Via Brasil: Tastiest Adventure on Little Brazil Street

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RESTAURANT:  Via Brasil 

DATE OF VISIT: 5/14/17

ADDRESS: 34 West 46th Street New York, NY 10036 (A short walk from Times Square on “Little Brazil Street”)

GENRE: Brazilian Food

AFFORDABILITY: Entrees are on the expensive side (high teens but mostly higher) but are extremely filling!

VENUE: The restaurant itself is really nice, spacious New York eatery! Great environment to bring friends for a fancy time or family for a great family-meal in the city.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly. Did not take note if there were gender neutral bathrooms.

GENERAL: My friends and I had no plans for dinner after 9pm on a Sunday night and were just walking around Midtown and we stumbled across this restaurant. We were super indecisive, but I am so glad we decided to stop at Via Brasil! The service was fast and the menu was super expansive. Beyond the large regular menu, there were several specials, which was super great.

THE FOOD: I ordered Chicken Milanesa off the specials menu which was a breaded chicken dish with mashed potatoes. I honestly did not expect the serving to be so large – it was a great portion size. The potatoes were creamy and silky smooth and I absolutely loved them. The chicken was tender and cut easily, but has a great flavor to it. It was expertly breaded and overall delicious dish.

My friends ordered beef dishes and loved them as well. I think the next time I go I would definitely order Fried Yucca!

ACCOMODATIONS: Has some vegetarian options and appetizers, but a strong majority of the cuisines include meat.

OVERALL: Although slightly on the more expensive side, the food was filling and absolutely delicious. Definitely recommend if you want authentic Brazilian food! It’s a great time with family or friends and short walk from the Theater District and Times Square.

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The Kati Roll Company: A Taste of the Streets of India in NYC

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RESTAURANT:  The Kati Roll Company

DATE OF VISIT: 5/15/17

ADDRESS: 49 West 39th Street New York, NY 10018 (Four locations in Manhattan)

GENRE: Indian Food

AFFORDABILITY: I personally think the tastiest roll is the most affordable, so it worked out well for me. Can get a little bit pricey, but eating two or three rolls plus a drink would be very filling and come out to a good price for Manhattan.

VENUE: The restaurant itself is your standard New York eatery. Definitely makes you feel like you are in a more rustic, South Asian place with themed murals on the wall, etc. There is some seating if you want to stay and eat, but it’s also super easy to grab some rolls to go.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly. There was a gender neutral restroom.

GENERAL: A group of friends I was with kept saying we had to go here. What is a Kati Roll? In India you’ll find Kati Rolls as street food. They are basically flatbread wraps with an egg (“Anda” or spelled at this restaurant “Unda”) covering and with various fillings. They are sort of comparable to tacos or burritos. At the Kati Roll Company the egg is not included unless mentioned. All the rolls are made with Paratha (a flatbread cooked with ghee i.e. clarified butter) unless you request Roti (normal flatbread). The former in my opinion is much tastier, but both are great.

The service was decently fast. There were a lot of orders coming in so there was a bit of a wait, but definitely couldn’t have been more than seven or ten minutes. The parathas were made fresh, which you could watch happening, so that was very cool. I did not try any of the drinks, but the lassis (think milkshakes but made with a yogurt base instead of milk) looked super fresh and they also had chai (Indian tea), among beer and other beverages.

THE FOOD: I ordered two rolls: The Aloo Masala Roll and the Chicken Tikka Roll.

The Aloo Masala Roll was absolutely delicious. Essentially a roll with potatoes and spices. Reminded me a lot of the type of potatoes you would get ordering a Masala Dosa at an Indian Restaurant. The roll didn’t fall apart and the potatoes were spiced just right – honestly I could just keep eating those. The paratha was nice and crispy and I definitely appreciated that. I will be ordering lots of these in the future.

The Chicken Tikka Roll was a bit of a disappointment. I am definitely a bit harsher when it comes to critiquing Indian food since I grew up in a household with such great Indian cooking, but I just was not as impressed with this roll as I was with the Aloo Masala Roll. The Chicken Tikka Roll kept falling apart and the chicken itself, although the flavor was evident, was not anything too special. I think the size of the pieces and especially the texture and consistency of the chicken also hurt the overall experience with this roll. Though I did save half the roll for the next morning and it did still taste flavorful for breakfast.

ACCOMODATIONS: Has several excellent vegetarian options. Also very cool how you have the option between Paratha and Roti for your bread. I’m sure you could request some other changes if needed.

OVERALL: Definitely do recommend checking this place out! Two to three rolls are affordable, and I strongly recommend making at least one of them an Aloo Masala Roll! I do plan to come back soon!

Fuji Sushi: Seafood Udon of My Dreams

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RESTAURANT:  Fuji Sushi

DATE OF VISIT: 5/17/17

ADDRESS: 238 W 56th St New York, NY 10019 (Not too far from Central Park and Times Square)

GENRE: Japanese Food

AFFORDABILITY: I found the restaurant reasonably priced for the serving sizes and quality of food.

VENUE: Standard sit down New York restaurant. I sat with a friend by the window so that was really nice. The restaurant seemed to have a lot of seating and a good atmosphere to bring family or friends.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly. Did not take note if there were gender neutral bathrooms.

GENERAL: The service was fast and attention was great! My friend and I had time to kill before our train and it was a great spot for that! The menu is large and expansive covering a variety of Japanese food, which was really awesome. The server checked to see if I needed a fork to eat my Udon, and I appreciated the concern.

THE FOOD: I ordered Seafood Udon Noodles. It was affordable and the serving was huge – I couldn’t even finish it! It comes with salad on the side, but I instead asked for Miso Soup. The Miso Soup was delicious. The Seafood Udon Noodles came with a variety of Seafood like scallops, squid, and more. Some pieces were a little bit rubbery, but it was still satisfying. I definitely appreciated the quantity food. Quality Udon! I definitely recommend!

I think next time I visit I would order some sushi. My friend did and he received a ton of food and it looked delicious.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Does have vegetarian options.

OVERALL: It was a pretty good restaurant! For the price and location, I think it is definitely a good bet if you’re looking for a variety of Japanese food options!

K-Bap: Little Piece of Korea by Trump Tower

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RESTAURANT:  K-Bap Korean Cuisine

DATE OF VISIT: 5/17/17

ADDRESS: 62 W 56th St New York, NY 10019 (A block from Trump Tower and a few blocks away from Central Park)

GENRE: Korean Food

AFFORDABILITY: Most dishes are around $10

VENUE: It was a cute little Korean eatery with a nice ambience. Mostly a grab’n’go but had some sit down spaces.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly. Did not take note if there were gender neutral bathrooms.

GENERAL: I was just walking around New York looking for a quick lunch in between obligations and this place looked appealing. It was a nice little eatery with a variety of Korean food options. There was a decent amount of seating for a restaurant of its small size and it seemed to have free miso soup as well which was pretty cool. If you don’t choose the to-go option like I did, there is really nice dishware.

THE FOOD: I ordered a Dumpling Ramyun. I’m not sure why I did, since there were so many other great Korean options and it was really hot that day. It was on the spicy side, and tasted fine for Ramen, but it was literally just Ramen. I don’t think there was really anything special about it except for the vegetables included (and I guess the broth had lots of flavor). The dumplings were tasty, but a lot larger than expected.

I think next time I visit I would order a Bento Box or Bibimbap or Dukbokki. I really do think the food is pretty good here, just that the Ramen was just nothing special in my opinion. Or just a really bad thing to crave on such a hot day (probably perfect for a cold winter day).

ACCOMMODATIONS: Does have vegetarian options.

OVERALL: Decent portions and has some of the more affordable prices for Manhattan. I wasn’t particularly blown away with the Ramen but I think a lot of the other dishes I mentioned above have more potential (other people looked like they had very tasty dishes). Definitely not a bad option and worth a visit!

Melt Shop: Meeting Grilled Cheesus

So this is my first review. I haven’t read many professional reviews nor do I know what these should even look like. I love to eat and always love trying new foods and always have lots of thoughts. So I thought it would be fun to start casually writing about them!

RESTAURANT:  Melt Shop

DATE OF VISIT: 5/16/17

ADDRESS: 877 8th Avenue New York, NY 10019 (Eight Locations Nationwide, mostly in New York)

GENRE: “Comfort Food” (Sandwiches, Tater Tots, Milkshakes, etc.)

AFFORDABILITY: A sandwich is $5-$10 which isn’t too bad for Manhattan. Decent portions that are fairly filling.  

VENUE: A short walk from Times Square in the Midtown West/Hell’s Kitchen area. The inside reminds me of the inside of a lot of new, trendy grab’n’go restaurants you find in cities like DC or NYC: sleek and modern. A few tables and high chairs for seating but you probably won’t find a seat during peak rushes.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly. Had a single gender-neutral bathroom with an entry code given to customers (pretty standard for city restaurants like these).

GENERAL: If you are looking for sandwiches in NYC and don’t want to go to a random deli, this is definitely the place for you. A good variety of tasty options that can be taken on the go if need be. The staff was super friendly, patient, and worked fairly fast. The food was made fresh so that was really nice.  The restaurant itself was clean, nice, and sleek; a great place for tasty food after a long bus ride into the city.

THE FOOD: I ordered the Fried Chicken Sandwich, Shop Tots, and a Chocolate Truffle Milkshake.

 The Fried Chicken Sandwich was absolutely scrumptious. My biggest concern when ordering it was that the chicken would be soggy, but it was nice and crispy. I’m also not usually a big fan of slaws, but the tangy red cabbage slaw and melt sauce went perfectly with the crispy, hot piece of fried chicken and sourdough bread. Great combination of contrasting flavors – I definitely do recommend!

I ordered the shop tots because how could you not order something called “shop tots” (it’s just so fun to say!). They were your standard tater tots. Not disappointed (but I wouldn’t say they were mind-blowing. if you like tater tots you most definitely will love these shop tots!)

I ordered the Chocolate Truffle Shake just because “Chocolate Truffle” sounded so good. The consistency of the shake was amazing: nice, thick, and creamy. It was too chocolatey for me, but at least the chocolate drizzle around the cup made it look really nice. 

I think next time I go, I would definitely order one of the other four shakes because I feel like there is less chance the flavor would be too strong. And I would definitely order cheesy tots or loaded tots – you can’t go wrong with “Tots covered with stuff”.

ACCOMODATIONS: Vegetarian options available and sandwiches can be substituted with Gluten-Free Bread.

OVERALL: Scrumptious meal with a decent serving size at a decent price (for Manhattan). I could see this being one of my favorite lunch places – I would definitely come back! I strongly recommend The Melt Shop if you’re watching a Broadway show or are visiting Times Square and want a filling meal with a variety of options!