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Tuscany Steakhouse

Tuscany Steakhouse overall score: 93

Last week the owner of Tuscany Steakhouse invited me in to take some photos and try out the food. This place used to be called Nino’s Tuscany Steakhouse, but just before the new year they did a big remodel and upgraded the place big time.

I was excited to try it, hoping that they made some improvements. I didn’t have the greatest meal at Nino’s, but this new joint was a much different experience. Check it out:

Flavor: 9

We ordered the porterhouse for two.

Let’s take a peek at the inside…

Oh fuck yes… nice and pink. Let me spread her open a little bit.

Closer?

More? Wider?

Okay… so this thing was perfectly cooked to medium rare. It had a gorgeous, crispy, well-seasoned crust on the edges. This is one of the better porterhouses I’ve had recently. 9/10.

I came back for a second visit and tried the rib eye.

This was cooked perfectly, just like the porterhouse.

It just needed a bit more seasoning and it wasn’t as potent in terms of the dry aged flavor on this particular cut. 7/10, but increased to an 8/10 on average after several visits.

The porterhouse was still incredible though. Perfect.

The filet mignon was also excellent. 9/10. Thick, tall, like a mountain of meat.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10

While they only offer the basic four steakhouse cuts – filet, strip, porterhouse and rib eye – they do a bang-up job on them, and they dry age everything in house. My porterhouse was aged for 29 days, and it came from Masters up in the Bronx next to my facility.

A couple next to me ordered the strip and it looked and smelled amazing. This place gets the job done nicely.

After several visits, one thing that really strikes me is how consistent they are. Every time I go, I get excellent quality, flavorful cuts. That is rare to find.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are big here. The sides are definitely large enough to share with two to four people, especially if you’re going heavy on steaks. Plating is basic for the steaks and sides, but the apps can get a bit more flare to them.

Price: 9

The prices are very fair here. The steaks come in slightly cheaper than average for the location. Some of the pasta dishes seemed high, but the one I tried was worth it, and the sides and desserts are all great bargains, especially when you factor in the quality of the food for the price.

Bar: 8

This is a nice little bar, and it was getting a good crowd on a Saturday as we were leaving. Same set up as the old restaurant bar, but nicer and remodeled.

I snagged a few of the potato chips that they serve at the bar. I like that touch.

They mix up a great martini too.

There’s also a great selection of wines here, and a little wine room in the back.

We tried some muscat with our dessert and it was just right. Not too sweet, not too potent.

Specials and Other Meats: 10

There were no special meats offered up, but there were specials of the day like soups. As for other meats, they had lamb, veal two ways and chicken two ways. Not a bad showing at all. In fact, I saw a veal parm come out after finishing the porterhouse, and I was so tempted to order one to go. It looked amazing.

Here it is:

Absolutely incredible. An easy 10/10. I would eat this every day if I could. It’s really surprisingly light, and super flavorful. The beef was so tender inside, and the crispy crust was the perfect contrast to the soft melted cheese.

Oh, so cheese isn’t your thing? How about the broiled veal chop, then? It’s a veal porterhouse, and it comes with grilled greens. This is amazing, and you definitely don’t see this cut very often in steakhouses, or anywhere else for that matter. 10/10.

Or the veal Milanese, which is essentially just a salad on top of a fried veal chop. 8/10.

I also gave the lamb chops a try. The serving size is incredible: three thick, double-cut chops.

They really nailed the crust.

And the inside was perfectly cooked. 9/10.

The “Pollo Tuscany” is essentially chicken breast, marsala style, but with roasted red peppers and melted mozzarella on a bed of spinach.

One thing I will note here under specials is the lunch menu. That veal Milanese is just $28 at lunch, and it is the full dinner size. They also have a special cajun rib eye at lunch too. This thing is amazing.

It’s a slightly smaller portion size than the dinner menu, but still around 18oz.

And for just $30 it also comes will full sized creamed spinach and mashed potatoes sides. Incredible! 9/10. You can also get the cajun rib eye as a full entree size at dinner if you ask, even though it isn’t on the menu.

Same goes for the porterhouse.

By the way, that cajun porterhouse was the best porterhouse I’ve ever eaten! An easy 10/10.

Looking for something more refined? How about surf & turf? Massive 16oz lobster tail and a 10oz filet mignon. Easy 10/10!

 

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Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10

We did three apps to start. First, the bacon:

This was two slabs of thick cut Canadian bacon (we cut them each in half).

Te second trip the bacon came out a little more burnt on the edges, but still really delicious.

This shit was amazing. Easily on par with places like Angus Club and Maxwell’s Chophouse. This is a must order when you come here, and it goes very nice with their steak sauce (a tomato-based and horseradish-heavy sauce – also good with seafood).

Next was the tuna tartare. This was delightful.

It came with lightly salted avocado slices, lime slices, cucumber slices, toasted bread slices and a slice of tomato, along with some unsliced arugula. It was bright and fresh, and dressed perfectly.

I am tempted to get that every single time I eat here. But you have to explore. For example the salads are even pretty good, like this chef’s salad that comes with sliced shrimp and bacon.

We also tried an order of oysters. Just a half dozen, to see how the quality was.

They were excellent: Perfectly shucked with no bits of shell in them. Great size – not too big, not too small. Crisp, clean, briny, and fresh. Here they are, all dressed up and ready to get raped by my mouth:

For our sides, we ordered sautéed spinach and hash browns. Both were great, and very large portions. The spinach was seasoned just right, nice and simple with salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic.

The hash browns were nice and crisp on the outside, while still tender and soft inside. I loved these.

Fries are perfect.

The Clams Oreganata were excellent as well.

Lumb crab meat is a generous portion size:

Crab cake was really nice and classically prepared, Maryland style.

The lobster cocktail was flavorful and generously sized.

I didn’t get a shot of it, but the creamed spinach here is the “creamless” style that I love.

The calamari had a nice batter and were perfectly cooked.

Here’s a special they had: burrata with portobello and roasted red peppers:

For dessert, we had a slice of tiramisu and a piece of chocolate mousse cake. Both were excellent, and I really loved their shlag.

Here’s their apple strudel – HUGE!

Seafood Selection: 9

There’s sea bass, tuna, salmon, lobster and shrimp in the entree portion of the menu. That’s a fantastic showing, and I bet they do a great job since this is essentially an Italian joint, and Italian joints are known for having good fish. While I only tried the apps and a bowl of lobster bisque, I am confident that this section of the menu is well above average.

Their seafood linguini was incredible. It was jam packed with perfectly cooked shrimp, clams, calamari and even a half lobster.

Upon multiple visits now, I can confirm that the seafood is excellent. I tried the grilled tuna and the grilled salmon. I would definitely get both of them again, and the portion size is great.

Service: 10

The waiters are awesome here, and the management is super nice and engaging. They all know their stuff and can answer any questions you have, whether it’s the basics of the steak cuts or the specifics of aging. They’re even great with super old bottles of wine with delicate corks.

The table bread consisted of onion rolls and some sliced Italian bread, served with butter. This stuff is also great with their steak sauce.

Ambiance: 9

This place made a great turnaround in ambiance. I loved the brick walls in there last time, and the overall cozy feel to the place. Now, with white-washed brick walls and deep, elegant wood finishes, this place feels more like what it is – a really nice steakhouse.

It still has some nooks and crannies in the dining room where you can get a more private feel, which I really like, and there’s even a separate room where you can host a party or larger group. They’ve really done a great job in here.

No bull: this place is really nice, and I’m glad it’s only a block away.

BURGER UPDATE! Awesome burger here. Well seasoned, juicy, tender, nicely ground and packed, excellent cheese coverage, great fresh sesame seed bun. I only wish it has a little bit of dry aged flavor, and it would be a rival to Lugers.

PRIME RIB UPDATE!!!

On Wednesdays, this joint is now offering massive 26-28oz slabs of prime rib for $70. The cut is a la carte, but comes with some nice jus or gravy type sauce poured over the top. They only offer about seven or eight portions each Wednesday, so make sure you get there early to secure yours!

Damn huge.

TUSCANY STEAKHOUSE
117 W 58th St
New York, NY 10019

9Ten

For years I joked about this place going out of business, because as soon as it opened, the City of New York decided to rip up the sidewalk in front of their establishment while simultaneously renovating the stairway down into the subway on the northwest corner of 57th & 7th.

The whole spot was a shit show, and unless you l knew to maneuver the construction walkway to get to a particular establishment (bar, cleaners, bodega), then you’d be walking by the joint without ever looking. So I used to say “9Ten is going to close on 11Twelve.”

I imagine all businesses along that stretch suffered, but 9Ten must have felt it the hardest since they just opened as the construction began.

It was a diner before, and it’s a diner now. Three years later, and with countless millions of city contract dollars completely milked dry, the sidewalk and subway stairs are open. Business is booming.

It’s very nice inside and the menu prices are extremely fair considering the location.

My wife and I popped in for a quickie before flying out to the Azores for vacation. Here’s what we had:

The Reuben sandwich with French fries.

Not sure why it’s not listed on the menu without the fries, like everything else is, but at $14 this is a great deal. It’s more like a pumped up grilled cheese than a Reuben but I really loved it.

Next up was the roast beef sandwich.

This has melted cheese and horseradish sauce but it is otherwise a cold cut style sandwich. Very nice. Slightly pricey for $11.50 but my wife and I were full between this and the Rueben that came with enough fries to share.

I’ll definitely be back – if not for another Rueben, then to try out the burgers.

9Ten
910 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Tavern on the Green

I scored a limited run Groupon for Tavern on the Green that was just $89 (plus a coupon code discount on top of that) for a four course meal for two.

We started with salads. I had the iceberg wedge. While the blue cheese dressing was a little bit watery, the other components of the salad were great, especially the diced tomato and bacon.

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My wife went with the caesar salad. I’m not sure if you can see it, but it was plated with some little anchovies as well. Pretty good salad.

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She also had the sea bass with roasted leeks and mashed potatoes. The skin was crisp and the fish was cooked nicely on the whole, though I had a few bites that were slightly overcooked.

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My wife went with haricot verts for her side item. These were crisp and buttery, lots of flavor.

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I went with the sirloin steak, 12oz, dry-aged, with creamed spinach, roasted fingerlings and au poivre sauce.

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I was suprised at how tasty this shit was. I was half expecting some throw-away cut of steak with tons of gristle, but it was really nice. 8/10.

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Here’s the gravy getting poured on top:

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I mistakenly chose the roasted baby vegetables as my side. These were terrible. Bland. I should have gone with the creamy whipped potato option instead, but I thought it would be an overload of potato items since they were already in both entrees.

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The shared carrot cake for dessert was flavorful and moist, but it sort of had the texture of a fruit cake. I didn’t mind it because I love carrot cake, but my wife, who is a baker, wasn’t too impressed.

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Good deal. If it ever comes up again, grab it.

TAVERN ON THE GREEN
Central Park West & 67th Street
New York, NY 10023

Chai Thai Kitchen

My wife and I came in here for a quick meal after passing by for two years and wondering if it was any good. The quick verdict: it was!

We started with these sweet chicken and peanut dumplings.

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I don’t mean “sweet” in the way a dude would say after waking up with an awesome tattoo after a drunk night out.

I mean “Sweet” in the actual flavor sensation. The peanuts had an almost honey roasted type of sweetness to them.

My wife nabbed this spicy coconut chicken curry noodle dish, which was topped with crispy fried “bird’s nest” noodles as well. Usually these dishes are way too “sweet” for me, but this was really good.

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It came with rice (unless that was my dish that came with rice?), but might have benefitted from a hunk of French bread for dipping. But I think that’s more of a Vietnamese thing than a Thai thing.

I went with a dish that really jumped off the menu at me, because it reminded me of the fried whole fish we had in Vietnam that I loved so much.

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The reason why is because of the sauce that comes with it. It’s fish sauce, spiced up with cilantro, peppers red onions and scallions.

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The fish was fried to a perfect golden crisp, and the bones were pretty easy to maneuver for the most part.

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The meat was tender, juicy and soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside – just how I like it.

Oh and one of the cool things about this joint is a nice pond up front that circulates water around and has little floating flowers.

CHAI THAI KITCHEN
930 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019

Tux-Con 2016

Last year, my buddy and I came up with a concept to rally together NYC’s classiest and most well-dressed folks for a day of martini drinking and fancy-pants conversation. It was a blast!

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If you can’t tell, Tux-Con is meant to be NYC’s classy, warm-weather answer to Santa-Con. Think of it like Bruce Wayne throwing a block party / cocktail crawl. This is open invite, so you are all welcome to join us. We are going to start at the Loeb Boat House in Central Park, hit a few other joints along the way with plenty of photos, and then circle back up to possibly end at The Mandarin Oriental. Everything will be within walking distance. The date is this Saturday, April 30th 2016, with a rain date of Saturday, May 14th. Men wear tuxes, black suits, fancy pinstriped attire, etc. Women wear gowns, dresses, etc. If you’re interested, check out the website for updates, or follow us on Facebook. This shit is going to be legit!

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Keep an eye out for the invite cards too. We’ll be passing them around any chance we can get.

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Redeye Grill

My wife and I came in here on a Sunday morning for brunch. I was psyched to learn that they serve “real food” even before their official lunch time begins at noon. That means I was able to try their rib eye burger instead of getting some lame egg or pancake dish.

Their “rib eye burger” definitely has the flavor of a rib eye steak. It’s juicy and fatty, tender and tasty.

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The bun held up to demanding scrutiny without getting sogged up and shitty, and the burger thickness was just right for the amount of toppings they used.

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It was cooked nicely, and the aged cheddar and horseradish aioli really brought the punch. The fries were solid too. Heavily herbed with fried rosemary, these golden shoestrings were very addicting.

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My wife tried the lobster crab and shrimp roll, which I also liked a lot. It was served with a saffron mayo and crispy shallots. The meat was dressed just right, and the quality of the meat was all very good.

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I’ll probably be back in soon to try a steak, because why not?

REDEYE GRILL
890 7th Ave
New York, NY 10106

Vive La Crepe

UPDATE – THIS JOINT IS NOW CLOSED!

This little crepe spot just opened around the corner from my place, on 7th Avenue at 58th Street. They serve both sweet and savory crepes, with stuff that’s suitable for everything from breakfast to lunch to dessert.

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My wife and I came for the dessert varietals. I got a butter and sugar crepe with bananas, and my wife got dolce de leche with strawberries and raspberries.

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Pretty great! Light batter, airy and crisp. I have to come back and try the savory offerings.

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VIVE LA CREPE
912 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10019