Tag Archives: columbus circle

Anchor Bar

The other day while walking around our neighborhood, my wife and I noticed that Anchor Bar had opened. For those who don’t know, Anchor Bar up in Buffalo is supposed to be the place that created what we now know as “Buffalo Wings.” The Buffalo location has become quite the tourist trap, so I am told, and people like to bicker about which place is better: Anchor Bar or Duff’s.

Well, I’ve been to neither. But I have been to some pretty fantastic wings places here, like Bonnie’s Grill and International Wings Factory (my two favorites – Bonnie’s for traditional Buffalo style, and IWF for the vast array of amazing flavors and dry rubs). Some people tell me that Dan & John’s is great too.

Anyway, we decided to give Anchor Bar a try. We ordered three styles: Hot (top), Suicidal (middle) and Habanero Dry Rub (bottom).

I’m not sure if they’re weakening the spice levels for the pussies out there, but hot was more like a mild or medium to me.

I expected suicidal to destroy me. Instead it was just a more earthy and granular flavor that had the same level of heat as the hot flavor.

The habanero dry rub was the weakest in spice of the three, and at times it felt like the flavors didn’t penetrate into the meat. They were nice and crunchy though.

Overall the wings were good. Above average for sure. I still think I like Bonnie’s and IWF better, but this is a pretty solid spot and very convenient.

My favorite thing that we ate was the beef on weck. I hope you people realize how fucking difficult it was to fool autocorrect from making that say “beef on deck.” Fucking annoying bullshit. The sandwich was good here, particularly the bread (I’ve had better roast beef).

Weck is a special kind of roll that also hails from the Buffalo area, typically topped with thick grain salt and other seeds and spices. The roast beef is sliced thin and served hot on the sandwich, typically with nothing but horseradish. I sliced up the pickle spear that came with the sandwich and put that on there as well. And it may be blasphemous, but I’ve always thought this sandwich would kick serious ass with some melted cheddar on top.

The great thing about this item at Anchor Bar is that for $16 you can get the sandwich and five wings – the best of both Buffalo specialties in one meal. Give that a shot if you go.

ANCHOR BAR
327 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

Bar Boulud

Here’s another restaurant week review for your asses.

For $42, my wife had a three course meal. The first course? A fucking salmon rillette.

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This was pretty good. I apologize in advance, though. My pictures don’t look too good this time around. I had competing light color values from outside along the windows (blue) and inside from the overhead lighting (yellow/orange/red, with dark shadows). As a result, my photos look like dog diarrhea smeared onto a piss and blood-ridden diaper/maxi pad, but only the kind of diaper/maxi pad you see in commercials that use blue colored liquid to simulate blood and piss for some ridiculous reason.

But anyway that salmon rillette had a nice base of hard rye, topped with minced salmon and pickle, and some frisee and sliced beets. It had a good flavor and texture.

The main course was a bavette steak. If you don’t know what the fuck a bavette is, click the link I just provided and read up on it, asshole. It’s a cut of beef.

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This was roasted to a nice medium rare, but I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of char on the outside. It was buttery and garlicky, which was good for flavor. However, the slices that I had were slightly under seasoned. I think it still gets 8/10, so there’s some room for improvement. It was served on a bed of potato puree with a side of green beans.

For dessert, there was this blackberry financier with brown butter ice cream.

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The cake itself was a bit dry, but all the toppings served well to moisten it the hell up. Corn? And popcorn? Interesting! But the brown butter ice cream blob way the fuck on the right was the real star of the dish. I would have preferred a bowl of that instead.

Overall this is a pretty good deal for restaurant week. Lunch is always the better buy ($29), but you aren’t getting raped here for a $42 three-course dinner.

The couple we were with let us try a bit of their dessert as well, a chocolate ganache pie of sorts:

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This was very rich and tasty. If chocolate is your vice, then this dessert is nice. That was a rhyme.

For my meal, I went with the “Frenchie” burger. If you’re in the area for a burger, you can go with PJ Clarke’s for a standard style American burger, or pop in here for something unique and different… and French.

This mother fucker is topped with raclette cheese and a thick goddamn slab of soft, confit pork belly! Bitches know what’s up! I think. I don’t know, actually… Do they know what’s up?

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That’s arugula underneath, incase you were wondering. The patty was perfectly seasoned, and the bun was soft yet pliable and strong. Toppings, as you can imagine, were on point. The confit pork was like having a fast food burger patty made of belly (in terms of size) right on top of your already-delicious burger. Good move. This burger was pretty damn good, but it doesn’t quite make it into my top 10.

For $23, the burger also came with fries, which were some crispy-ass, natural cut, shoestring mother fuckers. I liked them.

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Honorable mention: bread selection. We had three styles of table bread. First were small cheese bread things that reminded me of pop-overs in muffin form. They were warm too, like the pair of underwear that you just peeled off your sweaty, NYC-in-the-summer ass cheeks and tossed into the laundry pile. The other bread basket had slices of a sunflower seed sourdough bread of some kind, and a few slices of standard French baguette. All good quality, just like the writing in this review.

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That’s it. Now go fuck off.

BAR BOULUD
1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

Bolivian Llama Party

I’ve been a little bit bummed out about the kiosks available at TurnStyle, the semi-new food hall located underground at the Columbus Circle subway station. It seems to be mostly coffee, candy and merchandise; but Bolivian Llama Party is a different story. This place is serving real food; not some pre-packaged bullshit.

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BLP front

BLP menu

Saltenas, in particular, are their specialty. They’re similar in form to empanadas but they differ in style. They typically consist of a soupy filling and a slice of hard boiled egg inside of a baked outer crust.

BLP case

BLP open

Bolivian Llama Party also offers slider sandwiches and interesting drinks. We tried three different saltenas; Beni (beef), Toco (pork) and Chimba (chicken). We also tried two different sliders (triple pork and beef brisket).

BLP sandwiches

BLP all

Two of the saltenas were a bit too sweet for my liking. One was beef, and I’m not sure if the other sweet one was pork or chicken. We got them mixed up in the bag, and when you bite into these things the filling in one is largely indistinguishable from another. The third, which was either Toco or Chimba (I’m leaning toward Toco), was delicious and packed with great savory goodness. Both sliders were excellent as well, but I preferred the pork slightly over the beef. You can’t go wrong with either  of those sliders, though.

Triple Pork full sandwich is amazing!

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Roast pork, bacon and pork belly cracklings.

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BOLIVIAN LLAMA PARTY
TurnStyle Food Hall
1000S 8th Ave,
New York, NY 10019

Ed’s Chowder House

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED

Another neighborhood find, we came here because of the great happy hour deal. Cheap beer, cheap oysters, and cheap sliders. The sliders were so damn good that I vowed to return for a real burger. The cheese sauce on them was absolute heaven.

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Fries were wonderful – great seasoning and nicely crisped.

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Oysters were nice and fresh, clams too! At only $1.50 and $1 respectively, you can’t lose!

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Various chowders were nice too. My favorite here was the potato, with smoky hints of bacon.

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Salmon burgers are skippable:

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On a second trip, my wife scored a Gilt City deal where she paid something like $40/pp for a five course tasting menu, plus a glass of Prosecco.

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The table bread here is a variety of soft potato dinner rolls, corn bread “logs” and spicy muffins. Pretty good – I just wish they were warm.

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The restaurant ran out of mussels for our shellfish platter, so they gave us more oysters instead. BONUS! Our favorite was the Wildfire Island (unless it is Wild Fire Island?) – it was briny and smooth, creamy, crisp – yet substantial and not snotty or runny.

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Unfortunately the lobster was a little bland. The rest was good though (clams and shrimp).

Next was a nice cup of chowder. I had the mushroom chowder (right), and my wife had the New England clam chowder. Mine was the winner here. It was velvety and smooth, with lots of flavor, and topped with some truffle oil for good measure.

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The scallop ravioli was pretty great. There were a ton of scallop chunks inside. The only thing this dish needed was a bit of fresh cracked boac keeper. The sauce was a butter type deal – I suppose that could have used a little bit more salt as well, but we both really enjoyed this dish. It had a great seafood aroma too, but the flavor wasn’t fishy at all.

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For the entrees, we chose the two fish items. My Scuna Bay salmon was a small portion, but I thought it was executed perfectly. The brownish-gray puree was made of eggplant I believe, and it was tangy when combined with the roe and small chunks of squash. That served to flavor the salmon so that when you had a bite with a little bit of everything, i twas very well balanced.

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My wife’s potato chip crusted cod was similar. When eating a bit with all three components (cod, chip and spinach), you got a really nicely balanced bite. Otherwise the cod by itself was a little bit under seasoned. Much of the flavor was soaked up into that spinach bed.

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For dessert we had a massive selection to choose from:

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We ended up getting the vanilla banana cream pie. This was tasty. You can see the chunks of banana in the layer, which was pretty. Not too sweet, which I was happy about.

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My wife ordered the Cheeky Monkey drink as well. This was strong! Definitely had a strong banana flavor to it too, aside from the booze.

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The waiter gave us some free cookies too. I can’t imagine paying for these. Basic chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin and chocolate. I wasn’t really crazy about any of them, but if I had to choose a favorite, it’d be the oatmeal raisin. It was at least soft.

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Overall this was a pretty great meal for $40 or $45 per person (whatever my wife paid). She got a discount on top of the Gilt City deal, so that made it even better. I still like the sliders better that all of this though, from the happy hour menu.

ED’S CHOWDER HOUSE
44 W. 63rd St.
New York, NY 10023

Porter House

Porter House overall score: 90

My wife and I came here after hearing good things abut this place forever. I was looking forward to trying some of famed Chef Michael Lomonaco’s dishes. Check out how the meal went:

Flavor: 7 (increased to 9)
My wife and I had the cowboy cut bone-in rib eye. We ordered it medium rare. It was pretty much cooked properly, if not very slightly undercooked (which I don’t normally mind). The first few bites were great…

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…but then we started having some stringy bits, gristle and not-so-flavorful uncooked pieces.

The down side was that there wasn’t much fat cap around the eye either, which meant my favorite parts were missing. We ended up with lots of scraps (maybe 12oz worth) – even when sharing the approximately 24oz piece of steak – which I ended up bringing home for making stock. Bummer.

UPDATE 9/27/17

The prime rib, available on Wednesday and Thursday, is a 9/10. Very juicy and comes with a delicious bone marrow side.

UPDATE 6/7/18

I also got to try the porterhouse (9/10)

The chili-rubbed rib eye (9/10)

And the veal chop (8/10)

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
You have a ton of selections here. Two different rib eyes (bone-in cowboy, and chili rubbed 45-day aged), a filet, a porterhouse for two, and two different strips (bone-in and boneless). Everything is aged and prime, and the filet is black angus. They masterfully hit all four basic cuts. It’s just that the cuts were not executed nicely.

Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions here are good. I’d say our steak was about 24oz, the apps were large, as well as the sides.

Price: 8
Prices are high here ($63 for the bone-in rib eye). Normally I’d say that you are getting top quality beef and an amazing view of the park from Columbus Circle, not not all seats have such a nice view, and at $63 my steak should have been fucking perfect. I think it’s fair for the slight up charge based on location, but they need to execute at that price point. The apps all hit their marks, however, and they were reasonably prices along with the drinks. This improved, though, on a second and third visit.

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Bar: 8
The bar here is pretty decent for being stuck inside a mall. There was a good crowd here, and I can definitely see myself chowing down on a burger and throwing back a few beers. That’d be better than dropping another $63 on a steak, for sure. They have some nice cocktails and a great wine selection as well. I really liked the Peacock Tonic, which had muddle cucumbers, Hendrick’s gin, tonic and rosemary.

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Specials and Other Meats: 9
There are lots of alternative cuts of meat here. There’s a roasted chicken, lamb, veal, duck, pork and even a minor cut of beef like skirt (or the steak frites cut that they use for the lunch menu).  On special, there was only a soup of the day, which was New England clam chowder. I was hoping for a bit more.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
We tried three apps. First up, the hand cut filet mignon tartare. This was really great. The capers popped, it was dressed just right, and seasoned well.

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Next was the roasted bone marrow. This was also delicious. It was lightly salted, and oh-so-smooth to spread onto the grilled country bread. Excellent.

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They recently made this even better by adding morels to it.

The fois gras and chicken liver pate was interesting, though I thought it needed a sprinkling of salt. This would shave been better served with the raisin and nut bread that they passed around in the beginning of the meal (see below) instead of the toasted bread that it came with, stacked like Jenga blocks.

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We also tried the creamed spinach. Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of this at all. It was a little watery, too much cream in the ratio, and also had a very strong nutmeg quality to it that reminded me of all the pumpkin spice bullshit you get shoved down your throat in the pre-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas madness. I almost didn’t want to take it home, but I felt like it’d be such a waste if I didn’t. Maybe if it wasn’t pouring rain outside I would have found a bum to give it to.

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We skipped dessert since, after our steak, we were a little underwhelmed.

But on another visit, I think I tried every dessert imaginable, and they were all great:

Seafood Selection: 9
There’s a good variety of seafood in this place. They offer the chilled seafood towers, caviar, scallops, shellfish and crab cakes on the app menu. The three main seafood items on their entree menu looked nice too: lobster, salmon, and swordfish (the steak of the sea, as I call it). Cheers for putting a man’s fish on that menu!

Service: 9 (increased to 10)
No problems to report here, and equally no “stellar marks” moments to report. It was a regular meal that went smoothly, just the right pace, with friendly servers, bus boys and waitresses. On a second visit they treated us to a round of drinks and desserts for no apparent reason at all. Amazing.

Ambiance: 8 (updated to 10 after remodel)
I was hoping for a better atmosphere here, being that the place overlooks Columbus Circle and the corner of Central Park. Unfortunately only some of the seating overlooks that area. The restaurant is nicely lit and decorated, but the white table cloth atmosphere gives it a slightly more formal feel than I was looking for. Nothing wrong with that, but the crowd did seem a little older and stuffier.

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I went back in for a burger. This double cheeseburger is only $16 on the bar menu. The burger itself is smothered in delicious, gooey American cheese, and topped with red onion jam and pickled jalapeños. It is damn near perfect, given its placement on a potato bun. Perhaps just a leaf or two of iceberg is all it needs.

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The chips were way over-seasoned. My mouth is still sweating from eating them. I think lots of Old Bay or something similar. Heavily salted as well. Skip those unless you plan to suck down several beers to quench your thirst afterward.

PORTER HOUSE
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Cir.
New York, NY 10019

Hunt & Fish Club

Hunt & Fish Club overall score: 91

Just a quick FYI about the format of this review. I was under the impression that this joint didn’t seek to be classified as a steakhouse. But now, everywhere I see this place mentioned in print, it is being called a steakhouse. SO I’ve taken my restaurant review and stuffed it into a steakhouse review format. That’s why it looks like a Walmart fatty stuffed into a runway model’s dress.

My wife surprised me with dinner here for Valentine’s Day.

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What an incredible meal! We started with some cocktails. Gin martini for me, and some sort of sparkling apple drink for the wife.

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A nice  unexpected surprise was a pair of big popovers. These were pretty good, but not quite up to the standard set by BLT Prime. One was very airy and light, while the other had a crispy outer shell with a lop-sided, more dense, doughy bottom.

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There were several items we wanted to try from the app menu, so we just ordered them all. First was the filet mignon tartare. This rivals the Quality Meats tartare. Easily one of the best in Manhattan. The plate was ringed with minced red onion, boiled egg whites and egg yolks. The beef itself was extremely soft and tender despite being hand cut. It was topped with a raw quail egg for that needed fat. So fucking good when spread onto the little waffle chips that came with the plate.

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Next up was the bacon. These were nice and thick: we had a strip each. I’ve had better in other places, but this was an excellent way to chase that delicious tartare.

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Our third starter was the oxtail and bone marrow French onion soup. This was really delicious and rich. The broth had such a nice flavor from all that beefy goodness. While I still like the French onion soup at Le Village better, this was an exciting, innovative take on what is frankly a boring item.

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For my main course, I had this delicious, perfectly cooked bone-in rib eye steak. Aged prime all the way, people. So fucking good. Easily in my top steaks. The crust had a great sear. There was a slight amount of bleed-out, but it was not due to lack of rest. It was just juicy as fuck.

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My wife had a halibut dish that was cooked with king crab for a nice flavor boost. I can see why they call this place Fish & Hunt – both the meat and the fish are spectacular and deserve to be featured prominently.

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My wife and I basically said FUCK YOU to greens in this meal. Instead of sharing one healthy veggie side, we went with two unhealthy, starchy, carby veggies. First was horseradish mustard mashed potatoes. Really fucking tasty. The horseradish gave it a good kick in the balls.

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The other was truffled tater tots. Holy shit these were decadent and earthy. They were cooked with truffle oil, and the creamy dip sauce that came with them had minced truffle in it as well. BOOM!

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For dessert we shared a yogurt based panna cotta. While the texture was really not the kind you associate with panna cotta, this flavor was really light and delicious. It was creamy, airy from the berry foam on top, and it had an awesome crumble made from brown sugar on top. Then topped with some fresh berries. Fucking nice.

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The bill came with a pair of freebie signature hibiscus vodka cocktails that tasted like adult fruit punch. I liked it. Also two golden boxes with chocolate candies inside. One was coffee dusted, and the other was salted dark chocolate truffle. REALLY rich and flavorful.

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We ate like royalty in this place. Definitely worth trying despite a pricey total bill. Give it a shot!

Flavor: 10 – very near to absolute perfection

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9 – could use a few more cut options. Quality is fantastic though.

Portion Size & Plating: 8 – steaks are a good size, but slightly thin, and certainly mismatched when looking at price.

Price: 8 – this is an expensive joint, but the rest must be expensive too.

Bar: 10 – great street-side drinking, elegant, fancy, and nicely decorated. Plus there’s another bar downstairs for more intimacy.

Specials & Other Meats: 9 – solid showing of alternative meats on the menu.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 10 – everything we had was awesome here.

Seafood Selection: 10 – with a name like “Hunt & FISH Club” you expect no less. The presence of Alaskan King Crab as an entree is impressive.

Service: 8 – perhaps because we went on Valentine’s Day, which is super busy, we didn’t get the five-star treatment we expected.

Ambiance: 9 – very elegant and glamorous. I can understand why celebs have been flocking to this place.

HUNT & FISH CLUB
125 W. 44th St.
New York, NY 10036