Dinner

Bedstuy’s New Seasonal Neighborhood Eatery Octavia’s

The wonderful thing about Brooklyn is there are many new restaurants perfect for an intimate dining experience. With it currently being Dine in Brooklyn  this is the time to explore your neighborhood and try somewhere new. Octavia’s, a new American balanced restaurant serving everyone in the neighborhood both new comers and historic residents is the perfect local restaurant that’s even open late night. Not only are they open late, they even deliver with GrubHub and Seamless. This seasonal neighborhood restaurant offers market fresh produce, locally sourced meats, vegan dishes and wine and should be your first restaurant reservation for Dine in Brooklyn.

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I was warmly welcomed into Octavia’s with a smiling staff and a comfortable and intimate atmosphere. If you know my dining preference, you know I love good service and good food. Food being obviously the most important. So what do you order from a new restaurant when you aren’t sure what the best seller is? You order a little of everything and that’s exactly what I did. “I’ll take the skillet mac and cheese, charred chicken, slow cooked pork ribs, garlic broccoli, sweet potato mash, and basmati rice and black beans,” I confidently told my sweet waitress. “And to drink I’ll have the Fratelli Levis Moscato and a fresh cucumber water.” The wine was sweet and smooth and paired with the succulent ribs and sweet potato mash, my soul was highly satisfied.

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Well what else are you waiting for? Oh I know, you want to know if they have happy hour and other specials right? Well, yes they do! Octavia’s offers half priced bottles on Monday night, 2 for 1 specials on Wednesday’s and during brunch, as well as daily happy hour specials for $2 off. They are also participating in Dine in Brooklyn with brunch for $12 and a three course dinner for only $28. If you’re looking for a local restaurant with amazing food, intimate and is open late to satisfy your late night cravings, stop into Octavia’s and tell them Simplypamarie sent you!

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Location: Octavia’s  216 Malcolm X Blvd Brooklyn, NY 11221

Type of Food: American (Traditional)

Ambiance: Intimate Wine Bar

Stars (Out of 5): *****

Please Note: Cash Only

Dine in Brooklyn: Menu

Happy Hour Oyster Specials At Essex

It’s happy hour and besides half off drinks, oyster’s are a guilty pleasure to indulge in especially when they’re only $1 each. Essex restaurant located in the popular streets of the Lower East Side offers a daily oyster special and is also a regular participant of NYC Restaurant Week. So after hearing about this oyster special and their participation in my favorite event of the year, I had to visit them on Essex Street of course.

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Essex has a cool and “airy” vibe. This two leveled establishment includes a full bar on the first floor and a smaller bar on the second floor and there are more than enough drink options to go around. My favorite is the Mango Margarita prepared by Eri. Paired with my margarita, my friendly waiter Mo attentively took my order of the Dozen Bluepoint Oysters appetizer, the Chilean Sea Bass entree and the Chocolate Mousse Cake. The oysters were delectable and my sea bass tasted so fresh and light.

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Essex is a hot spot for not only oysters but also for a bottomless brunch on the weekends. Have you experienced the Essex bottomless brunch? If so, leave a comment and tell me the best entree and drinks to order. I encourage you to visit Essex and ask for Mo the waiter and make sure you tell them that Simplypamarie sent you!

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Location: Essex Restaurant 120 Essex Street, NYC 10002

Type of Food: American

Ambiance: Cool Airy Bar

Stars (Out of 5): *****

NYC Restaurant Week: Menu

Serenata

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Today is all about taco tastings, tequila shots and other festivities. The taco and guacamole lover in me celebrates this holiday by eating of course. But what are our options? Well there’s El Patron , where margaritas are a main entree. Then there’s Rosa Mexicano which is my favorite Mexican restaurant. Lastly, you haven’t had the full Mexican experience until you’ve dined at Bodega Negra or Dos Caminos But hold on to your sombrero’s because there is a brand new Mexican restaurant in town and it’s called Serenata.

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Photos via serenatanyc.com

Serenata drew me in because of the stunning wall sized mural that covers a wall of their restaurant. The colors, the detail and the alluring eyes of the woman painted was so intriguing that I had to step inside. Once inside, I took the opportunity to sit across from the painting and be completely engaged in what this new restaurant had to offer.

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Photos via serenatanyc.com

Luckily it was happy hour, so you know what that means, two for one drinks! My meal began with the most delicious cosmopolitan ever. (Truth be told, I don’t like tequila but margaritas are included in happy hour) My meal continued with guacamole, camaron tacos and ended with warm sugary churros.

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Serenata prides itself in serving delicious Mexican healthy food. They absolutely have a beautiful ambiance equipped with a full bar, tasty Mexican food and great service. This new restaurant has not even been open for a month so I suggest you stop in today and celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

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Location: Serenata 111 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

Type of Food: Mexican

Pricing:  Reasonable

Stars (Out of 5): ****

A Cozy Cafe Called Cheryl’s

Almost hidden in Prospect Heights, a few blocks from the Brooklyn Museum is a cozy, quaint and cute restaurant called Cheryl’s Global Soul. I walked in on a Saturday and did not have a clue what to expect. I just heard that it was a really good soul food place. As soon as I walked in, Cheryl was instantly welcoming and told us to come in and have a seat. The host asked us if we’d like to sit in the front or the back. I had no idea what “the back” was because the place was so quaint but he led us to the cutest backyard seating area and I knew I was in the perfect place to dine.

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Cheryl’s combines French, Asian, and Moroccan speciality dishes and gives it a southern flair. As a starter, I had their Cajun Chicken Wings. The wings were delicious. For the main course I had the Grilled Pork Chop au jus with Mango Chutney, French Beans and Roasted Potatoes. This meal was amazing. The pork chops were juicy and succulent and the mango chutney gave it a sweet kick. I also tried their Salmon, it was flavorful and seasoned to perfection. Cheryl3

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Cheryl’s is also popular for brunch. Since dinner was so good, I think I may even return for brunch today!

Location: Cheryl’s Global Soul 236 Underhill Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11238

Type of Food: Soul Food

Ambiance: Cozy and Quaint

Stars (Out of 5):*****

Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine

Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine combines the funky flair of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the fun of shooting hoops in a game of basketball and the fine dining of New York City. I’ve had this restaurant on my “To Do” list for a long time. I knew it was the perfect spot for date night or even happy hour. I decided to venture to Clyde Frazier’s restaurant for Happy Hour where they offered $6.00 margaritas, beer’s and well drinks. Drinks, Food, Hoops, sounds like the perfect combination to me.

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Upon entering the restaurant I was pleasantly surprised to see that it isn’t a normal sports bar which for some reason I assumed it was. It actually is a classy fine dining restaurant with photos of Clyde himself and to the back of the restaurant is a private room with a basketball hoop.

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The basketball hoop was my first stop. I shot some hoops which I must add, I’m pretty good at and really enjoyed myself. Ladies, your boyfriend will love the fact that you can be “girlie” and also shoot some hoops with him. Guys, this isn’t your chance to show off your “I want to be like Clyde” skills. It’s the perfect time to have fun with the lady who was with you shooting in the gym. 😉

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After that, I went to the bar and ordered my margarita. It actually was delicious. I’m actually not a fan of tequila but I loved it. I didn’t order any food for myself but I did get a chance to taste the classic burger and fries. To my surprise, it had the number “10” imprinted in the bun. Clyde’s number when he played for the New York Knicks. I do plan on returning for dinner one day.

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Clyde Frazier’s is the perfect restaurant for date night. It’s also a great place to watch basketball games, especially since it is March Madness. They are also hosting a March Madness Bracket Contest.

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Location: Clyde Frazier Wine & Dine 485 10th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Type of Food: Classic American

Ambiance: Fine Dining, Sports Bar

Stars (Out of 5):****

Aya Wine and Chocolate Bar

Apparently today, February 18 is National Drink Wine Day. I had no idea this day even existed but once I became aware I knew there was one place in mind that would the perfect place to celebrate, Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar. Their two locations of Midtown and West Village are a new breed of the wine bar. They also offer a weekly tasting workshop where you will learn about various wines and taste three wines and three gourmet chocolates.

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Photo via ayzanyc.com

Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar joins decadent chocolate delights with passionate wines. It’s the perfect dining location for a couple celebrating their relationship or even a first date experience. I dined at Ayza for Valentine’s Day. Ayza’s ambiance is simple and beautiful, each table was decorated with rose petals and a long red candle. It’s also very small and intimate, perfect if you’d like a more personal dining experience. They also have an outdoor seating area that is enclosed during the winter months but also is a great touch for a memorable dining experience.

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For Valentine’s Day they offered a three course dinner special for $68 each. I dined at their Midtown location. For an appetizer I had the Tomato and Cheese soup. Normally I’m not a fan of tomato soup but on a freezing snowy day in Feb, it was a delicious and warming comfort to my body. As an entree I chose the Sea Bass which was flavorful and for dessert I had their chocolate molten cake. I also was able to taste the filet mignon which was flavorful and soft. Overall, the Tomato and Cheese soup was the best. I honestly wanted a bowl to go!

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Now on to the best news! Groupon offers a  date-night package for two, valid any day for $69 and $49 for Sunday through Thursday. I highly suggest you use this deal because it also includes one of their five signature chocolate martini’s for each person.

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Photo via ayzanyc.com

Locations: Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar Midtown: 11 West 31st Street New York, NY 10001

West Village: 1 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

Type of Food: Wine and Chocolate

Ambiance: Intimate, Romantic

Stars (Out of 5):*****

Groupon Deal: groupon.com

Wine Tasting Workshop: Ayza Workshop

Spice Market is a spicy, sexy restaurant located in the Meatpacking District. I experienced Spice Market for the first time for my sister’s birthday dinner celebration. We had a cute private table for her and her friends, perfect for a birthday celebration. The private area’s are sexy and intimate. They give more a lounge feel than the normal table setup. I was also very pleased with the the food. I highly suggest you try the Red Curried Duck with Sticky Rice, it was my favorite. Please try it!  Also really good is the Viatnamese Curry Chicken, Grilled Strip Steak and the Black Pepper Shrimp Appetizer. If you like spicy, which this restaurant specializes in you can try the Spicy Thai Fried Chicken Wings. They are extremely hot, a little too hot to handle if you ask me but maybe you’ll enjoy the heat. 🙂

Location: Spice Market 403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

Type of Food: Southeast Asian

Ambiance: Fancy, Sexy

Pricing: Slightly Expensive

Stars (Out of 5): *****

Black Pepper Shrimp

Cod with Malaysian Chili Sauce

Viatnamese Chicken Curry

Pandan Cake

Spicy Thai Chicken Wings

Co Co Sala

Raise your hand if you’re a chocoholic like me! Now raise your other hand if you’re a chocoholic who would love to add a touch of chocolate to every meal. Well,that is what you experience at Co Co. Sala. Co Co. Sala combines the sweet accent of chocolate to their meals. They do this in a subtle, sexy and chic way at their restaurant located in Washington, D.C. I dined at this restaurant for my friends birthday dinner celebration during D.C. Restaurant Week. It was an exquisite experience to say the least.

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During restaurant week Co Co. Sala offered a Prix Fixe dinner menu for $35.14 per person. We had a choice of one salad, two Co Co. bites and one sweet finale. Each meal began with a frozen hot chocolate sip called Amuse Chocolat. The sip or chocolate shot was soft, smooth and delicious. It was the perfect beginning to the three course ride that was ahead of me. I chose the Chicken Caesar Salad, Shrimp Mac & Cheese, Organic Black Pearl Salmon and the Chocolate Onyx. All of it like I stated before was exquisite.

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Co Co. Sala also has a Chocolate Boutique that offers their signature chocolate bars and paraphernalia. The boutique is small and chic and has its own entrance beside the restaurant. My favorite part of this boutique was a message on the wall that reads “Each exquisite bite is a story, some dark, some sweet, a story that begins with passion and ends in pleasure. The pleasure of Co Co. Sala.” That message was passionate and demonstrates the pleasure you receive by dining at this restaurant.

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Location: Co Co. Sala 929 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Type of Food: Chocolate and American Cuisine

Ambiance: Chic, Sexy, Intimate

Stars (Out of 5):*****

El Patron

Margarita anyone? How about a margarita in your favorite tequila bottle? El Patron provides this refreshing luxury in many delicious flavors inside of a Patron bottle. That is what makes this restaurant an absolute must visit on your summer restaurant bucket list. But not only are the margaritas excellent, so is the guacamole! The guacamole is prepared right in front of you and you can adjust it to your liking. I don’t believe you could ask for a better combination.

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More so, I enjoyed the Mango Chicken and Yellow Rice. It may sound a little strange but I promise,  it was impeccable. El Patron also has the ability to convert from a closed comfy restaurant to an opened restaurant where you can sip your margarita and catch a breeze while watching The World Cup. I can always appreciate a restaurant with dual functions.

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Location: El Patron Mexican Grill 194-01 Northern Blvd, Flushing, NY 11358

Type of Food: Mexican

Ambiance: Chill, Relaxed

Stars (Out of 5):****

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