Category Archives: Press Reviews

Allure

Allure is the new restaurant inside the Belleclaire Hotel on the upper west side, right on the corner of 77th and Broadway. The dining room has a beautiful skylight atrium overhead, almost like an old timey greenhouse.

My wife and I started with a round of delicious cocktails, my favorite of which was the smoked old fashioned, made with pistachio infused spirits.

Next, we had a trio of apps: prawns, tuna tartare and grilled baby cuttlefish. Of these, the prawns were definitely our favorite. The mole-esque sauce and spice levels were absolutely incredible.

For our mains, we had the rainbow trout with charred kale, olives and artichokes, along with the prime NY strip, which comes from Golden Packing.

Both were excellent, but, as predicted, the steak was the winner for me. The reverse was true for my wife.

The steak was a juicy and perfectly cooked center cut gem, smothered with a peppery au poivre cream sauce that I could drink every day. 9/10.

Served with florentino, a sort of broccolini meets cauliflower green-stalked flowering veggie, this is a steal of a composed meal at just $55. The steak was about 12oz. That’s blue cheese or gorgonzola on top, not butter.

We also did a side of mushrooms to go with this. Delicious.

For dessert, we had the “Nutella Kiss” with pistachio ice cream and merengue, and a creme brulee bread pudding. Both were top notch.

I would 100% go back here again. What a beautiful and delicious restaurant!

ALLURE
2175 Broadway
New York, NY 10024

Press Club Grill

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

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…

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.

PRESS CLUB GRILL
1262 Broadway
New York, NY 10001

Pappas Taverna

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This joint is beautiful inside.

It’s part of the Dream Hospitality group (Dream hotels, etc), so they really went all out. It’s huge, and at night there are belly dancers, fire shows, a DJ… It becomes a nightlife spot.

Nice cocktails to start, all Greek flavor inspired and named, like the Hera Spritz.

We started with the Pappas Chips, which are thin slices of eggplant and zucchini, fried and served with yogurt sauce.

I expected these to be a bit more crispy, but they were still tasty.

The grilled octopus was incredible. Probably one of the best I’ve had. Super tender.

The boneless rib eye was cooked perfectly and had a nice Greek flavor profile of spices and herbs. 8/10.

This lamb shank was the winning dish, though.

There had to be a pound or more of orzo in that pot, and the meat just fell off the bone. So tender, juicy and flavorful.

For dessert, we tried the baklava and the orange custard. Both really great, not too sweet, and large enough to share.

I would definitely go back!

PAPPAS TAVERNA
105 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10012

Sagaponack

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

My buddy Herb (@thesocialpause) invited me and The Cake Dealer here to help promote and take pictures of the new Sagaponack menu item for the 4th of July holiday weekend: A massive Korean inspired seafood boil, chock full of shrimp, mussels, lobster, manila clams, andouille sausage, corn and potatoes. It was a monster of a dish.

We made a huge dent in this, especially with the help of our other friends Jae (owner and chef at Nowon) and his wife Rebecca (an Instagram food buddy of ours from WAY back). We probably could have finished if we didn’t eat so much other stuff before it came out. At $35/pp this seafood boil is a steal, though. Look at this mountain:

Here’s what we had BEFORE the boil came out:

Two raw starters (fluka tartare and salmon crudo):

Some fried goodness (chicken, calamari, artichokes):

Tons of seafood (Spanish style shrimp, escargot style oysters, manila clams, and broiled oysters):

For dessert we had creme brulee topped with strawberries and a Thai tea milk cake (the cake was INCREDIBLE!).

I can’t wait to go back and try more. They have ‘nduja mussels as well as a hanger steak frites that I’d like to try in particular.

SAGAPONACK
4 W 22nd St
New York, NY 10010

Palermo Bistro

First, check out my Ride 7 Review video HERE:

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!

PALERMO BISTRO
373 W 46th St
New York, NY 10036

Benny John’s Bar & Grill

Benny John’s Bar & Grill overall score: 83

My wife and I came here as guests of the restaurant. They just opened last week, and they’re the same ownership team behind Atto Prime and Tudor City Steakhouse. Check out my Ride & Review video first, then read on.

Flavor: 9

We had the porterhouse for two. It was pretty great. Excellent crust, perfectly overcooked, and it was very tender. It was a bit mild on the dry aged flavor, and that’s why I took a point.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

There’s a good selection of prime cuts here all day long, and everything is aged in-house.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

The plating here is 100% standard steakhouse style, and the portions are all big enough to share when it comes to sides, and most apps and desserts.

Price: 8

Prices have gone up significantly lately in the city, especially for beef. But this place is keeping it pretty friendly compared to others I’ve seen in the area that have really jacked up their prices. A steak for two is still under $120, and most single cuts are under $60.

Bar: 7

The bar here is beautiful, but they only serve wine and wine style cocktails, as they are still waiting for their liquor license.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There were no real specials read to us, but they did have lamb, chicken, and this absolutely delicious, tender and mild “Serious NY Veal Chop”  on the menu. We loved it – 9/10.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

Excellent oysters Rockefeller, creamed spinach and truffle creamed corn. I highly recommend all of these.

For the desserts, I say stick with the creme brulee. The others were good, but not up to par with that one. The cheesecake was a close second, but it ate a slight bit salty. Great creamy texture though.

Seafood Selection: 8

Based on what I had (the oysters) this place is legit for seafood. I’d have to go back and try more to really level this section up though.

Service: 10

Service is impeccable here. Nobody does it quite like these lifelong steakhouse and restaurant industry professionals. Great focaccia and toasty table bread too.

Ambiance: 7

They definitely made the best of this narrow space, which, I think, used to be a sort of mini-market, perhaps Japanese. It looked familiar to my wife and I when we were there. Great job on the renovation, and I think the outdoor seating area is going to be awesome.

I can’t wait to go back and try more steaks!

BENNY JOHN’S BAR & GRILL
8 E 48th St
New York, NY 10017

Schilling

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.

SCHILLING
109 Washington St
New York, NY 10006

Steak Frites Bistro

Steak Frites Bistro overall score: 86

The PR company that helps promote this restaurant invited me in for a free meal in exchange for some social media posts. I brought a couple of other friends from the Instagram food world and we gave it a shot.

Flavor: 9

We had three steaks here. First was the tremendous cote de boeuf, which was roughly 28oz on the bone, meant to be shared among two diners.

This comes out sliced with a hotel herb butter on top. Great presentation.

While this wasn’t dry aged and left a little bit to be desired in terms of texture, it was quite tasty, juicy and nicely cooked. 8/10.

Next up was the dry-aged strip steak.

What this lacked in crust and thickness, it made up for in flavor. The age definitely came through. 8/10.

A delicious crust on this chateaubriand filet mignon for two at 20oz for under $100. 9/10.

Finally, we tried the hanger steak.

This was the winner of the three, especially when eaten with the peppercorn cream sauce. It had a great hard crusty sear on the outside, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare on the inside, and it was properly sliced against the bias. 9/10.

I should also discuss the “Burger Francaise” here, which was a stellar dry aged patty cooked to a nice juicy rare, topped with gruyere, stone ground mustard, crispy fried shallots and gherkins, on a freshly made brioche bun. GO GET THIS!!! It’s a 10, and it was probably the best item of the night.

Their French Dip sandwich, offered at lunch, is killer. While a bit pricey at $34, you will definitely leave there very satisfied.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

There’s a lot to choose from here, including some large format items meant for sharing like the chateaubriand. All the meats come from the great folks over at Pino’s Prime Meat Market.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

This place came through with good sized portions. The hanger, for a lighter appetite, is 9oz. The strip is 16oz on the bone, but it felt more like 12 or 14. The larger format steaks for two are just under the 30oz mark. Slightly light, but maybe fine for many diners. The presentation is nice, French and simple.

Price: 9

The pricing here is very fair. $35 for the hanger, $65 for the strip and $88 for the rib eye that’s meant for two people. I like that.

Bar: 8

The bar here is nice, and it was crowded while we were there, even on a nasty weather night. It can get a little cramped since there are high tops close to the back of the bar seats, as well as a row of tables behind the high tops, making for some narrow passing. Otherwise, nice cocktails and great beer and wine selections.

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There were no real specials read to us, but they do offer a rotisserie chicken that I’d like to try next time I go. At the bar, they’re offering 12 duck confit sandwiches per night (until it graces the lunch menu permanently. This was an easy 10/10. Absolutely insane! It’s cooked in duck fat at 165F for 24hrs.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with steak tartare, escargots, foie gras terrine and duck pate. All of these were great, but to me what stood out the most was the escargots. They were different than what’s typically presented at other French bistros. I liked that they came in a bowl/tray and had chunks of French bread already soaked in the delicious puddle of herb butter/sauce in there. The fries are also outstanding here, and they pretty much come with every meat item.

The green beans were good (not pictured), but we mainly ordered them just to have some green shit on the table.

On a second trip I tried the frisee lardon salad, which was stellar!

The Paris Brest is nice as well, with hazelnut.

The brest was swapped out recently for the eclair. Similar flavors.

The chocolate mousse was very nice too.

Also really loved this almondy, grapey, blueberryey baked thing called a claufutis.

Seafood Selection: 8

I didn’t try any seafood here, so can’t really rate it. But I think they would do a great job on the mussels given how well they prepared the escargots. I always felt they were similar, in many ways

UPDATE – I tried these large, plump and juicy mussels. They were really nice! Ask for extra baguette to dip.

Oysters also delicious.

Service: 10

Impeccable service here, and the bread game is on point! Just ask for extra butter.

Ambiance: 9

The location of this place may seem odd to some, but I always thought the area had a unique flare to it. Inside, they did a great job with the decidedly “French bistro” space they have, minus one point for the narrow passing areas that I noted in the bar section. I’ll definitely be back!

Side note: Brunch is pretty great here on weekends. Quiche Lorraine, Moroccan Baked Eggs, and Croque Madame – all top notch.

STEAK FRITES BISTRO
496 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Cornelius

Cornelius is a new French and American style joint in Grand Central. My wife and I came in to give it a try, as the menu looked pretty incredible.

We started with some cocktails, all of which were killer. My favorites were the Sazerac (not pictured) and the caviar martini. If you have some time before you start to eat, grab the espresso old fashioned. That also works well with dessert too though.

We started with this foie gras terrine, which wasn’t on the menu. This is basically delicious meat butter, and it would also pair well with their cheese plate. We had that for dessert.

Next up was the beef tartare. This is made from hand cut prime tenderloin, but the bump of caviar is extra/not standard. I really loved this, and it’s definitely large enough to eat as a main course.

We shared this beautiful 28oz, 30-day dry aged NY strip/shell steak on the bone.

The sauce is a velvety and mild Hollandaise, and draped over the bone is a nice portion of sautéed broccoli rabe. On top, shaved Perigord black truffle. 9/10 – very tender, well rested, and great aged flavor coming through on that evenly browned crust.

Of course we didn’t stop there. These two dishes were both beautiful and well executed, but the winner of the night goes to the duck leg confit. The lamb collops of tenderloin were perfect, it’s just that the duck was masterfully prepared, The meat was so tender and well seasoned/balanced. And with a huge bed of lentils underneath, it was filling as well. Make sure you order that!

For dessert, along with the cheese plate up above, we had these incredible dolce de leche donuts. WOW! I was actually shoving some of the currant jelly into the hole to make them even more decadent.

This place is crazy good, and I really can’t wait to go back to try the chateaubriand for two and a few other items that look great.

CORNELIUS
89 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

Olde City

First, check out my Ride and Review video of this joint.

Aight, let’s get into it.

Rumor has it, a former partner from Shorty’s struck out on his own after some creative differences. Behold, the birth of Olde City – in fact, Olde City has taken over this former Shorty’s space on Madison Avenue. While it may seem redundant, it isn’t. Shorty’s has gone downhill lately, and Olde City is better than Shorty’s ever was.

Here’s what we tried:

Authentic Philly Cheese – wiz wit. Absolutely delicious. I was almost going to add some American cheese to this, but I think the move for me next time will be “extra wiz.”

Roast Pork – my favorite item of the meal.

Slow cooked to perfection and thinly sliced, the pork is melt-in-your-mouth. Best paired with provolone cheese to contrast with the brightness of the broccoli rabe. I went for many dips into the au jus.

Mango Habanero Chicken Philly Cheese, with ghost pepper jack cheese. I was dead set on trying something different. This was really nice.

Contrary to what you might expect, I actually love chicken Philly cheesesteaks. Nevertheless, this one came in third behind the other two sandwiches.

We also had the Old Bay dry rub wings – a crispy hit!

Italian fries and beer battered onion rings rounded out the sides.

And, of course, great beer selection.

I’m a huge fan of this place, so I hope to be back to try their burgers and other sandwiches as well.

OLDE CITY
66 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016