Benares Midtown is located at 240 W. 56th Street between 8th Avenue and Broadway, 212-397-0707, http://www.benaresnyc.com and is open for lunch Mon-Sunday from 11:30am-2:45pm. Dinner is served daily from 5pm-10:30pm.
Benares Tribeca is well known for its remarkably diverse Indian cuisine and excellent service. But what many people don’t realize is that the first Benares, created as a collaboration between owner Inder Singh and Chef Peter Beck (formerly of Tamarind Tribeca and Chola) is actually located in Midtown—serving some of the best Indian food in the Manhattan, and definitely the most diverse and creative. Service, under the direction of the energetic manager Nitin Jairath, is outstanding: Perhaps the best of any Indian restaurant in New York.
Every 100 miles in India the food changes, from the Eastern areas influenced by China to the abundance of chilies for cooling purposes in the South. Like the Tribeca location, Benares Midtown features specialties from all 28 states of India, but in a setting that suits its midtown location. The midtown kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Surjeet Rajput who worked at five-star properties in India and the well-respected House of India in Bermuda before coming to the U.S. to cook at Devi as chef de cuisine. He brings his considerable talent and over 20 years of experience to Benares Midtown, collaborating with and executing the original menu Chef Beck created for both Benares locations.
One thing that distinguishes Benares Midtown is the very popular lunch buffet (not available in Tribeca). The buffet is perfect for workday lunches (saves time in ordering!), but is also available seven days a week, which makes it a great place for theatergoers and tourists to experience the distinctive cuisine that Benares Midtown offers on the weekends. The secret to the quality of the buffet is that each of the options (three appetizers, three main meat courses, four vegetarian mains, four chilled salads, two desserts, breads, as well as condiments) that are offered each day are prepared only in small batches which are continuously replenished and served at optimal temperature throughout the entire lunch service. The menu changes daily, but a typical spread might be composed of meat dishes such as tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, goat, lamb or shrimp curries; and vegetarian dishes such as saag paneer, baingan mirch ka salan, delectable baby eggplant simmered in coconut with curry leaf-flavored curry and lush dal makhani, slow-cooked black lentils in butter and tomato sauce; and rice dishes such as basmati rice with cumin or peas pulao, saffron rice with peas. Desserts may include terrific gulab jamun, honey-soaked dumplings, and narangi kheer, orange-flavored rice pudding. The full a la carte menu is also available during lunch and dinner.
There are also several dishes that are exclusive to Benares Midtown, dishes with a particular focus on shellfish: appetizers such as angoori jhinga, grilled tandoori shrimp with ginger, garlic, green chilies and grape relish is the best shrimp creation we ever met in a NY Indian restaurant and crab milagu, a generous mound of lump crab meat seasoned with spiced pepper and roasted tomato is so delicious that you might want a second portion. There are also special seafood entrees such as iggaru royya, shrimp simmered in a rich coconut gravy flavored with star anise and kekada kari, a traditional nadan kerala style crab curry. Other intriguing entrees that are available only at Benares Midtown include kozhi varutha curry, a South Indian specialty, chicken cooked with roasted chili, ginger and garlic in coconut sauce and jodhpuri takari, a vegetarian tomato and onion based stew of soft tofu, soy beans and baby corn.
The well-edited global wine list was specially selected to pair with Indian spices and flavors. Most of the wines are available by the glass or by the bottle. The light sweetness of the Washington State Chateau St. Michelle Riesling offsets the spiciness of the food, and the fruitiness of the Handcraft California pinot noir is a good match for lamb and chicken dishes. There’s also a choice of 11 beers including Kingfisher and Taj Mahal. There’s also a creative cocktail list that incorporates the flavors of India, as well as alcohol-free yogurt beverages—the traditional lassi in plain, sweet and salted, mango, and rose flavors.
Benares Midtown is without doubt an Indian restaurant that should on the list any diner that enjoys the real thing, with a creative bent and service that matches the food,
Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.
The Jewel Box Interior of Armani/Ristorante 5th Avenue
Armani/Ristorante 5th Avenue is open for lunch and dinner daily Monday-Wednesday (11:30a.m. – 10:00p.m.), Thursday-Saturday (11:30a.m. – 11:00p.m.) and until 5 p.m. on Sunday (lunch and an Italian style Saturday and Sunday brunch service begins at 11:30 a.m.) 717 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street, 212.207.1902
As Summer descends upon New York City a bounty of beautiful dishes are gracing the menu at the stylish Armani/Ristorante 5th Avenue, where Executive Chef Roberto Deiaco continues to wow diners with his gorgeously composed dishes, keeping the essence of classic Italy and infusing a modern twist.
Giorgio Armani collaborated with innovative architects Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas to design the 5,200-square-foot restaurant and bar, which offers a stunning view overlooking Fifth Avenue. The multi-level store was conceived as a single, fluid space brought together by a central staircase. The restaurant’s beige walls, black floors and ceilings, and metal fixtures, all come together to provide a suave feel that evokes movement and fluidity. Special attention has also been paid to the lighting, which appears invisible and creates a theatrical mood. The hidden lighting emphasizes the use of curves, a consistent feature found throughout the restaurant and store.
The Amazing Vitello Tonnato (thinly-sliced roast veal loin, topped with velvety tuna-caper sauce, citrus segments, and pantelleria island capers).
Armani’s antipasti features an abundance of seasonal ingredients in dishes such as SPARAGI BIANCHI, white asparagus with chervil zabaglione, and house-smoked duck carpaccino and a beautifully presented dish with the best from the sea CRUDITÀ DI MARE, red beet and orange-marinated wild branzino barpaccio, blue fin tuna tartar, fresh oyster, and green apple-marinated langoustine with Italian caviar. For those salad lovers there is MISTICANZA PRIMAVERILE, a crisp salad of Cipollini Onions, Chiodini Mushrooms, Baby Peppers, Baby Zucchini, Asparagus, Radish, and Fava Beans and chef Deiaco’s own INSALATA NIZZARDA a Niçoise salad with seared tuna, haricort vertes, tropea onions, olives, pachino tomatoes, and poached quail egg.
One dish not on the menu, sparkling fresh Mediterranean langoustines, are served raw in a hauntingly light sauce topped with fresh caviar. Worthy of a detour in itself and probably the best langoustines we have encountered this side of the Atlantic, we hope they will become a house signature.
Sure to be a favorite of Chef Deiaco’s is a selection of homemade pasta dishes such as TONNARELLI AL NERO, squid ink tonnarelli pasta tossed with baby calamari, tender tuna belly, lemon zest, and sage topped with air-dried tuna roe, the LASAGNETTA PRIMAVERILE, with thyme-roasted spring vegetables and decadent Parmesan cheese fondue as well as the RISOTTO AI FIORI DI ZUCCA, a traditional zucchini blossom risotto with Mediterranean langoustine and cognac reduction.
Remarkable Tagliarelle Integrali (homemade whole wheat tagliarelle pasta with crispy "alto adige" speck, zigher cheese, and fava bea purée).
For those looking for bold flavors and a moment to indulge the Secondi Piatti include MAIALINO DA LATTE, a slow-roasted suckling pig served with sweet green peas and a herbed potato puree as well as the mouth wateringTAGLIATA DI MANZO, a buttery soft char-grilled prime “Red Angus” dry-aged steak, served with stewed Sorana beans, succulent bone marrow and mixed greens. Mediterranean langoustines are the star of the SCAMPI ALLA GRIGLIA, where they are marinated with sweet garlic, grilled and served with a fennel confit. Deiaco’s LOMBO D’ANGELLO, is a savory ode to Italian decadence, as this tender mustard and green olive-crusted Colorado lamb loin shows just the right amount of pink and is served with a Vermentino wine reduction.
Lasagnette Primaverile (homemade lasagnette with thyme-roasted spring vegetables and parmesan cheese fondue).
Armani/Ristorante offers an extensive collection of Italian, French, and American wines, as well as a full cocktail menu and offers their very own Sommelier Jim Clarke to assist diners in seamlessly pairing their selections with dishes.We adored his choice of a 2009 Elio Altare Campogrande Cinqueterre ($115). An elite wine form an elite winemaker, this unique wine evolved and complimented a variety of dishes throughout the meal.
An Aperitivo hour is available Monday through Saturday (5-8pm) when cocktails are served with a selection of complimentary savory bites such as Panzerotti, ascolana olives stuffed with veal, Arancini and spinach croquettes, prepared daily by Chef Deiaco. Their homemade bread is continuously produced throughout the day in small batches and includes an assortment grissini, cartamusica, white bread with oregano, salt bread, and hearty whole-wheat raisin walnut bread.
Do not forget to save room for Chef Deiaco’s inventive Dolci menu, which includes a SEMIFREDDO AI PISTACCHI DI BRONTE, a Bronte pistachio semifreddo with the essence of clementine and a warm chocolate caprese or his light and fluffy LA SFOGLIA NAPOLEON, with amaretto pastry creamed and bright seasonal berries. End the meal while refreshing your palate with the LA CROSTATINA PRIMAVERILE, a fresh spring fruit crostata with a tangy and sweet rhubarb sorbet.
Service is smooth and professional, and for a night on the town, here is New York’s new glittering star. For leaner wallets, there is a changing prix fixe menu, currently a steal at $34, as well as a la carte and a tasting menu for $85 (or and additional $65 with five interesting wines) Not to be missed and “Highly Recommended by The Walman Report” and rates A Major in the Luxury Italian league.
Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.