I work in the same complex as the new “French Eataly”, so it was only proper that I would go on opening day a couple of months back. The Battery Park area has a lot of great restaurants now, including Mighty Quinn’s, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Northern Tiger, Dig Inn, Blue Ribbon Sushi and more (great for lunch, although it gets crazy packed during lunch hours because everyone goes to the food court area to eat). Le District is owned by the Financier people but their prices aren’t the same and their service is drastically different, too. While Financier runs very smoothly, there hasn’t been a lot of training for the people that work the counter at Le District and people are very snippy with customers and with their coworkers.
The day I went, we focused on the cookie display:
They sell the cookies by the 1/4 pound and offer you a free gift tin if you purchase 1/2 pound or more. I can’t recall how much it comes out to per cookie, but it was definitely expensive. My friend, Stephane, ended up buying 5-6 cookies and I thought they it would cost $12 at most but I think his total came out to over $25!
Le District also sells cute French candies:
And lots of different decorative metal tins thaty ou can purchase to fill with candy or other knicknacks. They also sell the cookies in smaller plastic bags:
Le District is split into multiple areas, including the cookies area, a crepe bar, coffee bar, to go area, and a sit down restaurant. They also sell desserts next to the crepe area:
I think the plan is to have an area where they can sell groceries, similar to Eataly, but when I visited on opening day, they were still under construction.
The coffee is slightly cheaper at Le District than Financier, but you have to put up with a little bit of a wait because the staff isn’t that well trained yet. However, it might be worth it because my coworkers that go everyday say the coffee at Le District is slightly better than Financier.
Growing up in central Illinois, I was introduced to deep dish pizza at Papa Del’s. My mom used to have pizza parties for her students and her students would always request Papa Del’s (Champaign surprisingly has a lot of good pizza spots, including Monical’s, Jupiter’s and Papa Del’s). The pizza from Papa Del’s has the best crust out of the places I’ve been to and I once made my friend hand carry a pizza back to me after his visit home. The closest to Papa Del’s in Chicago is Pequod’s, which *might* be better because they add Parmesan cheese to the crust and let it caramelize while the pizza is cooking. Ken and his family grew up eating Lou Malnati’s (and it is really good, I must admit). When Ken and I first met, we shipped Lou Malnati’s to New York so we could have a Chicago-style dining experience while watching a Bears game.
Fast forward to 2015 – I’ve lived here for almost ten years and I have never seen a restaurant serve deep dish pizza in the city. I think Emmett must’ve thought the same thing because he’s from the North Shore area in Illinois and missed deep dish pizza so much that he decided to open a restaurant specializing in the type of pizza he grew up with. We heard about Emmett’s through some friends and decided to check it out on a Saturday evening.
The bar area was pretty packed and the restaurant is kind of small but put our names in and waited for about 30 minutes before we were seated. While we waited, we ordered some beers from the bar:
The pizza takes 30-45 minutes to make because they prepare the pizza to order and we put in our order while we were still waiting at the bar. The pie arrived soon after we were seated:
Ken and I both love sausage, peppers, and mushrooms on our pizza (New York style or Chicago style). The toppings are a bit expensive at Emmett’s, but it’s worth it. Ken and I were both pretty hungry at this point:
Look at the cheese!:
My clean plate:
Someone next to us only ate the toppings and threw out the pies (how rude!) The pizza tasted very similar to Papa Del’s and Pequod’s, although I think it was a little doughy in the center and cooked perfectly on the crust. I really loved the pizza and Ken did, too. Now we can go to Emmett’s instead of shipping Lou Malnati’s to us!
After Ken and I walked around the Architectural Digest Home Show, we stopped by Gotham Market in Hell’s Kitchen for a quick bite before heading home. We walked around and were originally looking for Jeni’s Ice Cream, a pop up from last summer, but they were definitely a pop-up because another ice cream shop was where Jeni’s used to be. Since we couldn’t get Jeni’s, we decided on sharing some ramen instead. Gotham Market is located on the first floor of a high rise (where Blake lives!):
This was a late afternoon snack since we were planning to get dinner later, but we shared the Tokyo Shoyu ramen:
And added two eggs for some additional protein. The ramen was homemade rye noodles that were very al dente. The broth was a little on the salty side (made from soy sauce, dashi, and chicken broth) but we enjoyed the snack and walking around Gotham Market!
This Koreatown restaurant recently opened and has been super difficult to get into because it’s so popular. Erika and I managed to put our names in and get a table relatively quickly (a 45 minute wait, which apparently is much quicker than the usual 1.5 hours). The restaurant was first started in Korea by a wrestler/game show host/comedian and brought to the US – first in LA and now in New York. Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is so popular because it’s known for Korean comfort food and meant to be enjoyed in a communal setting.
Erika and I decided to order the meat sampler and the lunch box. It was a lot of food but Erika had been to the LA restaurant and said we could handle that amount of food. They start by pouring eggs into one of the compartments on your grill table and placing corn and cheese on another. There’s also a “salad” of shaved green onions and the red Korean sauce mixed with a vinegar:
And the cheesy corn and egg mixture in separate grill compartments:
The meat that is served is really plentiful (and our friend, Joe, said it’s his favorite Korean restaurant in K-town right now). Here’s what our table looked like once everything arrived:
We definitely over-ordered, especially since the lunchbox still hadn’t arrived until after we had finished almost all of our dinner. The lunchbox is a rice dish with egg and different veggies and sauces that is placed in an old-school lunch container that the waiter shakes vigorously until everything is evenly mixed.
Erika and I really enjoyed our meal there but I thought the meat wasn’t as seasoned as other restaurants on 32nd street. There were a few items that were marinaded but the majority of the meat was on the plain side. After we nearly finished dinner, Joe stopped by and asked if we had ordered any of the marinades and apparently we ordered all wrong! We’ll have to go back (with Ken, too!) so we can try it again.
Whenever Erika comes to visit me, I always end up trying new restaurants and eating a ton. She visited over the winter and we checked out a couple of places, including Dirty French, the new-ish restaurant from the guys that brought New York Torrisi, Carbone, and ZZ Clam (some of my favorite restaurants in New York!)
We had a pretty late reservation because Erika was working west coast hours and I had to get ready after working out. When we arrived at 10pm, the place was super packed lots of people were still waiting for tables. We started with the bread, a pita-like texture with herbs and olive oil:
For an appetizer, we shared the mushroom Millefeuille:
It’s difficult to see because I didn’t use flash in the photo, but they shaved the mushrooms super thin and made it look like a French pastry.
For our main course, we ordered the chicken and crepes for two:
Which came with lots of fresh sides, including sliced radishes:
And we also ordered a side of pommes frites, which were served with crack sauce and triple fried:
The chicken is juicy and best eaten with the skin, radishes, some sauces, and all wrapped in a crepe. Erika and I enjoyed the chicken but it was way too much food and I ended up taking it home to enjoy for lunch the next day (Ken thought he would enjoy it for a late dinner when I got home, though, and I woke up without any chicken!) The pommes frites are so crispy and the sauce is a cream-based sauce that was SO delicious.
We finished our meal with beignets dusted with powdered sugar with a chicory caramel sauce:
I was not a fan of the chicory caramel sauce but the hot pockets of fried dough with powdered sugar were definitely a winner.
We really enjoyed our meal there and the atmosphere was also really fun for a night out. I’ll definitely go back sometime this summer!
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