For our final meal of the trip to Charleston, we went to the often difficult to reserve Fig with a couple that I’m friends with who live nearby. I managed to score a last minute reservation at 9:15pm, and we ended up closing down the joint at close to midnight. It turned out to be our overall best meal of the trip. Let’s get into it…
We started with a bunch of items that we all shared. Broiled oysters aji dolce, chicken liver pate, raw hogfish (similar to snapper) with rice and popcorn (crazy!), lamb bolognese ricotta gnocchi, and wagyu beef tartare.
These were, each of them, all-star level dishes, and I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite among them. I would order each of them again in a heartbeat, but I think I was most surprised by the hogfish. It was so unique, and I’m a sucker for popcorn. The gnocchi was definitely meant to be a main dish, but we shared among the four of us.
For mains, we also went heavy with five dishes. Baked wreckfish, sautéed flounder, mustard crusted swordfish, Berkshire pork milanese and lump crab spaghetti with lemon and bottarga.
Again, everything really incredible. I think, though, what stood out the most to me was the swordfish. The capers and mustard crust really paired beautifully with the medium-rare cooked fish. Loved it!
For dessert, we went with these lemon curd cream puffs, which were really nice.
I highly recommend Fig if you’re in Charleston. Absolutely delicious!
Veronika is the restaurant inside the Fotografiska photography museum on Park Avenue near 23rd street. My wife took me here for dinner, and I have to say, everything was pretty great.
We started with two tartares: uni and tuna, and wagyu. I liked the wagyu better but both were really nicely executed.
This German style veal shnitzel with a fried egg on top was the perfect shared course for the middle of the meal. I think the batter could have used a bit of salt after it came out of the fryer, but the capers with anchovy in them definitely added salt to the bites we had with them.
For our mains, we did the bone in strip and the lamb saddle.
Between the two, the lamb was much better. Nice and roasty. Perfect. The strip was dry aged but again it could have used a touch more salt. Perfectly cooked though. 8/10.
For dessert, we had an interesting take on strawberries and cream, served inside a meringue tube of sorts. Here are the before and after pics.
I would definitely go back here again! The food was great, and the ambiance was absolutely stunning.
281 Park Ave. South
New York, NY 10010
I had been eyeballing Press Club Grill for a while because they have some nice looking large format items, so when @Jennerous_Eats suggested that we go as a foursome on her press invite, I was psyched to do so.
We tried a LOT of stuff, so let me get to it.
First, sourdough bread with fancy piped butter. The butter was a little on the cold side (not as spreadable as you would think for the shape), but I imagine they need to keep that cold so it doesn’t lose its structure or melt.
Next up, steak tartare. This was great! It reminded me of the new version they serve at The Lambs Club, but with a shrimp chip instead of toasted bread of potato chips.
The generous folks at Press Club Grill brought us out a trio of additional starters with the summer salad, the crab rangoon, and the buffalo carrots.
I was stunned by how much I enjoyed the buffalo carrots. They really ate like eat in texture. Also, the crab rangoon was light on that “cream cheese” flavor, so we all enjoyed that as well. Even the salad was bright, fresh and flavorful. Hits all around.
We also tried this mushroom ravioli pasta, which was very nicely executed. The broth was really flavorful and could have doubled as a consomme.
Alright, now on to the big stuff. First, the chicken schnitzel.
This was nice and juicy, but the breading didn’t cling very well to the meat. No matter though, I still enjoyed. It came with a little bowl of spaetzl and a beautifully smooth cream sauce on the side.
The beef Wellington was a sight to behold.
Once sliced, you could really see how perfectly executed it was.
Everything from the bright medium rare pink center to the crispy outer edge of the pastry dough was spot on… Enhance…
I would definitely recommend this. The only thing I will say is that it was a bit too heavily salted. I’m not sure if it was the duxelles or something in those outer layers, or maybe too much finishing salt, but I still give it 8/10. Stunning.
Next (oh yeah, we still had more…), was the duck three ways, but they call it Duck a L’Orange for two.
The first of the three ways was a perfectly seared pair of crispy crusty skinned duck breasts a l’orange style.
This was our favorite dish of the night. Big winner. The skin was so crisp and rendered out with textbook level skill, and there was a minimal amount of that nasty bittersweet boozy orange flavor you often get with that style. In fact it ate more Szechaun to me than French. Wonderful.
The second way for the duck was a bowl of wontons. I wished there were more!
The third way was this garlicky duck fried rice. It was lacking in crisp texture on the rice, but still tasty.
For dessert, we tried nearly everything except the baked Alaska (next time). The crowd favorite seemed to be the bananas Foster creme brulee.
My photos here don’t do the beauty justice, so make sure you watch the Ride & Review above.
I wasn’t a huge fan of either the cherries jubilee or the popsicle, though both really were nicely presented.
I think next time I want to try the porterhouse and the baked Alaska for sure. I’m also wondering if this joint needs to be placed into the “steakhouse” category. I’m just not sure. I didn’t do it for The Grill or Monterey, which are similar concepts, so I guess I’ll hold the line and say that this isn’t a steakhouse.
The PR folks who are helping manage the newly opened Palermo Bistro (right on restaurant row) invited me in for a dinner to feature their Parrillada mixed Argentinian grill platter. Here’s what my wife and I had:
First, the Vitel Tone, which is similar to vitello tonnato – the Tuscan dish often made with veal (as the name suggests), or even wild boar, that tastes like tuna. This was great here, made with veal eye round and anchovy.
Next was the octopus, which was very tender inside and crisp outside.
I paid a little extra for this NY strip milanese (along with a drink), because I had to try it out. It was excellent!
That was really all I wanted when I saw the menu online, but the parrillada was better than I expected. Generally, these things let me down, but here, we loved the blood sausage and the hanger steak the most.
On the side, we had mashed potatoes, broccolini and humita, which was similar to a cheese and polenta dish.
For dessert, we had the banana bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. I liked this because it wasn’t too sweet, as many bread puddings can be.
Cocktails and bread service was nice.
I also liked the wall decor.
Give this place a shot – especially for the veal app and the milanese!
First, check out this kickass Ride & Review video HERE:
– link –
My wife sent me an Instagram post from this place about a special burrata and mortadella app they were running. When I realized how close it was to our place, I called up and grabbed a reservation for dinner later that day. The food on their account looked awesome, and I’m always looking to try neighborhood joints like this.
The meal was incredible. First, let me say that the table bread was so good! They had an onion focaccia and some Italian bread, served with olive oil (watch the video to see it).
We started with that special burrata app, which had spicy salami, prosciutto and mortadella along with the burrata.
Next up, fritto misto, with calamari, shrimp and zucchini. LOTS of the seafood. Great portion!
We also had the grilled calamari, which is marinated in olive oil for a day before being grilled. This was lovely.
For the second half of the meal, we did two pastas and their smoked mozzarella chicken parm.
Although the cheese wasn’t bubbly or melted out, the dish was still really great. The chicken was pounded out enough to be tender, but not so thin that it lost juiciness.
The first pasta was a Sorrento style long, thick ribbon called scialatiella.
I love a thick pasta, and this was easily one of my favorite pasta dishes of the year.
Cavatelli with sausage, peas, and mushrooms in a white truffle cream sauce was next. This was so damn tasty. Cavatelli is typically my favorite pasta shape. All the pasta here is hand made in house, and really well made at that.
For dessert we tried the panna cotta. This was so smooth, creamy and delicious. The berry compote on the bottom was just the right amount of sweet acidity to cut that rich creaminess.
What a meal! We plan to be regulars here, and we can’t wait to go back. Check out the bottom line of the receipt. That shit had me cracking up!
First, check out this quick Ride & Review video HERE:
I had no idea what to expect when I came here. I had never really had Austrian food before, other than the similarities that overlap with German cuisine. I was blown away by the quality and flavor of everything here.
My wife and I started with some drinks. I stuck with beer, because, well, Austria! My wife had this really amazing apple, cinnamon and beet juice cocktail called Mary’s Secret that was really incredible.
We started with the fried hen of the woods mushrooms, which were perfectly cooked and crispy all around. I loved these.
Next up: the Austrian veal and pork meatballs. WOW! These were served with a mushroom gravy and crispy sunchokes. AMAZING!
The burger, while a bit salty, was really deliciously crafted. The patty was a loose blend of hanger and brisket which stayed tender and juice from end to end.
The bacon and house made mayo, combined with a well-seasoned patty and some melty cheddar, just kicked the salt levels up a bit too much. But I really did enjoy this burger.
The burger also came with herb fries and a dup of really nice dips: a house made ketchup, which ate more like a dark, horseradish based steak sauce (delicious), and dijonnaise.
We also ordered the pork schnitzel, which was easily the best schnitzel I’ve had.
It came with a trio of miniature sides: cucumbers in a creamy yogurt type sauce, muddled lingonberry jam, and potato salad. These, along with the lightly dressed greens, made for a very generously sized entree at just $32.
For dessert, The Royal Nussbaum (spiked hot chocolates) and a really well crafted apple strudel with schlag and creamy vanilla ice cream.
I will definitely be back here again to try more of the menu, specifically the spaetzle and pates.
The restaurant takes over the space formerly held by Landmarc inside The Shops at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle.
They’re serving up really nice, innovative cocktails in a chic, eclectically decorated bar.
The menu is decidedly Roman in it’s inspiration, with pasta dishes that feature cacio e pepe and alla gricia stylings. The pasta shapes are also slightly off the beaten path, with garganelli, cappalletti and mafaldine in the mix. We went with the cappelletti bistecca, which was filled with what tasted like tender short rib and topped with a delicious 20yr balsamic.
For starters, we tried the chilled artichoke. It was simply steamed and served with two sauces; a cream sauce and an Italian inspired chimichurri of sorts. A very light starter.
The real stars of our starters were these porchetta style baby back ribs. They had great texture and bite, and the flavors were nicely balanced between savory, sweet and acidic/bitter. We loved these.
For the main courses here, you won’t find a heavy steak selection like at other Quality Branded restaurants. The main reason is that there’s competition inside the Time Warner Center with Porter House Bar & Grill. Bad Roman limits their steak selection to only the filet (mind you, it can be prepared four different ways). But Bad Roman does really well with their other meat selections, like a pork shoulder chop, a veal milanese, and this massive veal shank osso buco with hand ripped and pinch-folded pappardelle pasta.
At $125, this is meant for two people (possibly even four if everyone were to get their own starter). This was a special, so if it interests you in any way, book your table now before it gets swapped out for something new!
Desserts were fun as well, with a deconstructed cannoli (like chips and dip), as well as a lemon cheesecake inside of a chocolate lemon shaped shell!
I will definitely be going back here to try more of the menu. Congratulations to Quality Branded on this new opening, and congratulations to my buddy Gaetano, who is running the joint. I met him way back when I first started reviewing steakhouses, probably in 2012 or 2013, at Quality Italian. He’s come a long way, and he’s done such great things for the restaurant group. I’m a proud fan!
After a second visit, I can safely say this place deserves all the hype it gets. The pastas are all great, especially the shrimp garganelli (not pictured).
The veal Milanese is great.
As is the veal chop.
Even the fries are unique and tasty, dusted with the same porchetta spice that’s on the ribs.
The pork shoulder was just okay, but I love that it came with escarole.
We tried a shitload of starters too, all of which are great. I think the crowd favorite was the garlic babka though.
This time for dessert we tried the tiramisu ice cream cake and the sticky toffee panettone. The cake was a little too hard (needed to thaw more), and the panettone could do without the candied rinds on top. Otherwise great. And I loved that house made sambuca!
10 Columbus Cir.
New York, NY 10019
The best way to get a feel for this restaurant is to watch my Ride & Review video on YouTube:
But for the traditionalists out there, here’s a breakdown of everything we had:
These were beautifully presented.
Seriously delicious and addictive. The outer shell is thin and crispy, and inside is a delicious explosion of high end Spanish ham and cheese.
Yes. With some creamy ricotta on the bottom, this really took the starters over the top.
4. Iberico Ham
This was some seriously high quality stuff. Melts in your mouth!
I really dig this spicy beef version of my favorite pasta style, cavatelli.
Probably one of the top three dishes of the night. The Iberico pork ragu was nuts!
3. Curry Lamb Bechamel Lasagna
This is a game changer! Make sure you get this. If you like cumin lamb szechuan noodles, you will love this Italian take on it.
This squid ink “pasta paella” was my favorite dish of the night. The squid was perfectly cooked, and the pasta was so tasty.
1. Iberico Pork Meatballs
This works as a shared starter too, but I could eat this every day. This is also top three of the meal.
2. Short Rib
So tender and flavorful. Ruben does a similar dish at his other restaurants and all of them are great.
3. Chicken Milanese
This could benefit from a slightly flatter pounding, but there was a sweetness to this from either apricot or honey that was incredible.
1. Whole Fish
Perfectly deboned and beautifully presented.
Save some sourdough bread to drag through the deeply flavorful sauce that comes with the perfectly cooked mussels.
These Spanish style garlic and spicy oil shrimp were absolutely perfect.
We had the broccolini with Romesco sauce. Even the veg here is off the charts good.
The radicchio salad was also really nice, with poached pears and walnuts.
I’ve said it before with Nai, Emilia and Amigo: Ruben deserves a Michelin star at his restaurants. Everything he puts out is delicious and innovative. He’s one of the city’s most under the radar chefs. So much talent! I highly recommend all four of his restaurants.