Tag Archives: artichoke

Casino

Check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

This little Italian joint opened up down by us on East Broadway, and we were excited to try it out. The cocktails are all great, and the bar is stacked with lots of amari.

We tried three starters: the endive salad, the prawns and the fried artichoke. These were all fantastic; seriously one better than the next. These items are every day kind of items. They’re that good!

This smoked lamb ragu pappardelle was BONKERS!!! The pasta ate sort of like hand pulled noodles. A bit broken up in parts, but I would eat this by the bucket load. Amazing.

The dry aged duck was a bit of a let down. Not terrible by any means, but it was over seasoned, the skin was not crisp enough, and the flesh was a bit tough in parts. A 6/10. Maybe 7 on a good day. One half/slice was definitely better than the other.

This “crespelle” was sort of like a vegetable lasagna, and it was absolutely delicious. I was shocked at how much I liked this, considering it was utterly meatless.

For dessert we shared the midnight cake, which was definitely more like a mousse than a cake. We loved it. That little blob of white is creme fresche.

I would definitely go back, especially for those starters and the pasta dishes. They have a t-bone on the menu, so I’ll eventually have to try that as well.

UPDATE 7/20/2023

I had the steak!

This is an easy 9/10 and it is in the running for a best bite of 2023. The age was perfect on it, super tender on the filet side, nice texture on the strip side with no connective tissue (a center cut). Beautiful.

CASINO
171 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Monterey

Taking over the old Maloney & Porcelli space is Monterey, a gorgeous mid-century modern decor and cuisine inspired restaurant.

The cocktails are fun here, especially the martini cart, where you choose between three gins or three vodkas, then you choose your vermouth as well as bitters and garnish. While a bit small and not so strong for the high price point ($26), it was a great presentation and idea.

They have a nice big gin and tonic.

For starters we tried the special pork trotter with sweetbreads and coddled egg.

This was richly delicious.

To balance that, we cut it with some crisp fried artichoke that came with a bright citrus aioli.

On a second visit, we tried the steak tartare, the sweetbreads and the foie gras. Of these, the foie was the best.

For my main, I ordered the prime rib, which comes to you on a classic table side cart.

While mine was a bit diagonally mis-cut, it was a perfect chuck side beauty. Check out the pronounced spinalis and complexus.

Very nice medium rare temp and with a great crispy seasoned coating on the edges. 9/10.

The prime rib comes with a generous sized cup of buttery, whipped mashed potatoes. We added the red pepper broccolini to go with it.

On a second visit I had the porterhouse. 8/10.

My wife had the crab and uni spaghetti with lime butter sauce. Really nice! The sauce tasted almost like a roux.

On our second visit, she had this really awesome Iberico pork chop that came on a bed of corn and with garnishes of mushrooms and bacon. This was the winner that night.

On the side we had Cy Eats’ Romano Beans with her chili oil.

For dessert, we had the dark chocolate tart and the ricotta beignets. Both good, but we preferred the donuts!

On a second visit, the cloud cake dessert really hit the spot. Light and airy like a strawberry shortcake almost.

We were both very happy with this meal, and I definitely want to come back to try more of their offerings – especially the pork chop! Here’s the damage – not sure why the header says “Book and Fox.”

MONTEREY
37 E 50th St
New York, NY 10022

Il Monello

Il Monello is a newly opened Italian joint by some of the same folks behind Tuscany Steakhouse and Il Tinello. My wife and I came here with two other couples, so we got to try a lot of the menu! Take a look:

Beautiful little bar in the entryway. I enjoyed their negroni.

Starters: fried calamari, carpaccio, “cozze” mussels, bianco salad, and Il Monello salad.

Pasta Dishes: Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, bucatini cacio e pepe, and lobster ravioli.

Entrees: porterhouse for two (9/10), potato crusted sea bass, and Il Monello Chicken (the crowd favorite).

Mixed dessert platter:

Everything we had was delicious. For their third day being open, there was not one hang-up with the food or the service. These guys are professionals! They know a thing or two about opening and running a restaurant. This one was a few years in the making too, since COVID and then licensing and inspection processes caused them some delays. I can’t wait to go back and try more, especially the eggplant parm, the veal milanese, and any of their daily/weekly specials.

IL MONELLO
337 E 49th St
New York, NY 10017

Baker & Co.

My wife and I came here with another couple for a double date. We started with the pizzette that was on special, which involved squash, figs and balsamic:

Excellent. The fried calamari was great too, and, in fact, was mixed with fried shrimp and artichoke as well.

Speaking of artichokes, this fried artichoke salad was probably the low key winner of the starters.

For my main, I had the paccheri with lamb ragu and fava beans. Delicious!

My wife’s duck with black truffle and mushrooms entree was the winner, however. I wish I took a pic.

Dessert: Vanilla panna cotta. Perfection.

I would definitely go back here for another meal. They have a dry aged burger on the menu – maybe I’ll try that!

BAKER & CO.
259 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014

Sandro’s

Sandro’s is a small Italian joint on the upper east side that serves up some really delicious and authentic dishes.

For example, I haven’t had a fried artichoke this good since I was in Rome.

And seeing things like porchetta and culatello in the sliced meats department took me right back to Trastevere.

Back in my wheelhouse, however, was this delicious carpaccio dish that came with white truffles.

We went a little nuts with the truffle:

It was awesome. But even this salad had me excited.

The simplicity of something like chicory and anchovy dressed perfectly with citrus is not really seen to often here, stateside. This was a totally unique salad for me, and I’m glad I listened carefully to the massive list of specials before ordering. I’m not kidding when I tell you they could open a second restaurant with just the menu items that the waiters and waitresses memorized as specials. There were about three or four salad specials, five or six fish specials, three or four meats, four pasta dishes, and a bunch of appetizers too. Oh and dessert as well. Absolutely insane.

But back to the meal. Pasta time:

This first pasta was my favorite – goat cheese stuffed cappelletti with a lemon cream sauce. This was insanely delicious.

Next up was sea urchin ravioli with a scallop tomato sauce.

And finally some rigatoni with meatballs and sausage in a nice tomato ragu.

But we didn’t stop there, because I had to try some veal dishes. First up – and my favorite of the entrees – was this stuffed veal chop.

Inside was thin sliced ham.

After that, a nice classic veal parm.

And then some giant broiled prawns.

I really didn’t think we’d have room for dessert, but I’m glad we tried this delicious pistachio cake with ricotta. This was probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

And the finishing move of bringing lemon cookies with the check really took me back to being a kid and eating these at my grandparents’ house.

This place is a gem! I’ll definitely be back here to try more stuff. There is a LOT of menu to work through here.

SANDRO’S
306 E 81st St
New York, NY 10028

Noi Due Carne

I’m always excited to discover a good new Italian place. Noi Due Carne really hits the high mark. Let me get right into it, before I reveal a surprise that I’m meaning to save until the end.

Fried baby artichokes:

I haven’t seen these since Rome, and they were every bit as good here as they were there. Perfectly golden crisp, expertly seasoned, and garnished with a bright citrusy sauce. I could eat this by the bucket.

Grilled marinated sweetbreads:

By far the best sweetbreads I have ever had. They were tender yet firm at the same time, not mushy and watery like other sweetbreads I’ve had. No sinew. All flavor. Amazing.

Spiced lamb flatbread:

You can pass on this. The dough or bread portion is just not up to par.

Beef carpaccio:

This was nicely drizzled with balsamic and had great texture from the crispy sweet potato.

Artichoke ravioli with a lemon and white wine sauce:

These were incredible. I get excited about anything artichoke-related, but my excitement is usually tempered by shitty execution. This place nails both artichoke dishes.

Cavatelli with short rib ragu:

Cavatelli is my favorite pasta. The beef was nicely prepared, and had a pop of interesting flavor from the pomegranate. I liked this.

This baby was made for going viral.

That may look like just an ordinary large meatball, but look inside:

That’s right. Spaghetti INSIDE your meatball!

Not really my cup of tea. Both components end up being a bit off when they’re cooked this way, and I feel like the dish is really only designed for the shock value of the presentation. The meatball itself was nice and spicy though, and the sauce on the plate was well prepared. This is probably something that’s fun to order for the kids though, since kids can sometimes be really picky eaters. Adults should pass on this. Especially men.

Half chicken al Mattone:

This had a great crispy skin on it. The chicken itself was a bit dry in parts, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the sweet potato puree underneath. But overall this dish was delicious.

Veal Milanese:

This was perfect. Pounded thin and flat, lightly breaded, and fried to a beautiful golden crisp.

26oz rib eye for two:

This is pricey at nearly $130, but there was no waste on it and no bone to beef up the weight numbers.

This was a 9/10 too. The simple olive oil and sea salt preparation really allowed the quality of the beef (USDA prime) to shine. It even tasted dry aged to me.

On the side we had some veggies and fries. Both just okay.

Dessert consisted of some kind of stacked, light, airy pastry with some sort of whipped topping and fruit…

A chocolate mousse cake of come kind, with some kind of frozen treat on top – like an ice cream…

And fondue with frozen banana, ginger snap cookies, marshmallows and strawberries:

The reason I’m cryptic about the pastry and the cake/ice cream is because, well, this place is Kosher, and I really have no idea how they pulled off pastry, whipped cream, cake and ice cream without using dairy. My wife would know, but I haven’t the slightest. Everything was really good.

But yes, that’s right: This place is Kosher. That’s the surprise I hinted about up top. This was the best Kosher meal I’ve ever had in the city, and I think I’ve had three or four? I would definitely eat here again. The fried artichoke, the sweetbreads, the artichoke ravioli and the steak were all top notch amazing dishes. Don’t PASS OVER (KNEE SLAP!) this place just because it’s Kosher and Kosher joints have a reputation for bad food.

NOI DUE CARNE
143 W 69th St
New York, NY 10023

Patsy’s

Patsy’s is a NYC institution for Italian food in the Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen north area.

This joint has been around since 1944. I’m a sucker for old restaurants like this, so I had to give it a shot. Plus, they serve some really interesting dishes that I’ve only ever had at home growing up.

For example, I rarely see escarole served anywhere, and I love it. They do it a bit differently here than the traditional “escarole and beans” soupy stew. Here, its sautéed with garlic, olives, capers, pine nuts and raisins:

It was delicious. It reminded me of the stuffing my grandmother used to make for her artichokes. And speaking of which, they had stuffed artichokes on the menu too. I hardly ever see these anywhere except for at home either:

This was okay, but very pricey at $17. Honestly, my mother makes a much better one. This was stuffed with bread crumbs, olives, capers, anchovies, cheese and pine nuts. Very similar to how my grandmother used to stuff them, and similarly a bit dry like hers often were, since they are baked (usually for too long) after steaming. My mother steams and sautés instead of bakes, and stuffs them with breadcrumbs, cheese and sauce. A bit simpler, but it tastes way better.

My grandmother on the other side used to make stuffed squid for part of our massive Christmas Eve seafood feast. She stuffed them with cheese, anchovies, moistened Italian bread and egg. Then she would stitch them closed and they were cooked in a big bubbling pot of seafood sauce that contained blue claw crabs, shrimp, scallops, scungilli (conch) and more squid. It was amazing.

Anyway I see that dish even less frequently than the others above, so I had to order it when I saw it on the menu here.

These babies are stuffed with squid and shrimp, among other things. This was a pretty nice dish, especially the sauce, although a bit pricey at $36.

The last thing we tried was the veal parm. I pretty much have to order this whenever I see it on the menu, anywhere.

This one, however, was a bit of a let down. The breading fell off almost instantly upon cutting, and was just overall a bit soggy and not up to par. The potato croquette that came with it was just okay as well. The bar, however, was a nice little stretch of mid century modern goodness where I’d love to have a martini:

To sum up, nothing tastes as good as mom’s and grandma’s cooking, but when you need a fix away from home, Patsy’s might be the right spot to get it.

PATSY’S
236 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019

Hillstone

My wife and I tried this place today on the recommendation of a friend of mine who spoke highly of the prime rib.

I give this a solid 8/10. For $46 you also get two sides with it, and the slab of roasty, beefy goodness is very well portioned.

It had a nice cap, good flavor both on the crust and throughout, and they serve it with a great seasoning salt (tasted like a sweet but spicy old bay salt), horseradish cream sauce, and gravy in a tea kettle.

The item that stole the show for me though was this grilled artichoke appetizer that our really nice and helpful waitress Marissa recommended.

The halves were perfectly seasoned, steamed, grilled, and then hit with some finishing salt. Absolutely awesome.

They serve some good crafted cocktails, and the bar is impressive as well.

Not a bad lunch!

HILLSTONE
153 E 53rd St
New York, NY 10022