’21’ Reins as One of America’s Great Restaurant Classics

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21 W. 52nd Street (Between 5th & 6th Avenues). (212) 582-7200. Website: http://www.21club.com Secret Wine Cellar for private dining parties only from 14 to 22 guests. Open For Lunch, Mon.-Fri. Dinner: Mon.-Sat. Closed Sunday. ’21’ Features One of the World’s Finest Selection of Wines (1,300 selections over 125 wines are priced under $60. ) There are many Wines-By-The-Glass and a Fine Selection of Half Bottles at a remarkably low mark up over full bottles. _________________________________________________________

A True New York Legend, ’21’ is Better Than Ever

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Once a glamorous speakeasy, today ’21’ is one of the most celebrated restaurants in New York City.

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The Coveted Bar Room (Above))

In addition to its fabled Bar Room, this four-story townhouse features ten private dining rooms, including the legendary Prohibition-era Wine Cellar (which can be reserved for private parties). The world’s most glamorous saloon, is better than ever since Orient Express Hotels took it over and restored it to its past glory. The clientele is a mix of celebrities, tycoons, regulars and an attractive new young set.

The aforementioned "Bar Room," with its red-checkered-cloth-to-cloth tables, and whimsical toys on the ceiling is blessed with a warm greeting by ‘21’s Restaurant Manager, the amazing Christopher Smith, and some of the most professional service and best food in town.

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Executive Chef, John Greeley (Above)

While prices are not inexpensive (although no more than many less impressive restaurants around town), a $42 pre-fixe dinner ($37 pre-fixe lunch) qualifies as a bargain. An expanded wine list offers oodles of terrific selections for $60 and under. If you go a la carte, favored appetizers include a sparkling Chilled Seafood with  shrimp, oysters, clams, crab and an assortment of excellent sauces (or go for a selection of divinely  fresh oysters). Other choices include a chunky Ahi Tuna Tartare, pickled cucumbers, yuzu, ginger, miso dressing, taro chips or a succulent Sautéed Pork Belly, with sweet potato purée, pickled cabbage and cider reduction.

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All entrees are excellent.and carefully executed. The chef has a way with seafood, so whether you select a classic Dover Sole, grilled or sautéed to perfection, with perfect white asparagus and an elegant Champagne sauce, or Sautéed Arctic Char, with roasted potatoes, Bloomsdale spinach, crispy capers, in a light mustard sauce, you will be delighted.

For meat lovers the ‘21’ Burger on toasted Parker House bun, frisée, preserved tomatoes, sautéed onions, haricots verts and French fries; Chef Greeley’s Signature Mixed Grill, of wild boar chop, elk, Millbrook venison, rabbit sausage, with Brussels sprouts and huckleberry jus or the renown Speakeasy Steak Tartare with mixed greens,Champagne vinaigrette and rye toast are all superb.

One of the best dishes on the menu is also the value-oriented Roasted Organic Chicken with Tuscan spices, chanterelles and Tokyo turnips. Plump, moist and crispy, it is sheer perfection. Don’t mill the only interpretation of  the venerable Pommes Soufflées  that  ever made the grade in our book. A puff of air with a parchment exterior, they are absolute heaven.

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Desserts, by  are lush. I loved the the feathery Grand Marnier and Chocolate Soufflés, all Housemade Ice Creams, and  Apple Crumb Pie, with walnut streusel topping, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

And the helpful and knowledgeable  sommelier 21-somillier Philip W. Pratt, who has has been aboard for years, can find you a glass of terrific Champagne or wine that will accommodate any budget. One Champagne we suggest, if available, is the surprisingly affordable Champagne Aubry Brut Rose Jouy-les-Reims Premier Cru: This grower-Champagne from brothers Pierre and Philippe Aubry is a clear peach color, with a frothy mousse that falls back fairly fast, leaving a persistent bubble stream. 60% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 15% Assemblage Pinot Meunier. A fabulous find! The rest of the encyclopedic list is a joy and other discoveries abound.

The reception at “21” by Mark "Shaker" Naini (another fixture), is warm and welcoming and  “21”  remains one of America’s great restaurants that truly RATES its reputation as well as an A Major on the Walman Report.

 

Copyright 2013 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.

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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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