Bistro Le Steak



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Location/Phone/Web Site: 227 East 56 Street, NYC 212-207-8777/

Date Established: July 15th 2009

Owner/Team/About: Nicki Jakupi

Cuisine and Menu/About: Parisian Steakhouse

Price Range: Appetizers: $6.50- $12.95, Sandwiches: $11.00-$17.95, Lunch $12.00- $31.95, Dinner $13.95- $32.95

What you should know: This is the second location for Bistro Le Steak with the first being on 1309 Third ave. (Corner of 75th St.)

Space: Bistro Le Steak is perfect for group dining with round tables able to accommodate large parties, and a private area to accommodate groups of up to 20. The low lit lounge and bar area are perfect for canoodling, and with doors that open on to the street it is one of the loveliest spots in midtown.

Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30am – 11pm

Saurday – 1pm – 11pm

Sunday – 1pm – 10pm

Lounge: Tuesday – Saturday Open Late

Served: Lunch and Dinner

Policies: Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard and Amex.

Reservations: Recommended




By Nancy Walman


 The Second Cut

For 14 years Bistro Le Steak has satisfied the tastes of the steak lovers of the Upper East Side but when owner Nicki Jakupi decided to open his second restaurant he chose to leave his corner bistro and venture into the throngs of midtown. Where once there was Bistro Deseret, there is now Bistro Le Steak Bar & Lounge (227 East 56 Street, NYC 212-207-8777.)

With an apropos opening on Bastille Day 2009 Bistro Le Steak Bar & Lounge offers the same great reasonably priced steaks and other specialty items that diners have come to love and trust at the original location. But this menu does not just stop and start at meat, there’s a bevy of items to choose from that allows diners many options, and different from its sister restaurant this location offers cocktails and a bar menu to attract the many midtown workers who definitely need to drink and flirt after work.

Start with the fabulous frog’s legs or shrimp cocktail,. Main courses offer a first rate calves’ liver and oh those steaks, fries and elegant desserts, especially the lemon tart.  Don’t miss the iced cappuccino. There’s an excellent wine list (at remarkably affordable prices) and smooth service as executed by the charming manager Frank, Idrizi.

Situated on a rare quiet midtown block the restaurant is a respite from other eateries in the neighborhood. The high ceilinged room is quite spacious and tables are spaced generously. This Bistro Le Steak is perfect for group dining with round tables able to accommodate large parties, and a private area to accommodate groups of up to 20. The low lit lounge and bar area are perfect for canoodling, and with doors

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that open on to the street it is one of the loveliest spots in midtown.


Everyone loves a great steak, and Nicki Jakupi knows that better than anyone. If the successor is anything like the predecessor New York diners will have Bistro Le Steak Bar & Lounge for many years to come. Bistro Le Steak, 227 East 56 Street near 3rd Ave., rates A Minor on the Walman Report.

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Fine Italian Wines Inspired By Hit HBO Series Paired with Traditional Cuisine Are a “Hit” Dining Experience

The Sopranos Wines, the line of fine Italian wines inspired by the hit HBO series were introduced at a special Sopranos Summer Wine Tasting and Dinner at Brooklyn’s own The Pearl Room on Wednesday, July 22nd.  The Sopranos Wines will continue to be featured at The Pearl Room located at 8201 Third Avenue (corner of 82nd St. & 3rd Avenue) in Bay Ridge.  

The special menu featured a six-course dinner expertly paired with The Sopranos Wines with the added attraction of live musical entertainment courtesy of Steven Maglio. 

The attached photo depicts (at left) Mark Gonsalves, Managing Partner for The Sopranos Wines and Anthony Rinaldi, Executive Chef at The Pearl Room.

Commented Gonsalves, “As we all know, Brooklyn is filled with some of the finest Italian food available, not only in New York City but in the entire country, if not the world and the cuisine that The Pearl Room has created will be the perfect compliment to our wines.”

About The Sopranos Wines

Introduced in the New York City metro area and select markets around the country in late 2008, The Sopranos Wines is expanding its reach throughout the U.S. during 2009. The Sopranos Wines are under a licensing agreement between HBO and Vesuvio Import Company (named after the fictional restaurant from the TV show), and distributed by Duggan’s Distillers Products Corporation.

The Vesuvio Import Company, named after the famed fictional restaurant depicted in the series, was created to develop and import this brand of fine Italian wine.  Duggan’s Distillers, the distributor for The Sopranos Wines has been importing and distributing fine wines and spirits since 1946.

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Summertime in St. Augustine

Summer isn’t over and there’s still time to enjoy exciting events and experiences while taking advantage of great deals on hotels and attractions that will make visitors fall in love with summertime in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the Beaches.
Through September 30, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches is offering End-of-Summer deals that are perfect for a late-summer getaway to a place with exceptional golf and incredible history- – – a place where visitors don’t have to wait in line to ride a wave and won’t have to spend a fortune to spend time with the ones they love. 

Get in a party mood with special discounts on seaside accommodations and join in the summer-long celebration of the 50th birthday of the City of St. Augustine Beach.  Or if golf’s your game, great accommodation discounts are available at World Golf Village and at the exclusive resorts of Ponte Vedra Beach – home to some of the world’s greatest courses.  Great end-of-summer discounts are also available on ghost tours, hands-on museum experiences for the entire family, and even a special offer on touring one of St. Augustine’s most famous and intriguing landmarks.  There’s even a crab-fishing cruise that promises everyone will take home at least a dozen tasty crabs.   Overnight visitors can also get discounts on meals in the heart of the Oldest City’s historic district.

Guided kayak tours, nature programs, sunset sailing adventures and many other exciting and educational excursions are never more affordable than now through the end of September. Plus, there are lots of events offered at the most affordable prices ever – they’re free! Here are some great freebies:

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Thalassa Lounge

Thalassa, the acclaimed contemporary Greek seafood restaurant

located in a landmark building in Tribeca (179 F ranklin Street – between Hudson & Greenwich Streets) just opened Thalassa Lounge in the front of the restaurant for casual dining and a unique variety of Greek meze (all $6.95).

Thalassa Lounge seats 24 people – both at the handsome ivory marble mosaic bar and at the maple tables nearby. The Lounge’s nautical decor features redesigned French doors opening onto a picturesque street in Tribeca, plush pillows, Italian white leather chairs and a banquette, white billowing sails overhead, and blue mood lighting.

In addition, Thalassa Lounge offers an extensive selection of Greek wines by the glass, an award-winning global wine list, and an impressive selection of specialty cocktails.


Lounge Meze Menu

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Wine On Line Rating: A Major

The Russian River Valley, is home to MacMurray Ranch, and is one of the most celebrated places to grow world-class Pinot Noir. The region is blessed with strong maritime influences, creating a cool climate defined by the fog that comes up the valley to blanket the vines. Warm days and cool nights encourage distinct varietal characters in the ripening grapes. Early winegrowers planted Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignane to make simple, hearty wines. Since the 1960s, however, the Russian River Valley has been home to the pioneers of New World Pinot Noir.

The Sonoma Coast viticulture area covers 750 square miles from the Mendocino County line in the north to San Pablo Bay to the south. Portions of the Sonoma Coast adjacent to the Russian River Valley sit in a unique climate zone – the coolest part of Sonoma County. Cool, moist wind and fog from the Pacific Ocean pour through the Coastal Range in the Petaluma Wind Gap, creating ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir. As a result of these unique characteristics, the Sonoma Coast is recognized as a premier source exceptional Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines.

The Central Coast winegrowing region runs along nearly 250 miles of stunning California coastline from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. The Central Coast is planted with more than 100,000 acres of vineyards and includes 27 distinct appellations, such as Sta. Rita Hills, Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Barbara County, and San Luis Obispo County. The cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean and the diversity of soil types found in the Central Coast produce site-specific Pinot Noir grapes that lend themselves to blending harmonious wines.

Sta. Rita Hills is a relatively small AVA established in 2001 along the Santa Ynez River in the south end of the Central Coast. Although grapes have been growing here since the 1970s, it has recently become known as a hotbed for Pinot Noir. MacMurray Ranch crafts a Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills that has elegance, finesse, and a sense of place true to the terroir of the region.


Pinot Gris Bridges the Gap from Aperitif to Food Pairings

Pinot Gris, the lively little sister of Pinot Noir, has quietly climbed the ladder of consumer preference over the last few years and is now one of the top selling white wines in America.

For many years Pinot Gris from Alsace was a “best kept secret” among connoisseurs, who admired the vibrancy and complexity of the French wine. Then Chardonnay overwhelmed the white wine market for a few decades, but a few dedicated enthusiasts in Oregon and California kept the faith and kept planting and making Pinot Gris.

The rise of the light Italian version of the wine, Pinot Grigio, waged a dramatic crusade against the tide of Chardonnay and created a hugely popular, easy sipping, “quaffable” alternative on the mental menu of America’s white wine drinkersconsumers. But the true enthusiasts of the grape continued to search for something more: more body, more layers of flavor, more depth and breadth on the palate. When they searched, they found MacMurray Ranch® Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris.

The MacMurray Ranch entry, now approaching its 10th vintage, is made in the fuller Alsatian style, with what Winemaker Susan Doyle calls, “an additional layer of abundant California sunshine and a slightly stylish hint of mystery in the finish.”

“Our Sonoma Coast vineyards are cool, windy, and sometimes even as foggy as in the Russian River,” Doyle says. “The grapes are smaller, thicker skinned in self-defense, and that’s one reason why so many flavors and highlights come through on the palate. “

We ferment most of the wine in stainless steel to preserve the brightness of the fruit, but we also put a portion in oak to build character and heft. I assemble the final blends with the goal of creating a wine that stands by itself as an aperitif and also has enough going on to complement substantial foods.”

Pinot Gris is believed to be a natural mutation of Pinot Noir, one that appeared in French vineyards hundreds of years ago. Pinot Gris made in the style of MacMurray Ranch has more substance, color, and subtlety than most white wines, perfumed and luscious.

“We have learned a tremendous amount about Pinot Gris in the last few years,” Doyle says, “we have a range of clonal selections planted in different spots that

suit them. We keep the yields low, and the winemaking is really pretty sophisticated now. We are exploring the full range of the grape, and we are happy to see that consumers are doing the same thing.”



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Beppe, Gramercy’s authentic Tuscan restaurant

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: Marc Taxiera- Taxiera helms the kitchen at this authentic Tuscan restaurant as well as at The Russian Tea Room. Raised in an Italian household, where nightly dinners consisted of homemade specialties such as gnocchi and spaghetti with meat sauce, he learned early on to appreciate fresh ingredients and dishes that highlight the natural vibrancy of clean flavors. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, he joined the team at Felidia, before moving on to Baldoria and then onto Beppe under the tutelage of Cesare Casella.

DESIGN & CONCEPT: Tucked away between historic Gramercy Park and the Flatiron Building, Beppe is a charming space modeled after a Tuscan farmhouse, featuring a terracotta tiled roof, antique barn-wood flooring and a roaring fireplace in the winter. The bi-level space features an upstairs private dining room that seats 30.

MENU: Taxiera’s authentic Tuscan cuisine has a refined modern edge. Produce is sourced from the nearby Greenmarket, and the restaurant offers regular dining specials.


Cappasante, Pan seared sea scallop crusted in Sicilian pistachios with a strawberry and shaved fennel salad in a pink peppercorn and strawberry vinaigrette

Papa al Giallo, Yellow tomato and basil soup thickened with bread, served at room temperature

Pinci, Whole wheat pasta with sea bass, cherry tomatoes, garlic, manila clams and citrus zest

Gnocchi, Ricotta gnocchi with zucchini blossoms, baby corn and summer black truffles

Halibut, with a carrot saffron and lobster emulsion served with a warm lentil salad

Agnello, spiced lamb rack with cherry braised lamb agnolotti, tomato eggplant timballo drizzled with a cherry lamb reduction

BEER/WINE/COCKTAILS: Beppe boasts a 100% Tuscan wine list, a selection of homemade grappas, infused homemade grappas and grappa cocktails, as well as a $5 cocktail list and a signature seasonal cocktail list.


HOURS: Lunch- Monday through Friday, 12PM – 2:30PM

Dinner- Monday through Saturday, 5:30PM – 11:30PM


By Nancy Walman

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Beppe, Gramercy’s authentic Tuscan restaurant boasting executive chef Marc Taxiera, is pleased to announce their new summer menu, pasted below and attached. Taxiera presents a more modern approach to combining quality ingredients with traditional recipes while still upholding the same concepts that are the backbone of Beppe- utilizing the Union Square Greenmarket every morning, staying to to traditional Tuscan cuisine, and implementing recipes passed down through generations.

Highlights of the new menu include an Estate Insalate, featuring Organic Greens with Grilled Peaches and Jicama tossed in Apricot dressing and crumbled Gorgonzola; Spada Carpaccio, cured, smoked Swordfish with Wild Arugula tossed in Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil; whole wheat Pinci pasta with Sea Bass, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Manila Clams and Citrus Zest; Agnello, spiced Lamb Rack with Cherry Braised Lamb Agnolotti, Tomato Eggplant Timbalo drizzled with a Cherry Lamb reduction; Ricotta Gnocchi with Zucchini Blossoms, Baby Corn and Summer Truffles; and Papa al Giallo, Yellow Tomato and Basil Soup thickened with bread, served room temperature.

As always, Beppe features produce sourced daily from local purveyors and pastas that are handmade daily. Recipes are available upon request and Chef Taxiera, who has been featured in numerous local NY and national print, radio and television outlets, is available for interview. Beppe is also proud to support their patrons with a series of summer specials, including:
50% Off All Wine Bottles Every Monday (any bottle in the house)
$24.95 Three Course Prix-Fixe Lunch
$39.95 Three Course Prix-Fixe Dinner
Homemade Infused Grappas
$5 Cocktails, all day, every day

Beppe is located at 45 East 22nd Street, and you can visit them on the web at and rates A Major on The Walman Report

Chef  Taxierabeppe-chef2043)

Copyright 2009 By Punch In International

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Ciao Bella

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Ciao Bella is located at 1640 Second Avenue at 85th Street, and is open for dinner from Monday through Thursday from 5:00 – 12:00 AM, Friday and Saturday 5:00 – 1:00 AM, and Sunday from 5:00 – 11:00 PM, with Sunday brunch from 12:00 – 4:00 PM. Ciao Bella is also open for lunch on weekdays from 12:00 – 3:00 PM. Ciao Bella boasts ample sidewalk and balcony seating on its first and second levels, weather permitting, and its second floor is available for private parties and corporate functions. For more information on private parties and reservations, please call 212-794-9494 or visit


Ciao Bella: A Portal to La Dolce Vita

By Nancy Walman

Calling to mind the warmth and sophistication of the Italian spirit is newcomer to the Upper East Side, Ciao Bella, a restaurant specializing in all things Italian chic. The newest addition by Enrico Proietti, the longtime Italian restaurateur who boasts such East Side staples as Per Lei, Baraonda, and Bella Blu, Ciao Bella is a swanky, yet decidedly neighborhood-friendly, addition to a strong portfolio filled with over 30 years of restaurant successes. Now with former Per Lei chef, Fabrizio De Togni, recently taking over the kitchen, the food is being kicked up a notch to match the ultra-chic space and the posh crowd of Upper East Siders filling it.

The space, an airy bi-level locale on the corner of 85th and Second Avenue, boasts a festive and creative atmosphere that makes the perfect backdrop for Chef De Togni’s robustly flavorful food. With large floor to ceiling windows, ample amounts of natural light, and wraparound sidewalk seating, there’s no bad seat in the house. The colors of the decor reflect the restaurant’s energy—vibrant red tones color artfully arranged tiles on the side walls and bar, as well as the restaurant’s signature leather tray ceiling. Eclectic pop art by Warhol and Keith Herring hangs on the walls of both the main dining room and the second floor, which also features space for private parties and romantic balcony seating—all in all, the spacious restaurant and its hospitable staff capture the warmth of the Italian spirit and create the perfect dynamic atmosphere for its standout culinary offerings.

Ciao Bella’s strength lies in the harmonious partnership between owner and chef. Proietti’s desire to let his chefs flourish and explore their creativity has been one of his secrets to success in the past, and Chef De Togni relishes in his creative freedom. With 20 years of experience around the world to fuel him with limitless inspiration, De Togni has the perfect set of tools to hone Proietti’s vision.olive_oil

De Togni’s influences date back to his early youth, when he spent hours admiring his father’s confectionary work at the bakery he owned in the center of Milan. His career took off in the same city: he attended the CFP Vellesana Sondalo Culinary School and secured his first kitchen job as helper at La Greppia before working his way towards a position as Sous Chef of La Tradizionale, a regional fish and seafood restaurant.

De Togni’s professional pursuits then took him on a voyage around the world when he took on the responsibility of launching a branch of the famous Paper Moon in Istanbul, Turkey, a role that would lead him to cook in subsequent Paper Moon kitchens around the world, and eventually leading him to New York City. It was here that De Togni’s talents and Proietti’s entrepreneurial vision met paths; within two years of arriving, De Togni was whipping up signature dishes like Pappardelle Cocoa Duck Ragu that quickly propelled Per Lei to its vast popularity. Now at Ciao Bella, De Togni has used his worldwide experience to develop an unquestionably Classic Italian menu that’s sure to please.

Diners may begin with an array of De Togni’s signature crudis: tuna with avocado, Gaeta olives, and sesame seeds; salmon with avocado and cucumber; and a blue crab and mango ceviche with orange dressing. Carciofi alla Romana, or Pan-Fried “Burnt” Artichokes generously doused in Ciao Bella’s signature olive oil are dangerously addicting—the olive oil is available for purchase at the restaurant, and this dish makes it a real temptation. Those who stick to the classics will be pleasantly surprised by the Tortino di Melanzane alla Parmigiana, a variation of Eggplant Parmigiana served with 18 months aged Parma Ham. A house favorite, it’s the perfect example of how fatty, heavy dishes typically associated with Italian cooking can be lightened up and modernized, providing a perfect balance of sweet and salty.

The list of pastas and primi piatti is plentiful, though each requires extensive work—all pastas are made fresh in house. Risotto Carnaroli comes flavored with gorgonzola rather than parmesan; its strong flavor is perfectly counterbalanced by sweet apple chunks and earthy, spicy green peppercorn. Paccheri al Tonno Fresco, oversized rigatoni with fresh blue fin tuna, Gaeta olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs, are artfully prepared, while a regular special of Fettucine with Veal Shank dazzles with a non-tomato, non-cream based sauce that is a mysterious as it is satisfying.

Main courses are plentiful and well balanced, including a Saltimbocca Alla Romana, or Veal Scallopini with Parma Ham and sage, all served alongside roasted potatoes and spinach. The health conscious will find great pleasure in the Salmone Scozzese Organico, a grilled organic salmon served with baby bok choy and sweet peppers, all drizzled with a ginger-infused olive oil that adds a perfectly subtle hint of exoticism—it’s a perfect example of a healthy yet robustly flavorful dish. For a real treat, diners can opt for the Carre’d’Agnello, or American rack of Lamb, which is grilled rather roasted and served with eggplant, diced lemon, and a pignoli vinaigrette that lightens up the dish and adds a pop of unexpected flavor.

Dinner at Ciao Bella would not be complete without dessert, and all items are made fresh in house each day. A Millefoglie Espressa comes layered with puff pastry, cream Chantilly, strawberries, and a caramelized Porto wine sauce that adds a layer of sophistication to a comfort classic. The real showstopper is perhaps the simplest dessert—a Carpaccio d’Ananas, or Pineapple Carpaccio, which has been marinated over night with cinnamon and star anise and is served with lemon sorbet. Refreshing, unusual, and puzzlingly simple, it’s a dessert that’s not to be missed.

One of the factors contributing to the standout execution of the food is simply the quality of the ingredients that the restaurant uses on a day to day basis. Ciao Bella does not use purveyors; instead, the ingredients are sourced directly from farmer’s markets multiple times a week, emphasizing freshness and quality over convenience and cost. De Togni also goes out of his way to find unusual ingredients that are little known and difficult to find.

Following the same philosophy is Giorgio Manzio, Ciao Bella’s sommelier and recurring winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. He says of the wine program, “We may not carry every Pinot Grigio from Italy, but we make sure we carry all of the best ones,” emphasizing that it’s not how many bottles are in their cellar, but how good they are and what kind of value they provide the customer. A large majority of those bottles are Italian, with many strong choices in the $40 price range (a great bargain), while glasses are available from a wider geographic range in red, white, and champagne varieties. Keen to offer a bargain at any price point, even Manzio’s most high end wines, which range up to $9,000 a bottle, are significantly less expensive than at other restaurants, as Manzio sourced each bottle directly by auction to ensure the best price possible. Manzio’s list is organized cleverly by region rather than varietal—assisting in what he calls “pairing by analogy,” or geographical pairings between wine and food—and earning him another Wine Spectator award in Ciao Bella’s first year.


Copyright 2009 By Punch In International, All Rights Reserved








200 Guitarists (and 16 Bassists) Selected to Perform Rhys Chatham’s

A Crimson Grail (Outdoor Version) in its World Premiere on August 8

meshel Acclaimed si

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nger, songwriter and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello will co-headline Lincoln Center Out of Doors’ concert in Damrosch Park on August 7, sharing a bill with Raul Midón. She replaces Rokia Traoré (previously announced) whose scheduled U.S. tour has been postponed. Ndegeocello blends jazz, funk, rock, rap and soul as she continues to develop the “neo-soul” genre she is credited with sparking. In the early 90’s, Ndegeocello was signed to Madonna’s Maverick recording label, one of the label’s first female artists. She has collaborated with Lenny Kravitz, the Indigo Girls, Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Vanessa Williams, among others. Some of her most memorable performances were ones where she joined forces with Chaka Khan and John Mellencamp. Ndegeocello’s albums, which fearlessly tackle racial, sexual and social subjects, have not only gained her 10 Grammy nominations but also international acclaim.

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