Dollar oysters at happy hour, truffle popcorn, cocktails and ceviche. What more could a girl ask for?
New York City changes right before your eyes, even when you walk the same streets day after day. I left Brooklyn almost nine months ago. I’ve been back twice since. I’ve seen massive development, some good and some bad. But what really warmed my heart and satisfied my nostalgia was seeing that many of the things I loved most had stayed the same. Essentially, this was family, friends and food. I came back to Paris feeling so satisfied by remembering all of the meals I enjoyed with the people I miss the most. I was also excited to show my boyfriend all of the reasons (restaurants) I love New York as much as I do. There were new restaurants tried, including one amazing French restaurant with locations in West Village and in Paris that my friend Sumi showed me, and the incredibly lovely Italian-New American MIUSA Wine Bar. But the best meals were the old, tried and true favorites. Tapas and punch bowls at Cienfuegos, perfectly relaxing breakfast at Simple Cafe, the always spectacular brunch at Tabaré, the perfect cup of coffee and muffins at Black Brick, many favorites in my hometown of Montclair NJ, and of course, dollar oysters and wine at Desnuda.
I first tried Desnuda many years ago, when there was only the Manhattan location, and I was as delighted then as I am now. The mark of a good New York City restaurant is that it can stay largely the same, and yet people still love it. There’s no gimmicks, no wild changes, no insane fads, just a classic and well done restaurant with good drinks, great ambiance, and even greater food. Such is the mark of Ravi Di Rossi, owner of every restaurant that I love. Let’s not also forget the importance of a good happy hour.
Desnuda is no exception. For the budget diner, go for happy hour. Dollar oysters and clams, complimentary truffle popcorn, and $6 house wine. But you’d be a fool to not indulge in their regular menu as well. Creative and eccentric ceviches, fresh and tangy “tiraditos,” and additional selections from the raw bar including the not-so-raw tea smoked oysters. Their online menu is a little out of date, but expect a fresh selection that takes the true flavors of South America, and adds the eclectic wild card factors to meet and exceed the expectations of even the most well-dined New Yorker. Recent additions to the menu also include some selections for the carnivore wanting a hot meal, such as pan seared octopus with smoked paprika, or a classic churrasco; skirt steak with a cumin chimichurri. And in the back, an intense craft cocktail bar operation goes seriously down in a serious way.
As the summer approaches, this is one meal that will stay in my mind as I dream of the hot, sultry summers in the wonderful New York City. But I’ll be alright, for summer in Paris doesn’t sound so bad either.