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The NoMad has various rooms. We were seated in the Parlour which has lots of dark wood and red velvet. It's both sexy and upscale. Though the NoMad is marketed as more casual than Eleven Madison Park where Daniel Humm is also the executive chef, it's still too formal and expensive to be an "every day" destination. It's a great place to celebrate a special occasion or to impress a date.
And if your goal is to impress, NoMad's amazing food and impeccable service are sure to do the trick. I had the Radicchio Salad, Bone Marrow and Roasted Chicken. I have pictures and detailed descriptions of each dish on my blog but in short - the chicken is worth its hefty price tag. It's that good. Words can't really do it justice - you just have to taste it for yourself.
It had been a year since I'd been to Socarrat in Chelsea. The tapas are still good, but not as great as I remember them. Here are the plates my friend and I shared last Tuesday:
* Croquettes - this is good, but how can you go wrong with something that's fried on the outside and filled with creamy goodness on the inside.
* Steamed asparagus - the dish lacks texture, there is no crunch to the asparagus and there's so much oil that it overpowers the parsley.
* Grilled zucchini, red pepper and cheese - this is also swimming in oil. I put the cheese and red pepper on toast - much better.
* Grilled squid - my friend really liked this but I found the squid a tad too chewy.
* Lamb special - I really liked this. Very gamey served with a roasted clove of garlic.
I am frankly surprised by the glowing reviews for Ushiwakamaru. What is all the fuss about? I went there with 2 friends on Tuesday. I arrived about 10 minutes late for our 6:30 reservations to find my friends basically huddled in the corner of the sushi bar, between the wall and the only other patron at the bar. I asked if we could move since there was no one else there, but was told the other seats were all reserved. When you call for a reservation, do you specify you want the fifth seat from the wall? I didn't make our reservations but I will have to ask my friend who did.
Anyway, moving on to the food. We started with the salad which was ok. The edamame was great. And then we had the $75 omakase. All of the fish was fresh and we got a nice variety, but 12 sushi pieces later, all 3 of us were still hungry. So much so that we ordered another 2 rolls.
Though we got to try white shrimp which was pretty incredible, what was most memorable about this dining experience was the price tag.
Fedora is small and the ambiance is very cozy and intimate. Everyone who works there is very nice. And the menu is excellent. I ordered 4 dishes. I wish I had room for 5 because one look at the beef tartar and I wanted that too. It's not your typical steak tartar. It's served with pickled beets and horseradish and it's fantastic (I did get a taste).
Here are the dishes I had:
* Smoked mussel toast - must have
* Squid & duck confit salad (special of the day) - highly recommend
* Scallops and pepper confit - must have
* Bowl of greens - skip
We also had the sugar pie and cheesecake panna cotta for dessert. Both are must haves.
I went to The Darby last night and I loved it. The live performance was great and so were the food and service. A great supper club experience.
My friend and I shared the oysters, the brussels sprouts and the lobster newburg.
A big thanks to our waitress Gretchen who was great.
The downstairs is a traditional club and a totally different scene than the upstairs. I'm not really into clubs but it's worth checking out while you're there.
If you're looking for something different, go to The Darby.
Lady Gaga recently attributed her fuller body to the delicious Italian food served at her father's restaurant. So on a whim, my friend and I decided to go check out this delicious fare for ourselves, neither one of us knowing much about Joanne Trattoria.
The space is very charming and welcoming. The people who work there are very nice. Those are the only positives about the place. The food is bland and overpriced with little imagination in terms of the presentation (I had the romaine salad and the chicken).
And apparently they only had one waiter working on a Friday night so service was very slow. Once we got our meals, our waiter didn't come around again for me to even order a second glass of wine. To his credit, he did give us our coffees on the house.
The association with Lady Gaga may be enough to draw in first-time customers like me, but the food does nothing to warrant a second visit. It's a shame considering it's a great space.
I discovered Cotta on Saturday night and what a find. The place is charming and the food is delicious - the best Italian, and pizza, I've had on the Upper West Side.
There were five of us and we shared the Funghi Misti pizza, an assortment of Bruschette and the Brussel Sprouts to start. I also ordered the ceasar salad and asked for it with the appetizers but our server misunderstood and thought I wanted it with my main meal. No biggie - it was worth the wait because it actually helped balance the richness and texture of the House-Made Pappardelle which is served with braised pork ragu, zucchini, and parmigiano.
All in all a great dining experience. I'll definitely be back to Cotta.
I was meeting an old friend for a long overdue catch up and she suggested we meet at Market Table - a fantastic choice. The restaurant is quaint with a relaxed, rustic feel. And the food is top notch.
My friend started with the honeydew & yellow tomato gazpacho. She raved about it, confirming it's as delicious as it is pretty. I had the beet salad for my starter. Gorgeous beets are served with goat's cheese, horseradish crème, hazelnuts and dill. I love dill and the herb gave the dish an extra flavor boost that set this salad apart from most beet salads. YUM!
For our main dish, we both ordered the Veal Cutlet which I highly recommend. The veal is dredged in flour and fried. It's served with artichokes barigoule (artichokes braised in wine with mushrooms), celery root puree and topped with radishes that add texture to the dish. It was mouth-watering delicious. I had to ask for extra bread to scoop up the broth and puree.
Last Thursday, I met two of my friends at Ed's Lobster Bar, which had been recommended to me by another friend.
The place is adorable. You can almost forget you're in SoHo and pretend that you're in a seaside restaurant in Cape Cod. It has a very beachy, casual atmosphere. And with red denim a fashion trend this season, many of the patrons were even rocking what's traditionally the Cap Cod look.
The staff at Ed's Lobster Bar is very friendly and laid back. Our server recommended the Lobster Roll which is served with fries and pickles. I went with his recommendation, getting the lobser on a butter roll. Our server was nice enough to substitute a salad for the fries, agreeing to my request to have romaine lettuce instead of regular mixed greens which is the typical substituion. I just really wanted the crispiness of the romaine as a texture contrast to the "mushy" lobster roll.
The result was an amazing dish. Put the pickles on top of the roll - YUM! Ed's Lobster is going to be an ongoing destination for me and the Lobster Roll will be my must-have. If you like lobster, check this place out. You won't be disappointed.
I went to Raoul's for the first time last Tuesday. The decor is a mix of modern and old school. My friend and I met there at 6 and were told they would need the table back by 8. We started out ordering exactly the same thing: the Bigeye Tuna Tartar and the Warm Octopus Salad.
I say started out because we both ended up returning the tuna - it was just way too salty, even for me who typically likes salty foods. The dish is beautiful. The tuna is topped with a grilled squid salad and mixed with mango and avacado. Unfortunately, the sodium from the soy marinade overpowered all other flavors. But the manager was very friendly and immediately took the plates away, letting us know we would not be charged. And he gave us a complimentary glass of wine. Now that's what I call great service.
The Warm Octopus Salad is as delicious as it is pretty with lots of flavors and texture. But as far as octopus dishes go, Fishtag's Smoked Octopus still tops my list.
In place of the tuna tartar, I ordered the steak tartar. It was okay, but a bit bland. I've had better.
One of my friends described Raoul's as a wintry place. She may be right.
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