballads. It was reflective of the midtown basement’s overall triptych: cozy, cultured and curious. The Moulin Rouge motif of tufted red-velvet banquettes and flirty fringed lampshades, and the performative speakeasy style, have been wildly overdone. Thankfully, Bo Peep’s winking bedroom eyes easily shift their gaze, widening at the liquid riddles of its lavish cocktail list, or playfully eye-rolling when an oldie-but-goodie ballad tickles the ivories, or just smizing at the comfort of being both fancyfree and formal (well, formal-ish). The cocktail menu is robust—35 strong—and includes a section of $14 highballs that elevates “A & B” cocktails (vodka & soda, scotch & soda, et al.) with smart, surprising sensibility. The whiskey & coke, for example, is transformed by the savvy, sophisticated bite of cardamom and coffee. At Bo Peep, basic cocktails are dressed to the nines, even if the spillover midtown clientele is not. The Rosé Couture’s complexity—brandy, genever, yuzu, pink peppercorn, egg white and cumin-spiced pomegranate—is indeed a moment of Alexander McQueen–like mixology, daring and inspirational

The Dessert Bar at Patisserie Chanson

The Dessert Bar at Patisserie Chanson

3 out of 5 stars

As grown-ups we can have dessert whenever we want. But sadly we do not act upon that freedom as much as we could or should. There are few places where sweet treats are as much of an event as at the Dessert Bar at Patisserie Chanson, which offers a six-course tasting menu with optional (and recommended) cocktail pairings. In a kind of reverse striptease, the desserts are made in front of diners, from bare plates and bowls to finished products. The process plays out like a culinary Bob Ross painting, with seemingly finished foodscapes interrupted by the sudden, stark intrusion of, say, shards of yogurt meringue or a quenelle of barley ice cream—only to see the interloping ingredient incorporated with exquisite craft. Nutty, caramel-forward Solera cream sherry is the perfect grape jelly substitute for the PB&J’s peanut butter parfait, its quiet sting subbing for grapes’ acidity. The sharp tingle of finger limes in a sesame-chocolate dumpling is genius. And the Audrey Hepburn scarf of lemon peel clothespinned to a fir-tinctured French 75 (paired with olive oil gelato in a cauldron of liquid- nitrogen eucalyptus vapor) is adorable. Do you know what’s better than a sugar rush? The sweetness of something slower, softer, subtler: the tantric tease of a sugar rouge, a two-hour gentle blushing of the palate. Alas! We didn’t get all of our cocktails, lost in the small staff’s shuffle. (Prosecco, we never knew ye!) And the order of the courses all is wrong, front-loaded by showstoppers o

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

3 out of 5 stars

“If you want to be a grocer or a general or a politician or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment,” wrote Oscar Wilde. “If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know, you will never become anything, and that is your reward.” Epitomized by brine-curious pickles and “broccomole” (which tastes like mushy peas and comes with taro chips), the British writer’s namesake guise-gone-Wilde bar, fittingly, has no idea what it is. So at least there’s that. Equal parts salon, pub and bordello, it serves a broad mix, including tipples in the Victorian style and Prohibition-inspired cocktails (the building previously housed the Prohibition Enforcement Headquarters) despite the fact that Wilde died 19 years before the Volstead Act, in a country that never tried the “noble experiment.” And there’s champagne, of course. (The menu quotes Wilde: “Pleasure without champagne is purely artificial.”) Decor is a challenge at this homage to a man whose dying words were reportedly “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” The venue is awash in deliriously decadent bric-a-brac like painted-glass windows and crushed-velvet chairs, without the impotence of being earnest—and almost everything is dolled up with gaudy marble or heavily lacquered wood. Naturally, the menu is packed with odes and double en

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

5 out of 5 stars

He was anointed in 1989 as the “Chef of the Century.” The most-awarded chef alive, he has collected 32 Michelin stars to date and has mentored Gordon Ramsay and Éric Ripert. He retired in 1995—and thank God it didn’t stick. In 2006, he opened a midtown outpost of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, his eponymous principal chain. When it closed in 2012, New York was left as one of the only major food cities worldwide without his presence. Now Robuchon is back, this time in the Meatpacking District. “Oh, that’s just objectively amazing,” said our dining companion—a well-traveled foodie who regularly eats at the city’s (and world’s) best restaurants, including the earlier L’Atelier—upon his first spoonful of the amuse-bouche, a foie gras parfait in port reduction and Parmesan foam. The magic never relented. “Flawless,” he said after dessert, a chocolate sensation with Oreo (pardonnez-moi, “Oréo”) crumble. “From start to finish.” This ecstasy was partly amplified by sitting at the counter, an eating style borrowed from omakase restaurants that Robuchon pioneered in Western fine dining. Its Mondrian geometry of red and black is both seductive and cooling, and its views of the kitchen offer a feast for the eyes: a ballet whose dancers flit and twirl with hypnotic grace. The food, elegantly high-minded as it is, arrives as a natural, comfortable extension of that delicate dance. Our palates so enjoyed these pirouettes that L’Atelier is almost more ballroom than restaurant. In the eight-cour

Hwa Yuan

Hwa Yuan

4 out of 5 stars

You have to return to a cuisine’s birthplace—like Lombardi’s, the first pizzeria, or Delmonico’s, birthplace of Baked Alaksa—to taste Eden-level purity of origins. Add Hwa Yuan, which brought sesame noodles to New York in 1968, to that esteemed company. Closed in 1992 but rebooted by the owner’s son in October, the Tang dynasty (the family behind the legend) has come roaring home to their original block. The menu is equal parts tutorial and valentine, giving Mandarin tones a fully American voice: Whōa! Whóa! Whŏa! Whòa! Dry sautéed beef that appears gnarled and withered reveals itself as tender and succulent. The Amazing Spicy Wine Chicken has such savory complexity that it tastes like duck. Kung po chicken is so yes-please, melt-in-your-mouth tender that it could easily be mistaken for a French kiss or perfect scallops. Too bad Hwa Yuan’s scallops are flavorless puddles of meh. And the steamed sticky rice with short rib or the range of desserts (red bean spring roll? pumpkin latke? really?) are more like the try-hard monstrosities you might see at P.F. Chang’s or Panda Express. But that chicken! For a flightless bird, Hwa Yuan sure makes it soar.

News (27)

Everything you should eat in Chinatown in one map

Everything you should eat in Chinatown in one map

We combed Chinatown’s alleyways and secret menus to serve you the most authentic culinary adventures in the neighborhood. Take a look at the map above, scroll through our full list below and prepare to take your palate for a ride.  1. Deal CloserChinatown aphrodisiacs mixed into your first love: vodkaApothéke, 9 Doyers St, (212-406-0400). $18. 2. Roast duck congeeVery creamy with lots of fatty duckBig Wong, 67 Mott St, (212-964-0540). $6.25. 3. Hong Kong milk teaHot for a nice twistBoba Guys, 265 Canal St. $4.50. Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/EmilyC 4. Veg meat pastryTurns heads on the streetBuddha Kosher Vegetarian, 77 Mulberry St, (212-233-2921). $4.50. 5. Don tot ice creamLight, creamy egg-custard flavorChinatown Ice Cream Factory, 65 Bayard St, (212-608-4170). $4.95. 6. Crystal shrimp dumpling in soupIntensely fresh shrimpDim Sum VIP, 68 Mott St, (212-226-6889). $5.95. 7. Melon cakeExactly what Beijing kids enjoyGolden Fung Wong Bakery, 41 Mott St, (917-816-5820). $3 (for 5). 8. Durian crunchPuff pastry with a hint of durianGolden Unicorn, 18 East Broadway, (212-941-0911). $2.75. 9. Sampan porridgeA fragrant mix of peanuts and fishGreat N.Y. Noodletown, 28 Bowery, (212-349-0923). $4.50. 10. Beef stew and wonton with noodlesSurprisingly springy noodlesH K Wonton Garden, 79 Mulberry St, (212-349-1495). $6. 11. Sweet rice wrapped in bamboo leavesA-plus Chinese grandmotheringHo Won Bake Shoppe, 146 Hester St, (212-966-5626). $1. 12. Pork chop over ricePerfect hangover cureHua J

New York’s sexiest chef ponders the Instagram-ification of food

New York’s sexiest chef ponders the Instagram-ification of food

Google “chia pudding chef.” You’re welcome. That’s Franco Noriega, the NSFW chef behind Peruvian sensation Baby Brasa, the West Village indulgence for the eyes and the tongue. He’s also a former Dolce & Gabbana model. And a trained actor. And an emerging pop singer. And the city’s smartest advocate for the power of food porn. We strolled Chelsea’s art galleries, debating Martha Stewart and sexy lobsters. Why did you jump from fashion to food? There are very few models—that have actually been models—that merged into the food business, because for some reason these are two worlds that don’t collide. The idea for many years behind chefs was: “It doesn’t matter what you eat; it’s all about the flavor and the texture and whatever you’re eating at the moment.” But food is about visuals because food is about health.  Photograph: Andrew Tess   We constantly see over-the-top images in food porn—as if the more you pile up, the more it gets everyone’s attention. That, for me, is not appetizing, because it’s too much. It becomes extremely boring. I have a couple of pictures on my Instagram of food, and the ones I’ve posted are pictures that I really think look delicious. And if you really see them, they’re not necessarily so pretty, but you definitely want to eat it. There’s some pictures of food, and those are the ones that, I think, got to their goal of, like, really making you hungry. Some pictures are also great for Instagram but don’t really make you hungry or want to eat it—too s

A new UES restaurant is giving out 500 free breakfast tacos

A new UES restaurant is giving out 500 free breakfast tacos

Gramercy "Tex-pat" joint Javelina is expanding into the Upper East Side (Second Avenue at 73rd St) and is offering a week's worth of free breakfast tacos to celebrate. The tacos, which come in two varieties—bacon, egg & cheese or potato, egg & cheese—normally cost $5, but will be given out for free to the first 100 customers starting at 8:30am every day from Monday, January 22 to Friday, January 26. The deal puts them in strong running to be the best tacos in the city, because what's better than free? And it's a bigger, better, smarter deal than other recent free sandwiches—so that’s something. Sign up to receive great Time Out deals in your inbox each day.

Wear a hat and get half-priced cocktails at one of NYC’s best rooftop bars

Wear a hat and get half-priced cocktails at one of NYC’s best rooftop bars

Monday, January 15, is National Hat Day and, by way of celebration, Refinery Hotel's rooftop bar is offering half-priced specialty cocktails to anyone wearing a hat. ANY. HAT. "Wool beanie, baseball cap, newsboy cap, any hat," explained Morgan Shapiro, a publicist for the event. "Even a fedora if you want to wear a fedora." The discount, which you literally need to keep under your hat, runs from the bar's opening at 11:30am through 2am. It applies to two drinks, which will be $8 instead of the usual $16. The Fedora is a tall mescal mix of anise, ginger, pineapple and tamarind. The Fascinator, the other cocktail in the deal, is a lighter cleaner spritz: Aperol, gin and seltzer water topped by a cherry. Of course, you might have National Hat Day off because it is also Martin Luther King Day. And for those of you who aren't hat people or look terrible in hats—don't play like you don't know who you are!—you're totally welcome to go to Refinery's rooftop anyway and pay $16, keeping in mind his words of wisdom: “I would rather die in abject poverty with my convictions than live in inordinate riches with the lack of self respect.” But, real talk: a sombrero or ushanka would slay on Instagram. Sign up to receive great Time Out deals in your inbox each day.

An NYC restaurant just created an inexplicably bad pizza burger

An NYC restaurant just created an inexplicably bad pizza burger

There’s an episode of Full House where Michelle Tanner tries to earn a cooking badge by mixing her favorite foods—Velveeta and chocolate pudding, followed by tuna and Oreo ice cream. It’s not funny. Or cute. Or slapstick. It’s just gross. And it’s the same thinking that went into Instagram–thirsty Clinton Hall’s newest sandwich: the pizza burger.  Pizza is a citywide favorite. Burgers too. The combo, however, is about as well-considered as any toddler’s food fantasies. It made us simultaneously regret ever liking pizzas or burgers. Imagine the plainest, saddest of burgers with only shoestring french fries as condiments. Now cover its top bun with the kind of tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni used in school lunches. You can't touch it without digging your fingers into the pizza topping. It is culinary Boggle passed off as culinary magnetic poetry, a shotgun marriage of a mash-up that seems like more thought went into the name than into the construction. The only reason to eat an entire one is for the dim-witted bragging rights of surviving it. The many burps you’ll have afterwards will feel, each time, like an exorcism, the soul of this sandwich trying to flee the hellscape it wreaks on your stomach. There’s a good version of this out there. Pizza bagels are great. Burger pizzas, too. Even last year’s fried pizza calzone. And pizza burgers might be good drunk food. But we’re hesitant to give it much thought because it’s so clear that very little thought went into it.  “If re

How you feel about Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant closing says a lot about you

How you feel about Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant closing says a lot about you

While attending his rural California high school, he washed dishes and sold "awesome pretzels" out of his food cart to finance a study abroad trip to France, where, in the romantic vein of Julia Child or Eat Pray Love, he became enchanted with the art of cooking. He got a college degree in hotel management—an expert in hospitality—and so loved his Italian heritage that, upon getting married, he changed his name from Guy Ferry to the original family name: Guy Fieri. You know the rest of the story. And now (barely a month after he inspired a bar crawl) Guy's American Kitchen, the Times Square restaurant that bears his name (it's licensed; he doesn't run it), is closing, and we are worse off for it. Good riddance, many people will say, then they'll go back to decrying how our city is "vanishing." With an empire founded on crab fat caramel wings, sweet potato tacos and pork belly kimchi, Fieri forces us to confront our drunk food in broad daylight. He gives symbolic voice to our basest culinary instincts (and literally, as the spokesperson for TGI Friday's). Whatever Food Network show in which he stars, he hosts our guilty pleasures, our closeted gluttony, our secret curiosity over whether or not such-and-such dish could be improved by being deep-fried or dipped in ranch dressing or both. With a savvy learned during his Las Vegas college years, he is the walking, talking, frosted-tip embodiment of the Venn diagram between accommodation and aggravation, somehow pulling off a schti

A new Times Square restaurant is giving away free egg sandwiches at midnight on New Year’s Eve

A new Times Square restaurant is giving away free egg sandwiches at midnight on New Year’s Eve

You know what Times Square at midnight on New Year's Eve needs? More crowds and more waiting. That's the thinking behind the new all-breakfast restaurant Egghead's plan to offer free fried egg sandwiches to the first 1,000 customers who line up at its location at the Moxy hotel after midnight (the spot officially opens to the public on January 2). We'll be spending a lot of our time in 2018 waiting—for midterm election results, for tickets to the Broadway run of Harry Potter, for sunset instagramming at Domino Park, for the Knicks to become a competitive basketball team—so much waiting. So starting the year by waiting in the confetti hellscape of New Year's Eve at Times Square for a free version of a $7.50 sandwich is, if not worth it, at least an honest start to the year. The sandwich includes a fried egg, thick-cut bacon, American cheese, tomato, fried shallots and spicy aioli all tucked in a potato brioche. “People can wait in line as early as they want but doors will open at 12am,” explains Michelle Gabe, an Egghead publicist.  But the city is already full of free food: free pizza, free chicken wings, free shepherd's pie, free hot dogs, free mussels, free bagels and free gourmet cheese. So is it worth it? Just keep in mind that how you start the year can sometimes set a tone for the next 12 months. In those first few hours of 2018, 1,000 New Yorkers—with probably more than a few tourists mixed in—are going to hold a free $7.50 egg sandwich in their hands as a logistical a

Check out the most popular delivery orders in NYC this year

Check out the most popular delivery orders in NYC this year

On the plus side: yay for you in being so reckless comfortable ordering whatever you want with Seamless. Props to that lazy deep connection you have to your suburban intersectional heritage. It's such a cool way to become honor your parents. But now for the tough news: 2018 is full of wonderful possibilities for you—just not for your Seamless account, which is still gonna be basic AF. Well, like, slightly less so though. Citywide in 2017, according to Seamless data, fried mac & cheese balls, avocado toast and grilled chicken all ranked in the top 10 fastest-growing popular orders. But also? Spicy miso ramen and barbecue pork buns, both of which tripled in popularity over the year. And pho! In fact, more than half of the top 10 orders of fastest-growing popularity for the year were Asian dishes. Borough by borough, Queens led the pack with nine of its 15 fastest-growing orders falling under the Asian boom—from bibimbap to chicken curry puffs and saag paneer. Even Staten Island got into it, with vegetable samosas and drunken noodles topping its list. Only the Bronx had no Asian dishes in its top 15 orders. And while bougie Manhattan had to sift through Brussel sprouts, grilled chicken, scrambled egg sandwiches and quinoa bowls before arriving at a fifth-place Korean fried chicken, it repped better than Brooklyn, where burritos and breaded mozzarella sticks were the far-and-away Seamless leaders. Our advice for 2018? At least get into Sriracha. A li'l dab'll do ya. And maybe, ju

There’s now a Star Wars–themed menu at Alamo Drafthouse

There’s now a Star Wars–themed menu at Alamo Drafthouse

Maybe you are the type of person who looks at "lava planet popcorn" with "twin-sundried tomato dressing" and smiles because, aww, Mustafar is in a binary gas-giant star system, and your little Fralideja heart grows three sizes at the pun. Or maybe you just like kitsch. Either way, you should make a Kessel run over to Alamo Drafthouse for its Star Wars–themed dinner and snacks, including squash, sweet potato and kale "scavenger stew," and a "supreme leader shake" with chocolate from the dark side. All paired with a screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, of course. It's for those who can't handle Star Wars ice cream or lobster rolls for folks named Luke. It complements the cocktails at Dark Side Bar, Soho's darth vodka pop-up. But the Alamo menu requires more of a suspension of disbelief than the Millennium Falcon's intergalactic travel even at "point five past lightspeed." Prices range from $9 popcorn to $17 "grilled nerf strips" (they're beef). The BB-8 and BB-9E menu covers are free to take home as souvenirs (and with $9 popcorn, they should be).  There are boozy drinks too, because a drafthouse is basically a cantina. Try a tajin-spiced, pinapple Mauuul-garita ($14); a rum-and-campari, prickly pear coconut Light Savor ($12); a Samurai in Space ($12) with vodka and sparkling sake with ginger-lime shrub and kaffir leaf; or The Sage Continues ($12), a gin-and-blackberry-liqueur, pineapple-sage mix. And before you roll your eyes at  this gimmick or any lack of imagination invol

Ken Friedman, Spotted Pig owner, steps down after sexual harassment accusations

Ken Friedman, Spotted Pig owner, steps down after sexual harassment accusations

The day after an Eater investigation compelled Mario Batali to step down from day-to-day business operations at his 24-restaurant empire under a cloud of sexual impropriety, the New York Times published a report pooling the complaints of 10 women—mostly former employees—against Ken Friedman, the owner of The Spotted Pig who has won Michelin stars and just last year was awarded outstanding restaurateur of the year by the James Beard Foundation. The Spotted Pig was also the launchpad for April Bloomfield, one of the most famous female chefs in the country. Friedman's company announced today that Friedman is taking “an indefinite leave of absence,” effective immediately. Among the disturbing episodes laid out by the Times, Friedman allegedly shoved a female employee's face into his crotch in front of Amy Poehler in 2007, forced his tongue down another female employee’s throat and bit a bar manager on the waist. Friedman, who is married to a former Spotted Pig hostess, issued an apology that also claimed “some incidents were not as described.” One of the women told the Times that she didn't speak up at the time because “Ken bragged about blacklisting people all the time. And we saw it happen.” The restaurant industry is far from toppling its last domino in the wake of the seismic cultural shift in sexual assault awareness epitomized by the hashtag #metoo. So far, the newfound freedom of shattered silence that has rocked all corners of the culture—in Hollywood, in Washington and i

McDonald’s is giving away free Chicken McNuggets in NYC on Wednesday

McDonald’s is giving away free Chicken McNuggets in NYC on Wednesday

New Yorkers are the world's most multicultural, multilingual, intersectional, cosmopolitan people on the planet. And basic AF. Not cute basic or ironic basic or thirsty basic, like, say, eating McNuggets dipped in gold. No. More like proudly eating Harry Potter-themed pasta in Williamsburg—yes, you guys, that Williamsburg. Or drinking half-assed Star Wars cocktails in Soho. Is there a rooftop bar we won't try? No. We say yes—ahem, YAASSSS—to it all. We like our Chick-Fil-A and turkey sandwiches and chicken caesar wraps and kale salads. We like our Starbucks Christmas Tree frappuccinos. We are here for it all and that is why we are not even going to pretend that we aren’t gonna order the hell out of a deal put up by McDonald’s tomorrow offering 10 free McNuggets with every McDelivery placed through Uber Eats. The offer extends to roughly 200 McDonalds across four boroughs (sorry, Staten Island). While supplies last from 11am until 10pm, the deal extends, as a McDonald’s press release put it, to “new and existing customers.” Because, guess what, y'all? SOME OF YOU ARE PRE-EXISTING McDELIVERY UBER EATS CUSTOMERS. So, look, we get it. We know it. We own it. Real recognizes real. But right now, straight up, we're just gonna lay on the table that if you happen to cross paths with anyone from the elite Time Out Test-Eater Squad and we smell like we have McDonalds on our breath, you can just go ahead and assume it's because we just finished eating a gourmet McRib. Yes, from Times Squ

Mario Batali’s empire implodes after four women allege sexual misconduct

Mario Batali’s empire implodes after four women allege sexual misconduct

Mario Batali—one of the most famous chefs in the world and the heart of the 24-restaurant, 1,000-employee Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group—announced today that he is stepping down from the empire he has built since the mid-1990s after an investigation by Eater laid out widespread, long-term complaints of workplace groping including one incident in which "he compelled [a female employee] to straddle him." Batali was served his first-ever formal sexual harassment complaint in October and was sent to mandatory training as a resolution. Also in October, the New York Times published an investigation into sexual harassment and assault complaints about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein that has effectively ended his career and any social standing he had. That Times story triggered a seismic shattering of silence that has similarly taken down Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer, Russell Simmons, Garrison Keiller, James Toback, the heads of NPR and Amazon television, and three sitting members of Congress, including Sen. Al Franken. This weekend, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that even President Donald Trump's accusers "should be heard." ABC, which runs Batali's prominent food talk show, has put the chef on leave until it concludes its own internal investigation of his workplace behavior. For his part, Batali did not deny the accusations laid out by the Eater investigation.  "I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities

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