All posts by Alberto Alvarado

Rosemary’s: Not Worth the Trip

Dedicated to eating at farm-to-table, fresh, and organic restaurants, I just had to visit Rosemary’s. It is one of the places to go to for healthy and quality food in Manhattan. When I searched for new restaurants of the sort, Rosemary’s kept popping up. TimeOut, Culture Trip, Guest of a Guest: they all feature Rosemary’s among the best such locales in the City. But, I did not see it. It was just, well, ok.

I walked into the restaurant very excited, of course. At first, I was not disappointed. There was an inviting environment to it. Very naturally  lit, very open, very low-key. Located in the West Village (I have a bias towards the Downtown-ish neighborhoods for restaurants),  I expected it to be very authentic and thought the food would be delicious. It even has its own rooftop garden: how cool!

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I ordered a caprese focaccia, which comes with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella; a carbonara pasta; and an orange juice, which came with exotic ingredients. I know: orange juice and an Italian lunch are not the best mix. But I was at this hip restaurant that had its own private garden, so I wanted to be healthy. I said to myself: take a chance; order the juice.

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I should have stuck with a pinot grigio. It was a regular orange juice. I did not feel that natural texture and taste to it or any of those other quirky ingredients. Whatever.

The focaccia was very fluffy and bready, and the pasta was very creamy and oily. I even just started eating separately the bits of bacon in the end: the pasta just bored me.

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Honestly, I did not feel that the food was masterful at all. It was just very standard and regular. It was not truly Italian, and I do not know if it was truly farm-to-table. If I had not been told, I would have thought that the ingredients were bought at a supermarket. And that juice could perfectly pass for a Tropicana product. They definitely do have a good marketing team, so kudos for that. And maybe it was just that in wintertime their garden is not in use. But I would not recommend this place to anyone. To me, it is the Times Square of farm-to-table restaurants.

Sorry for this negative review or for this rant, but I feel it necessary to report the good and the bad. The main takeaway to Rosemary’s is: just don’t.

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Narcissa at The Standard, East Village

Narcissa was a very happy find for me. Looking for farm-to-table restaurants is not exactly the easiest task. Thankfully and despite the lack of several choices, I am thrilled to have discovered Narcissa.

Walking in, I thought I had come across a 21st century Garden of Eden. Its design is very modern and sleek. Wood panels, white marble countertops, colorful pieces, and abundant flowers can be found inside. There is a beautiful lush garden that highlights the restaurant’s farm-to-table take. All of this is made more idyllic by ubiquitous bright light. It is fresh and green, yet manicured and neat.

Since it was brunch and I was in such a nature-inspired restaurant, I wanted to order something cool and different. Yet, I ordered a burger. This can seem to be a rather basic plate, but with the right ingredients and in the right place, it can be magnificent.

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And it was. It was accompanied by guacamole, Manchego cheese, and a spicy orange sauce. Need I say anything else? It was pure perfection. A mixture of very diverse flavors blended in my mouth each time I took a bite from this moist dish. When the guacamole fell off the other end of the burger, I grabbed a knife and rubbed it back unto the burger. I think that pretty much sums it up.FullSizeRender

I would return any day to this inviting, cozy, hip, and elegant locale!

ABC Cocina

ABC Cocina is Jean-Georges’s Ibero-American take on its famous sister restaurant, ABC Kitchen. It is an airy, hip, and modern place located in the Flatiron District that manages to marvelously mix the city with nature.

The restaurant has a very cozy feel to it, filled with a very young and refreshing crowd of urbanites. Dimly lit by an abundance of widespread lights throughout the restaurant, it has a very natural look. I was glad to notice the silence that permeated the place: not due to a lack of customers but because of spacing arrangements to give customers a very individual experience.

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The menu has abundant influences from the Spanish and the Mexican kitchens. There are plenty of tapas options, reminiscent of a Madrid restaurant, from jamón ibérico to octopus. There are also many tacos and corn-heavy plates that show its Mexican influence. All of these plates feature a noticeable twist from the norm with their farm-to-table attributes and healthy ingredients. Fruits, plants, and spices are highlighted throughout the menu as the centerpiece of the site.

I chose to have a more Latin American experience by ordering guacamoleempanadas, and finally flan. They were all wonderfully splendid. The guacamole came with tortillas, a red, mildly spicy sauce, and nutty seeds in it that gave it a fresh taste. The empanadas were absolutely amazing. They were filled with moist mushrooms and accompanied by a green chili sauce. Lastly, the milky flan was incredibly soft; it dissolved in my mouth.

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This place is a must!