No matter where you live, it’s worth visiting New York City at least once a year if only to be able to talk about the newest restaurants and hottest food trends from experience. It really makes no difference whether you long for New York street food or prefer to chase down Michelin stars. Though classic New York staples like bagels as big as your head and dollar-a-slice pizza are here to stay, much of the flavor of New York comes from the rotating cast of characters who are constantly reinventing the city’s cuisine. The choices here highlight some of the city’s most exciting and creative chefs, as well as the meticulously prepared dishes served by the world’s most venerable restaurateurs.
Walking in the front door of 508, located along an unassuming stretch of Greenwich Ave. just above TriBeCa, I am eagerly greeted by million-watt smiles from the wait staff who are dressed almost as stylishly as the low-lit and modern dining room. Sitting down at one of the tables, I’m surprised by the casual and cool atmosphere in this unexpected location. It’s no wonder with its low lighting and intimate tables that celebs like Andy Cohen and Bethenny Frankel enjoy this spot.
Coming for the food is only part of the fun, as 508 is well known for its delicious in-house brewed beers. So, I start my evening sampling Brewmaster Chris Cuzme’s whimsical creations. If you ask politely, you may get a chance to see the Dexter’s Laboratory-like brewery where Cuzme gets to experiment with different flavors. The beer menu changes according to his latest inspirations, but I sample the Lollygagger Smokin’ Blonde, an “attractive” light beer that’s both sweet and hoppy with Czech Saaz bitterness. While in New York the cocktail scene reigns supreme, Cuzme’s libations bring out the best in Chef and Owner Jennifer Lynn Hill’s Mediterranean-American food.