Exploring New York: Bar Americain, Aladdin, Benjamin, and Milk Bar

I’m finally back writing my blog again. It’s been quite a while since my last update because I’ve been super busy with work and other things so I don’t really have much time – but since I’m on here now, let’s continue our journey in New York City.

On the second day of trip, we started our day by trying out Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain for brunch. We were served assorted bread which includes some coffee cakes that were super delicious, but other kinds of bread were good as well.

We started by ordering the shellfish cocktails tasting menu which includes:

  • Shrimp-Tomatillo
  • Crab-Coconut
  • Lobster-Avocado

The shrimp with tomatillo sauce was OK, maybe it’s because I don’t really like tomatillo, but I think it was a little bit too tart, though the shrimp was fresh. Crab-Coconut was my favorite. The creaminess of the coconut with the sweetness of the mango salsa adds so much flavor to the crab itself. I think it was the best dish of all that we’ve tried. The last one that we tried was the lobster with avocado. I usually really like lobster but I found that this one, though cooked perfectly, has some off-putting flavor that I can’t pinpoint. I think overall, the dish was a successful execution.

For the entrée, I ordered the Burger Americain with Gruyere cheese with bacon as Bobby Flay is specifically famous for his burger/grill, I have a high expectation of the burger. The burger was perfectly cooked though I found that the burger was a little bit underseasoned. However, overall, I think it was a good burger though it’s not something that I would go out of my way to eat since there doesn’t seem to be anything quite special about it. The burger comes with fries and 3 sauces (ketchup, spicy mayo, and another sauce which I don’t remember what it was). Fries were OK and I have nothing to talk about it.

My friend, on the other hand, ordered shrimp and grits, and he let me tasted his dish a little bit. I found that the grits were on the verge of overseasoned which overpowers the natural sweetness of the shrimp but the overall dish was good and flavorful.

Photo Jul 02, 9 07 14 AM.jpg

We also tried ordering the Brooklyn Hash Brown which is the first time we try this dish. I don’t like it whatsoever. I think it’s very dry and doesn’t have much flavor. Also, as a Californian, we wouldn’t call this a hash brown, so I guess a New Yorker has a different idea of what a hash brown is compared to us.

Ugh... this thing tastes horrible

After the meal, we went to see the Aladdin the musical which I’ve been wanting to see for a long time, and I can tell you that it doesn’t disappoint. The actors (and actresses), the music, and the set was perfect. There is also some new music that Disney created for the show specifically which I found to be pretty good (though I prefer the music from the original animation). So if you find yourself in New York, and love Disney and Aladdin, this show is a must.

I’ve heard that Peter Luger steakhouse is the best steakhouse in New York, but as they don’t take reservation online and it’s really hard to get one, I was recommended by the hotel concierge that Benjamin steakhouse was as good (and they take credit card!) – so we ended up going there for dinner.

We started by getting some crab cakes for starter, and just get the classic “Steak for two” for entrée with mashed potatoes as a side dish.

I found the crab cake really good and the crab was fresh. I think it was one of the best crab cakes I’ve had. Now move on to the steak itself, I found that the steak was cooked to perfection but it looks like they really char the outside of the steak so that there is a bit more crunchiness when I bite into the steak – it definitely gives a different texture to the beef. The flavor of the steak was very good as well, however, the service was a little bit lackluster considered this is a pretty pricey restaurant (though I’ve heard that Peter Luger’s service is much worse).

If you think that we didn’t have enough to eat, we decided to get some dessert at the Milk Bar which is a dessert place by Christina Tosi who is the judge in the past 2 seasons of the TV show MasterChef. I tried her famous cereal milk soft serve and it was REALLY good. I also bought a bunch of cookies from the shop and I thought those are really good as well.

Our day ended with a nice dessert, and we’ve walked around the street of Manhattan before we took an Uber back to the hotel.