Archive for January, 2009

The Rebirth of Phoenix Rose

January 27, 2009

The Rebirth of Phoenix Rose

benvenutipr valentine2009a 2

After two years of operating in one of New York tiniest stores—a four-by-fourteen foot space—Guy Rozenstrich is finally giving his handmade jewelry the space it rightly deserves. With the upcoming opening of Phoenix Roze, the second iteration of the West Village favorite, customers can shop for jewelry as they would shop for fine art—after all, Rozenstrich is the first to express that there’s hardly a difference between the two.

When designing each piece of jewelry, Rozenstrich’s attention goes towards color, shape and composition—the process is akin to painting or sculpture, and the result is equally artistic. With stones like fire opal, peridot, tourmalines and black diamonds making regular appearances in his oeuvre, Rozenstrich creates a unique color palette that’s eye-catching, vibrant, and unlike anything else.




January 17, 2009


Dhaba Bar 2

Opened: October 2008


Location: 108 Lexington Avenue (Btwn 27th Street & 28th Street)

Telephone: (212) 679-1284



Cuisine: Indian cuisine

Owner/Executive Chef: Shiva Natarajan

Manager: Roshan Balan

Price Range: Buffet Lunch: $9.95

Lunch & Dinner

Appetizers – $2.00 to $11.00

Entrees – $13.00 to $21.00

Late Night Menu: $10.00 to $15.00

Capacity: 60


Take Out Lunch: Delivery starts 11:30
Monday – Saturday 11:30 am -3:00

Buffet Lunch:
Monday – Saturday 12:00 am – 3:00 pm
Buffet Brunch:
Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Dinner: Monday – Saturday

3:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sunday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Late Night
Friday & Saturday 11:00 pm – 3:00 am

*All Major Credit Cards Accepted (Visa, American Express, Discover, MasterCard) *


Review By Nancy Walman



Traditionally in India, “dhabas” are restaurants that are located on the outskirts of metros in northern India and are widely reputed to serve authentic local food. More recently, “dhabas” are becoming more popular, emerging in cosmopolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai, bringing their brand of authentic, flavorful food to elite city gourmands. Shiva Natarajan’s newest restaurant endeavor, Dhaba, conveys the same authenticity and delight with every bite. The menu mostly consists of customary specialties of northern India as well as curries with a British influence.

Enclosed in the Curry Hill neighborhood of Lexington Avenue, Dhaba, designed by Thida Thong Thai, is the modern interpretation of a traditional dhaba in India. Low lamps hang discreetly within the restaurant resembling the street lamps covering these traditional Indian eateries. The emblematic earthy greens, natural beiges and dark brown silks combined with magenta and orange accents add a luxurious tone to the dining room. A large communal banquet table in the center keeps with the characteristic dhaba homage. The colorful glass tunnel entrance, decorative spice bottles and steel bar with vibrant colored glass bangles are an unexpected surprise that adds a touch of modern flair while still in tune with its traditional presence.

Menu items include traditional “dhaba” staples such as Sarson ka Saag and Makki da Roti as well as a wide array of Punjabi dishes and Northern Kabobs. Don’t miss such fabulous starters as Spiced cashews, black pepper and chat masala, Lime flavored chicken wings, ginger and fresh coriander, Batter fried cauliflower, garlic, onions and tangy flavor and the best Indian soup we’ve ever tasted: Clear soup from goat trotters, ginger. Other Specialty Dishes include Chicken Balchao, a hot curry from Goa with coconut, curry leaves and freshly ground spices, Sarson ka Saag, Curried mustard greens and spinach, Makkai ki Rotii, Home made corn bread, served with the Sarson ka Saag, Lauki Masala, white bottle gourd with lentils and a bay leaf, Methi Mattar Malai, Paneer cheese with green peas, fenugreek, served in a creamy tomato sauce and Shrimp Malaiwala, a delicious spiced shrimp with creamy tomatoes, bay leaf, and fennel.

Dhaba includes a unique list of British influenced curries on their main menu which is rarely offered at Indian restaurants in New York City. A late night menu is also available on Friday and Saturday.

Restaurateur and chef, Shiva Natarajan, is a veteran to the East Coast gourmet industry having opened seven highly regarded restaurants; Chola and Tadka in New York City, Chola, Malabar Hill and Bombay Bar & Grill in Connecticut, Jaipore Royal Indian Cuisine in Brewster New York and Bombay at the Black Swan Inn in Lee, Massachusetts.

Born and raised in Calcuta, Shiva fell in love with the art of cuisine by spending countless hours in the kitchen with his family, developing what would become his life-long passion for food. Following his high school education in Bombay, he left India to pursue his MBA at Pace University in New York City. After spending years traveling throughout India, experiencing many different cuisine styles of his native country, Shiva transported his expertise of Indian cuisine to the restaurant industry of New York City.

Service, orchestrated by Manager,Roshan Balan, is excellent and there is a short, inexpensive and well chosen wine and beer list, as well as terrific cocktails. For a taste of what authentic Indian cuisine is all about, coupled with the feel of the “new” India, Dhaba will surely delight you.

Dhaba bar

Copyright 2009 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.


NAYA Mezze & Grill

January 10, 2009

NAYA Mezze & Grillnaya1

Cuisine: Lebanese-Mediterranean Location: 1057 2nd Avenue (between 55th and 56th Street) New York, NY 10022 212.319.7777; Owner/Chef: Hady Kfoury Sous Chef: Mia Karam Design: Michel Abboud, SOMA Architects Hours of Service: Lunch: Monday – Friday, 12 PM – 3 PM Dinner: Monday – Saturday, 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM Capacity: 54 seats Music: Compilation of Lounge and Chill Out Music Price Range: Salads & Mezze: $6 – 12 Entrees: $17 – 28 Dessert: $6 – 8 Specialty Drinks/Beers: $3 – 6 Wines/Champagnes: $8 – 12/glass; $30 – 110/bottle Specialties: Tabboulé Hommus Fried Kibbé Beef and Chicken Shawarma Kafta Kebab Gourmet Sandwiches – Lunch only Prix Fixe – Quick NAYA – Lunch only Credit Cards: American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa Reservations: Yes Delivery/Take Out/Catering: Yes

1057 2nd Avenue • New York, NY 10022 • 212.319.7777 •


Review By Nancy Walman


As the culinary capital of the world, New York City prides itself on its international blend of cuisines and cultures. Name a style of cooking, and most likely you can find it in Manhattan. Now, adding to the city’s Mediterranean scene is a contemporary restaurant housing traditional Lebanese fare.


Under the leadership of Owner/Chef Hady Kfoury (Daniel; Payard – NYC; Cocteau; White; Eight – Beirut, Lebanon), a 27 year old, experienced restaurateur and graduate from Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, NAYA Mezze & Grill sets out to be an intimate and welcoming Lebanese-Mediterranean restaurant. NAYA Mezze & Grill is a combination of old and new; pure tradition mixed with innovation. Building upon the original techniques and recipes of past generations of Lebanese women (NAYA translates to a commonly used woman’s name), NAYA Mezze & Grill offers the same, respected delicacies from mezze to salads to perfectly char-grilled and seasoned barbecue meats, creating a taste that is exclusively NAYA.

Managing the kitchen is Sous Chef Mia Karam, who starts guests off with a variety of traditional Lebanese Salads, such as Fattoush, Tabboul and Feta, with diced tomato, oregano zaatar and olive oil. Popular Vegetarian Mezze, including Hommus, Baba Ghannouj, Grape Leaves and Rekakat, a blend of three cheeses wrapped in phyllo and deep fried, are also excellent starters.

For meat lovers, NAYA Mezze & Grill serves savory Mezze, such as Makanek, fresh Lebanese sausage sautéed with olive oil and lemon; Kebbé NAYA, Lebanese-style steak tartar with bulgur, onion and mint; and Fried Kibbé, beef dumplings stuffed with minced beef, eggplant and cumin. Main courses which combine authentic Lebanese and Mediterranean flavors, include Beef and Chicken Shawarma – strips of marinated meat roasted on skewers and served with either tahini or garlic sauce; and Kafta Kebab, seasoned ground lamb with onion, parsley and mint. Seafood dishes, such as Samké Harra, broiled striped bass topped with spicy tahini sauce, walnuts and pine nuts; and delicious Sides, like Cabbage Salad, are also available.

For dessert, diners can indulge in sweets, such as Ashta, traditional Lebanese milk based cream-pudding with banana, topped with honey, almond and pistachio; and Baklava/Asabeh, phyllo with almonds. During lunch, almost all of NAYA Mezze & Grill’s traditional entrees are available as Gourmet Sandwiches. Prix Fixe options are also offered, such as Quick NAYA ($17) – choice of three mini mezze and choice of gourmet sandwich, plus coffee or tea.

Serving an original variety wine and beer, NAYA Mezze & Grill’s cellar consists of wonderful wines from the Mediterranean, South America, United States, and Bordeaux, as well as Lebanese labels, such as Massaya. Beer selections include Lebanese Almaza. NAYA Mezze & Grill also creates delicious drinks such as Ayran, a healthy, thirst quencher made from yogurt; and Jellab, Lebanese grape molasses. Located in Midtown East, NAYA Mezze & Grill’s sleek ambience is the work of Michel Abboud of SOMA Architects.

With seating for 54, the chic space appeals to all ages with its unique combination of conventional material and effects with innovative techniques. Every detail from the tableware to the accessories and decor has been custom made and designed to intrigue, fascinate and illustrate a modern approach to tradition. Crafted from quality materials which evoke the past, their design is imbued with a contemporary character, including walnut wood tables, back-lit metal panel walls perforated with white triangular Phoenician patterns, and glass partitions surrounding the semi-open kitchen, enabling diners to partially see what is going on “backstage.” Two- and four-top booths align the restaurant leading back to a semi-private dining room with two large “communal” tables that can be reserved for groups.

A customized sky light in the back brings in natural light to the space, making it feel more open and inviting. NAYA Mezze & Grill’s compilation of lounge and chill out music create a cool vibe and mellow experience, while enabling guests to carry on conversation and relax in an unpretentious setting. NAYA Mezze & Grill is open Monday to Friday for lunch, and Monday to Saturday for dinner. More NAYA Mezze & Grill locations are anticipated in the near future, creating a franchise of its traditional, yet contemporary Lebanese cuisine.

Copyright 2009 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.



January 4, 2009

CortonCorton Interior Frank Oudeman

Phote Credit: Frank Oudeman

ADDRESS 239 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
PHON PHONE & FAX E (t) 212.219.2777 (f) 212.274.9508
MENU & PRICING Three-course Prix Fixe, $76
Tasting Menu, $110
HOURS Monday through Thursday 5:30-10:30 PM Friday and Saturday 5:30–11 PM
OWNER Drew Nieporent
RESTAURANT Arleene Oconitrillo
SOMMEL SOMMELIER Elizabeth Harcourt
CAPACITY Dining Room, 65 Bar, 5
CREDIT CARDS American Express, Master Card, Visa, Diners Club, Discover
WHEELCHAIR Yes, please call in advance.


Online Reservations. Click Here


Review By Nancy Walman

Nieporent Plus Liebrandt Equals a Dynamite Duo

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. Located in the heart of Tribeca, Corton is a partnership between renowned iconicDrew 2005 Photo of Mr. Nieporent, Courtesy of Myriad.

restaurateur Drew Nieporent (above) and wunderkindt Paul Liebrandt photo by Robert Leslie 08 2 Photo Credit: Robert Leslie

chef Paul Liebrandt (above). Corton, which was previously occupied by the well-respected Montrachet for more than 20 years, reflects a light and intimate style.

With 65 seats, the serene dining room features vine and leaf embossed walls, vaulted ceilings, natural-toned chairs and inviting banquettes. Chef Liebrandt’s modern French menu melds the tradition of classical cuisine with a contemporary approach to ingredients and technique. The flavors are clean, precise and intense. The restaurant offers a three-course prix fixe menu, $76 – and Tasting Menu -$110 (amazingly affordable for the quality). The menu follows. Toss a coin, but don’t miss such luscious compositions as Nantucket Bay Scallops in Uni Crème, Maine Lobster with Tarragon Mustard and Squab with Chestnut Crème and Smoked Bacon. All of the preparations are exquisite.

The Corton hill is the largest area of Grand Cru in Burgundy and the wine list features many selections from the region. In addition, a reserve list offers an extended portfolio of world-class wines.Reserve wines are housed offsite in a temperature controlled facility and are available with 24 hours notice. Corton, 239 West Broadway, is the most serious-intentioned restaurant to open in 2008, a must on every serious foodies’ list, and rates A Major on The Walman Report.


Dining Room & Bar / Photo courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell

Copyright 2009 by Punch In International. All Rights Reserved



January 4, 2009

Thalassa (Sea)Thalassa's Bar


ADDRESS: 179 Franklin Street
(Between Hudson & Greenwich Streets)
New York, NY 10013


TELEPHONE: (212) 941-7661

On Line Reservations: Click Here

HOURS: Lunch: 12:00 Noon – 3:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.
Dinner: 5:30 PM – 11:30 PM, Mon.-Thurs.
5:30 PM – 12:30 AM, Fri.-Sat.
(Closed Sunday.
Open for private events only)

CUISINE: Contemporary Greek Seafood
(Contemporary and classic Greek seafood
dishes. In addition, a unique variety of
imported Mediterranean fish by the pound is


PRICE RANGE: Lunch (entrees): $12.95 – $19.95
3-Course Prix Fixe Lunch: $24.07
Dinner (entrees): $28.00 – $46.00

DRESS: Downtown Casual


SEATING CAPACITY: Main Dining Room: 130
Wine Room: 60 seated to 120 for cocktails
Gallery Loft: 120 seated to 200 for cocktails

(2 Dining Rooms)
(1 Gallery Loft)

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request
(2 Private Party Rooms:
Downstairs Wine Room and
2nd Floor Gallery Loft)

BAR: Full-service sit-down bar. The 15-foot long curved Greek custom-
made white marble and mosaic bar features an award-winning
selection of international wines including an extensive choice
of Greek and reserve wines. A variety of wines are available
by the glass. There is a 5,000 bottle wine cellar in the Wine Room
downstairs. In addition, a premier selection of spirits, liquors,
after-dinner drinks, dessert wines, grappas, imported beers,
and Thalassa specialty cocktails such as Nectaria (Ripe Nectarine,
Muddled with Rhubarb Compote, Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice,
and Organic Prairie Vodka, Served Up) and Agave Rock (Mango
Muddled with Organic Agave Nectar and Shaken with Combier,
Cynar, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, and Organic 4 Copas
Silver Tequila, Served Over Rocks) are also available. The
Lunch and Dinner Menus are available at the bar.

MAIN DINING ROOM: Dramatic, nautical ambiance. Housed in an historic Tribeca building formerly a warehouse for Greek foods, the stylish, sophisticated Main Dining Room is enhanced by an 18-foot high
ceiling, handsome Italian wood and white leather chairs and
banquettes, sand-blasted glass and open-faced brick walls,
white billowing sails overhead, Greek urns, sheer flowing curtains, hard wood floors, blue mood lighting, and a striking display of imported Mediterranean fresh fish to evoke the feeling of being on a yacht sailing the Aegean Sea.

WINE ROOM: A grand staircase leads to the lower level to the 40-foot long climate-controlled Wine Room. A wine rack spanning the
entire room boasts 5,000 bottles of international wines including
an extensive and exclusive variety of boutique Greek wines.
The room also features a long custom-made wooden dining
table handcrafted by a local Mykonos artist. Two 20-foot long
columns constructed of transparent onyx dominate the
front of the Wine Room and extend to the Main Dining Room.
The Wine Room accommodates 60 people seated and
120 for cocktails. It is frequently used for private parties and
special events.

GALLERY LOFT: Located on the 2nd floor of the building, the Gallery Loft
Is a bright airy space with 18-foot high ceilings and floor-
to-ceiling windows. The Gallery Loft accommodates 120
people seated and 200 for cocktails. It is used exclusively
for private parties and special events.

DESIGNER: Jean Pierre Heim

EXECUTIVE CHEF: Rapheal Abrahante

WINE DIRECTOR: Chris Hallowell


Maitre d’: M Kemal Kurt

OWNERS: The Makris Family

OPENING DATE: November, 2002


Ethereal Greek Food and Wines Accompanied by Service for the Gods

Review By Nancy Walman

Thalassa's Main Dining Room

Thalassa which means “the sea” in Greek, is the expansive, nautical, modern Greek seafood restaurant in Tribeca, and features the contemporary and classic Greek seafood dishes of Executive Chef Ralpheal. The restaurant opened in November 2002 and is owned by The Makris Family, owners of Fantis Foods, the leading Greek food company which has been importing the freshest, highest quality Greek foods for almost a century.

Thalassa has become one of Manhattan’s three finest upscale Greek restaurants. Besides the knockout space, impeccably prepared food and beautifully selected wine list, service under the direction of Maitre d’ M. Kemal Kurt, is without doubt equal to New York’s Grand Luxe restaurants in any category. From busboys to waiters, it is flawless.

Thalassa had offered many seafood selections by the pound, in addition to its set menu dishes. Recently after 6 years the restaurant decided to evolve even further from other New York City seafood restaurants. They continue to offer the highest quality, fresh fish now at set prices for one or two people. In addition various seafood items such as Tiger Shrimp, Langustines, Barbounia (Rouget) etc. are offered by the piece. Thus creating a simpler menu.

A recent dinner offered such delights as crunchy-yet-moist bakalao cod croquettes with garlic-almond mousse over sliced roasted beets; an inventive tartare trio of royai dorado, salmon and lavraki with taramosalata, tzatziki and garlic almond mousse; thalassa-scallops-kataifi1

elegant Maine diver scallops wrapped in kataifi with sheep’s milk butter and kalamata balsamic reduction (above) and superb grilled wild langustine and garides (head’s on king shrimp from North Africa). A whole Fagri or Mediterranean pink snapper with lemon, capper and olive oil sauce followed.Thalassa-fish There is wonderful bread and gratis dips and while all desserts are commendable, the thick sheep’s milk yogurt with candied spoon fruit and a play on the Italian Tartufo, here with the addition of kataifi (shredded filo), were the stars.

Prices remain moderate. Lunch entrees range from $12.95 for Moussaka (Layers of Eggplant, Zucchini, and Ground Lamb Topped with Béchamel and Kasseri Cheese) up to $19.95 for American Snapper Spetsiota (Slow Baked in a Light Tomato Sauce with Onions and Potatoes). There is a 3-Course Prix Fix Lunch Menu available for $24.07. Dinner entrees range from $28.00 for Seafood Thalassina (Orzo with Diver Scallops, Gulf Shrimp, and Prince Edward Island Mussels) up to $42.00 for Dover Sole (Lightly Pan Seared, Broiled or Grilled).

Thalassa features a superior award-winning selection of domestic and international wines (over 12,000 bottles including more than 700 different wine labels to choose from) with an extensive and exclusive variety of boutique Greek wines. A variety of wines by the glass are also available (Champagnes are an especially good buy). A large variety of vertical vintages of each brand is available.

Thalassa occupies three levels of a historic Tribeca building which formerly served as a warehouse. The Main Dining Room recreates the nautical ambiance of sailing across the Ionian Sea. The ambiance reveals itself through a curving 30-foot long Greek custom-made soft ivory marble mosaic bar at the front, an 18-foot high ceiling, handsome Italian wood and soft white leather chairs and banquettes, red oak hardwood floors, sand-blasted glass, open-faced brick walls, white billowing sails overhead, Greek urns, sheer flowing curtains, blue mood lighting, a colorful display of imported and domestic fresh fish and seafood with a grand mahogany staircase leading to the Wine Room on the lower level.thallasa-interior

The climate-controlled Wine Room features a wine rack which spans the entire room and contains 5,000 bottles of international wines including an extensive and exclusive variety of boutique Greek wines. Another distinguishing attraction is a long custom-made wooden communal-style dining table handcrafted by a local Mykonian artist. Two 20-foot columns constructed of illuminated onyx dominate the front of the Wine Room and extend upward through the Main Dining Room. The Wine Room accommodates 60 people seated and 120 for cocktails. It is used for regular and private dining and frequently used for special events.

Above the main dining room is the Gallery Loft. This bright airy space with 18-foot high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows is used exclusively for private events. The Loft has an incredibly large wine rack in the rear of the room and soft white curtains which creates a beautiful ambiance.

If we had but one night to dine in New York, Thalassa would be one of our recommendations. That’s A Major on The Walman Report.

Copyright 2008 By Punch In international. All Rights Reserved.