The Smile at Shinola

177 Franklin Street, New York 

A good espresso with an Italian daily newspaper, at location that seems coming straight from the 30s-40s. Everything in New York, obviously. It is not a movie, neither a time machine nor a teleporting system: it’s “The Smile at Shinola”, in Tribeca.

The Shinola store alone is worth a visit, if you like their elegant bicycles, leather goods and classic accessories. The coffee shop is worth an even longer visit, to relax and enjoy the strength and density of the espresso.
The Smile @ Shinola

From prohibition to exhortation

Tribeca, New York, NY

In the continuously changing New York landscape, buildings rise, fall and change with two common characteristic: the omnipresent scaffoldings (incredibly useful on rainy days) and the boring wood panels with an aseptic “Post No Bills” sign.

Today, I found one of these panels less boring and happily replacing the original prohibition with an enthusiastic exhortation.

From prohibition to exhortation

Latkes @ Kutsher’s Tribeca

186 Franklin Street, New York, NY

Potato latkes are a typical Chanukah dish in the Jewish tradition. They are made of thinly shredded potatoes, fried as a small pancake and are usually served with apple sauce or sour cream. In a such simple recipe there are many things that could wrong. For example: the potatoes could be excessively shredded, the size of the latkes could be too large, the potatoes could be overcooked on the outside and partially raw on the inside. The list could continue but the final consideration is that usually latkes are best cooked and enjoyed at home or at places like Kutsher’s Tribeca.

The latkes are crunchy on the outside and soft and warm in the inside. The size is carefully calibrated to make them enjoyable and adequately support the delicious and elegant toppings. The salmon with the dill sauce and the reuben with the horseradish aioli are an absolute must. The proteins are tender to the point they almost melt in your mouth, creating also a pleasant contrast with the crunchiness of the latkes. The sauces effectively counterbalance the flavors of both salmon and reuben.

The matzo ball soup is also a good treat, especially on a cold winter day. The reuben sandwiches and platters looked good and they certainly deserve a closer look, next time at Kutsher’s.

Latkes at Kutsher's Tribeca

Latkes at Kutsher's Tribeca

Matzo Ball Soup at Kutsher's Tribeca

Pizza @ Da Mikele

275 Church Street, New York, NY

You can call him either Michele, as per the Italian spelling, or Mikele, as per the name of his restaurant in Tribeca. Regardless of his name, this guy has always had a good touch for pizza.
Several years ago, you could find him at Luzzo’s, showing East Villagers what is the difference between a good pizza and the slices sold at St Marks Place.
Now, Michele (or Mikele) moved to a more gentrified area, changed the style of his pizza, and still delivers an amazing product. The pizza is square and served on a wood board. The mozzarella is delicious, melted to perfection and blended with the delicate tomato sauce. The pizza is medium-thick with a rich flavor, probably thanks to generous brush of oil applied before going into the oven.

Enjoy this pizza with a good selection of Italian beers on tap, and close with a shot of limoncello.