Tag Archives: grand central

Atto Prime

Atto Prime overall score: 79

I tried this joint on their grand opening with a couple of food Instagram buddies of mine. This place is so new, they don’t even have a website or a menu online anywhere. Keep in mind that this place is not even really open yet, and this was served to us during their grand opening friends and family party. I have a feeling the experience will be much different and much better on a second visit.

Flavor: 8

We tried both the porterhouse and the rib eye. I actually liked the strip side of the porterhouse the best, since it packed a lot of dry aged flavor. One friend liked the filet side, and another liked the rib eye the best. So we all had our differences. Overall, though, I gave both an 8/10. Both steaks were ever so slightly overcooked from medium rare to medium, but all is forgiven when the flavor is good.

This burger is a steal at just $18.

Fries are sold separately at $7, but all in $25 isn’t too bad at all for a half pound dry aged steakhouse burger with fries.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

The beef here, I believe, is all from Strassburger Steaks, all dry-aged and USDA prime. They have all the basics and then some.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions here are on par with all the midtown steak joints, as is the plating. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Price: 9

With portions for one ranging in the mid to upper 40s, the prices here are under the norm by almost $10 a portion. That’s a good deal.

Bar: 7

There isn’t much of a bar to mention here, but the cocktails are good, they have a nice happy hour, and there’s lounge style seating and occasionally live music in the hotel lobby that’s connected and adjacent to the restaurant.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

There were no specials to speak of on this occasion (aside from the haps hour specials noted above), but we did get to try the chicken parm. I wasn’t impressed with it, but I do believe they’re still working on some items. In terms of other meats available, there is both veal and lamb. A pretty fair showing. On a second visit, they did read some specials off to us.

On a second visit I asked for the veal chop but they were out (they didn’t have it on the first visit either), but we did try these nice lamb chops. Three double bones.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with the sizzling Canadian bacon and the steak tartare. Both were very good, and worth getting again. We also tried the Caesar salad, and shared a bunch of sides: truffle creamed corn, steamed broccoli, creamless style creamed spinach, and a raw tuna dish served in a martini glass. For dessert we had a trio: a chocolate mousse type of cake, carrot cake (my favorite of the three) and cheesecake – with schlag of course (which was more like standard whipped cream than the thick, lightly sweetened stuff I’m used to).

On a second visit I tried the baked clams, which were great.

Here are those desserts:

Seafood Selection: 6

There’s a good deal of seafood on the menu here, but I was only able to try the tuna martini thing, which didn’t really make me very excited (though it was beautiful). Next time I’ll try a fish entree or some more of the raw shellfish and cold appetizer stuff. That’s really where I think they will shine as far as seafood. On a second visit I had another sushi item and was disappointed.

I imagine their proper sushi will be top notch too. They even have a sushi bar in the dining room with counter service.

Service: 9

The staff here is awesome. It took a bit to get our bill to us, but other than that, we were treated like royalty and all the servers and staff were attentive, friendly, and knew the menu inside and out. Table bread is a nice Italian style bread, but the butter could use a whipping or a warming. I also didn’t see a proprietary steak sauce on the table yet (which I don’t care about anyway, but it’s nice with bacon sometimes).

Ambiance: 8

The decor here is still in the process of coming together. They’re awaiting some wall art (and hopefully new chairs). The space is in the back, behind the hotel lobby, and sunken down a few steps into a grand dining room. Really beautiful spot, cozy yet elegant. There are even a few tables out front for dining outside.

I look forward to coming back to try some more dishes in a few weeks.

ATTO PRIME
120 East 39th St
New York, NY 10016

Bedford & Co.

My friend Jean invited me to Bedford & Co. for an Instagram infleuncer dinner, since she and a few others were going to be digging into a nice large format rib eye for two (along with other tasty items) and tasting a variety of wines for the restaurant’s “Wine Wednesday” pairings with their somm, Sarah.

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This 28-day dry-aged 40oz bone in rib eye from Master Purveyors is a “for two” steak, which comes with lardo, watercress and roasted garlic for $125. We were five, so we pigged out on other shit too.

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The prices of beef have certainly gone way up lately. I remember when I was chomping on 36-40oz steaks for one at half the price just a few years back. But hey, this one was free! Not gonna complain.

We were able to sneak into the kitchen to watch Chef Justin Neubeck and his team flame this baby up for us.

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But while we were waiting for that to finish cooking and then properly rest, we sparked up some scallops with pumpkin puree, kafir lime and roasted pumpkin seeds.

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This was a really interesting flavor combo, and I really liked it. The round sweetness of the pumpkin contrasted nicely with the acidic pop from the lime.

The entrees rolled out all at once, and the five of us Instagrammers went bonkers taking photos of everything.

The first thing I tried was the Long Island duck breast.

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Garnished with a scallion ginger oil, glazed with honey, and accompanied by a cranberry purée, this was easily one of the better duck breast dishes I’ve had in quite a while.

Berkshire pork chop was next.

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I’m hard to please when it comes to pork chops. My mom used to cook them in a glass covered electric skillet so that they were somehow juicy on the inside but crisp on the outside, and with onions, potatoes and cherry peppers. Very Italian, as I later discovered. With all that said, this was a pretty good version. It had a sour orange glaze and was served with pink winter squash and marinated radicchio.

The main event was that steak, though.

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A cut this thick is difficult to cook properly. Lots of times you’ll end up with some spots that are too rare, while the outside is overcooked. I have to hand it to these guys; they did a pretty solid job with this monster.

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As you might have noticed from the raw shot above, there wasn’t much of a fat cap on this baby, but what scraps were there after trimming was used to make the lardo, which was really nice. Also I feel like the 28-day dry aging was done masterfully (by Master Purveyors, no less). They really packed a ton of funk and earthiness for the minimal end of the aging process. 8/10.

Since this was essentially a carnivore party, we had to try the burger at this place. It has been getting a fair amount of attention on social media lately, and for good reason. Look at it, for fuck’s sake.

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This beauty is topped with bloomsday cheddar, caramelized onion and thick cut braised pork belly. So juicy. Get it when you come here, even if you have to split it with a group of people, like we did.

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And of course the fries are excellent as well, which are cooked with herbs right in the fryer oil.

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We did a pair of sides as well. Brussels with bacon and apple cider, and roasted wild mushrooms. These were dynamite! The roast on those sprouts was fantastic. Great texture and crisp. And the mushrooms were the perfect pairing with the earthy steak.

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Just when you thought we were full, the desserts came out. Chef Canty makes all the stuff in house. We got to try the carrot cake (my favorite of the three – so rich and delicious), cheesecake in a jar, and apple crostada.

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Definitely one of the best carrot cake renditions I’ve had in the city, right up there with Bob’s Steak & Chop House and Ocean Prime.

I definitely recommend this place to anyone who generally likes any of the shit that I got to try. All high quality, deftly executed shit.

UPDATE 5/6/17

I came back for brunch with another group of food influencers. I tried much of the menu, but most importantly the hanger steak. This was a very small portion that came with two eggs, potatoes and some greens. The steak had a great char on the outside and a perfect medium rare temp inside. Great seasoning and flavor. I just wish it was bigger! 8/10

The porchetta was delicious as well. It had a great crisp on the outside with juicy, fatty, savory near inside (bacon wheel was additional, and arranged by my wife).

Also nice was the chicken and waffles entree.

And they’re now offering unlimited prosecco mimosas with uniquely flavored mixer juices for brunch.

And of course, what brunch is complete without pastries?

BEDFORD & CO.
The Renwick
118 E 40th St
New York, NY 10016

Hard Times Sundaes

If your taste in burgers is anything like mine, you like to keep it fairly simple but always delicious. They say “you don’t mess with perfection,” and I believe that’s vital when it comes to the outstanding combination of meat and cheese. That perfection, for me, is a classic flat top griddle burger with crispy edges and a medium center, covered all over with melted American cheese, and topped with lettuce, tomato and fresh jalapenos. It must also be slapped on a potato bun with a bit of mayo.

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One of the best places to get this style of burger is Hard Times Sundaes at Urbanspace Vanderbilt.

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What started out as a meager food truck venture turned out to be one of the most sought after “roadside” style burgers in the city. Two years later, this place is consistently hailed as one of the best burgers in town by some of the most respected burger critics around. I agree with them.

I came here to celebrate their second “BURGthday” with a bunch of other NYC food scene press people.  Since this was my first go at this place, I kept it simple, sticking to my favorite style, as outlined above. I was impressed! Everything was perfect – seriously.

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A bunch of people were getting triples, because they do look amazing in photos, but I really wanted to experience the single in all its glory, perfectly ratio’d between bun, meat, cheese and toppings. It was so fucking good, and I wish I had more right now.

But I also got to try their bacon wrapped hot dog as well. These are not dick pics with toasted foreskin. These are delicious hot dogs.

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I had this once with avocado at Crif Dogs, WAAAY back in the day, before I started reviewing restaurants. I loved it then, and I love it now. I like glorified hot dogs, and wrapping them in bacon and deep frying them is probably one of the best ways to do it. I liked it so much on that first bite, that I totally skipped any additional toppings like mustard, ketchup or onions.

Do yourselves a favor and get your asses over here ASAP.

There’s also a luncheonette spot out in Brooklyn that serves the burgers and also a nice skirt steak sandwich:

Watch the video of the steak sandwich being made:

HARD TIMES SUNDAES
At Urbanspace Vanderbilt
230 Park Ave
New York, NY 10169

The Shakespeare

When mighty roast beef was the English man’s food,
It ennobled our brains and enriched our blood,
Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good.
Oh! The roast beef of old England!

This past weekend my wife and I were invited to a “food influencer” event to help promote the new brunch menu at The Shakespeare. I feel like British food gets a bad rep, and isn’t very well represented in NYC (with the exception of a few places like The Spotted Pig and Jones Wood Foundry). That said, I was excited to give this place a try.

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The interior is beautiful, and it’s set up like an old timey British tavern downstairs, with a nice elegant dining room and outdoor courtyard upstairs.

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My wife had been here about a year ago and spoke highly of the burger, scotch egg and fish and chips.

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She’s absolutely right about those fuckers; they’re great. But we sampled a whole bunch of different items this time around, to highlight the brunch menu.

Starting on September 11, 2016, for $19, you get to choose from three types of roasted meats; pork, chicken and beef.

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This beef is easily 9/10 for flavor, and when you add the horseradish sauce to it, it is fucking insane. I highly recommend it. The pork comes with an apple-based sauce, and the chicken comes with a “bread sauce” that’s similar to a bechamel. I’d say that my ranking, in order of awesomeness, was the beef, the chicken and then the pork.

But that’s not all you get for the $19. You also get some potato sides, popovers and seasonal veggies.

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Make sure you try a Bloody Mary, too. They’re peppery and chock full of horseradish.

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This chilled gazpacho soup was really nice on such a hot day too.

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And for dessert, we tried the chocolate hazelnut mousse and sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream.

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Both were great, but I think my favorite between the two was the toffee pudding pie/cake on the bottom. The flake salt on top really made the flavors pop.

THE SHAKESPEARE
24 E 39th St
New York, NY 10016

Cafe Zaiya

Me, my wife, and my buddy Ben (@stuffbeneats) came in here to beat the insane summer heat with some sesame and green tea flavored soft serve swirl ice cream.

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Pretty good, I must say. I think I liked the sesame flavor better, since green tea, to me, is generally a flavorless endeavor (with the exception of cakes that rely on frosting to deliver the sweetness).

Okay. That’s all. Go get some if you want to try something a little bit outside the box in the flavor department.

CAFE ZAIYA
18 E 41st St
New York, NY 10017

Red Hook Lobster Pound

By far the more superior lobster roll when compared to Luke’s. This is only rivaled by Burger & Lobster.

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Even after a walk home in the bag from the new outpost at Urban Space, Vanderbilt, this was still buttery and delicious. One side of the bun was a little soggy, but that was only due to the transport. Robust lobster flavors, excellent, perfectly cooked knuckle and claw meat, and great dressing. Well played!

Fresh from the Brooklyn flagship was pretty great too, though I still find lobster rolls to be too expensive, in general.

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RED HOOK LOBSTER POUND
Urban Space Vanderbilt
230 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10169

RED HOOK LOBSTER POUND
284 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231