Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today, I’m celebrating Mexican food with a trip to Arriba Arriba, the popular Mexican spot in Hell’s Kitchen. This place is always packed and has outdoor seating if you like to dine al fresco. It can get a little loud inside and with the low lighting and pounding music, it has more of a lounge vibe.
Arriba Arriba makes the best cheese enchiladas mole served with Spanish rice and a salad.
The alambre–marinated shrimp, steak and veggies skewer with rice and sauces.
And my favorite, the delicious huge burritos.
A great addition to your Superbowl party is inspired by a dish that I love–Totchos at Reunion surf bar in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. Totchos are nachos made with tater tots instead of corn chips.
I thought I would try to recreate this with sweet potato tater tots. However, it turned into sweet potato tater tot casserole, and it was also delicious. Sorry for the Martha Stewart-esque photo. (Sour cream is not so photogenic.) This casserole was much more yummy than it appears.
Sweet Potato Tater Tot Casserole
1 bag frozen sweet potato tater tots
1 can vegetarian chili
1 packet guacamole mix
1 package jack cheese mix
Cook tots according to package directions. Grease a casserole dish. Add cooked tots. Top with chili, then cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melty. Remove from oven. Top with prepared guacamole mix, then sour cream. Serve.
Tabata Ramen is a small restaurant in the beginning of what is the Hell’s Kitchen wasteland. (Well, in my opinion.) I have wanted to try the ramen here, as it is busy at lunch whenever I pass by. There is a small dining room in the rear of the restaurant. There is also an extensive list of ramen with very reasonable prices. And the upside, for noncash carriers, is that Tabata takes credit cards–unlike other ramen shops. I opted for the shio ramen with pork because it’s my favorite. I think Tabata makes a decent ramen–if you are in the area and craving it, but like Sapporo it also has a more commercial than homemade taste to it.
I also got the spicy pickled cucumbers.
My friend got the vegetable ramen and the fried shrimp appetizer. She also felt the ramen was unremarkable but she liked the shrimp.
I’ve been on a ramen kick lately, so I thought I’d do a ramen week. Prior to this ramen week, I ate ramen at Ippudo, Totto Ramen and Ramen Takumi.
Last week, the second location of Totto Ramen opened. Luckily, I got there earlier in the evening, so there was no wait. However, as time went by, there were people waiting but nowhere near as many as at the 52nd Street location. I have eaten at that location before and know that space and time are a premium. There isn’t much on West 51st Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, so this is a welcome addition. The space is larger and more roomy.
On this visit, I got the chicken paitan ramen with straight homemade noodles in a whole chicken and premium soy sauce-based soup topped with scallion, onion, char siu pork and a nori. I got corn and a seasoned boiled egg as well. The seasoned egg at Totto is the best! I really enjoyed this. I’m used to the pork-based broths, but the chicken is also very delicious. It was creamy, soothing and just plain good.
My friend got the spicy ramen and also loved it.
Yesterday, I read the sad news that La Silhouette has closed. It was the only restaurant of its caliber in Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton. The owner Tito is a sweetheart, and I wish him the best and hope things work out. On 51st Street and 9th Avenue, Go Sushi and Chanpen Thai are both closed with brown paper covering the windows. I admit I was not a fan of either. The food at Go Sushi was below average, and the food at Chanpen Thai was average in a neighborhood with exceptional Thai restaurants.
The 50th Street location of Lime Jungle closed and re-opened under the name Green Rancho.
The second location of Totto Ramen on 51st Street near 10th Avenue is nearly open. I saw people working inside.
Stecchino is one of those restaurants that has something for the whole family. Restaurants like this are good when you are dining with people who have different tastes. Some people like steak; some people like pasta; some people like seafood. Stecchino is an Italian and American bistro, and there’s a dish here for everyone. If you’re in Hell’s Kitchen and with a divergent group, this is a safe bet. (A cool thing you should check out while you’re here is a 3D scene in a box in the floor.)
For an appetizer, we got eggplant fries with porcini mayo dip. I’m not a fan of eggplant parmigiana, but I used to love to eat the fried eggplant that my mom set out on paper towels. Eggplant fries are a cool variation of fries.
What would an Italian restaurant be without clams?
Chopped salad is popular these. My friend got one.
My friend got a pasta dish.
Another friend of mine got penne with vodka sauce.
I got shrimp scampi with linguine. I thought they did skimp on the shrimp, and the pasta was almost sauceless.
Dessert tortufo was good.
I got a dessert sampler with bomboloni, Bailey’s Irish cream cheesecake and salted caramel ice cream. This was the highlight of the meal, the bomboloni and ice cream being my favorite.
Georgio’s Country Grill on Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen is a bit nondescript and doesn’t look like your standard diner. But it just may be the best breakfast in Hell’s Kitchen.
One aspect that sets it apart from other diners is that it offers fresh squeezed juices, including your apple juice. I got a carrot and celery concoction while my friend got apple juice. These just needed a quick stir and voila, fresh juice.
For breakfast, I got pancakes and eggs over-medium. They were lovely in color and maybe done a tad more than I’d prefer but still good.
The pancakes were delicious. And it was a nice touch that the butter was whipped and soft. (I’m a harsh judge of diners by their butter. Who likes trying to spread cold butter on their toast?)
My friend got French toast and scrambled eggs with cheese. He said the French toast was very good.
He was especially happy with the scrambled eggs. It’s not often that the cheese is scrambled in with the eggs. At many diners, they just melt a piece of cheese on top of the eggs. These were actually scrambled.
My other friend got the San Paulo Benedict. She really liked this and said the Hollandaise sauce was very good.