Tag Archives: Italian

Dinner: Stecchino

Stecchino is one of those restaurants that has something for the whole family. Restaurants like this are good when you are dining with people who have different tastes. Some people like steak; some people like pasta; some people like seafood. Stecchino is an Italian and American bistro, and there’s a dish here for everyone.  If you’re in Hell’s Kitchen and with a divergent group, this is a safe bet.  (A cool thing you should check out while you’re here is a 3D scene in a box in the floor.)

For an appetizer, we got eggplant fries with porcini mayo dip.  I’m not a fan of eggplant parmigiana, but I used to love to eat the fried eggplant that my mom set out on paper towels.  Eggplant fries are a cool variation of fries.

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What would an Italian restaurant be without clams?

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Chopped salad is popular these.  My friend got one.

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My friend got a pasta dish.

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Another friend of mine got penne with vodka sauce.

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I got shrimp scampi with linguine.  I thought they did skimp on the shrimp, and the pasta was almost sauceless.

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Dessert tortufo was good.

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I got a dessert sampler with bomboloni, Bailey’s Irish cream cheesecake and salted caramel ice cream.  This was the highlight of the meal, the bomboloni and ice cream being my favorite.

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Dinner: La Rivista

Restaurant Row is usually not my first stop for restaurant choices, as it can be touristy with mediocre food.  However, sometimes I’m in the mood for a touristy experience.  La Rivista is a classic New York-style Italian restaurant with white tablecloths and waiters that create a romantic atmosphere.  There’s a piano player that plays old songs like Broadway favorites and Frank Sinatra tunes.  The night I was there, there was a large party who got in on the fun and sang to the music.  The food is solid Italian with dishes from the different regions of Italy.  It does lean more toward a Northern Italian menu.

With your meal, they give you parmesan cheese with balsamic vinegar.

cheese

My friend’s appetizer was a special of the night.

appetizer

I got tomato and mozzarella salad.

tomatoes and mozzarella

For my entrée, I got a mushroom ravioli.

ravioli

My friend got shrimp risotto.

shrimp risotto

The desserts are classic New York Italian restaurant desserts. My friend got the cheesecake.

cheesecake

I got chocolate cake.

chocolate cake

Cool Food Blog

Manu’s Menu is a very cool food blog of a native Italian of Sicilian descent living in Australia.  Her husband is Indian, so her multicultural blog reflects Italian, Australian and Indian cuisine.  It is largely Italian, however, and the recipes are divided by regions of Italy.  It’s on point.  My family’s from Campania, and we traditionally make casatiello, the pastiera (but we call it pizza grano or wheat pie), pizza and rum baba.  There is a large section of Sicilian recipes.  Look at her amazingly gorgeous cassata cake.  I love cassatina, and hers look adorable.  Her St. Joseph’s Day sfinge look perfect.  A recent recipe is purple gnocchi on a parmigiano reggiano fondue, and it looks amazing!  I want to try the Australian damper bread too.

Weekend Whets 6/28

Italian Dine-Out, through July 6, 2013:  The Italian Trade Commission   announces Italian DINE-OUT,  New York City’s first Italian Restaurant Week to celebrate Italian gastronomy and culinary arts in the United States with an 11-day dining event.  Twenty three New York Italian restaurants will offer 3-course prix fixe menus at special discounted prices: $26 for lunch and $40 for dinner.

Night Market, Friday, June 28, 2013, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., The Old Bowery Station, 168 Bowery, LES, Manhattan:  Food tastings from NYC chefs, including Shanghai style noodles, empanadas, Colombian hot dogs, teriyaki balls, summer rolls, rendang curry, ice cream sandwiches and more along with a DJ.  Tickets $50.

Long Island City Flea, Saturday, June 29, 2013 and Sunday, June 30, 2013, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Long Island City, Queens:  Flea and food market of local vendors.

On the Chocolate Trail, Monday, July 15, 2013, 6:30 p.m., Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue at 40th Street, Manhattan:  Author Deborah R. Prinz discusses the history of the chocolate trade.

‘Cue Up Summer Party, Thursday, July 25, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Elizabeth Street Garden, 209 Elizabeth Street, between Prince & Spring Streets, New York:   From Tasting Table, Delaney Barbecue’s beef brisket, sweet-and-smoky pork ribs, giant beef ribs and house-made pickles; bites from TABASCO® Buffalo Style Hot Sauce; Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery chocolate chip cookies, Melt Bakery ice cream sandwiches and Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls; unlimited cocktails from Hendrick’s Gin and Monkey Shoulder, Santa Margherita wines, and Goose Island beers; live bluegrass music by The Defibulators and summer yard games.  Tickets $75.

Dinner: Sant Ambroeus

West Fourth Street in the West Village is one of my favorite streets, and it has a plethora of quaint and trendy restaurants.  On a few occasions, I’ve come to Milanese restaurant Sant Ambroeus looking for a table only to find it booked.  Forget about brunch there.  I was told I’d have to make reservations in advance two weeks for an outside table.  Whether or not that is true, I do not know, but this past Friday night, I was able to eat inside without a wait.  While the outdoor tables are cute because you get a great view of the Village, the interior of the restaurant is quite pleasant.  The space is intimate–perfect for a date.

While there were many appealing items on the menu, I went with the salmon special.  This salmon dish was wonderful.  You wouldn’t think much of the spinach topping, but it was so flavorful and went so well with salmon.

salmon

My friend ordered the strozzapreti and lobster special.  Well, my salmon was delicious, but I was jealous of his dinner because this dish was out of this world good.  (A side note on strozzapreti.  Translated, it means “priest strangler.”  My grandmother used to make these, and in her Neapolitan dialect, it was a different word.)

strozzapreti

For sides, we got sautéed Tuscan kale with tomatoes and pan roasted Brussels sprouts.  The kale was excellent.  The Brussels sprouts were blah, but we didn’t notice since the rest of the food was superb.

kale
Yes, Sant Ambroeus is known for its baked goods, and you would expect moi to get baked goods at a place known for such things. But I was full, and in New York fashion, I wanted to restaurant-hop and get dessert elsewhere. So I have an excuse to return to Sant Ambroeus.

Dinner: Tartina

This week for lunch, we had modern American cuisine at Rye House.  It’s only fitting we’d have modern Italian for dinner.  Tartina in Hell’s Kitchen is a comfortable cafe where the food is made to order and the desserts are homemade on site.  The day of our visit, we got the prix fixe dinner.  Our first course was a chilled cucumber soup.

Tartina cucumber soup

Second course was a ravioli.

Tartina ravioli

For third course, I got the branzino and vegetables.

Tartina branzino

My friend got steak with mashed potatoes and spinach.

Tartina steak

For dessert, I got the mixberry tart.

Tartina mixberry tart

My friend got the panna cotta

Tartina panna cotta

and we decided to split the strawberry crostata.

Tartina strawberry crostata

While I enjoyed the prix fixe menu, I’d like to return and order off the regular menu, a menu so decidedly Italian and enticing with items like sliced thin fresh baby artichoke with avocado salad, bread pudding with Italian panettone, carpaccio of pineapple sprinkled with bitter Campari and crespelle (crepes) filled with Parma cotto (ham), baked with heavy cream and Grana Padano.

Dinner Club: The Marrow

I’d heard so much (both good and bad) about The Marrow, Harold Dieterle’s new restaurant in the West Village, that I had to try it.  I’m a big fan of Perilla, so I figured I’d like the food at The Marrow too.  The concept is interesting, as Dieterle’s family tree is German and Italian, so the menu is broken into two columns, one representing the German side of his family and the other, the Italian.  If you are an aficionado of German or Italian food, do not go here thinking you will get any traditional dishes.  What Dieterle does is use ingredients from German and Italian cooking to create unique dishes.

chicken

For example, I got the grilled baby chicken from the Italian side–with fregula, fried salami, fava beans & smoked tomato vinaigrette.  For one, I was surprised with the plentiful portion.  Second, the chicken was so incredibly tender and juicy.  While the salad had tomato, fava beans, salami and farro, and the vinaigrette was tomato, it didn’t have an Italian flavor to it.  The salad was so refreshing and enjoyable, but it tasted more Middle Eastern to me than Italian.  The smoky tomato vinaigrette was a perfect accompaniment to the chicken, but its flavor was more reminiscent of American barbecue sauce than anything Italian.

I wanted to try something from both sides of the menu, so I got a German appetizer and an Italian entrée.  To start, I got the duck liverwurst with cornichons, green mustard and grilled bread.

liverwurst

For dessert, I got the rhubarb crostata with toasted almond and mascarpone ice cream, which was absolutely delicious.

rhubarb crostata

Julie, of the Texan New Yorker, got the crispy mortadella with muffuletta dressing.

mortadella

Her entrée was the polenta, a special, which she enjoyed very much.

polenta

I also really enjoyed the pretzel dinner roll with accompanying sweet mustard (German) and olive oil (Italian).

pretzel

mustard and olive oil

As I said, the food here is excellent, but just don’t go in expecting your standard bratwurst and spaghetti.