MeMe’s Diner

header Their Success . . . There’s something to be said about taking an age-old concept like a diner and reinventing just enough to meets our modern culinary demands. Back in the 1400’s when Leonardo Da Vinci famously expressed “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Meme’s diner on Washington Ave in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn was most certainly not his inspiration. What did however spawn from that idea is the feeling you experience while dining at Meme’s. Their menu is sophisticated yet straightforward. Daring while self restrained. And comforting while modern. With classic menu items like Parmesan style chicken cutlet with greens to a mouth watering Patty Melt, not only will your taste buds be excited but your experience will be refreshing.

For dinner, be sure to try the Meatloaf or Crispy Noodle Salad. If you’re a side lover like myself, do not leave before ordering the Crispy Potatoes, which are spot-on-delicious (Hint: ask for a side of “Comeback Sauce”)

Weekend brunch fans? You do not want to miss this menu. Of course, there are the staples like a classic breakfast sandwich, which is offered on a potato bun with baked eggs, cheese sauce (cheese sauce!), greens, and bacon. Or the Breakfast Plate with everything you know any love about filling your belly on a Saturday or Sunday morning. One thing you wont don’t to leave without trying is the Meatloaf Sandwich. This monster throws down a slice of their classic meatloaf topped with a fried egg, on garlic toast with bbq sauce and crispy shallots.

Don’t blink at their cocktail menu either. Their eloquent soft-spoken bar, which blends effortlessly into the space, serves up unobtrusive classics like Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, or Negronis. Meme’s wouldn’t be Meme’s though if it didn’t put a little flair behind their work. For this, try the Cosmopolitan, a cocktail that would have Annabelle Bronstein coming back for seconds.

Takeaways . . . The classic diner we all grew up loving has been declining in numbers over the years. Meme’s is brining it back in all the best ways. The menu is extremely inviting with subtleties that elevate dishes to a new level. It is refreshing, while offering top-notch hospitability in a dining space that is welcoming to the point where you might just stay for another round. Bottom line- everyone needs a Meme’s in their life.

Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 5pm – 11pm, Saturday: 10am – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm, Sunday- 10am – 5pm

Location: 657 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Phone: (718) 636-2900

Retail Spotlight: ATLA

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When one of the best chefs in the world—the only chef with two restaurants on the Fifty Best list, in fact—opens a casual, all-day affair in Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhood, you get ATLA. Enrique Olvera’s stripped-down sibling establishment to the dressed-up Cosme is no slouch. Chef Olvera and his Chef de Cuisine, Daniela Soto-Innes, have created another hit: one that dabbles in all day-parts and succeeds from 8AM to 2AM.

 

The first thing you notice about ATLA, after the well-earned press and praise, is the space. It’s stylish, sleek, and minimalist. The focus here is food, beverage, and people—those inside and those walking past the giant, aquarium windows through NoHo.   Second: the cheery, attentive service team at the ready to settle you in for the fun—be it fresh juice, guacamole toast, single-farm mezcal, or the newly-launched tacos. Finally, that food, which is light, bright, and packing punches you don’t anticipate but welcome warmly. The chicken enchiladas, for example, bathed in either verde or rojo salsa, is excellent in its simplicity, but unlike any enchilada you’ve had before. Sweet blueberries come nested on top of coconut yogurt and drizzled in olive oil. And that’s just breakfast! Stay all day to catch the dinner menu, which abounds with more hits, like the ayocote hummus, fish Milanese, and ceviche verde.

 

The Takeaway: All-day dining is on the rise in NYC, as restaurateurs look to maximize revenue from rent-straddled locations. Few are doing it better than ATLA, which occupies a space that encourages sitting, watching, and indulging. The menu excels in the morning as well as at night—which is its key to approachability. Not designed to be Cosme-light, but rather of its own identity, ATLA succeeds by providing compelling reasons to visit: superb food, beverages, and service that cater to diners throughout the day.

Ward III is finally reopened after a year’s reconstruction

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Their success . . .

After about a year’s closure due to construction in their building, we are happy to announce the reopening of our financial management client, Ward III. Not much has changed at this classic neighborhood standby; the quality of the cocktails is as high as ever and the bartenders are still producing the same delicious drinks that you love.

The cocktail list offers something for everyone, incorporating twists on classics as well as some brand new creations. The food is deliciously simple and comforting. On offer are bar snacks, small bites, and flatbreads. Our favorites were the deviled eggs and Sigmund’s soft pretzels.

The space is dimly lit – we would argue perfectly – yet warm and welcoming. The bartenders are masters of their craft and product fine cocktails while providing the guest with an exceptional experience. Jazz performances and events only add more reason to visit the space.

Take Aways . . .

Whether you are already in the area, or make a special trip just to visit, we doubt you will be disappointed in your experience. The cocktail list and food menu offer something for everyone and the overall guest experience is on point. The only downside is that, because they were closed for so long, we have a lot of time to make up for!

Ward III

111 Reade Street

New York, NY 10013

(212) 240-9194

info@ward3tribeca.com

Retail Spotlight: Made Nice

The fast-casual lunch competition in New York City is fierce, and it takes something unique to stand out from the crowd.  Made Nice, which opened in early April, is doing something unique.  Whereas many of the fast-casual and quick-service restaurants in NYC have adopted the Chipotle-style assembly line for expedient service and a customized experience, the Made Nice team is swimming in the opposite direction.  There are no substitutions.  There is no assembly line.  And you do not walk away with your food when you pay—you wait for it.

That’s because the team behind the Number One restaurant in the world is behind this concept.  Eleven Madison Park, and NoMad and NoMad Bar owners Daniel Humm and Will Guidara have brought their hospitality-first, fine-dining approach to the fast casual game, to great effect.  Guests enter a high-ceiling, warm-yet-edgy expanse with an open kitchen showing off a fleet of cooks in crisp chef whites using shining copper pots. Rather than registers, a team of servers greet people with iPad from aside a merchandise table.  The menu is hung, item by item, to the wall above the table listing $11-$15 salads; $6 soft serve; and tap beer, wine, and homemade sodas from $3.5 to $9.

In the evenings, to draw in a crowd with more expendable time, the kitchen cooks up a Chicken Frites—half of a roasted chicken with herb fries and a salad for $22.  As a light meal for two, it’s a steal for such quality in NYC’s price points.  Kirk Kelewae, an EMP alum, is running the enterprise, which is operating with a line out the door.

Those pots are polished nightly.  The head chef, Danny DiStefano, got his start with Chef Humm at Eleven Madison Park.  The dishes are prepared in custom bagasse plates and served on stylish, slim black trays, which 31 guests can take to eat in aside a Shepard Fairey mural.  Each dish is a version of an item from Humm’s tasty arsenal; salmon rosti with frisee, egg, and buttermilk vinaigrette; khao salad with hanger steak, parmesan, and crispy shallots; soft serve with honey brittle and oat shortbread.  From entering to eating, the concept is cool, calm, and collected, but also fresh, and exciting.

The Takeaway: The fast-casual category is evolving, and that creates dramatic shifts.  Made Nice is making room for itself in the middle—slower than price-point competitors like Dig Inn, but faster than quality-competitors like Made Nice’s sister restaurant, NoMad.  This gives the concept a healthy average check, and a worthwhile guest count.  As the lower-end segment of this market continues to saturate, we expect to see Made Nice take the lead on its front.  They’ve created a sharp space with the right food, design, and energy to lure customers in from lunch to dinner.

Retail Spotlight: Verde Curated Greens

 

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Their success…at some point or another we’ve all been faced with that grueling lunchtime dilemma. You flounder back and forth at your desk weighing your options. Do I want something light? Should I grab something quick and easy? You want to stay close to the office but everything feels worn and over played. The lunch struggle is real. At least it was real. Welcome, Verde Curated Greens. Sierra Tishgart of Grub Street describes Verde as the “fine-casual salad spot” that “could be a lunchtime game-changer”. I think she’s onto something.

The menu includes beautifully plated grab and go dishes with the perfect ratio of mixed greens and sophisticated, complex dressings and sauces (try the Pesto in the fingerling potato salad). The greens are not your run of the mill iceberg or arugula, we are talking a delicate arrangement of farm fresh mache, frisee, swiss chard, castel franco, and whatever else is in season at the Union Square farmers which is frequented almost daily. Salads range from $11 to $13.

While the salads may steal the show, it’s the protein sides that elevate these dishes to the next level. From in-house smoked arctic char to coconut shrimp ceviche to immaculately grilled NY Strip steak, these proteins knock it out of the park. Proteins range from $2 to $5.

That’s not all. You know those stealth menu items that seem to fly under the radar and always way under appreciated? Those items that once you are in on the “secret” you feel like you just joined some underground fight club. You smirk at the person behind the counter when you order it, they give you a head nod back to re-confirm your insider know-how. At Verde, this is their broth. It’s robust, flavorful and fresh. The broth is everything.

From the moment you walk inside you’re immediately immersed in a space that blankets the outside world into the abyss. The décor, smells, sounds, art work, ambiance and airiness all resonate with tasteful and eloquent design.

Stacked with culinary aptitude, founders Gonzalo Gout, CIA graduate and Cosme alumni, and Alejandro Porteny, hospitality expert and entrepreneur, these two set forth the perfect balance of culinary expertise and business acumen.

Take Aways…Verde Curated Greens is a breath of fresh air in a city that all too often gets caught up in the everyday minutia. Not only will your taste buds enjoy their stay, the atmosphere will leave you (spoiler alert!) wanting to post up with a glass of wine to relax with friends in good company.

Hours: Monday-Friday 11:00am – 8:00pm

Location: Verde, 22 W 25th St., between Broadway and Sixth Ave.

Phone: 646-838-0700

Ivan Ramen

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Their Success . . . When Ivan Orkin opened his first ramen shop in Tokyo, he was entering uncharted territory. In 2007, here was a man from Long Island, New York opening a ramen shop in its birthplace, and no one knew what to expect. After opening, Ivan Ramen only grew in popularity and soon thereafter expanded to a second location in Tokyo. The draw? Ivan Ramen offered a unique take on a classic Japanese noodle dish. From these ventures, Ivan Orkin gained quite some notoriety.

Mr. Orkin has since handed over the reins of his two Japanese ventures to his longtime chef and manager, Hisao Matsumoto. He is now entirely focused on his two New York City Ivan Ramen ventures, the Slurp Shop located in the Gotham West Market and the flagship location at 25 Clinton St. in the East Village.

The East Village location seats about 40 noodle slurpers and its aesthetic is a mélange of clean, refined décor and vivid explosions of powerful color. The space has both traditional table seating as well as two bar areas where diners can saddle up and enjoy Ivan Ramen’s offerings. The larger bar area looks onto the kitchen, which is exposed by a large cutout in the wall space. Above is a colorful mural, depicting diners thoroughly engrossed with their bowls of soup.

The food itself is Ivan Orkin’s own unique spin on the identifiably Japanese dish. Mr. Orkin combines the flavors of his Jewish heritage with the more traditional Japanese palate of taste to create something truly unique. The broth is rich and flavorful, and the noodles offer a decidedly earthier, chewy texture than of that found in more classic ramen spots. The Spicy Red Chili Ramen in particular perfectly combines the flavors of old and new, all the while offering heat that is not overwhelming.

The menu features cold and hot appetizers as well as a number of ramen varieties to choose from. Additionally, ramen add-ons are listed at the bottom of the menu, some of which are traditional and others more adventurous. While the space itself is not overly large, the kitchen is efficient and completes orders quickly. Ramen appears almost as soon as you have finished ordering. The bowls range from $15-$18, slightly expensive as far as ramen in New York City goes, but well worth it for Mr. Orkin’s unique take on the dish.

Take Aways . . . Ivan Ramen offers an experience that is simultaneously familiar and new to New York City ramen fans. The space is clean, inviting, and engaging, offering a great place to eat and hangout with friends, or quickly fill you up and get you out the door. Whatever you choose, be sure to slurp your soup for the full experience.

Ivan Ramen

25 Clinton St.

New York, New York

10002

(646)678-3859

Dizengoff: Israeli Hummus in Chelsea Market

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Their Success . . . Chelsea Market can be hard to navigate for the uninitiated. Between the masses of tourists and locals traversing the space every hour, and the various nooks and crannies hidden within the market, it can be a daunting place for even the most hardened New Yorker. However, if you are willing to brave the crowds, you can find some delicious food at the recently opened Dizengoff.

Your best bet for finding the restaurant is to enter Chelsea Market from the 9th Ave entrance. From there, simply head to the first set of food stalls on the left (directly across from the Chelsea Wine Vault), and you have arrived! Walk up to the counter, place your order, and take your order number from the cashier. From here, simply take a seat anywhere at the counter and observe the open kitchen while you wait for your food. Pitas are baked in an open oven directly behind the counter and its great fun to watch the process firsthand.

Food comes out quickly and is reasonably priced for the location ($10-$13) – perfect for a quick workday lunch or a mid-afternoon nosh. The menu features three hummus options: plain, vegetarian, and meat. While these three options remain the same, what you get when you order them will change depending on what is seasonal and available to chef Emily Seaman. Each hummus plate comes with a fresh-baked pita, chopped salad, and Israeli pickles. Feel free to buy an additional pita for $1 extra – it’s worth it and you might need it considering the sizable portion of hummus.

In addition to these standard offerings, Dizengoff also offers a Thursday night three-course family-style meal beginning at 7:30pm. The meal is $45 and, like the regular menu, constantly changes. The one constant of the meal is a good reason to try it out: all the pita you can eat! For an additional $21, you can add a wine pairing option to your meal. These dinners are already sold out through the end of the year, so make a reminder to keep an eye out for January tickets when they go on sale in December!

Take Aways . . . Part of the fun of eating at Dizengoff is watching the operations of the kitchen while you eat. If you can’t stay for the show, pitas and hummus are available in larger quantities for takeaway. The food is plentiful and satiating, but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy for the remainder of your day. Dizengoff’s model is a good one for the space – food that is easy to prepare in large quantities and can be served quickly during busy rushes. Because the menu is constantly changing, impressed diners won’t get bored and will be drawn back to see what’s new and how it compares to their previous orders.

Dizengoff

Chelsea Market

75 9th Avenue

New York, New York

10011

646-833-7097