• Chloe Wynne Reed


Chef Kevin Cory at Naoe Miami, Photo: Chloe Reed

Happy New Year! Unlike a new week or a new month, there’s something about a new year that causes many of us to turn inward and reassess. It allows us to set new goals and objectives for ourselves and wipe the slate clean for a fresh start. And a reset can extend to all areas of your life from trying to be more mindful in daily life to procrastinating less.

In 2019, I encourage you to start your year on the right foot and try new things! More specifically, new things in the culinary world, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and looking at and experiencing food in a new way. There are so many ways to experience food and dining, here are some ideas for a fresh look to reconnect with an activity that we all do three times a day.

Try a restaurant that specializes in a very specific cuisine…

Takashi: Push the idea of what it means mean to eat beef at Takashi which serves every part of the cow. This Japanese/Korean NY staple is located in the West village and seats 34 diners at small tables with grills or a chef’s counter. Chef Takashi prepares dishes you may never have considered trying such as “testicargot,” brains or beef tongue. If that is a little too adventurous for your taste, at least the ribeye will be some of the best you have ever had.

Cote: Cote is newer to the NY restaurant scene and is similar to Takashi in that the focus is beef, however, this restaurant has a great deal of Korean influence behind it. The Steak Omakase is a bit of a splurge but starts with a luxurious surprise (think uni and caviar topped oysters) before starting an 8-course selection of various cuts and ages of beef, all of which they prepare on the grill at the center of the table. This is a meal that you will not soon forget and the best part is that the tables are large to encourage dining with friends. Downstairs, there is a beautiful bar with walls lined with live plants and smells like a forest which is intended to symbolize life and contradict the restaurant a floor above.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you typically eat a lot of meat, try a restaurant that focuses on vegetables as the star of the meal…

Dirt Candy: Michelin-starred Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy represents vegetables in a whole new way making leafy greens and roots feel indulgent.

Kajitsu: Kajitsu focuses on Shojin which is a Japanese vegetarian cuisine originating in Zen Buddhism that is still prepared and served at Zen temples throughout Japan. Shojin does not incorporate any meat or fish and serves as the foundation of Japanese Kaiseki.

If you already eat out all the time try a cooking class to master a dish at home…

Haven's Kitchen: Haven’s Kitchen is one of my favorite spots in New York because it is a beautiful, multi-functional space for special events and cooking classes. Their classes change with the seasons to feature the freshest ingredients and can be reserved for couples, small groups or you have the option of booking a private class with friends.

If you want to meet some new people and have a unique and fun experience…

Spring Street Social Society: Each January, they welcome new members to their club which has regular dining events all over New York City – each one unique in a new secret location and with a special surprise or two lined up (think pop up performances and glitter). The group is intimate enough to run into a few familiar faces but large enough to mix it up each time.

If you want a meal that would usually require travel…

Chefs Club: Check out the schedule at Chefs Club, which changes regularly with chefs from all over the world coming in to showcase their talents. Right now, the chef-in-residence is Conca del Sogno; he promises to transport you to the Amalfi Coast through signature Southern coastal Italian dishes.

If you do want to hop on a plane…

Wolvesmouth: On the opposite coast in LA, Wolvesmouth is a roaming dinner party that pops up whenever inspiration strikes. There is no set schedule for this dining experience, just a mailing list that you have to respond to quickly in order to secure your spot for these intimate events. The dishes on the tasting menu are each like a beautiful piece of art.

Naoe: In Miami, head to Kevin Cory’s Naoe which is a traditional Omakase that has won countless awards and endless acclaim. While some dishes are new signature creations, other dishes appear on the menu, like marinated tuna guts, that might make you cringe but also open your taste buds to a Japanese delicacy. Everything is as fresh as possible with fish being flown in from all over the world and daily trips to the local fishing boats. Cory is preserving the authenticity of his heritage and rich ancestry through his cuisine.

I hope 2019 proves to be a culinary adventure for everyone. When you travel, try a local cuisine you’ve never heard of and ask about its significance to the culture. Meet the chef. Try cooking with a new ingredient at home. And always have fun with family and friends over a meal.


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