April 2019

 
An update on my mother: As I wrote in the previous newsletter, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemotherapy back in September 2018. Regarding this, I have some good news: on February 7, my mother completed and survived 2 rounds of chemotherapy. (I don’t know exactly what kind of chemo it was, in case you’re wondering.)
 
On the evening of Sunday, March 17, my four siblings (three sisters and a brother, three of whom live out of state) and my father and I were all gathered in New York for my mother’s scheduled surgery the following morning (we took her out for Mexican food that night). On Monday, March 18, shortly after 10:30 AM, the doctor told us that the surgery to remove my mother’s right breast and the lymph node on the same side went well, and that there will be more information about the cancer once certain tissue samples have been analyzed. Just a few hours after the surgery, my mother was lucid, and for the most part pain-free, and she was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, March 19. Since then, she has been so active that we have had to remind her to take it easy! However, she does have a blood clot in her leg that the doctors are keeping a very close eye on. As a family, we will also keep a close watch on (and look very much forward to) the regrowth of her hair. :-)
 
I want to thank all of you who have extended thoughts, sympathies, and prayers over the last several months, and also thank you for the patience and support you’ve shown as this episode in my life has taken its toll on my time and my state of mind. My thoughts and prayers go out to those of you who have relatives suffering from illnesses, or who may be suffering from an illness yourself.

There is one event remaining in March: on Sunday, March 31, we will dine on Mediterranean delights at Sip Sak, a venerated Turkish restaurant in midtown east. Note: this replaces the dinner on Saturday at Uskudar, which was unable to keep its commitment to The Single Gourmet. In April, we will have six events: we start with dinner on Saturday, April 6, at State Bar and Grill, a restaurant inside the Empire State Building serving classic American food. Then we visit a new (to both the city and The Single Gourmet) French restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen called Le Privé on Sunday, April 14. The next event we have something different – a live classical music performance on Wednesday, April 17 on the Upper West Side at the private residence of a friend of mine from long ago who holds private salon performances on a regular basis. Tickets are limited, so please call if you want to go to this one. On Easter Sunday, April 21, we return to Kellari (a renowned Greek restaurant and favorite of the group) for dinner. For Passover, we will have dinner on Wednesday, April 24 at another restaurant new to the group (but has been in NYC for decades): Lattanzi, which features “Roman Jewish” cuisine, located in the theater district. At first, I had organized this as a combined Easter/Passover dinner, but I decided to have two dinners instead because after posting this dinner on the website, a few members told me that they would love to go to this dinner but they already had plans for Easter Sunday. Finally on April 28, the last Sunday of April, we venture up to Harlem at the famous Cecil Steakhouse for a delicious brunch with live jazz.

TRAVEL I am working on travel plans. I am definitely confirming that New Year’s Eve in Cuba will happen this year, whether we have 5 people or 15 people. If you were one of the people who paid a deposit last year, and want to go this year, please call me. Other trips being planned: Santa Fe/Albuquerque, Toronto, Croatia, and possibly Spain.

The following March event is available for The Single Gourmet Members and their guests:
 
 
Sip Sak (Turkish) vegetarian friendly menu
982 2nd Ave (between 49th & 50th St)
Sunday, March 31 5:45 pm optional drinks
6:30 pm dinner $78 (early payment price) prix fixe includes 3 courses, 1 glass of wine or soft drink, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$78 early payment price applies through March 31 because of lateness of newsletter
+$10 supplement for non-members and guests
 
Orhan Tegan is the founder of Turkish food in New York City and singlehandedly made the city respect the quality of the nuances that made it one of the world’s great cooking traditions. Having opened up more than a half dozen restaurants in his youth (including Turkish Kitchen) he came out of retirement in 2004 to open Sip Sak (pronounced in Turkish “ship shock”). Serious Eats magazine wrote, “Sip Sak’s cooking so resembles what you’ll find in Turkey that it’s hard not to imagine yourself there.” The NYTimes wrote, “I’m convinced that Mr. Yegen performs some incantation as he whisks eggplant, olive oil, garlic and lemon into a silky spread that he calls eggplant salad.” An eccentric chef whose genius and quirks can be mistaken as slightly abrasive, he says, “What you are eating here is my culture… it has to be like this. There can be no other way.” Michelin Guide recommended.
 
Our menu starts with shared assorted appetizers (meze), followed by entrée choices of Grilled Fillet of Mediterranean sea bass, roasted lamb and rice, chicken shish kebab, and eggplant moussaka; and for dessert: almond pudding, baklava, or rice pudding.

The following April events are available for The Single Gourmet Members and their guests:
 
 
State Grill and Bar (classic American) vegetarian friendly menu
21 W 33rd St (inside the Empire State Building)
enter on the north side of 33rd St between 5th Ave & Broadway
Saturday, April 6
6:45 pm optional drinks
7:30 pm dinner $91 (early payment price)
includes: 3 courses, 1 glass of wine or soft drink, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$101 if payment is received after Tue, Apr 2
+$10 supplement for non-members and guests
 
The Patina Restaurant Group owns 60 restaurants including favorites such as Café Cento, Brasserie, Brasserie 8 1/2, Sea Grill, La Fonda Del Sol, Cuccina & Co, and Naples 45. We dined here when it was brand new and loved it! Now the public has discovered this gem too and gave it a whopping 25 Zagat rating. With executive chef Priscilla Yeh at the helm, it is no wonder this is a top NYC restaurant. Chef Yeh graduated top of her class at the French Culinary Institute and went on to work at Bar Boulud, Dressler, and DuMont. At State Grill and Bar, dishes are all locally sourced and guests can watch their food being prepared in the open kitchen.
 
Our menu will start with a choice of Caesar salad, grilled shrimp, or crab cake; with entrees of farm roasted chicken, Scottish salmon, short ribs, or a vegetarian pasta; and for dessert chocolate cake, ice cream sandwich, or seasonal dessert.
 
 
Le Privé (French) vegetarian friendly menu
*** new restaurant for The Single Gourmet ***
626 10th Ave (between 44th & 45th St)
Sunday, April 14
5:45 pm optional drinks
6:30 pm dinner
$87 (early payment price) prix fixe includes
3 courses, 1 glass of wine or soft drink, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$97 if payment is received after Wed, Apr 10
+$10 supplement for non-members and guests
 
Le Privé is a relatively new restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, having just opened in June 2018, but it is hot and trending, according to ABC 7 news. This up-and-coming restaurant has a 4.5 star rating on Yelp, and a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. Redefining French dining with elegant style, charming ambiance, exquisite dishes, and gracious hospitality, Le Privé’s Victorian-era inspired dining room features ornate chandeliers hanging from lofty ceilings, and permeates with the tantalizing aromas of French cuisine. The menu, meticulously designed by Chef Reagan Angelle, offers classic French dishes as well as opportunities for new and exciting culinary experiences. Our soul and character are rooted in unmatched hospitality, and expressed at every moment by our attentive and knowledgeable staff. Their motto is Dinez avec nous, nous vous montrerons plus. (Dine with us, we will show you more.)
 
Our menu will start with a choice of steak tartare, escargot, or French onion soup; followed by entrée choices of steak frites, whole grilled branzino, poulet roti, or le gratin de macaroni (vegetarian); and for dessert a choice of crème brulee, beignets, or chocolate mousse.

 
 
Classical Music Salon performance 
Upper West Side 
(private residence in the upper 90s, address will be given to event attendees)
Wednesday, April 17
6:30 pm doors open
7:00 pm performance start
There will be *no* late seating
$45 admission includes:
  • piano & violin duo performances
  • food-and-wine reception with guest artists
$55 if payment is received after Sun, Apr 14
Event is limited to members of The Single Gourmet and their guests (+$10 supplement).
 
I met Dr. Yelena Grinberg (above left) over 10 years ago at ballroom dance classes that I was taking, and we have been friends since. Born in Moscow, Dr. Grinberg began her professional piano studies at the tender age of five. In 1992, she came to the US and enrolled in The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. As a student of the prestigious Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard dual-degree program, she graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University summa cum laude, and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Philosophy. She went on to complete both her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Piano Performance at Juilliard.
 
In her unique series of intimate and enlightening home salon concerts, she has presented renowned artists such as pianists Jerome Lowenthal, Oxana Yablonskaya, and Madeline Bruser, clarinetist Julian Milkis, mandolinist Joyce Balint, and NYU Professor of Music Dr. Michael Beckerman. On Wednesday, April 17, Dr. Grinberg performs with violinist Emilie-Anne Gendron (above right), in an enchanting musical evening entitled Russian Reflections II (a sequel to Russian Reflections I, continuing a series started earlier in the year), featuring some of the most beautiful masterworks by Tchaikovsky (Serenade melancolique, op. 26 (1875); Humoreske, op. 10 (1870)), Rachmaninoff (Romance in D minor from 2 Morceaux de salon, op. 6 (1893)), Glazunov (Meditation in D Major for violin and piano, op. 32 (1891)), Mednter (Violin Sonata No. 1 in B minor, op. 21 (1909-10)), and Stravinsky (Divertimento for violin and piano (1932)). This kaleidoscopic violin-piano program of Russian Reflections II is not to be missed! Note: this is a ticketed event; no refunds after Wednesday, April 10. Also, the food served after the performance will be light fare and is not meant to be a meal, please do not arrive hungry at this event.

 
Kellari Taverna (Greek) Easter dinner
19 W 44th St (between 5th & 6th Ave)
Sunday, April 21 5:45 pm optional drinks
6:30 pm dinner
$88 prix fixe includes:
Greek Feast, glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$98 if payment is received after Wed, Apr 17
+$10 supplement for non-members and guests
 
Zagat says that Kellari offers “mouthwatering displays of fresh fish on ice that beckon at this sophisticated Midtown Greek seafood restaurant offering next-flight-to-Athens-quality cooking.” The dining room decor evokes a subterranean wine cellar designed with contemporary elegance. Kellari, which means “cellar” in Greek, features the traditional Greek taverna specialties and an eclectic selection of contemporary Hellenic savory “mezedes.” A recent article stated that “Kellari Taverna is the epitome of classic Greek cuisine with the perfect balance of authenticity and elegance. You can find classic Greek and Mediterranean dishes at Kellari. Moreover, the food is as welcoming as the hospitality that you will receive.” As you enter Kellari and sit at the bar, the words “Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends” are printed on placards. It is this feeling of warmth and hospitality that pervades the entire experience at Kellari, a cozy Midtown gem with wood-beamed cathedral ceilings, and walls warmed in sunset hues.”
 
Our menu will start with a family-style course of salad, pita with spreads, and spanakopita; followed by a choice of lamb, chicken, or sea bass; and an assortment of shared desserts.

 
 
Lattanzi (Roman Jewish) Passover dinner vegetarian and kosher choices available
*** new restaurant ***
361 W 46 St (between 8th & 9th Ave)
Wednesday, April 24
5:45 pm optional drinks
6:30 pm dinner
$88 (early payment price) prix fixe includes
3 courses, 1 glass of wine or soft drink, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$98 if payment is received after Wed, Apr 10
+$10 supplement for non-members and guests
 
Chef Paolo came to New York City as a child when his mother Erminia Lattanzi left Italy for Brooklyn in 1965. Erminia developed a knack for cooking eggplant, and Paolo learned and perfected the art of making mozzarella. In 1978, the Lattanzi family opened a Roman Italian Cucina in the Upper East Side, named Trastavere (later called Tevere). The business quickly grew, as word spread about the authentic Italian cuisine that was difficult to find elsewhere (not to mention the ingenious eggplant dishes and fine homemade mozzarella). In the spring of 1984, Lattanzi was opened at 361 W 46th Street. Over the years, the neighborhood has developed into a cultural and culinary epicenter, and Lattanzi has grown from a one-room Italian cucina into a multi-story ristorante with seating for over 300. With a Zagat rates it a 4.3 and calls it “Something “special” on Restaurant Row, this “better-than-average” with an unusual menu of Roman-Jewish specialties; a strictly “old-guard” experience with gracious service and a charming setting featuring lots of dining nooks and crannies.”
 
Our menu will start with a choice of Combination of marinated eggplant caponata, breaded and fried mozzarella, and rice ball; Lattanzi’s signature dish of artichokes cooked Jewish style, sautéed with garlic and extra virgin olive oil, or batter dipped and fried broccoli, mushrooms, artichokes, and zucchini; followed by entrée choices of filet of sole, chicken cacciatore, veal scaloppini, or eggplant parmesan; and for dessert napoleon, fresh berries with zabaglione, or ricotta cheesecake.
 
 
Cecil Steakhouse: Live Harlem Jazz Brunch
210 W 118th St (corner of  St. Nicholas Ave)
B, C, 2, or 3 train to 116th St
Sunday, April 28
12:00 pm optional drinks
12:45 pm brunch
$64 prix fixe includes
3 courses, 1 mimosa, coffee/tea, tax & tip
 
$74 if payment is received after Wed, Apr 24 +$10 supplement for non-members and guests Zagat rated 4.4, they write “A happening place with an outstanding, inventive menu, this Harlem hit puts together foodie-approved Afro-Asian-American dishes highlighting flavor combinations that are hard to find elsewhere; it’s great for groups and also has an exceptionally good weekend brunch.” James Beard-nominated chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson opened Cecil Steakhouse in 2013 with Richard Parsons and Alexander Smalls. This Culinary Institute grad worked in New York’s most esteemed kitchens including Centro Vinoteca, Jane, and Tribeca Grill and then took off for Ghana to explore the country’s exotic markets. Cecil Steakhouse is a chic brasserie with leather banquettes and the food on the menu will turn your head. Listed in Harlem’s Best Restaurants, brunch includes 3 courses of amazing food and live jazz music.
 
Our menu will start with a choice of Argentinean empanadas, Caesar Salad, or Cecil Salad (mixed greens with fennel, tomatoes, peaches, olives, and feta cheese); followed by entrée choices of a classic breakfast (two eggs any style, Colombian sausage, bacon, macaroni & cheese and toast), chicken & waffles, avocado toast with smoked salmon, Minton’s pangasius (fried pangasius filet), or steak & eggs ($10 supplement).

All menus are subject to change due to restaurant supply.

Refund policy: Due to restaurant deposit and guarantee requirements, cancellations for dinners are accepted up to ONE WEEK prior to the event. If you cancel 4-6 days prior, you will receive a credit toward a future event, but there will be no refunds or credits for cancellations made 0-3 days prior to a dinner. Ticketed events (tours, shows, ANY non-dinner event) are non-refundable within 7 days of the event.

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