Creole Y’all! Meet me at The Boil

This little piece of heaven prides itself on its simplicity. Three main combos, all your favorite creole small plates, and a bar shaking up hurricanes (no, it’s not too soon).


Cocktails are on the sweet side, and almost all contain syrup, grenadine, orange and/or peach. But that’s just staying true to creole eateries. This is NOT your nice sit-down spot for your first date, unless you’re looking for a gloves-on, hair-up, bibs-down, sauce-all-over-both-of-you date. Which could be fun!

Start with the gumbo and catfish, which comes in a small basket with PHENOMENAL Cajun fries. Spicy, great for winter, and just warms your soul. Because New Orleans. 

For your entrée, share a combo – it’s so much food, and can include crawfish, shrimp, lobster, and snowcrab depending on which you pick. You also customize the sauce you want (hint: ask for a mix of all of them. Locals and staff have it this way), and you’re asked to pick a spice level. Medium has a kick, so don’t go crazy if you aren’t a hot sauce fiend.


Finish it off with their humble caramel dessert (if you can fit anything after your entrée!)

Have fun with this one. Go with a friend (or five), get your bibs and gloves on, and dive in!


You can have several small plates and spend about $20 pp, or go all out for $30 pp. And that’s for a ton of food. It is cash-only with an ATM up front.

Check it out on Chrystie St between Broome and Grand in the Lower East Side.

Hawaii is Served: Noreetuh


This intimate eatery packs a punch. Starting with hearts of palm and tuna poke, biting into spicy proteins and vegetables, and finishing with decadent local desserts that mix fruit, nuts, puddings and sauces inspired by Hawaii.


The tuna poke (“poe-kay”) is such a great start to a meal. It’s chilled and spicy, tender, and cut into small bites. Marinated in a delicious tart sauce, with sesame seeds, pickled jalapeños, seaweed and macadamia nuts. Great to share, but I was greedy and got one all to myself. So good!


One of the most talked about entrees here is the spaghetti. I KNOW HOW IT SOUNDS! But wait – this isn’t your good ole boxed carb. It’s actually made with butterfish, mentaiko (roe of pollock and cod that is commonly found in Japanese cuisine), chili, and a generous garnish of aonori (type of seaweed). It’s crunchy and spicy, and chunks of fish are all over the bottom of the plate. Very satisfying entree for sure.


To round it all out, the king’s Hawaiian bread pudding is fantastic. Served warm with rum raisins, and balanced with a scoop of pineapple ice cream. Shareable, but the spaghetti portion is just right to have this dessert by yourself if you’re hungry.


You could get a nice, filling 3-course meal for about $35 pp. They also offer wine pairings for $35 pp, which gives you 3 glasses each, handpicked by an in-house connoisseur. Pretty good deal for some excellent wine. My meal included a German Riesling, an earthy red from New Zealand, and a Spanish Rioja. Perfectly paired.

Check it out on 1st Ave between 7th and St. Marks.

French Foodies Only: Rebelle


At Rebelle, the beauty of the dining room is only topped by the exquisite flavors dished in the kitchen. Staples like duck confit, pâté, and hen are joined by delicious preparations of seafood, veal, and hearty sides.


My top appetizer is the fluke – citrusy and cold. Great way to get your taste buds going with a cocktail while you wait for your entrée.

The special rotates quite frequently, but if you’re lucky, you’ll go on a night when the chef is serving his porterhouse veal and potatoes. Prepared in a cast iron pot on the bone, this dish is prepared for two, and the meat just melts off. Spiced to perfection and finished with lemon.

Average cocktail is $14. Dinner runs around $30 pp. 

Check it out on Bowery between Spring and Rivington streets in Nolita.

Powerful Punch in Alphabet City: Evelyn


Nested on an ordinary street next to some bodegas and apartment buildings is this little gem of a cocktail bar. Intimate and candle-lit, this is the perfect space to catch up with a friend over one of their delicious house punch recipes, or a seasonal mule.  

With seating for about 30 people total, you don’t want to crowd this space with your entire office crew. Save this place for your date, roommate, or friend to really enjoy the drinks and chat.  

Happy hour is Monday-Thursday 6pm-8pm, where you can get $8 large punches or their more advanced cocktails, $6 wine, and $5 tall boys and small punches.

My favorite punch is the Pennypacker, with scotch, peach liqueur, and a smoky turmeric-lemon cordial. Yum!

With happy hour in effect, you’ll easily enjoy a few drinks for two under $40.

Check it out in Alphabet City, on Avenue C between 10th and 11th.

Mediterranean Date Night: Barbounia


With beautiful arches and palm trees right out of a whimsical movie set, Barbounia’s dining hall alone is an enjoyable experience. I came here on a Saturday night, and although we had a reservation, we expected to wait to be seated because of how busy this place always is. To the contrary – our table was ready exactly on time, something all New Yorkers can appreciate!


Cocktails were delicious. My personal favorite was a gimlet with a floral gin and grapefruit – refreshing and not too strong.


The octopus was a beautiful and delicious appetizer – a little salty for those with a sensitive taste, but quite satisfying.


I came here for the Moussaka personally. My mom is middle eastern and cooks the best dishes, and uses eggplant a lot. This dish is a fresh take on a classic staple, and boy it is FANTASTIC. Chunks of spiced lamb and vegetables are soaked in tomato sauce, and baked into a halved eggplant, with crispy broiled cheese and pine nuts on top. Very filling and super tasty.  


I should mention that the bread is not to be turned down here, ever! It’s freshly baked, lightly seasoned, and goes wonderfully with the house olive oil and marinated olives. Your diet shall wait while you enjoy this one!

Average price per person is about $50, including one appetizer to share and one drink each. We spoiled ourselves with some refills and really went for it – but that’s just because it was my home territory 🙂

Check it out on 250 Park Ave South in the Flatiron District.