Just Opened Meets: Chew York City

In this series, we delve into the lives of some of New York’s best-informed food and drink bloggers. We’re asking about what’s new and exciting on their foodie radar, as well those old favorite haunts they just keep going back to.

This week, we meet Ella, half of the duo behind Chew York City.

Tell us a bit about Chew York City – how long have you been doing this and how did you get started?  

I started my Instagram five years ago when I was in high school. Now I’m at school in New Orleans, so my friend Emma helps me out for photos and things because she’s a lot closer to New York, in Rhode Island. I used to post loads of food pictures on my personal Instagram account and my friends kept telling me I should share them on a public account, so I did! It was a time when there were lots of other food Instagrammers launching too so we did lots of collaborations. Once I got to around 10k followers, I stopped having to try and attract them: they started finding me.

What makes Chew York City different from other Instagram accounts focusing on food in NYC?

Both me and Emma have lived in New York all our lives so we’ve grown up surrounded by all these restaurants, and our account reflects that. It’s authentically New York. We post where real New Yorkers eat. We love to post places that we’ve been going to for years, as well as new places we find.

Where’s your fail-safe date night in NYC?

I love Italian food. And for me, Lilia in Brooklyn is one of the best Italian restaurants in New York. They do one of my all-time favorite pastas there – the Mafaldini with pink peppercorns and parmigiano. They’ve got great wine, low lighting; it’s a really romantic atmosphere. Plus it’s in Brooklyn, so there’s a really interesting mix of people.

What’s your favorite recent opening in New York?

I haven’t been in New York since Christmas, but in December I checked out the newly opened Lobster Club. It’s the third and final restaurant to go in the Seagram Building (also The Pool and The Grill). It’s high-end Japanese in a really cool lounge-style space. I had lobster dumplings, pork gyoza, the New York strip, half chicken and garlic fried rice and they were all super delicious. It has a bar and restaurant and had a great atmosphere – the perfect place for dinner before a night out.

Where do you think you can get the best desserts in the city?

 I’ve got a sweet tooth so I’ve got a lot of recommendations for dessert!

Best ice cream: Morgenstern’s. They do so many weird and wonderful flavors. I went there a year back and had hot dog ice cream but they’re most famous for their black coconut ash ice cream. My favorite is slightly less out there – the Rockiest Road is so good.

Best cookies: Chip, which recently opened in Gansevoort Market. They do the most delicious cookies – super chunky and gooey inside. The best is the Sea Salt Nutella flavour. Their only actual shop is in Astoria, and now they’ve launched in Gansevoort.

Best Bakery: definitely Molly’s Cupcakes – they have cupcakes filled with different batters and flavors, like birthday cake batter and Nutella peanut butter. The shop also has swings for seats and is a cute place to sit.

Best cocktails you’ve ever tasted?

The Mulberry Project stands out to me as the best cocktail place, because you can make your own cocktail. There’s a list of seasonal ingredients, syrups, spirits and you take your pick and the bar tender will curate a drink for you. I asked for sweet, with strawberries, and they made a totally delicious, unique cocktail just for me.

Are there any new restaurants you’re excited about that are opening soon?

There are loads! The one I’m most excited about is the opening of an Au Cheval here – the original is in Chicago. It’s from the people behind 4 Charles Prime Rib (my favorite restaurant) who do the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had in my life. And Au Cheval’s burger is supposed to be even better, so I’m pretty excited about that! Rumor has it it’ll be opening in spring/summer this year.

I’ve also heard that the team behind Gjelina in California is going to open a restaurant in New York in the spring as well. Gjelina is one of my favorite spots in LA – they do wood-fired pizzas and Italian American dishes but with a Californian twist, so still feels very light. And rumor has it their New York restaurant will be similar, and that they’ve bought a farm in Rhinebeck where they’ll grow all their fresh produce. Sounds amazing, so fingers crossed!

Best foodie destination in the USA outside of New York?

I was in Miami a month ago and went to Forte Dei Marmi – it’s in South Beach and the whole idea is that it’s really simple and relaxing place, rather than the party vibe, but there’s still a good buzzy atmosphere. It serves delicious pasta – I had the Linguine ‘alla nerano’, which is a zucchini pasta with parmegiano, and it’s definitely the best dish on the menu.

Who’s your favorite chef?

Because I love dessert, I really like Momofuku Milk Bar and the chef there, Christina Tosi, is my favorite. She makes really fun different flavored desserts – they have something called Crack Pie because it’s so addictive. I especially love the Compost Cookies – they’re a mix of a ton of things like potato chips, graham crackers, coffee, pretzels. They basically throw in a bunch of random things into the cookie and somehow it ends up tasting really good.

Is there anything new you discovered on a menu recently that we should know about?

There’s a place on the Upper East Side called Le Charlot, and it’s not on the menu, but you can order a dish called the Cajun Chicken and it’s the most incredible dish – it’s crispy chicken with a beurreblanc sauce and fries. So good.

Truffle mozzarella sticks 🤤 #cheesepull

A post shared by Ella Kahan And Emma Matarasso (@chewyorkcity) on

Which of your Instagram posts has got the most likes?

My most-liked post is a video of truffle mozzarella sticks being pulled apart. They’re from The Truffleist, a stall in Madison Square Eats, which is an outdoor food market that opens in the summer. Watch the video and see for yourself!