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!
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
This joint opened recently and is connected to the 9 Orchard hotel. There’s a lot I want to try here, but on this first trip my wife and I just stopped in for a couple of cocktails and some snacks.
The cocktails are great. I had a Gibson that used basil syrup in the mix. Very herbal and unique.
I also tried their amari-based old fashioned, which was really strong at first. But as the ice mellowed it out, it was perfect.
We had the Oysters Rockefeller, which were quite expensive at $24 for four. They were delicious, however, and reminded us of the flavor profile of escargots.
We also had an order of their perfectly cooked fries, which come with ketchup, mayo, and dijon. I love that they give you dijon automatically. It’s my favorite condiment.
Based on this trip, we will definitely be back to try more of the menu. Stay tuned for updates!
On a second trip, after a LOT of hype in the food media world, I noticed a decline here.
First off, the nice ice cube in the old fashioned is gone now, and they replaced it with a bunch of small regular ice cubes. Bad move!
We started with the steak tartare, which was fairly good although it was very heavy on the onion and vinegar. The parm crisp on top was nice though.
The burger is no longer on the menu. I was excited to try it but they had a steak on special, so I went with that.
$185! Get the fuck outta here for 32oz!
It was just okay. Cooked perfectly, nice crust. But the meat itself was pretty dense and tough in places, and a good amount of connective tissue that was inedible. The best parts were along the bone, and edges, where some aged flavor managed to creep in. 6/10.
My wife’s duck was better, but parts of the dish were insanely salty.
The bread and butter here is fantastic, and complimentary. Get it.
My wife and I started with some “two for $10” tacos.
We did two orders (four tacos): two BBQ lamb, and two fish. Both were really great. The lamb was unique, and after having it, I kinda wished they had a BBQ lamb dish on the entree menu as well, for a composed plate (like lamb over rice with beans, etc). The fish taco was grilled as opposed to crispy/fried like many other places do. We loved it.
For mains, my wife ordered the chile relleno, and I ordered the cochinita pibil burrito.
This was a great burrito for $14. Hefty and tasty. My only criticism is that I don’t want sauce on the outside of the tortilla. I had to scrape it off. It was just getting too messy to eat. My wife’s plate came with a side of rice and beans, which were also good. A great deal for $17.
In fact, everything here is reasonably priced – even the cocktails ($14) and beer ($5 cans). The flan was pretty good too. Nice plating, but the coconut shavings threw the silky texture off a bit.
I’ll definitely be back here for more. At the very least we will be ordering for delivery regularly. And when you hit this place, make sure you try their orange and green sauces: DRINKABLE!
Life Rooftop took over the space formerly known as the Viceroy at the top of Le Meridien hotel, near Central Park. The views are spectacular.
The cocktails are excellent.
And the food, which is more along the bites and small portions angle, is really delicious. The seafood tower is impressive. It comes with lobster, king crab, langoustines, shrimp, clams, oysters, caviar, tuna tartare and hamachi crudo.
The lobster roll is pretty packed full of meat too.
The stars of the meal for me, though, were the deviled eggs with caviar, and the wagyu tartare.
Their dessert sundae and churros were really great too. I’d definitely eat here again.
24 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019
Dolly Varden is a new cocktail bar and restaurant in the theater district that takes its name from an old trolley car that used to run throughout Manhattan and terminate in the area. Their outdoor seating even takes the form of the old railcar, which is pretty cool.
The indoor space is gorgeous. This place used to be one of the House of Brews locations (same ownership here; the other House of Brews is still open). They really did a great job on the remodel.
This joint was initially intended to be a cocktail bar, which is why you see such amazing drinks on the menu, like this Wooden Nickel, a mixologized version of an Old Fashioned, garnished with an ice rose.
I tried four cocktails and they were all dangerously delicious and slammable.
But once the pandemic hit and threw their bar plans into the wind, they pivoted, bringing on Chef Sean to cultivate a cheffed up bar menu that will keep people coming back for more.
We tried four of the apps on the menu:
Fish sauce brined, lightly breaded and perfectly crisped wings topped with pickled chilis and micro cilantro. Delicious.
Cornmeal Crusted Calamari
Lime sriracha aioli, mango salsa and queso fresco adorn these crispy delights. Similar toppings as the wings.
Killer! Black bean sauce and sambal give this an Asian kick, and the crushed peanuts on top really bring it all together for a dynamic flavor profile.
This was just a sample size portion that Sean wanted us to try, so expect more when you order. There’s bacon, kimchi and gochujang in the broth. These were really great! I wish we had thought to order the full size.
Next up was the burger.
The DV Railcar Burger is topped with tomato confit, melted white cheddar and marrow glazed onions. While that might sound like a heavy burger, it actually ate very light! Absolutely delicious.
Our other main was the Trees Major steak, which is my favorite cut of beef. It has all the flavor of chuck but with all the tenderness of filet mignon.
It’s very rare to see this cut featured on menus, but I think it makes for the perfect bistro steak, as it’s affordable, tender and delicious. Great for a steak frites dish. Here, it was topped with chimichurri and served with some lightly dressed greens. An easy 9/10.
On the side, we also had this fried maitake mushroom. This thing was awesome, especially when swiped with some of that saffron aioli.
I will definitely be back here to try more of Chef Sean’s delicious creations. I hope you can make it over there too, and help bring the theater district back from the brink of extinction!
A friend of mine’s cousin is the chef here at Beetlehouse, a Tim Burton themed bar/restaurant in the East Village, that delivers quality in both the food/drink and atmosphere/decor departments.
You’ll feel like you stepped onto a movie set when you walk in.
The bar is incredible. I really hope NYC starts allowing people to actually sit at them again soon.
They mix up some really nice cocktails, many of which come to the table bubbling and smoking like magic potions!
This place is definitely for the Burton fans. They even have hired actors walking around the dining room and performing, giving you a show along with your meal.
They currently have a $50 price fix menu, where you get an app, an entree and dessert. We started with the pork belly and the Fanta sesame wings. Wild flavor! They even have root beer and Pop Rocks flavored wings.
Between those two, we preferred the pork belly. It was just so tender and flavorful. It even comes plated up on a bed of tasty grits, like a composed entree!
For entrees, we had the filet mignon and the burger.
Both were cooked perfectly, as you can see below:
Between these two, we preferred the burger. I generally don’t love egg on a burger, but I went with the way it was presented on the menu and it really worked! Delicious. The fries were perfect by the way. Highly recommended.
Dessert was the same for both of us – a pudding of sorts, with crumbled chocolate cake, whipped cream, and Nerds candy. I fucking loved it, and ate both mine and my wife’s.
This place is a blast. The menu is basically bar food that has a fun twist, so don’t expect something like Per Se. We felt that both the wings and the filet could have benefitted from a hit of salt, but otherwise all good. I’d definitely go back for the pork belly and the burger. They also have some topped french fry appetizer items that I want to try, now that I know the fries are absolutely perfect.