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the weekend buzz

“Ilili and Paumanok Wine Dinner, Al Fresco Brunch at 230 Fifth, and your Father's Day Dinnig Guide”

Friday: Paumanok Wine Dinner at Ilili

The North Fork’s wineries are only a short trip by car, but if you can’t make it out there this weekend, stop in at Philippe Massoud’s Lebanese restaurant ilili on Friday night at 6:30pm when he’ll be hosting a slow-food inspired wine pairing menu with two great vineyards: the North Fork’s Paumanok vineyards and Lebanon’s Massaya wines.

The menu includes a special Kibbeh Tasting (a traditional meal made of bulgur and chopped meat), in addition to a large assortment of mezze and other specialties such as striped bass with Lebanese Zaatar and braised octopus with Lebanese green olives.
Special host Rami Zurayk, co-founder of Slow Food Beirut in Lebanon and Associate Dean of the Agricultural & Food Sciences Faculty at American University in Beirut, will be speaking and answering questions alongside Chef Massoud. To round out the night, a silent auction will be hosted to raise money for the University’s non-profit, Land & People, which supports small farmers and producers, as well as the Slow Food NYC Harvest Time Program of Good Food Education in NYC Schools.

ilili is located at 236 Fifth Avenue. Tickets for dinner for members of the Slow Food Foundation of New York are $90 and are available for non-members for $100. Space is limited; for reservations call 212-481-1840.

—Dara Levine

Saturday: Al Fresco Champagne Brunch at 230 Fifth

If you’ve been to 230 Fifth for happy hour you know that while the place boasts a sprawling roof deck with great views of the city, it can be a bit of a trial to weave your way through the frat house crowds. For something a little more serene, check in with them on weekends for their new sky high Champagne Party Brunch.
The menu features dishes like “Liquored Up” French toast, with Grand Marnier, Bailey’s, mascarpone, maple syrup and caramelized banana ($12), and over 11 different types of eggs and omelettes—all reasonably priced at around $8-$12 across the board—including one stuffed with East Coast oysters, cilantro, chili vinegar and bean sprouts. Brunch is served from 11-5, rain or shine, summer or winter, thanks to the Rooftop Garden, an 8,000 square foot enclosed lounge. Brunch will continue all year long, even in the winter so that the skyline view is not overlooked even with snow on the ground.

230 FIFTH is located at 230 Fifth Avenue, between 26th and 27th Streets, 212-725-4300.

—Dara Levine

Sunday: Father’s Day Dining

Father’s Day is fast approaching and your dad is probably hoping he doesn’t have to add to his collection of ties, socks or any other gifts they tend to receive and store in dustbins. But there’s one thing he won’t tire of: good food. If he has a sweet tooth, loves the outdoors, has a young toddler, is a whiskey lover, or a wine geek, we’ve complied a list of great meals for Sunday for that deserving man in your life.

—Bao Ong

Char No. 4

Where: 196 Smith St, between Baltic and Warren, (718) 643-2106

On the menu: I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that most Dads enjoy a good steak and a glass of whiskey. You'll find both being served this Sunday at Char No. 4. Chef Matt Greco is smoking and grilling rib-eyes with tomato Béarnaise and crispy garlic rosemary potatoes ($28) while owner Sean Josephs will pour dad a flight of three rare American Whiskeys—George Dickel #12, Hirsch 20 Year and Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year ($22). What more do you really need?

Payard Patisserie & Bistro

Where: 1032 Lexington Ave. (between 73rd and 74th streets), 212-717-5252, www.payard.com

On the menu: When you hear Payard, images of shimmering tarts and spongy macaroons come to mind. But you probably want something that packs more punch for dad. A good burger with artisanal cheese? A hearty steak? Well, Payard does that, too. This popular Upper East Side patisserie and bistro is serving a $29 per person three-course prix fixe for dad’s day that includes first course selections like Cobb salad, twice-baked upside down cheese soufflé and seasonal shrimp cocktail. From there you can choose the Payard special father’s day burger (topped with fourme d’Ambert cheese), Black Angus hanger steak (with homemade fries and Béarnaise sauce), or lemon pine nut-crusted East Coast halibut (with green and white asparagus, young onions and herb salad). And of course you can’t skip dessert, which includes a chocolate sticky toffee pudding with bourbon or any other Payard treats. A special $50 Payard Father’s Day shirt cake (made with hazelnut sponge cake and hazelnut mousseline) serving 6 to 8 people is also available.


Where: 12 E. 22 St. (between Park and Broadway), 212-228-7557, www.almondnyc.com

On the menu: Celebrating Father’s Day is often a family affair, but toting along a baby can deter any parent. Jason Weiner, executive chef/owner of Almond, should know—he has a one-year-old daughter. To make it easier for families dining with young kids, Weiner is rolling out an “infant plat du jour” brunch menu for the special occasion. Little ones can enjoy $3 dishes like baby lentils (warm pureed baby lentils, English tea, mint puree, carrot coulis and a pear yogurt drizzle), simple salmon-avocado salad with edamame, elbow pasta with fresh English peas and feta, and a mango-banana tango special (fresh mango, pureed banana and Greek yogurt layered in a mason jar and served with little spoons). With your kid satisfied (hopefully), dad can spend more time enjoying Almond’s red flannel hash ($15, with roasted beets, diced potatoes, guanciale, scallions, and poached eggs) or the le grand mac-and-cheese ($18, topped with prosciutto, chopped truffles) — with the entire family.

Crema Restaurante

Where: 111 W. 17th St. (between 6th and 7th avenues), 212-691-4477, www.cremarestaurante.com

On the menu: If your dad loves Mexican food, treat him to a meal at Crema Restaurante in Chelsea. On Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., chef/owner Julieta Ballesteros’ will offer special “Surf and Turf” tacos at brunch ($13) and dinner ($23). In addition to the taco feast, Dads will receive their choice of a complimentary Michelada or a pineapple-infused tequila cocktail. Cheers!


Where: 520 Columbus Ave. (corner of 85th St.), 212-787-3473, www.nonnarestaurant.com

On the menu: Summer officially begins this Sunday, so why not spend it outdoors relaxing with dad in Central Park. Nonna, a Tuscan-inspired eatery just steps away from the park, will deliver wicker picnic baskets ($14.95 a person) starting at 11 a.m. Your wicker picnic basket (which you’ll have to return) comes stocked with all you need for celebration in the park: a choice of sandwiches like grilled chicken with string beans, avocado, bacon and provolone on focaccia, an Italian combo with hot soppresata, prosciutto, provolone, lettuce, tomato and roasted red peppers on focaccia, or grilled vegetables focaccia, along with a mixed green salad, fresh fruit and bottled water, a white tablecloth, and a Frisbee or whiffle ball and bat. If your dad is more comfortable outdoors than sitting indoors, this is definitely the way to go.

Where: 45 E. 1st St. (between 1st and 2nd avenues), 212-780-0262, www.chefjoedoe.com

On the menu: For the brunch-loving dad, JoeDoe in the East Village is offering its “Aggressive American” brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Besides the popular corned duck hash and pork jowl benedict, Father’s Day specials include Dad’s Bacon and Egg Scramble ($10) with a buttered biscuit, and chicken or duck eggs), “School Lunch” French Toast—challah, peanut butter and jelly ($10) and Joe Senior’s Sammy —steak, eggs, onions, parker roll ($15). To wash it down, order dad the “Dad’s Nap on the Couch,” a $10 mix of Dale’s Pale Ale, Crop Organic Vodka, mustard, ketchup and potato chip rim! If you can’t tell, dining at JoeDoe isn’t about pretension but about good food and having a good time — all the things you want for Father’s Day.


Where: 231 W. 40th St. (at 8th Ave.), 212-354-2195, www.inakayany.com

On the menu: Without actually flying to Japan, your dad can feel like he’s eating at a robatayaki in Tokyo. At night, Inakaya http://thestrongbuzz.com/reviews/details.php?item_id=335 (located at the foot of the New York Times building) is hopping. The expansive room is loud with cooks in traditional Japanese garb chattering (shouting at times) with servers and the sounds of pots and pans sizzling. Although there’s sushi here, your dad will want to try the grilled fish (try the salt-grilled rockfish), meats and vegetables. If you spend at least $50 (which you will, believe me), your dad will receive a $50 gift certificate he can use on his next visit.

Michael Jordan’s The Steak House

Where: 23 Vanderbilt Ave. (Grand Central Station), 212-655-2300, http://www.theglaziergroup.com/restaurants/michaeljordan/

On the menu: A good steak and round of golf? For many dads it doesn’t get much better. So why not kill two birds with one stone? At Michael Jordan’s The Steak House, the family can enjoy steak house classics and dad will get a free, limited edition golf putter designed and personalized by the NBA star (it’s normally $49 for the public). Executive Chef Frank Dyer hopes you’ll stay for the signature mac-and-cheese, chilled jumbo shrimp with cucumber and herbs, tender filet mignon and the gigantic porterhouse for two. After that, if the weather is good, you can head down to Chelsea Piers or a range nearby to test out the putter. Steak and golf, now that’s a real Father’s Day treat.

Rouge Tomate

Where: 10 E. 60th St. (between Fifth and Madison avenues), 646-237-8977, www.rougetomate.com

On the menu: For the dads who are oenophiles, they can get an early start on the celebrating this weekend at Rouge Tomate. The restaurant (which is known for its emphasis on nutritionally balanced, locally-sourced cuisine), is offering a special ½ off wine list beginning Saturday. The selections include domestic wines from New York, Oregon and California, in addition to a variety of European wines. Bubbly drinks by glass go from $11-$30 while glasses of red (from a 2006 Merlot from Duras, France, to the 2005 Meritage, Syzygy from “Columbia Valley Washington) and white (from the 2008 Gruner Veltliner to the 2006 Chardonnay from Mendecino County in California) go between $10-$17. Half bottles will also be on the menu. These sustainable, organic wines are bound to pair well with dishes like the organic chicken and morel pate or the whole brook trout a la plancha. Cheers to dads!

Happy Father’s Day!

And that’s your Strong (weekend) Buzz for this week! Stay tuned into The Strong Buzz daily for more news, reviews, events and more! READ IT AND EAT!

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