Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.



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Dinner at Pylos, 8/24/07

Amidst the gritty, yet adorably charming block of 7th Street between 1st Avenue & Avenue A, stands a Greek oasis named Pylos. This restaurant is so easy to walk by and not notice, as I almost did, myself. My boyfriend and I had plans to meet there for dinner at 7:45 p.m. on Friday night. As I looked around the block for some sort of signage, I was becoming angry, thinking he had mistaken the address. Before I could utter another cuss word, there it was!

Upon entering Pylos, you immediately feel transported to the Greek Isles (that sounds super cheesy, but it's true). The entire ceiling is covered with clay pitchers; the walls are stark white with royal blue accents and the atmosphere is clean, modern and warm.We were seated immediately, but told that the next reservation for our table was at 9:30 p.m., so we had until then to eat our meal; not a problem, considering it was only 7:45 p.m.

The complimentary homemade pita and chickpea dip was out-of-this-world! The pita bread was crisp and buttery on the outside and almost doughy on the inside. We started with the homemade sausage with tomato sauce, which was so tender and fresh and the tomato sauce added the perfect amount of tang. My boyfriend ordered the duck and I ordered the shrimp and scallops over pasta with a lightly creamy tomato sauce. We couldn't have been happier!

This was one of the best meals I've had lately, from start to finish. The service, ambiance and food were excellent.


Dinner at Eleven Madison Park, 7/26/07

After months of reading phenomenal things about Eleven Madison Park on chowhound.com, I decided it was time for me to try it for myself. I can't begin to tell you how many people have raved about EMP. I was very excited and intrigued about my 7:00 p.m. reservation.

My friend and I arrived fifteen minutes early and waited for our table in the bar's offshoot area. We admired the restaurant's tall ceilings and lovely Art Deco decor. After about ten minutes, we were seated.The service began outstanding, but towards the end of our meal, it dwindled. During the time of outstanding service, I was blown away by the immaculate attention to each and every guest. Each of us ordered a drink; I had a champagne cocktail and my friend had a glass of Merlot (recommended by the sommolier, of course). My drink was light, refreshing, fruity and sweet.

First, we were brought a long and narrow tray with four of the chef's starters (grilled cheese on paper-thin crackers with truffle essence, tuna tartare with baby squash and caviar, meringue sandwich cookies with foie gras as the center and sweetbreads wrapped in a light fried dough). Periodically, we were served lovely assorted breads and rolls.Since this restaurant only does tasting menus, we opted for the three-course menu with the choice of two savory dishes and one sweet dish. I ordered the Diver scallop ceviche, the lobster "lasagna" and a peach souffle.The ceviche was very interesting; I've never had raw scallops before. They were paired with watermelon, lobster and lemon oil. It made for a very interesting flavor combination. My entree (the lobster "lasagna") was pleasant, but I was not floored or blown away. I did enjoy the peach souffle with lemon-thyme ice cream.

Overall, my experience at EMP was positive. I didn't like the way our service turned out towards the last half of our meal. My food was good and very unique, but I've realized that fancy food is not my favorite food. Would I return to EMP? I think so, but most likely at brunch for heartier fare.


Dinner at Bukhara Grill, 7/17/07

Eric, my cousin, who's interning in New York City, and I like to get together once a week for dinner (since his time here is limited). When he told me that he'd never had Indian food before, I knew that I needed to be the person who introduced him to one of my favorite cuisines. I decided that Bukhara Grill (217 E. 49th Street) would be the perfect introduction. Having only ordered from the restaurant to my office, I'd never been to the physical restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the unassuming-looking restaurant (from street view) had two floors and a beautiful outdoor patio.We started our meal with complimentary pappadum and 3 different homemade "salsas." Next, we ordered the samosa appetizer (pastry-like dough stuffed with potatoes and peas, then deep fried). The potato filling was very tasty and had more of a spicy kick than others I've had. For our mains, he ordered the Chicken Makhani (similar to Chicken Tikka Masala) and I ordered the Shrimp Kanhari (shrimp grilled in the tandoori oven).The chicken was all white meat breast chunks in a lovely tomato-cream sauce that was full of flavor. My shrimp were almost the size of langoustines (I was a bit nervous when the server told me that there were only going to be 4 shrimp for my entree) and were grilled to perfection; possibly overly grilled. Had they been cooked for just a little less time, they would have been perfect. We ordered basmati rice and plain naan, and it made for a beautiful meal.I conclude that I was very impressed with our food and overall service at Bukhara Grill and even more impressed that I have a new Indian food convert...my cousin!


Murray's Cheese education courses!

Last Thursday, July 12th, a good friend and I took a Spanish cheese and wine course at Murray's Cheese on Bleeker Street. For $65/person, you get to sample approximately nine cheeses, and the best part is...each cheese was paired with a different Spanish wine!The course started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted until 8:00 p.m. There were two instructors; Murray's Wholesale Manager and a representative from a Spanish wine distributor. Both women were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The cheese and wine pairings went beautifully together. I was amazed at how lovely blue cheese tastes with sherry! I highly recommend any one of Murray's Cheese education courses!

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