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Actor David Harris is currently playing the role of the Duke of Monroth in the long-running Broadway hit Moulin Rouge.

An Australian native, who is also a an acclaimed singer, Harris now calls New York City home.

Below, he shares his favorite diversions and spots around town.

Where do you live in the city?

My spouse and I bought a top floor “renovators delight” apartment in Chelsea seven years ago in while we managed to renovate during the pandemic. With a large central skylight in the living area, it is our quiet, sunny haven amid the bustle of New York City.

What is your favorite neighborhood in New York and why?

I really enjoy living in Chelsea as it is close enough to the buzz of midtown and is an easy bike ride to and from work on Broadway. Chelsea is surprisingly very quiet, has a varied mix of residents, is close to many art galleries, the Hudson River parkway, the Highline, the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Markets and sporting and recreation facilities at Chelsea Piers. There are many great cafes and restaurants like Citizens of Chelsea which serves up Aussie-style brekkies and great espresso.

Can you share some of your favorite spots in the Theater District and what makes them so great?

Being Australian, I am very fussy with the quality of espresso I drink, so I go to the Aussie-owned St Kilda Coffee and Bird and Branch which is close to our Moulin Rouge theater on 45th Street. Frisson is also great for a strong pick me up. One of my favorite spots for a cheap eat is a tiny hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint called El Rancho Mexican on 45th. It is a family run small business with traditional burritos, perfect for in-between performances on double show days.

Where is the best place for a pre-or post-theater meal and why? What are go-to dishes at each?

I like to take visiting friends and family to a pre-show dinner at Rosevale Kitchen which is on street level of The Civilian Hotel on 48th street. It has casual but chic décor with a clean, fresh menu which doesn’t weigh you down ahead of watching or performing a show. I am fond of the burrata for starters, and either fish or a steak for entre whilst sipping a champagne or two, (when I don’t have a show to perform, of course). The flutes they are served in makes it taste even nicer. They also have a great cocktail bar on the second floor and rooftop bar with great views.

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What is the best Theater District watering hole and the drink to get?

When I am not hosting post-show drinks in my dressing room, called The Duke’s Den, I enjoy heading to Bar Centrale above Joe Allen’s on 46th Street. It is an intimate supper club where you will most likely run into other Broadway actor friends and creatives doing the same thing. Go for the Old Fashioned when there.

Please share your insider tips for enjoying a Broadway show. Anything to make the experience better as an audience member?

We all go to the theater to be transported to another world for a couple of hours, so my advice to truly shut off from the outside world is to turn your phone off, or at least on silent for those hours. It allows for everyone in that shared community of a darkened theater – actors included – to go fully immersed into the world that gets created.

Turn up to the theater with time to spare to relax or in the case of Moulin Rouge, soak up the pre-show entertainment as you enter the world of Paris at the turn of the century. Be mindful of making noise that is not appropriate during the show as it is not only distracting to the actors, but to audience members around that want to be swept up into the story being told. And hang out at stage door after the performance to say hi to any cast that want to come and say hi. You never know what memory you may create when at the theater so remain open and present before returning to the real world.

What’s the New York City theater you love to go to and why?

I don’t think I can single one theater out. The history that each theater holds, the stories told within them, the actors that have graced the stages of each theater is remarkable when you really stop to think about. Who has passed through each stage door and transported themselves into character on stage throughout Broadway’s rich history? The time periods of the audiences and what they would have worn, the social changes that have occurred – the history held and presented in the walls of any New York theater is astounding to me. I recently saw at show at Studio 54 and was again fascinated sitting in my seat thinking, “If only these walls could talk”!

What other Broadway shows are on your radar right now?

There are many shows currently on or about to start I would love to see. The downside of being in a Broadway show is that most shows have the same schedule, so it is rare to be able to see another show. On my list however is Days of Wine and Roses with Broadway heavyweights, Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James, Mother Play with Jessica Lange, An Enemy of the People with Jeremy Strong and The Great Gatsby.

Share your insider New York gems.

For me it is the CitiBike system. Being able to jump on a CitiBike from anywhere in the city and ride the many bike paths to wherever you need to go gives me a new perspective on living in the city. The Hudson River Parkway has a bike path the entire length of the west side of Manhattan, not only providing great outdoor exercise but opportunities to stop at many of the interesting destinations along the way. Bikes help getting around the city faster than cars and oftentimes the subway.

Can you share your favorite theaters around the world and why?

I have been very fortunate to perform at The Sydney Opera House on numerous occasions in my career. It is a remarkable building home to different size theatres and a concert hall set on one of the most stunning harbors in the world. Seeing a show at Radio City Music Hall or Carnegie Hall is a must along with Albert Hall in London. I also love performing and seeing shows in intimate settings of 100 seats or so, enabling the audience and actors to share the energy and hear and see every detail.

New York’s scene is consistently expanding with new dining destinations. It becomes a challenge trying to figure out a dining option that provides delectable culinary creations, lavish settings and a welcoming ambiance all under one roof, writes Lola Cristall

Liz Clayman

Periyali ( has been a prime staple amongst New Yorkers and tourists alike for more than three decades in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood. Offering authentic Greek cuisine, the appetizing selections are delicious and decadent. After a brief interruption, Periyali recently welcomed guests into a revamped and refurbished room. The small entrance leads diners into a vast and cordial atmosphere as the aroma of fresh and delectable cuisine lingers. The two-storey location, with private as well as semi-private spaces, is an inviting setting for a gathering amongst friends, colleagues and family.

Start the culinary journey with their palatable mezze selection; small plates of a variety of dips accompanied by hot pita bread revive the tastebuds in preparation for the dishes that follow. Smoked eggplant entices the senses with garlic and herbs while the fish roe spread provides a faint seafood taste with bursts of citrus-filled flavours. The appetizer selection is endless, offering their grilled graviera cheese with Metaxa brandy as well as crispy spanakopita, delicately seasoned spinach enveloped within a crisp phyllo dough. As a tasty entrée, the Canary Island branzino is flavourfully profound, at the very core of each bite, with hints of olive oil and lemon emerging.

A Greek experience would be incomplete without a gratifying slice of sweet syrup-infused baklava or an airy and absorbent sponge cake soaked in pungent notes of orange. Each dish is a celebration of its own, transporting guests to an exceptional Mediterranean oasis.


While continuing the concept of authentic Greek gourmet culinary creations with a modern twist, the newly opened Paros (, in downtown Manhattan, is next on the list.

Derived and inspired by a Greek Island in the Ægean Sea, brothers George and Nicholas Pagonis bring a delightfully decadent scene to the Tribeca neighbourhood within a 3,500 ft² space accommodating 100 guests indoors and 40 guests on their outdoor patio. With the help of architect Ben Webne, with artistic touches brought forth by the Shashi Construction Group, along with design notes by Demetris Charalambous, the clean-cut and crisp ambiance offers an elegant and sophisticated escape.

Chef George, a finalist from season 12 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, offers fresh seafood, freshly crisp vegetables and delicious seasoning in the presented dishes. Each platter is a celebration, from the Greek salad with tomatoes, feta cheese as well as dried mint, roasted beet salad with pomegranate seeds and almonds with a tinge of balsamic vinaigrette, grilled octopus with roasted peppers and capers, and halloumi cheese with candied orange and Paros honey, to the marinated and grilled swordfish kebab and the simply grilled pink snapper with a subtle trifle of olive oil.

From the island of Paros we make our way to the ‘Arm of the Mediterranean Sea’ also known as the Ægean Sea, found at Thalassa (, which is also located in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighbourhood. The fine dining destination, located in a significant historic building, has been a go-to spot since the earth 2000s. The restaurant’s name is considerably fitting considering the focus on fresh seafood including oysters, dover sole, royal dorado, loup de mer as well as wild king shrimp. Traditional Greek influences are emphasized in each dish through the chef’s deep passion.

Chef Ralphael Abrahante is a master at his craft, fusing intense tastes with highly fresh and organic ingredients, leaving diners mesmerized and captivated by his skilful culinary talent.

Just a few examples on the menu: a vegetarian moussaka with layers of zucchini and eggplant set in a creamy béchamel sauce, a triangular-shaped spanakopita with well seasoned feta and spinach, a yellow split pea spread with shallots, chives and olive oil, a seafood salad with lobster, shrimp and scallops embraced by hints of fennel, olive oil and a dab of lemon juice, as well as a Greek salad with vine ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, onions peppers and feta cheese soaked in olive oil and lemon, proved to what extent simplicity can still be a divine treat. While appetizers and small sharing plates are a journey on their own, one can only imagine how much of a pleasing treat the main courses are: a delicate grilled swordfish with tomato concasse; grilled asparagus and gigante beans (extra-large white beans with a meaty and wholesome consistency, commonly used in Greek cuisine) burst with flavour, while a simple branzino is stuffed with shrimp, lentils, tomato, dill as well as beets, delivering a satisfyingly pungent texture.

While the majority of the dishes are seafood-based, Chef Abrahante also offers choices from the land, a grilled rib eye steak with oregano, lemon potatoes and asparagus or grilled New Zealand lamb chops gratifyingly oozing with flavourful components in one dish. Desserts are just as delightful: a delicate panna cotta accompanied by poached pear, as well as a moist and rich honey walnut cake, are among the options to choose from.

Casa Carmen

Max Flatow

From Greek and Mediterranean culinary escapes to Mexican flavours, we arrive at Casa Carmen (, led by prominent chef ‘Titita’ Ramírez Degollado along with her grandsons Sebastien and Santiago. The family restaurant welcomes guests into a distinguished and lavish setting reminiscent of México with the aroma of fresh gourmet plates from the kitchen as well as the enticingly simple setting. With two Manhattan-based locations, one in the Flatiron district and the other in Tribeca, diners can enjoy the same experience of quality and hospitality according to their destination of convenience.

Mouth-watering selections include highly flavourful guacamole with jalapeño, cilantro and cacalas (seeds that are found in many of Chef Degollado’s dishes, which are specialities of the regions around Puebla and Oaxaca), quesadilla with melted cheese and seasonal vegetables, ceviche with fresh catch of the day, olives, jalapeño, tomatillo, avocado and lime, as well as tacos with either vegetables, pork, lamb or steak, each bursting with flavour. For a house speciality, the ensalada Carmen is the way to go, a mélange of diced cactus, grilled queso fresco, oregano and tomatoes.

For a decadent palate-cleanser, diners may opt for the crispy brown sugar and cinnamon-coated churros (similar to beignets or doughnuts in elongated form), accompanied by a rich melted dark chocolate fondu or a full-bodied caramel flan. Casa Carmen also offers an array of cocktails with an array of mescal and tequila for a supreme Mexican experience.

Max Flatow

SOL Mexican Cocina

Andrew Werner

For a more casual and relaxed spot in the city, SOL Mexican Cocina ( offers a taste of coastal Mexico in a tavern-like setting. With various locations nationally dispersed, diners may enjoy various platters including a number of guacamole renditions: from simple cilantro and lime or pomegranate seeds, green apples and sweet-spicy peanuts, to a slightly more complex texture with goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Generously sized salad portions, fresh ceviche and tacos with assorted toppings and sides to choose from are some of the many suggestions. The delightful spot is a lively city destination located in the Flatiron District, with ample dining space and bar area for a variety of cocktails and drink options to be relished. The friendly staff makes the experience a pleasant go-to.

Claudette (, a costal French bistro located in Greenwich Village, a stroll away from Washington Square Park, is reminiscent of a restaurant located on the prominent Boulevard Saint-Germain. The fast-paced surroundings, with hospitable staff catering to their guests’ every need, the smell of fresh homemade baguette from the kitchen and the sight of appetizing dishes flowing, provide a cozy and delightful experience.

Bouillabaisse immersed with sea bass, prawns, mussels and lobster in a flavourful tomato broth, goat cheese ravioles in a lemon beurre fondu with tarragon and grilled octopus with hazelnut romesco, olive oil potatoes and pickled onions emphasize creativity and flavoursome options. A French dining experience would be incomplete without a proper crème brûlée topped with a vanilla anglaise or gâteau au chocolat enveloped by a chocolate ganache and topped with a vanilla chantilly crème.

A vast wine list is also available to complete the culinary French inspiration à la Claudette for a full epicurean touch.

Cucina 8½

Liz Clayman

For a highly luxurious and elegant encounter to the New York City culinary scene, Cucina 8½ (, in the heart of midtown Manhattan in the iconic Solow Building, is a captivating escape from the city chaos. Making one’s way down a grandiose red-carpeted spiral staircase, a grand piano, majestic floral displays and an extensive bar await. The delightful service, the stunning surroundings, the grand dining area as well as the vast kitchen is a sophisticated experience for all the senses.

Veteran restaurateur Auguste Ceradini took over the space in 2021 and has maintained its luxurious and lavish aspects. What used to be called Brasserie 8½, which focused on French, European and American fare, now offers Italian gourmet cuisine under a slightly modified name.

Chef Sam Hazen exceeds a diner’s expectations, providing the freshest ingredients, the finest quality components with supreme flavour throughout his gourmet and culinary offerings. His preparations are an art, transforming ingredients and recipes into total masterpieces. While each dish is attractive on the plate, they are even more sublime to the taste.

Start the exceptional gourmet journey with Cucina 8½ signature focaccia accompanied by olive oil, ricotta and hot honey, mixing the savoury and sweet components together, continue the culinary trip with the insalata di castelfranco, taking a considerably simple element to the next level with white radicchio, gorgonzola, balsamic and honey-roasted pear. Why not also opt for a dish prepared tableside? It’s an experience that allows diners to hypnotically watch a fascinating plate coming together.

The ricotta ravioli is a bite of powerful texture and complexity while the spaghetti al limone, with parmigiano reggiano, is packed with bold flavours contrasted through the cheese’s nutty notes.

Chef Hazen’s pizza creations are just as exceptional and delightful with a thin crust and a variety of toppings to choose from, whether a simple margarita, a spicy salami, a basil pesto or a truffle and caramelized onion option. Chef Hazen is a connoisseur of good food and his passion is incorporated by utilizing the freshest components in each dish, relying on proper seasonings and distinct skill. Vegetables, meats and seafood are transformed into monumental formations.

Rosevale Kitchen & Cocktail Room

 Rosevale Kitchen & Cocktail Room 
Nikolas Koenig/Rockwell Group

From Italian delight to American fare, Rosevale Kitchen & Cocktail Room ( offers an inconspicuous two-storey escape, including a restaurant and bar area, at the Civilian Hotel in the Theater District in Manhattan. The upstairs discreet Broadway Blue Room is a practically a hidden spot to host intimate gatherings surrounded by theatrical memorabilia with Broadway-based pieces, including sketches, costumes and stage props.

Curated by Rachel Hauk and David Rockwell (the prominent American architect and designer), the ambiance offers a scenic journey through numerous Broadway shows including The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Hamilton. For an imaginative occurrence, the cocktails on the menu are inspired by each artefact presented in the room, reviving the Broadway spirit through taste.

The kitchen downstairs offers an extensive menu of culinary options: the lobster roll packed with flavours, the shrimp cocktails with a horseradish sauce, the sautéed branding with potatoes, and salsa verde as well as the endive salad with apples, blue cheese and spicy pecans.

 Rosevale Kitchen & Cocktail Room 
Nikolas Koenig/Rockwell Group


When talking about a theatrical journey away from the city through culinary creativity, Journey (, located in the Flatiron District, as the name suggests, does just that. Journey 360 invites diners to step into epic destinations within a small room where an elegantly decorated vast communal table (accommodating up to 20 people) awaits and a five-course prix fixe menu is ready to be served. The two masterminds who orchestrated such an awe-inspiring concept are Marc Routh, theatrical producer and entrepreneur, and Alex Vanderbilt.

High-end gastronomy merges with theatre, presenting an immersive experience. A hostess, adorned in FashionTech couture, welcomes diners to participate in the trip. With each dish, a new projection emerges on the surrounding white walls. Travel around the world, see the beauty of the earth, dive underwater, hear and see a raging waterfall and feel the heat of a volcano’s spewing lava through floor-to-ceiling and table-top projection. The constantly rotating dishes are just as appealing to look at as they are to eat.

The multi-sensory dinner is a fascinating and intriguing experience thanks to the culinary creativity of Chef Edward Hong, successfully presenting diners American cuisine with a Korean spin. The farm-to-table ingredients and prime quality food are demonstrated with utmost precision and attention. •

Lola Cristall is Paris editor of Lucire.

Cocktail Negroni on a old wooden board. Drink with gin, campari martini rosso and orange.

If you’ve been unsure what to look for when shopping for quality bottles of vermouth, don’t worry; you’re not alone. To guide you through this intricate process, Tasting Table sat down for an enlightening conversation with Francesco Lafranconi, a master mixologist at the Rosevale Cocktail Room inside the Civilian Hotel in NYC. For vermouth lovers, Lafranconi’s insights into selecting the perfect bottle of high-quality vermouth will prove invaluable. 

First, Lafranconi advises us to do a little background work. “Do your online research about the brand and style you would like to experience,” he encourages. Then, he stresses how the “grape varietals” used in making vermouth and “the quality of the botanicals” are “of paramount importance for the overall quality and taste experience.” This means if you want high-quality vermouth, it needs to be made with high-quality ingredients. Fair enough. 

Lafranconi also provides practical advice on vermouth pricing. He cautions against settling for cheaper options, stating, “Shy away from Vermouths under $10 retail (for a 750ml).” The reason is that, commonly, the lower the price of the vermouth, the lower its quality. Now, if you’re wondering if the vermouth bottles themselves are important to consider when selecting high-quality vermouth, the answer is a resounding yes from Lafranconi. 

Avoid dusty bottles of vermouth, especially if they’re clear

Francesco Lafranconi also stresses how it’s not just about the vermouth inside the bottle, but also about the bottle itself. Check the bottles for dust, especially if you find vermouth in clear bottles (and dry and white vermouths tend to be packaged in clear bottles, as Lafranconi points out). He explains, “Stay away from dusty bottles on the shelf, particularly if they are exposed to direct sunlight.” The dust is a sign the vermouth — which does not have same shelf life of other drinks — have remained untouched for a while, and prolonged sun exposure can adversely affect the vermouth’s quality and taste.

Moreover, Lafranconi says to “Trust retailers that go through high volume or boutique high-end ones that seek the latest crafty brand.” This shows the retailers care about the quality of the vermouth they sell to their clients. Moreover, it demonstrates a trust and rapport that has been built between client and retailer — all in assistance from said vermouth quality.

With these insights from Lafranconi, you now know exactly what to look for when shopping for quality bottles of vermouth. Be sure to conduct thorough research on vermouth brands, be wary of low-priced options, and be mindful of the storage conditions, especially if the bottles are clear. You’ll be enjoying the best Negroni or Manhattan in no time.