Summer RW meals at Nougatine and Colicchio and Sons

May 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Better late than never, right?

The last week of work, Alice, Komal and I had a lovely dinner at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Nougatine at Columbus Circle. Beautiful interiors, great service, and delicious and surprisingly light food. I really loved the tomato and avocado gazpacho (even though I don’t tend to like cold soups) and the salmon entree I had.

A bottle of Morgon 2010

Corn cucumber shooter

Tomato and avocado gazpacho

Roasted salmon, greens and sweet chili vinaigrette

Roast chicken dish

Summer dessert and poached fruit

The classic Jean-Georges molten chocolate cake

Cindy, Beth, and I also snuck out of the office during one of the last couple days of work to have a long, leisurely lunch at the Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons. Again, a great cold, corn vichyssoise, a wonderful meaty entree, and heavenly beignets to top off the meal. If only work life could always be like this.

Inside the Tap Room

Cold corn vichyssoise

Steak tartare and chips

Panzanella with burrata cheese

Steak with bone marrow butter, greens, and horseradish cream

Chicken with farro and mushrooms

Heavenly beignets

Think that finally might be the last of the summer 2012 posts. Now to get through Winter and Spring 2013!

Nougatine
Trump Hotel Central Park
1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
212.299.3900

Colicchio & Sons
85 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
212.400.6699

Craftbar

August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

For my mom’s birthday in June, our whole family gathered in New York City for a dinner at Craftbar, Tom Colicchio’s restaurant known for its shared plates (large and small) concept. The menu changes pretty regularly, so I’m not sure what’s still available and what’s no longer in season, but it was a memorable food-filled meal and made me really appreciate how wonderful it is to have family so close by, making it easy for everyone to come together to celebrate special occasions such as this.

Funny note: two days later, some of us from work went to an AALDEF reception at a nearby lounge called Crimson and without intending to do so, I found myself eating another huge dinner at Craftbar within three days. On the plus side, eating there once before meant I already knew which dishes were standouts and which we could pass up.

Cocktails to start, one of which I remember being called a Flying Unicorn and the other I recall being shockingly citrusy (in a good way)

Pecorino Fonduta – Acacia honey, pepperoncini, pine nuts, and crostini

Everyone loved this dish – melted cheese, sweet and floral honey, and crunchy pine nuts are kind of a no-brainer.

Salt cod croquettes + piperade (a Basque-influenced mixture of peppers, onions, tomatoes, and spices)

These, like the arancini, had the perfect contrast between a crunchy, fried exterior and creaminess within. My mom was a huge fan of the vinegary, spicy peppers underneath and scraped every last bit off the plate.

Pecorino arancini with spicy tomato

Scotch quail eggs with mustard – something I thought I’d love due to their fried state but there actually wasn’t much flavor aside from the mustard

Spring asparagus, crostini, poached farm egg, and cheese

Sheep’s milk ricotta ravioli with spring vegetables – this dish, though delicious sounding, was for some reason incredibly sweet

Duck hearts and dumplings – duck egg, pearl onions, smoked bacon and black garlic

Atlantic halibut with summer squash and some kind of reduction (the menu has since changed)

A veritable pork-apalooza for 2 – roasted chops, pig’s feet roulade, loin, and, of course, chicharron with fingerling potatoes, baby onions, and carrots. Absolutely coma-inducing but totally worth it.

Our spread

Birthday lady

Cheesecake with sour cherry sorbet and pistachio brittle

Sweet pea semifreddo, lemon confit, and an ice cream flavor I don’t remember (honey maybe?)

In the end, Craftbar was a great choice – really friendly and helpful service, a casual and relaxed atmosphere, and excellent food for the most part. I think it’s particularly suited for larger groups, where you can order a bunch of different dishes and try as many things as possible. Another plus is its close proximity to Madison Square Park, where you can then (attempt to) walk off some of your dinner. Or, as my sisters did, get frozen custard from Shake Shack. Girls will be girls.

Craftbar
900 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
212.461.4300

 

Brunch at Riverpark

July 24, 2011 § 1 Comment

Last weekend, Katie and I ventured all the way to the east side of Manhattan for a beautiful brunch at Riverpark by Tom Colicchio, located in Murray Hill, where we met up with friends who are getting married in October!  Although the restaurant is literally plopped in the middle of nowhere, it does boast some great views of the East River from its two outdoor dining sections: the Terrace (communal seating with long picnic tables) and the Patio (a more formal setting).

Outside

As a starter, we ordered simple grilled bread topped with a generous amount of creamy avocado, something that seems easy enough to make at home but never tastes the same as in a restaurant, possibly due to the fact that this version was drizzled with a fruity olive oil and sprinkled with fat shards of coarse sea salt.  I could eat this alone as a meal and be perfectly content.

Grilled bread and avocado with olive oil and sea salt

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of brunch because many restaurants just go with the old standbys – eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles, some kind of omelette with everything thrown into the mix – without applying their own interpretation or a little twist. But when I was looking at the menu for Riverpark beforehand, I knew this would be a real treat, not just because of its affiliation with great chef Tom Colicchio but also because it actually had a brunch menu that piqued my interest.

This was actually the first time I’d ever had shrimp grits, so even though I had no base for comparison, I thought this dish was very well executed. The shrimp were fat and tender, and my favorite part was sucking the brain juice out of the heads. And to all the people who squeal at this, let me just say I feel sorry for you because you’re clearly missing out on the best part of this tasty crustacean. The grits, very similar to polenta, were very creamy and luxurious for such a simple grain and tasted even better when mixed with that reduction of shrimp stock, butter, and whatever else.

Shrimp and grits with pulled pork, charred tomatoes, scallions

Other dishes included biscuits and gravy with Berkshire sausage and sage, Katie’s pork belly sandwich with a fried egg (can you say decadent?) and fries, and fried chicken sliders with honey and pickled vegetables. Everyone raved about the food, as well as the excellent coffee.

Biscuits and gravy with Berkshire pork sausage and sage

Pork belly sandwich with fried egg, cheddar, and frisee and fries

Fried chicken biscuit sliders with honey, cheddar, and pickles

It was one of those perfect, leisurely meals. Great company and conversation, excellent and comforting food, beautiful weather and a great view. Even our waiter was extremely cute. So although this restaurant was somewhat hard to find (we took the 4, 6 subways to 28th and walked from there), I’d definitely go back again, no question.

Riverpark by Tom Colicchio
450 E. 29th Street
New York, NY 10006
http://www.riverparknyc.com/ 

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