Local Food – Flora Bar – New York

Local Food You really get to know a city by tasting Local Food.

New York- restaurants change by the minute in the Big Apple; luckily my 212 friends are unabashed foodies thus my visits result in nightly expeditions to the latest hottest Dining Temples. One of my long time colleagues and her daughter belong to this ‘Food Tribe’ and they, knowing my lack of geographic prowess, often attempt to meet me at the hottest restaurant near my hotel and they always make sure I am in a taxi back to whatever hotel I might be in that particular night…I had heard of Flora Bar and they agreed, hot and they hadn’t visited yet…

Flora Bar – New York

So I asked my friend, David Tanis if he knew the owners – why yes, would you like a reservation? Please! As I made my way toward the Met Breuer where Flora Bar is located, Jen called me and said the Maître D wants to know HOW you know David Tanis? Really, they made quite a fuss when she checked i

n under his name. I arrived and said, you may not believe this, but I am David Tanis – instant third degree – How do YOU know David Tanis?? You may sit at any table, what suits you best? Again, who knew David Tanis was King of New York, I do now.

Famous chefs all communicate in a secret society.

Flora Bar – New York

Flora Bar in the Met Breuer. Knowing that Ignacio Mattos was a Chez Panisse alum and had cooked with the famed Francis Mallmann in Argentina, is all I needed to know. Yum, as usual when we are presented with small plates, we over order, where is the Chef tonight to guide us? Five guests, 15 plates? Each sharable bite is presented as a circle or a perfect square. Executive chef Jake Nemmers dazzles and delights. A simple circle of lobster crudo with chopped shiso arrives with a dab of flavored mayonnaise. The scrumptious tuna tartare was topped with toasted flax seeds and crunchy fried shallots, what one would think of as an odd combination hits the mark perfectly. We loved the thin slices of steak lathered in dribbles of Béarnaise. Blue shrimp were equally as heavenly in a spicy cocktail sauce. The menu is similar to a tapas bar, small bites meant to be shared.

Flora Bar – New York

Flora Bar – New York

The museum space is as dramatic as the dining. Downstairs from the Met Breuer, floor to ceiling windows look out at the patio.Wait staff are attired in blue jackets that I have now seen worn by some of my hip designer friends. To me, they looked like blue mechanics jackets, but I am not overly hip.

History – Restaurateur Thomas Carter and chef Ignacio Mattos, the partners behind Estela and Café Altro Paradiso, opened Flora Bar and Flora Coffee at The Met Breuer in Fall 2016. Flora Bar takes inspiration from lively, approachable restaurants in New York and Europe and is open beyond museum hours. The menu emphasizes seafood and vegetables and strives to be tasty and playful. You can stop in for a full dinner, a small bite or a drink at the long bar—anything you want, really.

Carter, Mattos, and their Matter House team aim to create an atmosphere of accessibility and fun similar to what they’ve cultivated downtown. The partnership with the museum came about from The Met’s desire to bring the Estela team’s light and ethereal tone—and perhaps foremost its sensitivity to the setting and location of a space—to the iconic Breuer building.

Thomas Carter
Co-Owner and Director of Beverage and Service
Before Estela and Café Altro, Thomas was beverage director at the award-wining Blue Hill at Stone Barns for six years. He has also worked in wine service for Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, and as a cook at New York restaurants including Le Bernardin, Mercer Kitchen and Union Pacific. He holds degrees from Columbia College Chicago and the Culinary Institute of America. Thomas found Ig through a truffle guy.

Flora Bar – New York

Ignacio Mattos
Co-Owner and Chef
Ignacio was born in Uruguay and learned to cook in the kitchens of grilling master Francis Mallman and Slow Food legend Alice Waters. At Estela, he has earned acclaim for bold, Mediterranean-inspired cooking. With Altro, Ignacio returns to Italian cuisine, which was his focus for several years as the chef of Il Buco. Ignacio was nominated for a James Beard Best Chef: New York award in 2014. In that same year, Bon Appétit declared that “you’ll see and taste his influence on American cooking for years to come.”

Highly Recommend- do go with a Foodie Tribe, so you can taste everything on the menu!

Local Food – New York – Le Coucou

Local Food. You really get to know a city by tasting local food.

New York – restaurants change by the minute in the Big Apple; fortunately my 212 friends are unabashed foodies thus my Journeys result in nightly expeditions to the latest hottest Dining Temples.

Le Coucou New York

Le Coucou New York

My Parisian visits to the petite restaurants of  Spring (recently closed), Chez La Vieille, and La Bourse et La Vie owned by American Chef Daniel Rose, created a passion for dining at Le Coucou in New York, his latest foodie emporium. After seventeen years in Paris, this new restaurant is his exciting debut in New York. Inviting my dear friends, including David Tanis, is probably why I obtained the best seat in the restaurant. We passed by Clive Davis to our table, the best table in the house…Clive, with white napkin tucked into his collar, gave us the up and down once over of who are they? Who knew David Tanis was King of New York?

Le Coucou New York

Le Coucou, which opened a little less than a year ago, was named Best New Restaurant this year at the James Beard Foundation’s annual award ceremony in Chicago. Le Coucou is a fancy French restaurant – refined French fare emphasized by crisp white tablecloths, every table is accented with a flickering single taper candle, dripping ever so slowly; the menu is bursting with complicated French dishes with names you might not always recognize, dishes served out of gleaming copper pots, by suit wearing waiters. Can you visualize the scene? Having a famed Chef as a guest, immensely helps menu translation…why wouldn’t you want to order the fried veal head, it looks like it is sublimely prepared as such…David can make poetry out of a turnip.

Our picture-perfect table right by the spectacular performance kitchen was engrossing theatre – shelves stacked with all sizes of copper pans, numerous chefs all wearing skyscraper white toques, without any sense of awkwardness, balancing pots and tilting spoons as gracefully as in a ballet. It’s a French restaurant after all!

Le Coucou New York

Initially, I was taken back by the restaurant size, although the darkly lit bar is very cozy with deep silk covered sofas, Daniel Roses’ restaurants in Paris barely seat 22 patrons, cozy conversation next to another diner is almost unavoidable. Last November when I supped at La Bourse et La Vie, my table neighbors shared their veal stew..when they arrived, the Champagne hinted at a celebration and although I lack any knowledge of French, it rapidly appeared that she was breaking up with the handsome man from Spain…he did invite me to an art event in Paris the next day. Le Coucou is massive and apparently serves over 500 plates an evening, not quite as intimate, but certainly gorgeous and dazzling.

Le Coucou New York

Le Coucou New York

Le Coucou New York

The walls are decorated in typically French pastoral murals depicting scenes of 18th Century landscapes, sparkling chandeliers dangle from above, a few original exposed brick walls are evident and the tables are laden with layers of glass and flatware, perfectly positioned on stiffly starched white tablecloths.

Le Coucou: Breakfast. Lunch dinner. 138 Lafayette St, New York,

And then the menu:  DINNER


Huîtres, granité aux algues
oysters, seaweed ice

Limande rouge au caviar
fluke, cucumbers, American sturgeon caviar

leeks, hazelnuts ( Highly recommend!)

Crêpe “souvenir de Lannilis”
crab, buckwheat, lime

Joues de boeuf en gelée au foie gras
beef cheek and foie gras terrine, sherry vinaigrette

Raie au poivron et câpres
poached skate, capers, sweet pepper vinaigrette

Tomate farcie au thon
tomato stuffed with tuna, olives and herbs ( (Yummy!)


Salade de homard, sauce lauris
lobster tail, basil, tomato, sauce lauris ( Loved by all!)

Langue de veau au caviar américain
veal tongue, golden ossetra caviar, crème fraîche

Ris de veau a l’estragon
sweetbreads, crème de tomate, tarragon

Crépinette de volaille aux foie gras et fruits ( Excellent!)
chicken and foie gras, roasted plum

Quenelle de brochet, sauce américaine
pike quenelle, lobster sauce


Halibut, beurre blanc
daikon prepared as choucroute

Navarin de Lotte
monkfish, mussel broth, summer vegetables ( Loved by Barbara!)

Sole Véronique
dover sole, grapes, champignons ( Loved by Gwen!)

Tout le lapin
all of the rabbit ( adored by David!)

Pigeon et homard
grilled squab, fricassé of lobster and squab bits, potato purée

Canard et cerises
duck, cherries, foie gras, black olives ( Stuart says yes!)

*Côte d’agneau grillé, collier braisée à la tomate**
Colorado lamb with steamed eggplant, neck braised with tomatoes

Filet de boeuf, jus à la moelle, queue dans la boulangère
prime filet, bone marrow jus, oxtail potatoes

Divine, it’s not Paris, but the Fancy French Fare translates in New York.