Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 3 - Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lunch - Pastis - 12th St/9th Avenue

Coffee - black
Eggs Benedict w/ pomme frittes - perfectly poached eggs w/ grilled sliced ham, hollandaise on a toasted English muffin - it is always a sure thing here at Pastis.

On every trip to New York City, I always make it a point to have brunch here. It is a restaurant you will experience how a NYC restaurant should be runned...long lines (but short waits w/ reservations), great mixture of people, great fast service, delicious French bistro food, great atmosphere, great neighborhood of designer shops, galleries, furniture stores, cobblestone streets, etc. I just love this restaurant and neighborhood.

Snack - Cafe Bari - Spring St/Broadway/Soho

Needed to get in from the bitter blowing cold, so stumbled into this cute & stylish cafe. Menu of flatbreads, pasta, wraps and soups. Of course, espresso drinks and desserts.

Mushroom Soup - not your typical mushroom soup - thyme and a good mixture of mushrooms (button, shiitake, brown) & a meaty vegetable broth.
Mint tea w/ cup full of fresh mint leaves

Rating - 4 (out of 5) - I would certainly come back.

Sorry my friends, but did not have time to sit and blog - I will be continuing this adventure with Saturday's dinner, when I get back to Hawaii. HAVING TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!

Day 2 - Friday, January 23, 2009

Lunch - Gotham Bar & Grill - 12 East 12th Street/cross street 5th Avenue

Picked this restaurant because of the many positive recommendations from a couple of friends. Wonderful decor, draped fabric lamps, lemon walls, high ceilings and fresh flowers everywhere. Jeffrey our waiter was fun and engaging.

Braised Cauliflower Salad (golden raisins, capers, pine nuts and goat cheese, white verjus vinaigrette) - perfectly dressed and balanced mixture of flavors & textures

Mezze Rigatoni w/ Braised Duck (garlic butter & parmagiano reggiano tomato white wine broth) pasta al dente & duck ragu light but flavorful with herbal essence
Gotham Chocolate Cake (flourless dark chocolate cake with banana gelato) rich creamy velvety chocolate cake w/ gelato made with real apple bananas - great mixture - could not eat the whole serving

Food - 3.5 Great flavors, perfectly prepared, light & fresh tasting.
Service - 3.5 Jeffrey was very personable and funny
Ambiance - 4 Easy on the eyes, clean & crisp with architectural details

Rating - 3.75 (out of 5) I would love to try their dinner menu.

Snack - Vosages Boutique - Prince St/Soho
Hot Aztec Chocolate Drink - frothly hot milk w/ dark chocolate shaving, poblano & ancho chilies & cinnamon - perfect tempurature and balanced spiced flavors

Rating - 4 (out of 5)

Dinner - Mercer Kitchen - 99 Prince St/corner of Prince & Mercer/Soho

I could never get a reservation on my past visits to NYC and was so excited to finally eat here. Neighborhood/atmosphere - awesome exposed brick walls, basement feel, classy - but the food needs some attention. A real disappointment.

Pineapple, mozzarella & prosuitto, w/ basil, pomegranites & a light pineapple vinaigrette
Roasted Lemon Grilled Chicken Breast w/ smashed potatoes and haricot verts (tender moist chicken breasts, but no distinct memorable flavors
Almond Tart w/ vanilla ice cream - was okay, but not good

Food - 2 - I would not recommend it to anyone
Service - 3 - Fast, accommodating and timely
Ambiance - 4 - Very NYC, classy & raw, great feel

Rating - 3 (out of 5)

Friday, January 23, 2009

NYC Restaurant Week

Day 1 - January 22

My friend & I did not have reservations planned, so on our way to Serendipity for hot chocolate and maybe a burger, we stumbled by TAO. Darlene never been, so we went in. I've been here before a couple of times and was not impressed by the food but always had a good experience. Today it was tasty, comfortable, great service, and a great deal. Darlene loved the whole experience.

Lunch - TAO ($24)
Bang Bang Chicken Salad - good flavors, but too much dressing and need more vegetables
Chicken Pad Thai - great asian mixture of vegetables, mushrooms, rice noodles, and spices
Banana Bread Pudding - brought me back to "kid time" - bananas, pudding & cookies

Food - 2.5-I will return, great for lunch
Service - 4.5-attentive but not overwhelming & friendly (from entrance to exit) GREAT!!!!
Atmosphere - 4-alluring, comfortable, hip

Rating 3.25 (out of 5)

Being the first Restaurant Week 2009 experience for me - overall it was a really good dinner & experience. Innovative, ambrosia to the tongue, and good service (after our long wait after our initial drinks).

Dinner - Country ($35 + drinks)
Cauliflower & Celery Root Panna Cotta (paprika jus, petite mixed greens) - WOW, delicious
Lightly Smoked Atlantic Salmon (lemon nage, fingerling confit, scallions - prepared perfectly, crispy skin and moist inside-aromatics yum
Creme Brulee - tried and true - smooth and creamy

Food - 4 new american delicious-a must to try
Service - 3.5-slow but attentive stylish & semi-formal
Atmosphere - 4-old NY with ambiance

Rating 4 (out of 5)