Detinos int1
891 1st Ave. (@ 50th St.) NYC

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.

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Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

destinos in2




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LabelPinot Gris comes in many different styles. At J,it is crisp, with bright fruit expression, and a touch of minerality. As always, it begins in the vineyard. The myriad of Russian River Valley estate vineyards provide fruit that comes from well-drained soils rich in nutrients. J’s  viticulturist works with each vineyard site to ensure that the soil type, vine canopy selection, natural pest management, and timing for the harvest pick are all aligned with our Winemaker’s vision for handcrafting Pinot Gris that is perfectly balanced with acidity and fruit. Not a small accomplishment given the fruit’s complexity.

Similar to their Chardonnays, they whole-cluster press the grapes utilizing our Coquard press minimizing harsh components from the grape skins mingling with the juice. The wine is fermented and cooled slowly in stainless steel tanks at 55 degrees to preserve the fruit’s integrity. No malolactic fermentation occurs during this process. After fermentation, aging in the stainless steel tanks begins for several months prior to bottling.Pinot Gris Sign


Whole grape clusters were hand-harvested, and then pressed gently to minimize the extraction of harsh components from the skins and seeds. The wine from each appellation was broken into multiple lots and exposed to a variety of yeasts. The wine was fermented and cooled slowly in stainless steel tanks at 55 degrees to preserve the freshness of the fruit. There was no malolactic fermentation in this process.


After fermentation the lots were aged separately in stainless steel tanks. Once the wine lots naturally settled and clarified, they were blended together. This allowed the development of a range of aromatic and flavor components that ultimately melded to create a layered, complex wine.


This Pinot Gris has an enticing bouquet of Fuji apple, ripe cantaloupe, and apricot. The crisp, clean mouthfeel is bursting with flavors of lemon and lime. A hint of kiwi and sweet orange blossom honey on the palate complements the fruit and acid. The lingering finish invites you to relax and enjoy another taste. In fact, it is the perfect sipper when entertaining with friends. This layered and well-balanced wine is a great accompaniment to a variety of foods, from Japan and Mexico, to India and China, all accented with a variety of spices.

APPELLATION: Clarksburg 62%; Monterey 16%; RRV 12%; Napa 10%

HARVEST DATE: August 31 – October 2, 2011

WINE ALCOHOL: 13.8 % by volume

WINE ACID: 6.3 grams per liter

WINE PH: 3.36


PRODUCTION: 36,000 cases

BOTTLING DATE: March 20 – April 10, 2012


SRP: $15

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Inn by the Sea’s Package

Inn by the Sea’s Twin Lobster Package

The Ultimate Maine Experience

At coastal Maine’s Inn by the Sea, set on a mile-long stretch of sandy Crescent Beach, nothing says "Maine" more than lobster. The Inn, located on scenic Cape Elizabeth just minutes from Portland, has created the Twin Lobster Package, which includes a lobster tasting dinner and a hands-on experience in a lobster boat.

Donning lobsterman’s overalls, guests set sail on the 37-foot Lucky Catch lobster boat into the heart of the calm waters of Casco Bay. Amidst the islands and the colonies of harbor seals, they get to haul lobster traps in the shadow of Maine’s most famous lighthouse, Portland Headlight. They’ll also learn about lobster habits, conservation efforts and the difference between hardshells, shedders, shorts, culls and keepers.

The day ends with a return to Inn by the Sea for a lobster tasting menu for two from Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich at Sea Glass restaurant. This five-course dinner includes Chef Mitchell’s signature mini lobster roll, his poached lobster & gnocchi as well as grilled lobster risotto and much more.

The Twin Lobster Package includes: 

  • Two nights in a one bedroom garden suite, spa suite, beach suite or traditional guest room accommodation
  • Dishing Up Maine cookbook featuring classic Maine lobster recipes
  • Gourmet breakfast for two daily
  • Lucky Catch lobster cruise for two
  • Lobster Tasting menu for two in Sea Glass Restaurant
  • Rates from $498.26 per night, with a two-night minimum
  • Twin Lobster package is available 5/23/13-10/14/13


Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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