If you’re a longtime dedicated Infatuation reader, you may find yourself thinking, “Why am I reading Chris Stang’s Friday Fives? Isn’t he the guy who wrote over half of The Infatuation already?” So, let’s make this a game: grab a scrap of paper and see if you can guess what five places he picked. If you at least got L’Artusi, good job - we can see you’ve been paying attention.
If you’re slightly newer here, take this as a chance to get to know The Infatuation’s CEO and Co-Founder a little better, and to find out about the all-time favorites and standbys of someone who’s been eating in NYC restaurants constantly for the past eight years and has written about hundreds of them.
These days, Chris still writes for The Infatuation, and he also oversees all creative and strategic elements of the company: he’s the brains behind Text Rex and EEEEEATSCON and is the final word on all things editorial and product. He’s an incredibly smart, thoughtful person to work for, and I’m a terrible liar so trust me that I’m not saying these things just so he gives me a raise or something.
Chris has already made it clear that he’ll eventually live out his retirement years in the corner of a Parisian wine bar, while wearing a perfectly tailored tan suit, but in the meantime, here’s where you’ll find him in NYC.
Chris' Perfect For PIcks
If there is one review that defines The Infatuation for me, it’s L’Artusi. This was our high school sweetheart restaurant - the one we fell in love with while we were young and awkward and growing hair in new places, and that we’re still enamored with even though a lot of new hot restaurants have come around since. And even after eight years, hitting dinner at the bar here with my wife always feels like a special occasion, even if it’s just a random Tuesday. A glass of white lambrusco, that incredible plate of egg and mushrooms, a bottle of Barbera, three pastas, and an order of olive oil cake. That’s the order, now and forever.
We New Yorkers need to get comfortable with something: the fact that this city will never have the best of everything. We have the best of many things: pizza, bagels, Kelly Ripas - but Mexican food will never be on that list. We’ll just have to be comfortable with leaving that to Texas. Casa Enrique, however, is the best of the Mexican food that we do have, and it happens to be incredibly good. A Sunday night visit to Long Island City for margaritas is a pretty common occurrence for me, at least when I can’t make it to Austin.
If I were to write a book about a New York City restaurant (suspense fiction, mostly pictures), it would take place at Blue Ribbon. This is what a New York City restaurant should be - refined but casual, lively but not crazy, full of great food and a variety of booze, open late. Eating a dozen oysters here at 2am should be a requirement for all new city residents, to be completed before any apartment succulents or Fjallraven backpacks will be issued. More to come when I run for mayor.
I once drank so much wine at Babbo that I knocked a full glass off my table getting up to go to the bathroom and Kelsey Grammar totally saw the whole thing and looked at me with disgust. F*ck you, Kelsey, it’s my birthday. Ok, Kelsey definitely didn’t see it happen (or me), but I saw him, and that’s basically a night at Babbo in a nutshell. Order a pasta tasting, drink two bottles of Barbaresco, see an awesome celebrity who was on actual broadcast television, get in a cab, go home, go to sleep knowing you live in the best city in the world.
I go to Wildair by myself a lot. Why? Because it’s often the best way to get a seat at this perpetually packed little wine bar/restaurant, but also because I don’t want to share the food. With anyone. This is one of New York’s best and most exciting places to eat right now and if you haven’t been yet, you’re doing it wrong. Try hitting it by yourself, but definitely don’t sit by me.
If you don't know who Shep is, you should. The man is basically responsible for creating the concept of the "celebrity chef," and that's like the 191st most interesting thing about him. Want to know more? Come to EEEEEATSCON. Follow him on Instagram too.
I randomly saw a Lizzo show at Bowery Ballroom a few months ago and I am now completely obsessed with her. Think of Lizzo as a combination of all the best parts of Lil Kim, Santigold, and Whitney Houston. She's gonna be big, soon. And her Instagram stories are incredible.