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Posts Tagged ‘restaurant week’

I’ll say it again and again: NYC Restaurant Week can be sooo hit or miss. But when a restaurant does it well, it’s worth returning to. Hence, Gotham Bar and Grill. I am always impressed by their menu and I am always impressed by their chocolate cake (which I am not posting another picture of, but you can see it here).

The best part about this particular time at Gotham was that Michelle and I almost missed our reservation completely. I called to let them know we were going to be late and they let me know when the kitchen was closing and we still almost missed that. There may have been some running down the sidewalk. Maybe. But in the end, we arrived and they were actually running behind – which was awesome for us – and keeping the kitchen open. Hallelujah.

Ok I don’t remember exactly what this was, but every time I have some sort of pasta at Gotham, I am pleased. So I was happy I went with this choice. Michelle loved her salmon as well. Their restaurant week menu is different now on their website but if they’re still running it, you should take advantage. Don’t forget to wear your pearls.

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Hello, ladies and gents. I have lots of good blog posts coming up actually, a lot of cameos – old and new, and I am very excited!

Last night I went to dinner with my friends Nicolle and Lucy at the Colicchio & Sons Tap Room. Colicchio & Sons has been on my short list since it opened a year ago and when Nicolle suggested we go there for Restaurant Week, I was game. Even with my love/hate relationship with Restaurant Week – if I was going to do it, I was going to do it somewhere good.

The best part about going to a Restaurant Week dinner at Colicchio & Sons Tap Room is that it didn’t feel like it was Restaurant Week at all. When I first got the menu, I was actually confused because there were so many choices. It was awesome.

This is what we had:

This is the roast quail with farro, sunchoke, and saba. You know we’re carnivores when someone brings out a plate with two little bodies and we’re all like, “Aw, cute!” haha. Seriously, though. We were like that.

This is the steak and ale with brussels sprouts and herbed potatoes. And it made me the winner. I don’t know the last time I had steak and it was good, good, good. I would eat this every day.

And then it was dessert time! Another thing I liked about Colicchio & Sons – they brought you a dessert menu like you are a civilized being instead of most restaurants that make you order your dessert with the rest of your meal like a complete barbarian during Restaurant Week. Just another touch of class from Colicchio and Company.

Apple tartin with hazelnut brittle and calvados ice cream, whatever that is.

And what did miss Amanda get?

The vanilla ice cream parfait of course! With hot fudge, red velvet and “oreo” cookie crunch. I mean it was basically made for me. So yeah, like I said – I would eat this meal again and again. And I would dine at Colicchio & Sons again. If anyone is ever feeling extremely generous, feel free to take me in for the tasting menu. The service was excellent and we even saw Mr. Tom Colicchio standing by the bar himself!

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I need to stop going out to eat during Restaurant Week. I went to Orsay and decided to order off the regular menu instead of the prix fixe for Restaurant Week. $$$$! But I was having a weird day and I wasn’t in the mood for the items on their restaurant week menu. So… yeah. $$$$.

First picture: butter covers. Love that extra touch! Also love the orange because the whole restaurant is drably colored and then POP orange butter cover. I liked it. I also liked this:

For some reason I thought I deserved a $14 cocktail: Strawberry Fizz. Strawberry puree, vodka, champagne… something else? Something good. It did NOT go with the rest of my meal whatsoever but it’s what I wanted! I tell ya – this week has been weird so I was being weird myself.

This is Lisa, making another cameo on City Mitten, and this is also the healthiest-looking plate I have ever seen come out in a restaurant. And I have never seen salmon in such a perfectly round shape.

Me, I wanted some mashed potatoes. Yes, chicken and mashed potatoes is not an original dish but you know… There was a chicken on the Restaurant Week menu with mushroom sauce and noodles and I didn’t want that. Also I didn’t want either of the desserts on that menu – a lemon tart or ice cream. So this is what I got. I also had clam chowder which was good and came with a little puff pastry in the center. I love clam chowder. Aaand I took half of this chicken and mashed potatoes home to make up for it.

So yeah. I gotta stop doing Restaurant Week. Except not really because I have reservations next week for Colicchio and Sons Tap Room as well as Gotham Bar and Grill – because that is my favorite nice restaurant ever and they have the best chocolate cake!

This week I also went to Frank restaurant and had my camera but no memory card for the 15 millionth time.

OH – One final thing about my Orsay experience. The Upper East Side… is cray cray. I have been spoiled with my B and Q trains and sometimes the C/E because I forgot how INSANE the 4/5/6 is. That Second Ave subway line needs to get here fast because I was being trampled and trampling others at the same time and I thought WHERE IS THE ALLURE to living on the Upper East Side? Seriously. Unless you have a driver. But I still wouldn’t want to live there.

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I did not mean to have a Restaurant Week dinner last night. Not at all. But I met up with Ben, because he’s still in town since DC is practically at a stand still with the weather. A friend of mine told me about the Greek restaurant Periyali on 20th street and it sounded pretty good to me!

Imagine my surprise when we sat down and they hand us Restaurant Week menus along with the regular menu. And yes, Restaurant Week has basically turned into Restaurant Month. They’ve extended it to Feb. 28th. It’s a blessing and a curse, though.

You don’t have to order off the RW menu when you go to the participating restaurants, but it’s a pretty good deal and Periyali’s RW menu offered what I was looking for, so I went for it. That octopus above was Ben’s appetizer, which I tried (duh). Pretty good. I had the Horiatiki Salad which was basically just an authentic Greek salad – no lettuce; just feta, tomatoes and cukes. It may be boring but I already explained it’s one of my favorite things ever.

And for my main I had lamb chops:

Lamb is my thing right now. Just love it. Ben had Mousaka, which is always delicious.

One thing about Greek restaurants though, is that they don’t really get desserts. It was a plate of a cookie and two different kind of cakes – lemon and walnut I believe. Or was it carrot? Either way, nothing to write home about. I remember there being bakeries in Greece with lots of treats when I went, but I don’t remember ever having a good dessert at a restaurant. Probably because the other food is so good you don’t really need it.

Periyali is beautiful, and it’s another one of those places where they take care of you. I think it’s worth going to for RW, it’s a nice atmosphere that’s not overly stuffy:

Our table was midway through the restaurant and past the bar. I didn’t want to take a picture of the other side because the way the other people were facing, I would have looked like a creeper. And the restaurant is more white than yellow. I still have to figure out my white balance settings.

After we had our dessert, we just sat and chilled for a long time. That’s another thing about Greek restaurants that I love: they do not rush you. It’s just a great dining experience.

When we finally left, we went and saw “Dear John” and I’m just going to say that I do not recommend it. I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters and I didn’t really care what happened at all. I just liked to look at Channing Tatum. I’ve heard people say they cried their eyes out and really I have no idea what they had to cry about. I did, however, cry last week when I saw Next to Normal on Broadway. I recommend this play times a thousand, it’s definitely on my top five (along with Reasons to be Pretty and who knows what else). I guess I’m just spoiled with entertainment because at Next to Normal I was definitely crying some real tears.

And guess what: today is a SNOW DAY! Kind of unbelievable, really. This doesn’t happen. But it’s happening now and they announced it yesterday afternoon which was weird. So I am going to play in the snow and take pictures of the trees. That is if I get the energy to put on my snow boots and brave the cold. :)

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You’re never going to guess where this mini ice cream is from. Actually, you will, since the name of the restaurant is in the title of this blog post. Opps. But it was at the Oak Room at the Plaza. The Plaza. They serve ice cream cones. Hilarious.

Okay, remember yesterday when I voiced the need for feeling like you’re being taken care of when you’re at a nice restaurant? Well if you’re not sure what this is like, go to the Oak Room. You feel like a million bucks. The place just looks like a million bucks. Actually more. But I don’t want to think about numbers.

The Oak Room is so nice I almost didn’t blog about it. I certainly didn’t take five million pictures like I do normally. There’s just too much class. And my cousin was embarrassed. Haha. There was a girl there wearing a suit that looked like it came from the closet of Hilary Clinton. And she was probably younger than sixteen. That’s just the Upper East Side, y’all!

Anyway, the Oak Room and Bar is somewhere worth going to. I had such a great time. Lobster and corn bisque and hanger steak. A million bucks. I’m just going to keep saying that.

The only thing I wasn’t too impressed with was the Oak Bar:

It’s chocolate-praline mousse and brown butter ice cream, but it sure didn’t taste like it. It tasted like a frickin Butterfinger. Yep. My cousin thought it was amazing. I had one bite. So that’s that.

Here’s a picture of my cousin telling me to “Stop it” with the pictures (seriously):

And those were the only pictures I took. Ha.

We walked down a hallway for a bit and saw this ginormous room with nobody in it:

Even in the basement, huge areas were blocked off. How much would I love to explore the Plaza? It has so much history! I just learned that it was originally opened as a bar for men only. Which means white men, at that. What an interesting world we live in.

And now here is my favorite part of the evening. So I had just enjoyed a fabulous meal and fabulous wine with my fabulous cousin. When we came out of the the restaurant, it was lightly snowing. When I came out of the subway stop near my apartment it was still lightly snowing. And gorgeous. So I had the hugest smile on my face because I just love everything and then I get up to my apartment entryway and what do I see? An action figure sitting on one of the posts, covered in snow:

Just like that. It was so great. In the morning, he was gone, but when I came back from work the next day, he was there again! I wonder where he is now.

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Uh oh, City Mitten might have some bad news for ya. Bad news is this may be the first restaurant post that I’m not going to rave the entire time. In fact, I’m going to start with a rant. And it may make me sound a little bit like a snob, but Lisa and I went to Mesa Grill for lunch this week and we both decided this must be done.

First of all, Bobby Flay is famous. Mesa Grill is his first restaurant. The food is phenomenal. Phenomenal. I enjoyed everything. But the service sucks.

I’ve been to many a nice restaurant in New York. And few times have I had to wait for a table when I had a reservation. In fact, this was only my second time. And my very first for a lunch. A lunch. That’s just absurd.

The main point is that at Mesa Grill you do not feel like you’re being taken care of. And at a high caliber restaurant, you should. Restaurant Week or not. Lisa had to make some major effect to flag the server down for another glass of wine. That shouldn’t happen. Our tablecloth was dirty. They gave us eachother’s desserts. And what really bothered me is that when they gave us clean flatware for our dessert, they put it onto our dirty table cloth! They’re supposed to use one of those little knives and clear off the table cloth for you, but nope, there’s my brand new fork on top of all our crumbs. Perfect!

Ha. It was funny because I’m really not a snob. Sure, I have my moments, but you all know my favorite restaurants are kitschy and laid-back, not stuffy and pretentious. But when you’re going to a famous chef’s restaurant and the prices are high, the whole experience should be above par.

End of rant. Let’s talk about the food. As I said, it was phenomenal. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Spicy salmon tartare. I am in love with tartare. It is so good. The best I’ve had was tuna tartare at Kittichai last year, but this was simply delicious. Had just the perfect amount of spice, too.

Cornmeal crusted chili relleno. I’m glad Lisa ordered it because I was just curious what it looked like. And now for me:

Mahi mahi! I think the last time I had mahi mahi was on a family vacation in California. Not sure why. Because it is very good. One thing I like a lot about Bobby Flay is the presentation and the color, as well as the fact that the flavors are strong. He’s got that part right.

Dessert:

Chocolate peanut butter flan with Kahlua whipped cream. Lisa got the pineapple upside down cake but kept stealing mine because it was better. So rich and creamy and just good!

One final note: I hate restaurants (in general) where they have to move the table in order for you to get in. Sometimes the tables are wayy too close together. I mean I’m not teeny tiny by any means, but I can’t imagine being larger and trying to squeeze into one of those things. And then once you’re in, you’re trapped. Especially when the tables on both sides are occupied. It was a little hysterical when I tried to get out when we were finished, but more so because nobody bothered to help me. Except Lisa, of course. Ha. I told you, I’m not a fan of the service at Mesa Grill. Just the food.

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Did you know there’s a Restaurant Week Truck? Well, there is and it’s been taking soups all over the city from various Restaurant Week restaurants this week and last. It’s been parked a few blocks from my office the past few days so you know I had to check it out.

I went on Monday and I brought Will with me ’cause he’s one of my faves. Here was the menu for the day:

I haven’t been to any of those three restaurants, but it’s pretty hard for me to pass up a bisque. So I didn’t. Will got the roasted corn from Maya because he loves his veggies.

I was especially impressed with the branding of the Restaurant Week Truck. They had a Coca-Cola station set up next to it giving out free 100-calorie bottles, as they are one of the sponsors of Restaurant Week. And the paper bags were cute:

Inside the bags were the Restaurant Week menus for the three restaurants who made the soups as well as a Restaurant Week booklet. And apparently Will got a JetBlue keychain, but I did not. Haters!

Will liked his corn soup and said that he was ready for another and I liked my shrimp bisque from North Square as well:

Nice work, Restaurant Week Truck, you get an A.

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This is Anne and I met up with her on her birthday to have a lovely lunch at SD26. Now I know not everyone was a fan of yesterday’s Tocqueville post, but I could venture to guess that SD26 will be a little more fun.

First of all, this is what they presented to me when I got to the table:

It’s an electronic wine list! I had no idea! It listed wines by type and price and region and who knows what else. It was Anne’s birthday so I joined her in a glass of champagne. Cheers!

This is raviolo with a soft cooked egg in the middle and truffled butter (yes). So when you cut it in the middle, the egg oozed out. It was quite nice, if I do say so.

Here we have the main: Guinea hen, which was truly delicious. And I love, love leeks. I wonder if my mom thinks this picture is gross but it was SO GOOD.

And look, more middle-aged women. I feel like when I walk around the city, I’m always surrounded by young people like myself. Either I’m not paying attention or all the older people are at lunch. This is what I like to believe. Anne and I wondered/hoped we would be doing this when we were older, going out to fancy lunches and having glasses of wine in the middle of the afternoon with our lady friends. What a nice life. I mean I already think to myself that my life is one giant vacation sometimes, but that would be fantastic. Just don’t let me wear my hair like that.

ANYWAY.

What was kind of cool was to the right of the picture is the kitchen, which you can look into. It was an open space and when I looked in on our way out, I saw some people eating at a table inside. I wonder if they were the chefs!

And now, are you ready? I promised you a dessert that I am in love with that is not chocolate cake. Which, by the way, is kind of funny because I just made chocolate cake this very moment. But this was better. It was so good that the couple next to us told us we had to get it. So here we go:

Panna Cotta! I didn’t even know what it was when I ordered it. Turns out it’s an Italian dessert (we were at an Italian restaurant) made of cream, milk, sugar, and gelatin. And look at all of those vanilla beans! Mmmm… It was very light and very delicious and I am very much in love.

Whee!

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Welcome to Winter Restaurant Week in New York City. It started last week and continues through this week (and perhaps beyond if some restaurants extend it, which wouldn’t be tooo shocking). So, let’s have a go, shall we? First up was Tocqueville.

Sometimes I think Restaurant Week is only for middle-aged women, but I think it depends on where you chose to go. I went to Megu last year for Winter Restaurant Week and it was filled with nothing but hotshot couples. But at Tocqueville… well, you can see for yourself.

The complimentary cheese biscuits (which I’m sure is not what they are actually called) were a nice touch.

This is the squash soup which was bright yellow and not orange, as my camera suggests. (MY BIRTHDAY IS NEXT MONTH SOMEBODY BUY ME A BETTER CAMERA.)

Lisa’s app: duck. And yes, that looks like spam behind it.

And now for main courses:

This is the ravioli, which, when they put it in front of me, I was totally like wtf. I mean what is that? Well, once I took my fork to stab it, I realized it was just one giant ravioli! That slippery thing on the bottom was one giant noodle. I don’t think noodle is the right word. Hmm… But it was basically a giant open-faced ravioli. And it was interesting.

Now this is funny. Since this was last week and I did not take notes or upload the pictures right away (lesson learned!) I could not for the life of me remember what Lisa’s main course was. So I texted her and she replied, “that beef thing.” So there you have it, “that beef thing” from Tocqueville. Oh, I am bringing ALL the high brow today! I will tell you that Lisa let me try her “beef thing” and it was better than my ravioli. Just so you know.

And now what really matters: DESSERT!

Okay, so far in my life and the Restaurant Weeks I’ve participated in, I can tell you my favorite desserts have been from Gotham Bar & Grill and Kittichai. They were chocolate cake and they were good. I’m going to throw in Mercer Kitchen on that list too.

Anyway, Tocqueville was pretty good. It was a chocolate “torte” and I liked it. It was tiny.

I lalso earned something very important about myself when I was at Tocqueville: I hate Port. It’s discusting.

Okay, so Tocqueville was pretty good but honestly not good enough to write home about. Now, what might have been good enough to write home about was the LOBSTER the woman at the table next to us ordered. It was quite fragrant and looked pretty nice. Lisa and I kept staring at it. The woman, obviously, was not ordering off the Restaurant Week menu. Fancy lady with her real New York accent.

And guess what, tomorrow I have a fancy dessert to tell you about that I absolutely loved from another restaurant. And it wasn’t chocolate cake! Stay tuned…

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So, if you didn’t know, Restaurant Week was extended to Labor Day. It seems that all Restaurant Weeks of late have turned into Restaurant Month or Two instead. Is it the economy? Maybe, but I don’t mind. Last night I took advantage of the three-course prix fixe menus one last time by going to Devi for some Indian food with five lovely ladies.

I never know what to order at Indian restaurants and I think Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try something new. We pretty much ordered all the dishes from the RW menu and sampled off of each other’s plates. Winners were the Manchurian Cauliflower appetizer and the tandoor-grilled lamb chops. Mmm. Some things I didn’t like and Melody laughed at me every time I made a face.

But most of it was good and I never would have tried it had it not been Restaurant Week. And the interior was pretty and they had good drinks. And, of course, I was with my ladies.

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