Villagio On the Park … Bravo

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Villagio On the Park

40 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
Tel: (212) 369-4000 Fax: (212) 369-4005

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Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday: 11:30am – 11:30pm

Saturday: 11:30am – 11:30pm

Sunday: 11:30am – 11:30pm

Capacity: Bar

Main Dining Room

Lower Level

Private Room

Credit Cards: Visa/MasterCard and Amex

Original Restaurant Established: 1995

Email: Villagioonthepark@att.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/villagiosawgrassmall

Twitter: @VillagioRisto

Owner: Alex Kalas and Thomas Billante

General Manager: David Fuentes

Executive Chef: Paul Johnston

village  Lobster ravoli w shrimp

Lobster Ravioli

Cuisine: Al Fresco Italian

village  dining room

Click Here For The Website


Alex Kalas and Thomas Billante, owners of a profusion of restaurants in Miami and one in Chicago, have transformed the space that was once home to Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant & Bar (40 Central Park South) and opened the new Villagio On the Park, a  refined Italian restaurant that allows al fresco dining with views of Central Park. Villagio On the Park boasts a modern aesthetic built on marble and wood.

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The design by Jeffrey Beers international includes Rustic pizza paddles that line the walls, and hundreds of illuminated crystals that hang from the ceiling and reflect off one another to cast a ubiquitous glow . While the first of a series of rooms is the most overtly attractive, the back areas are quieter and offer a respite from the roar of the crowd that has made Villagio On the Park one of the hottest and most coveted restaurant reservations in Manhattan.

Under the helm of Executive Chef Paul Johnston, Villagio On the Park makes its own pastas and imports many of the essential ingredients from overseas, such as Portuguese octopus and calamari from Europe. The food is generally excellent and while purists may be surprised by some bows to Florida, which included the most delicious lobster, stuffed with crabmeat I’ve ever tasted, the quality is superb and the preparations exhibit a deft hand.

Signature dishes include a “gondoletta,” stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a truffle mushroom cream sauce that is to die for, and zucchini flowers, (pictured below),have been harvested in Palm Beach, filled with smoked mozzarella and prosciutto, lightly battered and sautéed.  (Heaven on a plate). Burrata a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream (the outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream), sided by gorgeous tomatoes and prosciutto, was as good as it gets.

village smoked mozzerella and pancetta zuchinni blossoms

Specialty Dishes offer Mozzarella Caprese, Slices of fresh homemade mozzarella, with tomatoes and basil; Pollo Milanese, Chicken breast lightly breaded topped with tricolore salad with fresh diced tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar., Pizza Pazza Mozzarella, fresh arugula, Parma prosciutto and virgin olive oil, Salmone A Letto, Fresh Atlantic salmon pan sautéed in virgin olive oil topped with roasted garlic over a bed of spinach, Nodino, Veal chop simply done on the grill, Scaloppini Portobello, Veal scaloppini sautéed with sliced Portobello mushrooms in a marsala wine sauce,  Risotto Frutti di Mare,Carnaroli rice in safran sauce with an array of fresh fish, shrimp,mussels, clams and calamari.

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Pizzas are baked in the wood-burning oven, and gluten-free options are on the menu. Even the ubiquitous Lasagna is out of the ordinary, with its homemade pasta, layered with a light bechamel and a delicate meat sauce (all the tomato based sauces are excellent as well).

The gratis focaccia  is terrific, and oh the fresh chopped cherry tomatoes that accompany it. The wine list has sufficient wines by the glass at easy prices and some top bottles for the big spenders. And check out some Italian beer that are a welcome respite from the pleasant Peroni and complement  the food.

By all means don’t skip the perfect desserts. I especially like the light-as-air semifreddo (half cold) dessert, with the texture of frozen mousse because it is produced by uniting equal parts of ice cream and whipped cream. The Chocolate Soufflé ….  was served with a rich vanilla ice cream and Tiramisu (Layers of ladyfingers dipped in espresso and amaretto,
topped with mascarpone cheese and dusted with cocoa powder) was everything it should be.

The dashing G.M,, David Fuentes, oversees the operation with precision and the service staff is young, energetic, highly efficient and helpful. Villagio On the Park ,  40 Central Park South, is the new restaurant kid in town. If you wonder why New York needs another Italian restaurant, check it out. You’re in for a pleasant surprise.

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Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna, A Discovery in Midtown

Da Marcella Bar

Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna

ADDRESS: 11 West

51st Street

(Between Fifth Avenue & Rockefeller Plaza)

New York, NY 10019

WEB SITE: www.DaMarcella.com

TELEPHONE: (917) 639-3911

HOURS: Lunch/Dinner: 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM, Mon.-Thurs.

11:30 AM – 11:00 PM, Fri.

Dinner: 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Sat.

4:00 PM – 10:30 PM, Sun.

Happy Hour: 4:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

(Italian small plates and ½-price on select Italian wines

by the glass)

CUISINE: Homestyle Italian with Spanish flair

CREDIT CARDS: All major

PRICE RANGE: Dinner (Entrees): $16.00 – $28.00Da Marcella Pasta1

DRESS: Casual

RESERVATIONS: Highly Recommended

SEATING CAPACITY: 120

NUMBER OF ROOMS: One

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request

BAR: Full-service sit-down bar. .

EXECUTIVE CHEF: Francesco Mueses

WINE DIRECTOR : Ernesto Lago

OWNER: Manuel Moreno

OPENING DATE: November, 2013

(The first Da Marcella Taverna opened in the West

Village in July 2012 to great acclaim.)

Da Marcella Table 1


Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna  offers Homestyle Italian with Spanish flair. Restaurateur Manuel Moreno and Executive Chef Francesco Mueses prepare an impressive selection of rustic home-style Italian dishes, most of them from original family recipes.  In addition, they recently introduced several classic Spanish dishes paying homage to their Spanish/Italian heritage.

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Start with a selection from the bar-tapas menu, including delicious ham croquettes in a crunchy breading to enjoy with the excellent martinis and superb selection of Single Malts (many priced as low as $12), Don’t fail to sample the amazing appetizers. You could make a meal of The Chef’s Veal and Pork Meatballs in San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Mussels alla Marinara with Pinot Grigio wine and  Garlic, and the outstanding Pulpo Marinado a la Catalana ( Spanish-style octopus), fork tender, yet with a good texture, and absolutely perfect  Another must with Italian roots, is the divine Burrata Cheese (stuffed mozzarella with a buttery texture) and  San Daniele Prosciutto kissed by Truffle Sauce Over terrific Crostone.

Then, Homemade Potato Gnocchi with Gulf Shrimp and Fresh Tomato or the Paella with its moist authenticity and heady seafood partners or one of the numerous pastas.

Entrees include Charred Grilled NY Steak, Caramelized Onions and Truffled Mashed Potatoes and a delicious Oven Roasted Whole Mediterranean Sea Bass with Garlic and  Rosemary, a classic Pan Seared Calf’s Liver, with Butter, Sage and a tender Braised Short Rib of Beef, in Barolo with delicious Polenta. End with a really outstanding Tiramisú or a lush Creme Caramel, and Vanilla Gelato, Drowned in a Shot of Espresso.

Service is surprisingly helpful and friendly.

Da Marcella Ham

The custom-made 22-foot long oak bar features an impressive selection of global wines with a particular emphasis on regional Italian and Spanish wines. A variety of wines are available by the glass. In addition a premier choice of spirits, liquors, after-dinner drinks, dessert wines, Single Malt Scotch, and specialty cocktails are also available. The Lunch/Dinner and Happy Hour Menus are available at the bar.  The sophisticated, romantic dining room is enhanced by a 14-foot high ceiling, rustic oak bar, custom-made pine communal tables, wood tables, dark blue high-back leather chairs, leather banquettes, tiled floors, mustard-colored walls, vintage Italian posters, and mood lighting to create a classic, turn-of-the-19th-century Mediterranean Taverna.

Hardly what you’d expect to find in this area, Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna is a delightful neighborhood surprise and was packed with a happy crowd (many from the small hotel the restaurant adjoins). Not fancy, but good food and wine in an easygoing atmosphere at a fair price. Nothing wrong there. (A good choice for before or after theater).

 

Da Marcella Salmon

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Dopo East Ristorante Italiano Introduces Executive Chef Patrizio D’Andrea & Some Remarkable Food

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Dopo East is located at 345 East 62nd Street, (Betw. 1st & 2nd Aves.) Click Here For Website & To Reserve, 646-484-6548, and is open for dinner Tues-Thurs from 5-10pm, Fri-Sat from 5-11pm, closed Sun and Mon.

From the creators of the popular theater district Trattoria Dopo Teatro comes a modern Italian restaurant created and designed to suit its home—a gracious, contemporary townhouse on the Upper East Side—with a creative new Italian menu from the young and talented Executive Chef Patrizio D’Andrea.

Owner Emilio Barletta, an architect and restaurateur, also known for Zanzibar and Cascina, and partner Pino Manica, together with Director of Operations Gianni Onofri head the rest of the team at this elegant and intimate space. For the dining room, they have selected soothing, warm neutrals with detailed crown moldings and crystal Venetian sconce. Through a partnership with gallery Artioli Findlay (www.artiolifindlay.com/events), the walls are adorned with carefully curated paintings and lithographs.There is a cunning bar in the front room and guests will also be delighted by the outdoor space, enclosed and heated in winter, an open garden in warm weather; as well as live piano music and a private dining room downstairs.

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Chef Patrizio D’Andrea, in turn, designed the menu to reflect the space and the owners’ vision. He traces his passion for cooking first to his mother’s farm kitchen in Italy. The family business was agro-tourism, catering to guests who were fed direct from the land; chickens, pigs, produce, all sourced just steps away. But he formalized his training with a degree from the highly respected Aurelio Saffi Culinary School, Firenze Italy, graduating with honors. After a stint as Chef de Partie at Excelsior in his hometown, D’Andrea spent a year each cooking in Spain and Switzerland, before signing on with Cipriani’s, a tour of duty that took him from Harry’s Bar in Venice as chef de cuisine, to Hong Kong, and then to New York to Cipriani’s Rainbow Room and Cipriani Downtown. Now at Dopo East, he combines the best of his experiences, creating a healthy, Italian menu that is locally inspired with produce from the Union Square market, and a selection of organically grown vegetables (frequently baby vegetables because they are more tender and have more flavor), hormone-free meats, and fresh seafood.

The difference is apparent on the plate from the first course, not only because everything is fresh and light, but also because of the way the food is presented. His caprese is prepared with peeled, organic tomatoes, basil sprouts, with fresh Buffalo mozzarella, that is kept warm to bring out the complex flavors and then re-shaped; piovra all griglia is an artistic presentation of tender grilled octopus, baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, and a lemon-garlic emulsion. A beautiful selection of farm vegetables with roasted garlic and an infusion of basil and olive oil, verdure alla griglia, is always a bit different everyday, as is the chef’s crudo del giorno, inspired by the season and the market. We adored impeccable raw and thinly sliced scallops, kissed by extra virgin olive oil and garnished with pomegranates and fresh beet sprouts. Truly a standout. Grilled octopus, baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, in a lemon garlic vinaigrette is also delectable.

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Primi include house made fresh pastas, whole wheat and gluten-free options, and a daily risotto. It’s hard to choose among them, but some favorites include an unusual gnocchi al sugo di agnello, homemade ricotta gnocchi with baby lamb ragout, is the best I’ve ever tasted and the kitchen turns out a terrific version of tagliatelle paglia e fieno, with spinach and egg hand-mixed into the dough by the chef), and served with a black trumpet and chanterelle mushroom ragout that tastes rich, yet feels light; and the very simple, yet elegant spaghetti alla Checca, with fresh tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil and shaved Parmigiano. Best of all, a special of thin housemade noodles, sauced in an intense truffle reduction and served with a raw egg that the waiter whisks in at the table. The memory still makes my mouth water. It should become the house signature.

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For the secondi, there’s poletto al forno, roasted Cornish hen with black mission figs, colorful bell peppers and Port wine reduction is sweet, savory and inventive, and gamberoni alla primavera, jumbo head-on grilled shrimp, infused with the surprising flavor of smoked butter and served with perfectly diced vegetables. Both are delectable. Meat lovers will adore 28 days dry aged rib-eye steak, green scallion puree, porcini mushrooms, rosemary potatoes, aged balsamic vinegar and a special of rack of lamb that is first class in every way.

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Like the rest of the menu, dolci are light, fresh and hard to stop eating. Tiramisu is shot through with dark chocolate powder, just the right amount of bitter to offset the sweet and semifreddo contrasts the semi-frozen cream with the crunch of almonds.

Dopo-East-dessert

Wine, of course, is a very important part of the dining experience at Dopo East. Under the direction of Gianni Onofri, the list is expected to grow to a selection of 600 bottles, predominantly Italian, but with a strong selection of wines from around the world. By the glass, Dopo East offers 6 whites including Prosecco Abati Regali and Domodimonti Deja V Passerina and 9 reds including a Super Tuscan Integolo and Cicarello’s Nero D’Avola. Stay tuned for more information about a wine bar to come and special wine dinners.There is also a full bar and excellent cocktails. We enjoyed 2 excellent wines by the glass: Kuddia Gialla – Sicily 201: Zibibbo or Muscat d’Alexandria takes on a unique persona in this Sicilian wine. Fermented in barrels and casks and aged longer than most young whites. I loved the delightful spritz. Also an intriguing, Saola Intelogo 2011, was rather like a baby Supper Tuscan. Deep and complex.Both fine values and served in lovely glasses.

A welcome addition to the neighborhood, Dopo East  brings fine dining, fun and great food to the upper east side, coupled with attentive service and elegant atmosphere and is a worthy destination. Let’s hope Chef D’Andrea gains the audience he truly deserves. This could become one of the best Italian restaurants on the east side.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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From Michaels of Brooklyn’s Kitchen to Your Kitchen

MOB Home Style GravyAuthentic Italian Sauces You Won’t Believe Come from a Jar, Now Available in Stores Nationwide

It’s not so unusual for a landmark Italian restaurant to bottle their famous sauce and sell it to the public. But what sets Michaels of Brooklyn apart is that they cook their sauce entirely on premises in their Sheepshead Bay restaurant—from scratch, using only fresh ingredients that are prepped, sautéed, and blended by hand every day in the restaurant kitchen, with no additives or preservatives of any kind.

Michaels of Brooklyn traditional Italian tomato sauces taste like homemade because they use the same ingredients a talented home cook would use. It’s very simple—imported tomatoes from Italy, fresh herbs and spices, garlic or onion, and olive oil—but the result is an extraordinary range of fresh, delicious sauces in six distinctive flavorsMarinara, Tomato Basil, Filetto di Pomodoro, Puttanesca, Arrabbiata, and the newest flavor, Home Style Gravy.

The family-owned restaurant had modest beginnings almost 50 years ago. Michaels first opened in 1964 as a small pizzeria (just a pizza oven and four tables). The patriarch of the family and the namesake of the restaurant—Michael Cacace—was a fisherman from Puglia. He first learned his new trade aboard a cruise ship and honed his skills by working in restaurants in New York City and Brooklyn. He gradually grew the business from a small pizzeria to a Neapolitan restaurant, then took over more and more space, until Michaels evolved into the significant fine dining Southern Italian restaurant and bakery it is today. The senior Cacace left the restaurant in the very capable hands of his sons, John, who oversees the kitchen and is the chef and Fred, who manages the front of the house and day-to-day operation along with his son Michael, who heads up the wholesale business.

In recent years, the pasta and other sauces that were served in the restaurant were very popular, so popular that patrons asked to take it home with them. At first, they would send regular customers home with a small batch. But the desire for these delectable sauces kept growing. As the demand grew, John suggested it was time to jar it in shelf-stable containers and make it available for wholesale purchase.

The sauce you can buy today in gourmet markets and groceries across the U.S. follows the same recipes that Michael followed—recipes that have been in the family for generations. They soon discovered that the only way they could maintain this quality, style and flavor, was to continue to make it on site, using their own restaurant kitchen.

Downstairs in the restaurant, a dedicated staff cooks the tomato sauce each day. They begin by loading 80-gallon kettles—just like a giant pot—with imported Italian plum tomatoes. The production manager makes the spice mix each day to ensure consistency of flavor. Other ingredients (depending on the variety—garlic, onions, basil, oregano, spices, olives, etc.) are brought from the kitchen and added to the pot. Then it is cooked to 215 degrees F, a temperature that guarantees that the sauce, because of the high natural acidity of tomatoes, is preserved and safe to keep on the shelf unopened for years. Though they add no preservatives, Michaels of Brooklyn sauces will keep indefinitely when sealed, and is approved and certified by Cornell University. However, because of the freshness of the ingredients—it must be refrigerated once opened.

The difference is clear from the moment you open a jar—from the aroma of the fresh herbs, to the large chunks of garlic, to the whole capers and meaty slices of olives in the Puttanesca, to the tender leafs of green basil, contributing to the very distinctive differences in their range of traditional sauces. With just a few simple ingredients and subtle variations, they are suitable for a wide range of dishes, delicious straight out of the jar, for dipping bread, as pasta sauces, served with poultry, fish or seafood, Italian sausage, braciole or chicken cacciatore.

The classic Marinara, made with just garlic, olive oil, tomato, basil and oregano is the perfect sauce for spaghetti, but is also excellent simmered with seafood, or as the basic sauce in your lasagna or parmigiana recipes. In the fresh Tomato and Basil, the simplicity of fresh tomatoes shines through, enlightened by lots of fresh basil, for a light sweet flavor that is ideal with any pasta, even straight out of the jar, or you can add in sautéed eggplant or zucchini. Filetto di Pomodoro combines prosciutto and onions, fresh basil, olive oil and spices—and is especially nice over penne with lots of freshly grated imported age pecorino. Puttanesca is a heady combination, chock full of hand cut green and black olives, anchovies, capers, parsley, basil, spices, that adds passion to any type of pasta. Or try simmered with boneless chicken breasts, served over rice. Arrabbiata is for those who like it hot! Cooked with hot peppers, fresh basil, olive oil, parsley, and spices, it adds zest to pasta and seafood. Home Style Gravy, the most recent sauce to be placed in a jar, has a thicker base, made from ground tomatoes instead of crushed, and sweet caramelized onions instead of roasted garlic, it’s main reason for being is to be served with the braised meats of Sunday Gravy. However, there’s no meat in this sauce, so vegetarians will be pleased by the rich, hearty flavor, too.

Michaels of Brooklyn sauces are distributed nationally and are available in all major stores. It can be found at most supermarkets and grocery stores, as well as specialty gourmet stores such as Gourmet Garage, Whole Foods, Fairway, Eli’s and Grace’s. The sauce is sold in economical 32 oz. jars that are 33% larger than most brands (and generously feed a family of four). These products can also be purchased directly online at http://www.michaelsofbrooklyn.com.

Michaels of Brooklyn retail products are manufactured at 2929 Avenue R, Brooklyn, New York, 11229, 718-998-7851. The sales offices are located at 1000 Route 34, Suite 401, Matawan, NJ 07747, 732.888.5525.

And for a quick and excellent substitute for tomato sauce in recipes, use Michaels. Delicious with chicken legs, green peppers garlic cloves, and onion. Just brown the chicken and onion, pour in the rest, cover and braise for 45 minutes. (We used Puttanesca).

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The best purchased pasta sauces we have tested. Walman Report Rating: A Major

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Giano, Superlative Italian in the East Village

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Giano (Janus: Dual-faced Roman god looking to the future and to the past)

ADDRESS:   126 East 7th Street

(Between First Avenue & Avenue A)

New York, NY 10009

WEB SITE:   www.gianonyc.com

TELEPHONE:  (212) 673-7200

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HOURS:   Dinner:                   5:30 PM  -   11:00 PM, Tues.-Thurs. & Sun.

            5:30 PM -    12:00 Midnight, Fri.-Sat.

  (Closed Monday)

Happy Hour:           5:30 PM  -      7:00 PM, Tues.-Thurs. & Sun.

(2-Course $21.95 Prix Fixe Dinner and ½-price on select wines

by the glass.)                                          

CUISINE:   Contemporary Italian

(Restaurateur/Chef Matteo Niccoli crafts a

menu featuring an eclectic selection of

classic, traditional Italian dishes, refining

and updating them with a modern flair.)

CREDIT CARDS:  All major

PRICE RANGE:  Dinner (entrees):                     $12.95 – $22.95

2-Course Prix Fixe Dinner:      $21.95

(5:30 PM – 7 :00 PM, Tues.-Thurs. & Sun.)        

DRESS:   Casual 

RESERVATIONS:  Recommended

SEATING CAPACITY: Dining Room:                      55

Seasonal Garden:              20

NUMBER OF ROOMS: 1

(Seasonal Garden seats 20)

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request

DESIGNERS:  Paolo Rossi

Matteo Niccoli

EXECUTIVE CHEF:  Matteo Niccoli

PASTRY CHEF:  Matteo Niccoli

WINE DIRECTOR:  Paolo Rossi

OWNERS:   Paolo Rossi

Matteo Niccoli

OPENING DATE:  January, 2008


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Romanic, bargain-priced and excellent are the words to describe this charming Italian find in New York’s trendy East Village. There is a  sit-down bar that is custom-made and seductively curved, featuring an impressive selection of global wines with a particular emphasis on regional Italian wines.  A variety of  wines are available by the glass.  In addition, a selection of Italian beers is also available. The Dinner Menu is also available at the bar (great for single diners).

The dining room is contemporary and rustic,  reflecting the dual symbol of the Roman deity, Janus. It is enhanced by a 12-foot high ceiling,  contemporary Italian tables and chairs, wooden bench, stylish crystal chandeliers, and French doors opening onto a lively street.In addition, the rustic, romantic dining room in the middle and the rear of the restaurant, is separated from the front by hanging painted rope. there are custom-made walnut tables and chairs, exposed brick walls with openings for votive candles, a country fireplace, rustic sunflower panel on canvas, natural wood floors, and wood doors opening onto the lovely, seasonal garden to create the feel of a Tuscan-style villa.

Paolo Rossi is a welcoming host and will guide you through the short and sensible menu with its updated classics, interlaced with chef Matteo Niccoli’s original creations. We enjoyed appetizers like simple Fried calamari, tender and light with the addition of  Italian tartar sauce, rather than the overused marinara. Crocchette di ricotta e tonno are the chef’s invention and arrive as Creamy and crunchy tuna and ricotta croquettes with a stylish arugula salad and balsamic reduction. We like to eat Italian style, so while pastas are worthy of main courses, we prefer them as an in between course. Especially inventive and delicious was Bigoli al ragu d’agnello e noci tostate: Homemade Medieval thick spaghetti with slow cooked braised lamb ragout and toasted walnut powder. Ask about specials as well.

Entrees are where Giano really shines. Perfectly cooked plates that seem unexpectedly classy for their reasonable prices include a wonderful Baccala’ alla livornese con polenta
or Pan sired cod fillet with fresh tomatoes, black olives and capers served with the best crispy polenta we have tasted in NY. Also terrific, was Stinco d’agnello brasato e pure di patate or Brased lamb shank seved with creamy mashed potato.

The restaurant serves no hard liquor, but the short wine list has good choices for under $50. Service is attentive and guiding and don’t mist some very good desserts such as Tiramisu the classic Italian dessert and an outstanding Creme Brulee vanilla custard base topped with a layer of hard caramel. The cappuccino is superb.

Giano is definitely one of the East Village’s more pleasant and affordable options.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Taverna di Bacco

Taverna Garden

Click Here For A Reservation

175 Ludlow Street, near East Houston. 212.477.0077

Dinner Sun-Thu: 5pm-12am – Fri-Sat: 5pm-1am – Brunch Sat-Sun: 11am-4pm  Accepts Credit Cards, Take Out Delivery Area:Within walking distancetavern bar


Taverna di Bacco is an Italian restaurant specializing mostly in the food of Southern Italy.  It is rustic and modern with an indoor garden in the back, a spacious bar up front. Brick walls, wood floors, chalk board listing specials and friendly service help create the quintessential neighborhood restaurant. Add to that some very good food, since  Maurizio Crescenzo is both owner and executive chef.  He comes from the Campania region of Italy and attended Culinary Institute in Naples.  He’s worked in Venice, Germany,, Cortina d’Ambezzo, a resort in Italy. He opened Taverna di Bacco in August 2011.  His food philosophy is to keep food simple and good. He’s appeared at the James Beard House and food has never been far from the center of Maurizio Crescenzo’s life. His East Village trattoria that on Italy’s many regional cuisines, and Maurizio is passionate both about cooking and about sharing the bounty of his kitchen.

Recommended appetizers include perfectly crisp and tender Calamari fritti (Fried Calamari), with a zesty dipping sauce and a delicious Melanzane alla parmigiana (Eggplant alla parmigiana). For pastas, look no further than light-as-a-feather  Lasagna con spinaci e ricotta (
Homemade lasagna with ricotta & spinach) or Lasagna alla Bolognese (Homemade lasagna with classic bolognese sauce). The menu lists many other choices of pasta as well.

Entrees are especially good: we enjoyed Porchetta al rosmarino con patate al forno (Oven roasted pork belly with rosemary, sage & garlic), Pollo arrosto alla diavola con scarola (Half roasted chicken with spicy sauce & sautéed escarole) and an unusual Braciola di agnello alla pizzaiola con patate al forno (Braised lamb braciola with aromatic herbs & roasted potatoes).

The wine list is short and affordable with lots of bottles under $40. And leave room for such desserts as Tiramisu, a dense Chocolate Cake and an excellent Panna Cotta. Don’t miss the  terrific cappuccino.

Taverna Di Bacco is the perfect place to host your special celebration.
Whether you are planning a brunch, cocktail party or sit-down dinner,  chef, Maurizio Crescenzo, will work with you to create a customized menu sure to delight you and your guests. They also offer catering at your location for up to 300. Call or email  to begin planning your special event.

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Incognito Bistro: Roman with Scottish flair

incognito outside

ADDRESS:   30 West 18th Street

(Between Fifth & Sixth Avenues)

New York, NY 10011

WEB SITE:   www.incognitobistro.com

TELEPHONE:  (212) 414-1231

HOURS:   Lunch:                         11:30 AM  -     4:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

Dinner:                          4:00 PM -     11:00 PM, Mon.-Sat.

        (Closed Sunday)                

Happy Hour:                 11:30 AM -  10:30 PM, Mon.-Fri.

                                        4:00 PM  -    11:00 PM, Sat.

(Italian small plates and ½-price on specialty cocktails

and select Italian wines by the glass.)                                         

CREDIT CARDS:  All major

PRICE RANGE:  Lunch (entrees):                                $16.00 – $30.00

2-Course Prix Fixe Lunch:               $20.00

Dinner (entrees):                               $16.00 – $30.00

3-Course Pre-Theatre Dinner:      

(5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Mon.-Sat.):     $35.00

DRESS:   Smart Casual 

RESERVATIONS:  Recommended

SEATING CAPACITY: Dining Room:                      60

Bar/Lounge:                        50

Private Party Room:         40

NUMBER OF ROOMS: 2

(Private Party Room seats 40)

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request

(Private Party Room and entire

restaurant are available for customized

private parties and special events.)   


incognito chef & wife

Paolo Montana & Adriana Moretti, The Dynamite Duo Behind Incognito Bistro

New York has always been an amazing restaurant town, but It surprised me to no end, when we discovered a fist class, affordable relatively-undiscovered in the Flatiron District, with the unlikely name of  Incognito Bistro.  The stylish Bar/Lounge is enhanced by a 20-foot high ceiling, custom-made tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto a lively street to create a modern, lively Bar/Lounge. It features an impressive selection of regional Italian wines.  A variety of wines are available by the glass.  In addition, a premier choice of spirits, liquors, after-dinner drinks, dessert wines, Single Malt Scotch,and inspired specialty cocktails such as When in Rome (Gin, Punt e Mes, Aperol), Flying Scotsman (Scotch, Glayva, Cointreau), and Italian Kiss (Prosecco, Grand Marnier, Brandy) are also available. Cocktails are extraordinary and Incognito Bistro produces the best Negroni in town.  The Lunch, Dinner, and Happy Hour Menus are available at the bar. (See Below).

 

incognito the-bar-1

The stylish  dining room is enhanced by an 18-foot high ceiling, custom-made tables, a wraparound champagne-colored leather banquette, walnut wood floors, dramatic painted columns, original color photographs of Italy and Scotland, vintage black-and-white framed photos of casual elegant dining inEurope, original abstract paintings by acclaimed Scottish artist Patricia Moretti. Art Deco ceramic sconces, and an open kitchen create a contemporary Roman atmosphere. There is an attractive Private Party Room, located in the back of the restaurant, features custom-made tables with white tablecloths, custom-made wood chairs, vin as well.

 

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All in all, it’s a knock-out room, but the the real reason to head for Incognito Bistro is Owner-Chef Paolo Montana delicious menu featuring an eclectic selection of classic Roman dishes, refining and updating them with a modern flair.  In addition, he recently introduced Scottish Corner, featuring classic Scottish dishes paying homage to his Scottish/Italian heritage. We loved the Roman-style pizza, especially the version featuring Smoked Scottish Salmon on a custardy base in the perfect crust.

Chef Paolo is a serious chef, using the best produce and cooking it with care. The Scottish Corner is a perfect way to sample his creativity. We adored the Highland Haggis, offering lamb sausage with turnips, creamed potatoes & whisky jus. Isle of Skye Scallops featured pan roasted with a fennel beurre blanc and parmasan crust .
Crepes stuffed with finnan haddock, cheddar bechamel & leeks were lovely. Next time we’ll leave  room for Ayrshire Pork with stornoway black pudding, grain mustard and apple julienne.

We did sample two pastas: an elegant homemade composite with lobster sauce and a light and airy gnocchi. A  Gazpacho was perfect for warm weather. A sampling of housemade desserts, including dairy-free chocolate cake was just delicious, as was the cappuccino.

incognito Scallops

Amazing Scallops With A Scottish Twist

incognito pasta

Memorable Pasta

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incognito TOMATO-GAZ

A Perfect Summer Gazpacho

incognito pizza

The Pizza, Roman Style

 

incognito salmon

Refreshing Salmon Salad

incognito Pork

Scottish All The Way

incognito dessert

A Medley Of Desserts

Service is carful and attentive and the beautiful and vivacious Adriana Moretti (wife and co-owner) is the perfect front of he house and host. Don’t be surprised if she or Paolo serve you or come to your table and ask how you are enjoying yourself. Incognito Bistro is that kind of restaurant. Elegant, but easy to relax and enjoy.

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Destino

Detinos int1
 
891 1st Ave. (@ 50th St.) NYC
212.751.0700
Website: http://www.destinony.com/  

Maître d’, Owner and Executive Chef.: Anthony Curko 
  
 

A far cry from its former incarnations as Copain (more notable for its location-use in the film “The French Connection” than its food) and Whylie’s, an on-again-off-again rib joint, Destino was a roaring success after just six weeks of operation, when it opened in 2006. Call it luck, Kismet or the power of publicity, but this pleasant east side Italian restaurant was still playing to a full house on the night of our visit. Customers were loving the traditional ‘home-style’ Italian cooking. Well, the chef-owner, Anthony Curko, is from the never-can-get-a-reservation Rao’s family.

And the causally elegant dining room is attractive with its bar-lounge, and large chandelier, as you enter and oil-on-canvas 40-foot Renaissance fresco on the ceiling. The main dining room may lack generosity in spacing its tables, but attractive leather banquettes, a lovely smoked mirror, soothing beige walls and loads of wall sconces create the right mood. On the downside, the noise level is high and the service, while friendly, can be slow. The greeting, by the attractive Anthony Curko,is warm and welcoming.

Not overly large portions guarantee a complete dining experience that will not have you walking away with that over stuffed feeling. A meal at Destino’s conjures memories of your Italian grandmother’s Sunday dinner, if she had lightened up the food, most of which is very good.
 
Chef Curko’s, meatballs in marinara sauce are two hefty players that put most versions around town into second field. Eggplant Rollatino, gently stuffed with Mozzarella is deliciously grease-free. Two pastas, linguini in white clam sauce and spaghetti carbonara are both al dente as requested and perfectly sauced. In the entrée division, a Roasted Rack of Lamb in a Brown Sauce, with Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes was nice, but was eclipsed by a outstanding chicken Scarpariello, served on the bone with hot and sweet sausage, peppers and onions.
 
Desserts are standard: the ubiquitous Tartuffo, cheesecake: well you get it. The wine list is just a few pages, but there are enough options under $50 to please(best value is the delightful Roero Arneis D.O.C. Traisorì, 2010)  and drinks are generous and well made. They were still packing them in as we left and the host said the restaurant was heavily booked all evening So for an honest, affordable Italian experience in this part of town, book well in advance.

Click Here To Reserve Online

 
Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

destinos in2

 

 

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