Warren on Mar 7th 2012
Cool and Cozy Wine Bar
I don’t know if there’s a cooler place to have a glass of wine in NYC than Bahr Che at Astor Place. It’s in a tiny candle-lit curvy space looking out on Cooper Square.
The wine bar features a nice selection of small plates from cheese plates to charcuterie to salmon tartar to eggplant and grilled shrimp. We tried all of the above, but the one that really stood out was the generous helping of lobster mac and cheese with truffle oil. Delicious! The pasta was perfectly done and mixed with just the right amount of cheese and large chunks of buttery lobster. For cheese, I enjoyed a creamy LaTur, which was made from cow’s goat’s and sheep milk and an aged Cabot cheddar.
But the real reason to visit Bahr Che is the wine.. all 1500 bottles of it. They pick their favorites and present an ever-changing list available by the carafe or bottle. I really enjoyed a super dry, minerally Gruner Veltliner and an exotic Txakolina. Our knowledgeable and helpful server helped to point us to the right choices with generous samples of wines on the menu.
We were there on a quiet Tuesday evening. I’d like to come back on a weekend when it’s buzzing with oenophiles.
26 Astor Place,
New York, NY
Warren on Feb 24th 2012
You know what happens when you’re in a dark, cold, dry room and you rub a fat long-haired cat the wrong way? Right: sparks fly. And that’s just what happens in Venus in Fur at the Lyceum. The play opens as thunder and lightning boom and flash on a dark stage. What follows is an hour and a half of non-stop building sexual tension between Vonda (Nina Arianda) and Thomas (Hugh Dancy). Just the two of them, a bag full of costumes dragged in by Vonda, a few pieces of furniture and a witty, edgy script full of twists and turns.With it’s play-within-a-play structure and 19th century shadow story, the play is quite Tom-Stoppard-esque. The plot is convoluted, the characters exchange roles, and, in the end, a bit more clarity would have been appreciated. But, when leaving the theater everyone can be hard exclaiming the same thing: Nina Arianda! She is a force of nature. Beguiling. Sexy. Dangerous. Eccentric. Endearing. As electric as the lightning that flashes throughout the show. Hugh Dancy does a great job just to keep up with her. Don’t miss it!
Warren on Feb 22nd 2012
Lexington Avenue in the ’20s and ’30s is know as ‘Curry Hill’ for the plethora of Indian restaurants there. So i was surprised to find the new American-style bistro The Three Hens nesting right smack in the middle of the ‘hood at 115 Lexington Ave.
The small room sports a casual bistro decor. We were seated promptly and welcomed by Bob, our server, who doubled as bartender. Service was friendly and prompt. Lauren started with the warm lentil salad, which she thoroughly enjoyed. I had one of their specialties—the french onion soup. It was very tasty, though i thought it could have used a bit more cheese. We don’t eat a lot of red meat, but Lauren had a hankering, so she ordered the steak frites.The steak au poirve came out cooked perfectly, tender and juicy. She’s normally not a big fries fan wither, but she loved the ones accompanying the steak.For my entree, I went a bit lighter, choosing the skillet-roasted chicken with potatoes, leeks, and mushrooms. It turned out just as i had hoped—moist and flavorful.
The Three Hens is a delightful, inexpensive alternative to other restaurants in the area.
Warren on Dec 10th 2011
How do you get to Radio City Music Hall?
Well you can practice, practice, practice. Or you can hop the Metro North to the Botanical Garden station in the Bronx for the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. There you will find more than 100 replicas of iconic New York buildings and landmarks—the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall—all made entirely from plants parts such as twigs, leaves, seeds, bark, and leaves. While vintage model trains run through the displays in the magnificent Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
i’ve been there before and count it as one of the must-see New York holiday attractions. This was the first time for Lauren and she could not get over it. “I feel like a kid!” she kept gushing. We say a lot of people there on the Thursday afternoon we attended, but didn’t see one without a smile.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. you can purchase them online here.
Warren on Nov 28th 2011
If you’re tired of the mannered, understated, ironic performances that are so prevalent on the stage theses days, Teatro Circulo has something different to offer. This East Village Latino theater presents an energetic and raw performance of one of Frederico Garcia Lorca’s greatest plays. La Casa de Bernarda Alba is Shakespearian in its tragic scope. It’s kind of a female, Spanish King Lear. It is presented in Spanish with English super titles. Yes, the play is great, but the actor’s in this performance are remarkable: energetic, honest, and heart-felt. The Puerto Rican diva Lydia Echevarria is remarkable as Bernarda. And Maria Eugenia Mercado is a good match for her as Poncia. Every member of this all female ensemble cast deserves applause, including Isabel Arraiza as the long-suffering Adela.
Watch LaCasa Trailer
Warren on Nov 26th 2011
The setup seems dangerously close to cliche: four young writers in a seminar with a crusty, burnt-out writing teacher. But with the first words out of the mouth of Douglas – wonderfully played by Jerry O’Connell-make it clear that there’s nothing ordinary about this script. From word one it’s biting, satiric, and laff-out-loud funny. Yes, it’s true that by the end, Leonard – played perfectly by Alan Rickman – does let down his guard to show his soft side. but that makes it all the more satisfying. Hamish Linklater is perfect as the word-nerdish, idealisitc, superior writer Martin; Hettienne Park couldn’t be sexier as the scheming, seductive Izzie, and Lily Rabe in endearing a Kate, who, though insecure and needy, triumphs in the end.
Seminar was written by Theresa Rebeck; directed by Sam Gold.
Warren on Nov 8th 2011
Or, an enchanting evening out in the West Village
Jesse Eisenberg shows his acting AND writing chops
It was a night of surprises for Lauren and me. The first was culinary as we stopped for a pre-show bite at the Mermaid Oyster Bar in the West Village. We got there early enough for Happy Hour. Dollar oysters and little neck claims? Count us in! WE enjoyed a dozen of each, followed by shishito peppers and broiled shrimp. hey were all great, fresh and tasty. Oh, and we got a complementary taste of the Lobster Mac and Cheese. Wow!
Then we scooted off to the Cherry Lane Theatre for “Ascuncion” the new play by – and starring – Jesse Eisenberg. We weren’t sure what to expect except that we would see the young actor up close and personal in the small Cherry Lane space. Small yes, but bigger than the Rattlestick sown the street which was the producing theatre.
Really, I wasn’t prepared to enjoy a play written by a 28 year old neophyte. and it that, i was surprised. the dialog is witty, sharp, and on-topic. It’s current and stinging. In the play, Eisenberg skewers young, liberal, hipster types. and he does it with vigor and sass.
Eisenberg plays the clueless, politically over-correct Edgasr
Camille Mana is endearing as the innocent, fun-loving title character. (I think i missed my chance to use the word ‘eponymous’ here.) While Justin Bartha is sufficiently smug and stoned as Vinny, Edgar’s mentor.
Directed by Kip Fagan, it’s a the Cherry Lane until December 18.
Warren on Oct 9th 2011
On a beautiful October Saturday, the entire front of 75 Main on Main St. in Southampton was thrown open in welcome. Couples dined casually at the sidewalk tables, drinkers imbibed at the large square bar in the center of the front dining room. We arrived early for our reservation and were seated promptly at a table overlooking the street.
The appetizers seemed so appealing, we started with three: Poached Shrimp; Tomato Tartine; and Roasted Littleneck Clams, and especially enjoyed the large, fresh shrimp, and the spicy salty broth in which the clam were served.
For mains at 75 Main, we went for the sauteed Branzini and an exotic Lobster Salad with mango and hearts of palm. I loved the braised fingerling potatoes served with the Branzini. But the highpoint of the meal was desert: choclatey Tartufo and perfect Creme Brulee.
A bright casual atmosphere, good service, contemporary cuisine… what more could you ask for on an October evening?
Warren on Sep 23rd 2011
Wow! What a great meal at Eataly’s rootop Birreria.
Here’s Lauren scraping the bowl of Cotta Cruda, a salad we shared at our first visit to Eataly‘s rooftop Birreria.
We took my daughter Zea to an early birthday dinner at Mario Batali‘ Birreria on the 15 floor rooftop above Eataly. It’s often referred to as a beer garden, but it’s much more than that. There is beer, of course, a few cask specials brewed on site. Wanda is brewed with chestnuts, while Gina is a traditional IPA. They have lots of other exotic brews on tap.But the real reason to come is the food.
Warren on Sep 7th 2011
The Story of Daily News Columnist Mike McAlary
At the Rattlestick Theatre in Greenwich Village
Mike McAlary was a hard driving, egotistical, take-no-prisoners newspaper reporter in the mold of the great Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamil. From Newsday, to the New York Post, to the New York Daily News, he broke stories and made news. He lived hard and died young. ‘The Wood’ is the story of an excessively tumultuous time in his life as he battled cancer and worked tirelessly to break the Abner Louima case, in which a Haitian immigrant was brutalized by an officer in a NYC Precinct in Brooklyn.
TV, movie, and blog writer Dan Klores tells McAlary’s tale with drama and compassion in this new production at the Rattlestick Theatre. Maybe too much compassion as McAlary mostly seems as thin as cardboard despite his bluster. It’s difficult to demonstrate inner conflict in a character who is so arrogant and self-confident, but John Viscardi gives it his best. K is outstanding as Louima, especially during the hospital scene. (or one of the hospital scenes. The play is plagued by too many cross-cuts, quick cuts, and time warping, mind-bending, attention sapping cuts in general.)