Spicy Fish Tacos
Lock your conch cruiser out front, and sip hibiscus tea while you perch on a bar stool in a cozy Mexican restaurant overlooking Simonton Street.Bad Boy Burrito, my new favorite eco-friendly eatery on the island, serves fresh, organic gourmet-style burritos, tacos, smoothies and teas to hungry locals.
What the restaurant lacks in size it makes up in full, fresh flavors only organic produce can provide.
"We roll phatties in organic flour tortillas with Basmati Rice and Rattlesnake Beans"
-- Badboy Burrito
Bow down to Badboy's menu board with its mix-and-match selections. First, choose your meat or veg, add a sauce and then top your tortilla until it explodes.
I opted for the Spicy Fish Tacos. The fresh jalepenos added a nice kick without being overwhelming. The fish was seasoned well and not too greasy or overly crunchy.
I almost left the organic flour tortillas on my plate, but something made me fill them with the leftover rice and beans. I've never tasted anything so heavenly. Light, fluffy and slightly charred, they were the perfect way to end the meal.
"The idea of the restaurant was to make a rugged clandestine colonial American tavern," -- FreemansRestaurant.com
Rugged? - Check!
Clandestine? - Check!
The oasis at the end of a dark, creepy, I'm-going-to-get-mugged alley? - Check!
Freemans Restaurant, located in the Meatpacking district, is a hipster foodie haven where the dishes are simple yet rich and a rustic feeling permeates more than just the decor. Foodie friend Anthony DeRico says this spot is one of his favorites and I couldn't agree more.
With antlers overhead and tea light candles on the table, I wasn't sure whether I'd stumbled upon the ultimate mancave or New York's hippest watering hole.
I apologize in advance for the iPhone photographs. I guess you'll just have to venture over and see the divine cuisine for yourself.
Devils on Horseback
Before I'd even peeked at the menu, Anthony recommended the Devils on Horseback. I was a little skeptical when he said the dish contained dates, but these little suckers completely blew me away. Dates stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and broiled until crispy are my new weakness. The fat and salt of the bacon went well with the rich cheese, and the diverse textures were playful yet refined.
Grilled Main Sea Scallops
The rest of the dinner menu was really meat heavy. I'm not sure why I opted for the seafood, but I'm so glad I did. The Grilled Main Sea Scallops with a white bean puree and green garlic fava bean-almond relish was supple, smooth and as decadent as a dessert.
The scallops were perfectly seared, while the fava bean-almond relish added a wonderful crunch to the otherwise soft-textured dish. The white bean puree was a creamy touch I wanted to lick straight from the plate.
Cornmeal Crusted Fluke with English peas, Spring vegetable broth and chimichurri
After I literally scraped my plate clean, it was time for dessert. I was leaning toward something chocolate-filled until our waiter recommended the Stout Sticky Toffee Cake with whipped cream. Needless to say, I was skeptical. I kept imagining a hard, disgusting heath bar served on a platter.
Boy, was I wrong.
Each bite of the toffee cake was rich, gooey, decadent, sticky goodness. I melted into my high-backed chair, slipped into a heavenly coma and called it a night.
Toasted panna rustica, roasted garlic and sweet red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, olives, warmed chevré and extra virgin olive oil.
Each time I walk past the large inviting windows of Paramount Grill, located downtown at 12 SW 1st Ave., I always have to fight the urge to go inside. You know those places that just look like they serve good food? The ones that look like people dine with their pinkies in the air, but enjoy every single bite of the masterpiece of a plate in front of them? That's Paramount (minus the pretentious customers).
The light green walls, wood floors and white accents bring a refined feel to the spacious restaurant. A little bit country, a little bit classic, the owner's hit it spot on when they created the perfect slogan, "all of the elements of great food."
The second we walked inside I felt serene. After being seated in a nook next to the large front windows, I began salivating over the menu. Our waiter was extremely gracious and brought us Cheddar and Dill Muffins with a White Bean Butter to snack on while we made our decision. (Even the bread basket had a nice finesse.)I know it's not proper etiquette to crack open my muffin and slather it with butter, but that's exactly what I did. The spread was delicious and broke up the almost cornbread like consistency of the muffins.
When our waiter described the mix-and-match quality of the Toasted Panna Rustica appetizer we were sold. With roasted garlic and sweet red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, olives, warmed chevré and extra virgin olive oil on the side, the number of topping combinations is only limited by your imagination.
I could eat this dish every single day for the rest of my life and never get bored with the variety of rich flavors. Seriously. This dish is divine. All of the ingredients tasted so fresh and robust I could have sworn they picked the tomatoes and peppers that afternoon.
The roasted garlic was sweet and perfect. I popped them in my mouth with just a dollop of goat cheese. The hint of rosemary in the olive oil really brought everything together, and I loved the texture of the slightly salty olives and crisp bread.
Baked free range chicken stuffed with crab, sundried tomato and arrugula, roasted potatoes and roasted red pepper-pommery mustard sauce.
The baked free range chicken stuffed with crab, sundried tomato and arrugula, roasted potatoes and roasted red pepper-pommery mustard sauce certainly didn't disappoint.
While a piece of the stuffed chicken was delicious by itself, I enjoyed adding in a bite of potato for another texture and great charred flavor. Overall, this dish was the definition of refined. The crab was delicate and added a nice subtle flavor to my palette.
The creaminess of the sauce went well with the tender chicken, tomato and arrugula. All I needed was another cheddar and dill muffin to sop up the extra.
After taking a peek at Paramount's brunch menu, I can't wait to come back and try the blackened salmon filet served over fried green tomatoes, sliced avocado and herbed potatoes with roasted red pepper aioli. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...