Category Archives: CUISINES

Naya – Mezze & Grill, Midtown East, NYC

Naya – Mezze & Grill, Midtown East, NYC
NAYA – MEZZE & GRILL
686 3rd Ave
(between 43rd St & 44th St)
New York, NY 10017
(212) 557-0007
http://www.nayarestaurants.com/



At Naya, traditional Lebanese cuisine meets designer chic!

The sleek, modern space consists of a narrow passageway lined with cool glass and white leather cubicles. It opens up to a bright back room which is suitable for group seating.



The food at Naya is outstanding and so well priced. You could just eat their Mezze and be full! Read the rest of this entry

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Sushi Ran, San Francisco, CA

Sushi Ran, San Francisco, CA
SUSHI RAN
107 Caledonia St
Sausalito, CA 94965
Ph: (415) 332-3620
www.sushiran.com


Just a few minutes away from San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, lies the picturesque waterfront community of Sausalito. It’s in this charming area that Yoshi Tome opened his highly acclaimed Sushi Ran.

Having received a prestigious Michelin star, the chefs at Sushi Ran work hard at the ever-changing menu that combines traditional Japanese and Pacific cuisine.

The fish here is very fresh and the cuisine is inventive. The service was friendly and efficient.

The restaurant has a sushi bar and main dinning room and an adjacent sake bar too.


Here is some of what we ate:


CALIFORNIA SALAD

This was a true California cuisine salad. It had fresh crab, cucumbers, avocado, tofu and crisp mixed greens with delicious sesame dressing. Everything was just fresh fresh fresh! Outstanding!


CRUNCH ROLL

This roll was highly recommended by our server and he was right on the money with this one. It was the best roll we had. The eel, spicy crab, shrimp and avocado melded beautifully with each other while the tempura flakes added a perfect bite of crunch to it.


SALMON & AVOCADO ROLLS

These were very good. The salmon was fresh and melted with the avocado in this roll.


NEGITORO

These rolls made with fatty tuna, grilled green onions and fresh scallions were really interesting. I loved the play of the grilled and fresh scallions with the fish.


SPICY TUNA ROLL

This was a different take on the traditional spicy tuna roll. Served with chunks of tuna, miso aioli and togarashi – it was rather unique – not exquisite but interesting.


SOFT SHELL CRAB ROLL & EBI TEMPURA ROLLS

I wasn’t very impressed with their soft shell crab and tempura roll.


SALMON & TUNA SUSHI

Their sushi was not as impressive as their rolls.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

Food: ☆☆☆ ½

Service: ☆☆☆ ½

Ambiance: ☆☆ ½

Cost: $$$

I recommend: California Salad, Crunch Roll, Salmon and Avocado Rolls


Sushi Ran on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Sushi Ran
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Japanese
* Street Address
107 Caledonia St , Sausalito, CA 94965
* Phone
(415) 332-3620
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Asmara – Eritrean/Ethiopian Cuisine, Oakland, CA

Asmara – Eritrean/Ethiopian Cuisine, Oakland, CA
ASMARA
5020 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
Ph: (510) 547-5100
www.asmararestaurant.com/



Asmara, (named after the capital of Eritrea) has been serving up Eritrean/ Ethiopian delights in North Oakland since 1985.

What begins with a rather mediocre facade opens into a roomy, inviting space with cute touches of ethnic décor.


The food is pretty good overall though in certain dishes I felt like there was something missing – perhaps something in the spices they use. Their injeras were very good and we were given plenty of them.

The service is a little slow but overwhelmingly warm and friendly.

All in all – Asmara is a really good bet!


Here is some of what we ate:


POTATOES & CARROTS AND SALAD

The potato and carrots combo and salad are usually served on the shared plate with an injera at the bottom. I thought the potato dish was very bland and devoid of spice and flavor. The salad was nice and crunchy and went very well with the rest of the meal.


TEMTMO/ YEMISSIR

This red lentil stew marinated in berbere sauce was very good. It really had great depth of spices and flavor.


DORO AND GOMEN

This boneless chicken cooked with mustard greens was outstanding. The chicken was cooked down to a perfect tenderness, which melded really well with the cooked greens.


SHIRO

This roasted grounds peas cooked in berbere sauce is one of my favorite Ethiopian dishes. I found Asmara’s shiro very lacking. It was disappointing.


TEBSY

This dish had pan-roasted strips of beef, simmered with onion, butter, and mild spices.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

Food: ☆☆☆

Service: ☆☆☆

Ambiance: ☆☆

Cost: $$

I recommend: Temtmo/ Yemissir, Doro and Gomen


Asmara on Urbanspoon

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Asmara Restaurant
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Ethiopian
* Street Address
5020 Telegraph Ave ((between 49th St & 51st St) ), Oakland, CA 94609
* Phone
(510) 547-5100
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Panorama of My Silent Heart Cafe, Jamaica, NYC

Panorama of My Silent Heart Cafe, Jamaica, NYC

 

 

The Panorama of My Silence-Heart Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

This is my new favorite “hang out with your best buddy”, local spot.

Panorama Café is the most unlikely find, in this neck of the woods. It’s an artsy, warm café with a whole lot of soul.

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53rd and 6th – Halal Cart, Midtown West,NYC

53rd and 6th – Halal Cart, Midtown West,NYC

 

 

MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

 

Food: ☆☆☆☆

 

Service: ☆☆

 

Cost: $

 

53rd and 6th Halal Cart on Urbanspoon

 


“The Best Halal. Delicious Chicken and Gyro  – We are different!” scream the yellow shirts worn by “The Gyros Guys” on 53rd and 6th avenue.

They have no official name and are known as anything from  the Halal Cart to Chicken and Rice to Platter!


There are many Halal Carts around that block but this one in particular is in a class by itself. They are known by their distinctive yellow sweatshirts and plastic bags that read ” The Best Halal……….”

They are only open at night from 7:30 PM to 4:00 AM. It doesn’t matter what time of night you go  – they always have a long line of eager night owls waiting to get their fix.

This was the line we found when we got there at 2:30 AM on a Saturday night!!



But here’s the BIG secret. They usually charge $6 for a chicken rice platter but for $10 – you get to cut the line!!!

So, if you dont want to wait and are willing to pull out the big bucks……. all you have to do is go up to the guys directly and tell them that you want the ten dollar deal!!



Needless to say their food is fabulous. There is no better way to wind down the New York night scene.

They have two options on their menu – the chicken and rice platter or the chicken gyro sandwich. Their sauces are to die for!

Apparently the recipe for their white sauce is top secret – that’s where all the flavor is and they have a kick-ass hot sauce. I’m a spice hound but you really have to take it easy on this one – its is SMOKING hot!

So delicious!!


So if you ever get those late night munchies and need a hit of something cheap and fabulous……53rd and 6th is the place to go!



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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
The Halal Guys
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Brooklyn / Middle Eastern other
* Street Address
6th Ave & W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
* Phone
(347) 527-1505
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Rouge Tomate, Midtown East, NYC

Rouge Tomate, Midtown East, NYC

Food: ☆☆☆☆
Ambiance: ☆☆☆☆
Service: ☆☆☆☆
Price: $$$
I recommend: Kale Dip, Peekytoe Crab with Celery Root Panna Cotta, Tagliatelle with Oregon Morels


Rouge Tomate on Urbanspoon

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VANESSA’S DUMPLING HOUSE, Lower East Side, NYC

VANESSA’S DUMPLING HOUSE, Lower East Side, NYC

Food: ☆☆
Service: ☆☆
Ambiance: ☆ 1/2
Cost: $
I recommend: Wonton with Spicy Sauce, Sesame Pancake Sandwich.


Vanessa's Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

 

Strolling around Chinatown one day, my interest was piqued by the hustle bustle at a neat looking dumpling house. That’s how I discovered Vanessa’s Dumpling House on Eldridge Street. Vanessa’s works like a well-oiled machine and is run by an all women crew – love that! Read the rest of this entry

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Bittersweet – The Chocolate Cafe, San Francisco, CA

Bittersweet – The Chocolate Cafe, San Francisco, CA
BITTERSWEET – THE CHOCOLATE CAFE
2123 Fillmore Street
San Francisco,
CA 94115
Ph#(415) 346-8715
Website: http://www.bittersweetcafe.com


Bittersweet

Bittersweet – The Chocolate Café, on Fillmore street in San Francisco, is an ideal place that really hits a chocoholic and bond-aholics spot! This is the kind of place that every street corner in the world should have. A delightful little café that serves up perfectly sized choco-filled desserts to go with all kinds of yummy drinks hot or cold. Bittersweet is a definite must do if you are in and around the Fillmore area in SFO. Grab your best buddy and be prepared to spend a day of true decadence that will be so worth your while. Read the rest of this entry

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Clinton Street Baking Company, Lower East Side, NYC

Clinton Street Baking Company, Lower East Side, NYC

 
MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL
 
Food: ☆☆☆☆
 
Service: ☆☆☆
 
Ambiance: ☆☆
 
Cost: $$
 
I recommend: Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes, Fried Green Tomatoes, Cheese Grits.
  

Clinton St. Baking Company on Urbanspoon

 

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Spice Market, Meatpacking District, NYC

Spice Market, Meatpacking District, NYC

 

Spice Market on Urbanspoon

Take a trip to Southeast Asia by eating at Jean-George Vongerichten’s Spice Market. The cuisine here  is inspired by regional street food combined with Vongerichten’s distinctive touch. The interiors are resplendent and definitely make you feel like you are in some exotic locale of Asia. There are decorative pagodas and arches that adorn the enormous space and a grand staircase that leads to the hopping bar area downstairs. All of this makes for a really great spot to hang out at where one is stylishly served by waiters and scantily clad waitresses, dressed in bright orange hues. Read the rest of this entry

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Le Perigord, Midtown East, NYc

Le Perigord, Midtown East, NYc

 

Le Périgord on Urbanspoon


“Tired” is the word that comes to mind when I think about my evening spent at Le Perigord, which is nestled in the heart of Sutton Place. Every thing about the evening was just so pathetically dreary and tiring.

There was no real “welcome” when we entered the restaurant. We were ushered to our table and just kind of left there for quite some time  with the menus till we asked for someone to come and take our order. The general air of all the servers was brusque. And even the little charm that I thought the place had in its simple table setting wore off by the time the appetizers were done. For the rest of the meal – I just kept hearing the “tick-tock” of a clock….when will this be done? Read the rest of this entry

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Chao Thai, Woodside, NYC

Chao Thai, Woodside, NYC

 

Food: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
 
Ambiance: 
 
Service: ☆☆☆
 
 Price: $
 
Overall experience: ☆☆☆
 
 I recommend: Crispy Watercress Salad, Soft Shell Crab with Curry Powder, Steamed Whole Fish with Lime Juice.
 

Chao Thai on Urbanspoon


Chao Thai is one of Elmhurst’s food treasures. It’s the kind of place that really makes Queens famous for having some of the best ethnic eats in New York City. This tiny eatery couldn’t be more than 200 sq. ft, but they sure have packed in some flavor into that small space. Read the rest of this entry

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Fat Witch Bakery, Chelsea , NYC

Fat Witch Bakery, Chelsea , NYC


 

 

Fat Witch Bakery on Urbanspoon


Who doesn’t love a good Brownie?

In New York City’s Chelsea market, the Fat Witch Bakery has built an entire business on selling just brownies. Their brownies area called “witches” and you can get them in all kinds of bewitching flavors and sizes. What a marvelous concept! Read the rest of this entry

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Dong Yi Feng, Flushing, NYC

Dong Yi Feng, Flushing, NYC


 

Dong Yi Feng on Urbanspoon

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Aegean Cove – Traditional Greek Cuisine, Astoria, NYC

Aegean Cove – Traditional Greek Cuisine, Astoria, NYC

 

Aegean Cove on Urbanspoon

 

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Tortilleria Nixtamal, Corona, NYC

Tortilleria Nixtamal, Corona, NYC

 

Tortilleria Nixtamal on Urbanspoon

 

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Sushi of Gari 46, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

Sushi of Gari 46, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC
Sushi of Gari 46
347 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036
Ph# 212-957-0046
http://www.sushiofgari.com/


 


 

Sushi of Gariis the abode of celestial sushi! Chef Masatoshi “Gari” Sugio in his brilliant creations has redefined sushi completely. Gari set out to educate Americans on how to truly enjoy the delicate flavors of sushi without dousing it in globs of wasabi and soy sauce. In doing so, he has masterfully paired the finest fish with the most innovative toppings and sauces.  So, when the sushi is presented to you at Sushi of Gari, it is complete in itself and requires no additional flavoring to be added.

If you are looking for an other worldly experience at Gari, then don’t try any of the “regular” items on the menu. Skip the appetizers and go for the gold. All the food is really good at Gari but the thing to really have is the “Sushi Special or the Omakase( chef’s choice). Be prepared to spend spend spend but for food this good – who needs to save for college anyway!! Read the rest of this entry

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Sigiri – Sri Lankan Cuisine, East Village, NYC

Sigiri – Sri Lankan Cuisine, East Village, NYC
SIGRI
91 First Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(between E. Fifth and E. Sixth Sts.)
Ph# (212) 614-9333
http://www.sigirinyc.com/


Well over 15 years ago, when I was visiting Sri-Lanka, I had one of the best meals at the home of one of the local residents. I can’t remember what I ate but  just remember it being one of those truly unforgettable meals. Ever since then, I have been trying to find shadows of that meal somewhere….anywhere …….here in New York City.

My search led me to Sigri on the Lower East Side. Sigiri is perched in a small space on top of an ethnic gorcery store right around the Bangladeshi- Indian Restaurant Row on East 6th street. Read the rest of this entry

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BKNY Thai, Bayside, NYC

BKNY Thai, Bayside, NYC
BKNY
47-11 Francis Lewis Blvd
Bayside, NY 11361
http://www.bknythai.com/


BKNY is so aptly named because once you enter this restaurant, you really are transported from New York to Bangkok – at a fraction of the cost!

This fabulous find is a real jewel in a part of Queens where really good ethnic food is very hard to find. BKNY was opened in 2006 and has been serving up phenomenal Thai cuisine ever since. The owner Usai has managed not only to bring the authentic flavors of Thailand here to New York but also the unmatched warmth and hospitality that can only be truly Thai. Read the rest of this entry

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Pho Bang Restaurant, Flushing, NYC

Pho Bang Restaurant, Flushing, NYC


Ever been to a Vietnamese Restaurant and not had Pho?

I have!

Pho Bang serves up some of the tastiest, bang for your buck eats one can find. The average cost for a dish is between $5-6 and boy do they feed you well. When we went, there were 7 of us. We ate like maniacs- ordered all the meats from shrimp to beef and the bill only came to about $60!! Now that’s a deal. My most favorite thing to eat at Pho Bang is the grilled pork. I think they have mastered their pork dishes. If you don’t eat pork there is plenty you can substitute with.

Here is some of what we ate:


GOI CUON

The Goi Cuon is a Vietnamese summer roll, which is wrapped with rice paper and stuffed with cooked shrimp, pork, green leaves, and mint, bean sprouts and rice noodles. It is served with a tangy peanut sauce.

I thought their summer rolls were pretty decent. I like my rolls more on the delicate side so when I saw them brining out a big lump of a roll I didn’t think I would like it at all. When I tried it though I thought it was quite tasty. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of the roll. I found it got too mundane after a few bites.



 

TOM BO NUONG VI

 

The Tom Bo Nuong Vi is a table grilled marinated shrimp and beef dish, which is cooked at your table. It is then served with rice papers, greens and delicately pickled raw veggies and a dipping sauce. This dish was delightful. The dish came on a bed of flavored oil, which is used as a cooking medium on the grill.



While the meats are cooking, we soaked the rice papers in a bowl of water and waited for them to soften. Once the meat is cooked, we wrapped the meat/ shrimp alongside with all kinds of green leaves they provide – such as lettuce, mint and cilantro. We then topped it off with some fresh jalapeños and the dipping sauce and …………well you just have to try it to experience the yumminess of it all.


 


BAHN TAP

TheBahn Tap is my most favorite dish of all. Bahn Tap is an appetizer in which thin pieces of grilled marinated pork are served on a bed of shrimp flavored chips. It is topped off with crunchy, fried garlic and roasted peanuts. This dish is served with mixed greens and the way to eat it is to wrap the shrimp chips and pork in a lettuce leaf and top it of with cilantro, mint and jalapeños. I think this dish has the perfect combination of all the textures and flavors that good food should. It has the perfect marination for the thin pork, the crunch of the chips and the greens, which are both to different and yet come together to make perfection. The jalapeños add the right amount of spice and interest to this dish.


 

 


BUN TOM XAO/ BUN THIT NUONG


We also ordered the Bun Tom Xao, which is a sautéed shrimp on rice vermicelli, and a Bun Thit Nuong, which is marinated grilled pork, served on rice vermicelli. Both of these dishes are eaten with greens just as the above dishes. Both these dishes were very good too.


BAHN MI CA RI GA

I’m not a fan of chicken in Vietnamese cuisine. I feel that they do their other meats so much better but the chicken curry dish that we tried really pleasantly surprised me. The Bahn Mi Ca-Ri Ga is a chicken stew with potatoes. It is hearty stew that is simmered with curry powder and coconut milk. It was really outstanding. The stew had been simmered to the perfect texture where the curry was thick and really delicious.


COM CHEIN GA HOAC HEO


We also ordered a Com Chein Ga Hoac Heo, which is Vietnamese chicken fried rice with green peas. The fried rice on its own was okay but it went very well with the Bahn Mi Ca-Ri Ga (chicken stew).

I just love Pho-Bang. Its one of those places that you get an urge to go and eat at every few weeks. The digs are- well Chinatown – but with food so good and prices so cheap – who cares!! The staff is a cut above the Chinatown rest. In the noisy bustle and quick turn around of tables, they are quite proud of the good eats that they serve up on a daily basis.


MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

 Food: ☆☆☆☆

Ambiance: ☆

Service: ☆1/2

Price: $

Overall experience: ☆☆☆

I recommend: Bahn Tap, Tom Bo Nuong Vi, Bahn Mi Ca-Ri Ga

 

 

Pho Bang on Urbanspoon

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Bouley, Tribeca, NYC

Bouley, Tribeca, NYC
BOULEY
163 Duane Street,
New York, New York
Ph# (212) 964-2525
http://www.davidbouley.com/
 
 
Bouley on Urbanspoon
 
 

The first time I ate at Bouley was in 1996. My mother in-law took my husband (fiancée at that time) and me for dinner to celebrate our graduating Graduate School from Columbia.

The experience  for me was beyond divine. Even though it was almost 12 years ago, I still remember being delighted by every course we were served! Little did I know at that time that Bouley would close down that very year. I’ve never forgotten that meal. I really think it was one of the best meals I have ever had….in my entire life!

So, after 12 long years of Bouley having closed, reopened, moved locations and so on, I finally went back to try it one more time. This time I went for lunch. They have a great pre-fix deal for lunch for $48.

Here is some of what I ate.


PORCINI FLAN DUNGENESS CRAB


I started with the Porcini Flan, Dungeness Crab, Black Truffle Dashi. This dish was outstanding. The crab just melted in my mouth and the combination of the mushrooms and dashi was to die for. This dish had so many layers of subtle flavors to it – I tasted something different in every bite. Everything about this dish was superb.


ROASTED ROUGET


I had the Roasted Rouget for my next course. This dish really did nothing for me. The fish was very fresh and roasted to perfection but I found the bed of sauces it was on to be unimpressive. It really did nothing for the dish. I guess I expected more.




This was the Pennsylvania All Natural Chicken Baked in Buttermilk. The chicken was very tender but it was a little underdone and the vegetables and sauce it came with did nothing for the dish. It didn’t have the depth I expected from it.


BLACK COD


The next course was a Fresh Washington State Black Cod with Organic Buckwheat, Sunchoke Cloud and Black Onion Powder. I thought this dish was horrible! I did not like it at all. It sounded like an interesting dish and came highly recommended, but once I tried it I just could not get through it. It was one of those semi-cooked, quivery , jellyish kind of dishes that I personally just do not like. I have to say that when the staff saw that I didn’t like my dish they immediately offered to bring me something else. They were really very gracious.


DESSERTS

Lime Sorbet with Pineapple


This Lime Sorbet with Finely sliced Pineapple was a palate cleanser that was brought to us right before dessert. This dish really jolts your taste buds and wakes you up. I thought it was very good but I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of it as it was very strong. It served it purpose really well!


HOT VALRHONA CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE


The Hot Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé Vermont Maple Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sorbet was beyond divine. This was the best chocolate soufflé cake that I have ever had. The ice creams that accompanied it were unbelievable too. So fresh, so beautifully flavored – it was a perfect way to end our meal.


I have to say that overall I was disappointed with this meal. The two outstanding things I ate were the Crab-Porcini mushroom flan and the dessert. The rest of the meal was just okay. I would go back again though. Bouley is such a charming place, with impeccable service and grace. I really enjoyed the experience and parts of the meal were outstanding. It’s hard to judge a place like Bouley based on just one meal and one menu. I still believe that Chef David Bouley can recreate the magic that I experienced 12 years ago and I am willing to go back and try.



MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL

 

Food: ☆☆☆

Ambiance: ☆☆☆1/2

Service:☆☆☆☆

 
Price: $$$$

Overall experience: ☆☆☆1/2

I recommend: Porcini Flan, Dungeness Crab,Hot Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé

(All ratings are out of a possible 5 stars. Each establishment is individually rated based on my experience of that particular meal.  Ratings are also based on my expectations of quality of food, value for money, service, ambiance and overall experience)

 

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Restaurant Information


* Restaurant Name
Bouley
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
TriBeCa / French
* Street Address
163 Duane St., New York, NY 10013
* Phone
(212) 964-2525
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