We’ve been in NYC since Monday and have had some outstanding meals. I’ll list them all here.
Monday – Bello (863 Ninth Ave, corner of 56th Street) – Usually when we stay at the Mid-town Holiday Inn on 57th St, we walk to a local place for dinner the first night. We’d passed Bello several times and have always talked about stopping in someday. Well we finally did. We had no problems getting a table and the service was excellent. The menu is typical high-end Italian. Three items on the specials list that night caught our attention. We split an Avocado Salad, which was very tasty. Sarah ordered the Chilean Sea Bass, which was prepared with a leek and tomato sauce. I had the Rigatoni with bacon and peas in a tomato cream sauce. Both were superb. Sarah’s fish was a sizable portion and was light and sweet. My pasta was perfectly prepared and not overwhelmed with sauce. Not to sound like Hannibal Lecter, but I enjoyed mine with a fine Chianti. We finished up with a piece of Tiramisu and a cappuccino. It was a great way to start our stay in NYC. Five Spoons – High End
Tuesday -Mitali East - 334 E. 6th St – Mitali East has long been one of our favorite places to eat in NYC. I’ve rated it very highly in the past. We invited one of Sarah’s friends with us this time, so I guess we set ourselves up to be disappointed. Always happens that way when you rave about a place and then bring friends, no? There was nothing particularly wrong with our meal this time. It was just missing that special something that makes for a memorable meal. Sarah had the Shaag Paneer, I ordered a favorite, Chicken Balti, and Sarah’s friend had the Chicken Tikka Masala. Sarah’s saag was a bit overwhelmed with a sourish cream sauce. My balti was ok, but virtually devoid of spices. The chicken tikka masala was the same, decent, but lacking zip. The service was, as always, excellent. Maybe it was just an off-night for the chef. Three Spoons – Family
Wednesday – Thai Basil – (860 Ninth Ave) – Thai Basil is another of our favorites. It is also an easy walk from our usual hotel. Thai Basil is a typical NYC hole-in-the-wall eatery. Not much atmosphere, but really good food. Luckily, that hasn’t changed for Thai Basil. We started with Vegetable Dumplings, which were, as you would guess, minced veggies wrapped in lettuce. Very tasty. Sarah ordered Eggplant Basil Sautee (which included tofu) and I went with Siam Beef (which came on fried rice). Sarah really liked her eggplant and my beef was perfectly done. I loved the fried rice that came with it. It was truly rice and veggies fried up in a wok, not some mixture of rice and sauce or the yellow rice we get in the midwest. As always, an excellent meal. Four Spoons – Family
Thursday – Bistango Ristorante - (415 Third Ave at 29th St) – We chose Bistango because we were joining a friend of Sarah’s who happens to have a gluten allergy. Bistango has many gluten-free offerings. They even have gluten-free beer. The atmosphere is dinner casual and very comfy. The service was excellent and the waitstaff was very knowledgeable about every detail of the food preparation, which can be a godsend to those with allergies. Sarah’s friend was very pleased and surprised at the wide choice of gluten-free food as well as the staff’s knowledge. She ordered the gluten-free ravioli, which she said was the first time she’d ever seen it in a restaurant. It looked pretty tasty, which she confirmed. She had started out with the calamari appetizer, which she said was also very good. I’ll take her word for it as I don’t like calamari. Sarah and I split a Caesar salad, which was served wedge style. Not my favorite way to enjoy a salad. The Caesar was ok, but a bit pricey considering it was basically a wedge of romaine with some grated cheese and dressing on it. For entrees Sarah had rigatoni and meat sauce. I had the boneless pork chop. Sarah’s rigatoni was good, although the meat sauce had shredded meat instead of the typical crumbled hamburger. My porkchop was pounded flat and breaded, like a schnitzel. It came with a small portion of mashed potatoes, a large helping of spinach, and was served over sauteed onions and hot cherry peppers. The porkchop was quite good, as were the potatoes. I’m not a big fan of spinach and the onions and peppers were very spicy, so I only had a couple bites of those. We all had the excellent Gelato and Sorbet for dessert. Sarah and I split coffee gelato and mango sorbet. The gelato was creamy and rich. The mango sorbet was eye-opening strong. If you really like mango, you’ll love the mango sorbet. Sarah’s friend had vanilla gelato and blackberry sorbet. She raved about both. Despite my little nitpicks, the meal was quite good, the service was, as I said, excellent, and the atmosphere was enjoyable. Four Spoons – Family
Friday – Molyvos – (871 Seventh Ave) – We originally tried to get into a smaller Greek place close to our hotel, but it turned out to be basically a tiny cheese and wine bar and was, of course, packed on a Friday evening. So we walked on over to Molyvos on 7th Ave, which the bus to the Javits Center passed every day. We were able to walk in and get a table right away. It’s a surprisingly large place. The atmosphere is very upscale, yet comfortable. We were expecting the usual Greek fare with gyros and moussaka and such. No gyros to be found here, although they do have moussaka. The waiter quickly supplied us with warm pita triangles and bread with a spicy feta spread. We also ordered the Tzatziki. We went through the first basket of bread and were promptly supplied with another. Both the feta spread and the tzatziki were excellent. For entrees Sarah ordered the stuffed pepper and I had the beef short rib (Vodino Stifado). Sarah’s pepper was stuffed with eggplant and rice and such. It was very, very good. My beef short rib was melt in your mouth tender and delicious. We split an order of potato kefte, which was quite good, although we really could have done without it as the entrees were more than ample. I had a couple glasses of a really good mavroudi wine, which went perfectly with the beef. We will definitely return to Molyvos. It seemed only right that we should bookend our trip with two fantastic meals. Five Spoons – High End