We said this back in 2012 when Anthony Bourdain gave us his first round of Friday Fives restaurant picks, and we'll say it again in 2015. Thank you, Mr. Bourdain, as you are partially responsible for the existence of this website. Years ago, before we had read Kitchen Confidential or become addicted to Parts Unknown and No Reservations, we were watching A Cook's Tour, Bourdain's first show. It inspired a trip to San Sebastian, and eventually, (Immaculate) Infatuation. We wanted to figure out how to make a living traveling the world, eating amazing sh*t, and writing about it too.
But it wasn't just seeing Bourdain on television that had an impact on future Stang & Steinthal. What has always stuck with us the most is the guy's guts when it comes to being honest. Read Kitchen Confidential (or the internet) and you'll have no doubt that Bourdain speaks his mind without consideration for politics or consequence. You might disagree with him, but you'll never wonder where he stands. That's the way we have always tried to operate this website, and Bourdain has always been an inspiring example of how far you can go when you don't care about what people think of you.
It goes without saying, but we're honored to have a second round of Friday Fives restaurant picks from Anthony Bourdain. We can't think of anyone better to be dropping New York City restaurant advice on you that isn't us.
Anthony's "perfect for"picks
“Korean BBQ is, in my view, the most conducive style of eating for large, unwieldy groups. Everybody has fun grilling their own meat, and it’s super casual. There are lots of tiny plates of panchan (pickly, spicy, delicious side dishes) for everybody — and alcohol (beer and shoju) are generally in abundance — leading to a genial, relaxed atmosphere. In New York, my favorite is the wonderful Baekjeong. In Los Angeles, Park’s BBQ is a must stop.”
“The quintessential New York City breakfast is at Barney Greengrass. Period. Grab a copy of the Sunday Times and the New York Post and sit down for some eggs scrambled with browned onions and lox. . Be sure to get a basket of toasted bialeys—and maybe a heap of nova and sturgeon. On your way out the door, get some of their chopped liver to go. It’s the best in New York.”
“You ain’t getting better quality fish—or finer cooking—than at my friend Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin. But if the prospect of putting on a jacket and shelling out the big bucks makes your blood run cold, there’s nothing like a cold pint of beer and some expertly opened oysters at April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman’s The John Dory. I have particular love for their bottarga “sandwich” on Sardinian flat bread. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in San Francisco, go EARLY to get on line for Swan Oyster Depot for their crab back. Dunk some of their great sourdough bread in the fat and brain and enjoy life. ”
“This is probably a bad category for me—as my wife is a martial artist and NEVER eats carbs. So, date night for us is usually yakitori—tiny skewers of perfectly grilled chicken bits. Torishin is as “authentic” as it gets—a counter service only, one-star Michelin place on the East Side that’s like stepping right into Tokyo. If you’d prefer a bit more privacy, and a table, Yakitori Totto on 55th Street is superb. They do NOT take reservations, so leave your name, your phone number—then go get hammered at the upstairs karaoke place a few doors west. It’s great people watching while you wait.”
“Let’s say you’ve just robbed a bank. The cops are on your tail—but for now, you’ve got plenty of money—and a limited amount of time to enjoy it. Might as well splurge on one of (if not THE) most expensive restaurants in America: Masa in the Time Warner Center. As you sit there at the tiny sushi bar, eating fish and rice and creations so sublime you will feel tempted to moan out loud then black out with pleasure, you can be assured that nowhere on earth, at this precise moment, is anyone eating any better than you.”
“I like The Flatiron Room in New York, because they have over 700 bottles of rare and unusual whiskeys on hand—and because the amazing Heather Greene is their whiskey sommelier.”
“JOHNNY ROCKETS. Anywhere. No matter how hungry or desperate you are, it is always a bad option.”