Tag Archives: midtown east

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.

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.

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

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

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

Il Tinello East

My buddy Benny from Greenwich Steakhouse opened up a second location of the Italian joint Il Tinello. Benny is second from the right in this picture, next to me. Ask for him when you go, and tell him I sent you!

The menu and ambiance here are a little different from the original location. It feels like a more lively restaurant with a younger crowd. It was packed both at the bar and at the tables on a Wednesday night.

The bartender AJ has a nine year pedigree at Benjamin Prime, and he mixes up some excellent cocktails. Ask him about his mezcal negroni and “new fashioned” drinks.

Don’t skip on this meat martini waterfall thing. Great selection of olives, cheeses and peppers to go with the hand cut prosciutto.

Table bread service comes with an eggplant and tomato dip, and nice freshly made bruschetta.

We started with the special oysters Rockefeller, which were awesome. Nice crispy pancetta on top!

We followed these with baked clams oreganata and beef carpaccio.

For a mid course, we tried three pastas. The favorite of the table was probably this orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage. Just like mom makes.

These crab ravioli on special were incredible as well. They had a nice robust, clean crab flavor. Not too heavy with a light creamy pesto sauce.

The tagliolini with seafood is PACKED with chopped scallops, mussels, and shrimp. Great stuff.

For our mains, we tried two veal dishes. The first was a delicious glazed rib chop.

So tender and perfectly cooked to medium rare inside.

We also had the bone-in veal parm that was on special.

This was massive! Definitely something to share with your date.

For dessert, we tried the creme brulee, Italian cheesecake, tira misu and panna cotta. I think my favorite was either the tira misu or the panna cotta.

Great meal with a great old friend. I’m happy for the success of his new venture here at Il Tinello. I’ll definitely be back again soon!

IL TINELLO EAST
244 E 46th St
New York, NY 10017

Empire Burger House

Opening up a new restaurant during this madness takes balls. The folks from Empire Steakhouse are evidently chock full of balls. Not only have they just launched Empire Burger House, a really friggin great restaurant that delivers steakhouse quality beef burgers in smaller, more affordable sizes, but they’re really upped the game in terms of comfort and class in their outdoor dining space. I saw with some friends for a full steakhouse dinner on a very cold night, and I was wearing just a long sleeved shirt. Awesome!

Anyway I tried their single, double and spicy chicken sandwich. I was really impressed. The double was by far my favorite of the three – just the right ratio of meat to bun and toppings. And the special sauce on the burgers is incredible. It’s almost like zingy ranch of some kind, or an Alabama white sauce.

Call this place right now for delivery, or go sit outside in their warm outdoor dining space.

EMPIRE BURGER HOUSE
147 E 50th St Second Floor
New York, NY 10022

Little Tong Noodle Shop

My wife and I stopped in here last week for dinner now that they are open later. I was dying to try this “Shank JB Melt.”

It’s tender beef shank, cucumber, and Beecher’s cheese curds (melty and crisp) on a flaky pancake “crepe.” Kind of like an Asian take on a Philly cheesesteak. Look at how crisp yet melty that cheese is:

This was amazing. I highly recommend this for all you midtown east folks. Perfect lunch item.

We also tried the Mala Dan Dan Mixian noodles. This is a non-soup noodle dish that has a nice spicy and tingly flavor profile to it, with ground pork, peppercorn oil, pickled celery, mustard seeds, pickled mustard greens and peanuts. We also added a tea egg for $2 and it was well worth it.

For dessert we had the rose crystal jelly with black rock syrup, basil seeds, sesame and peanuts. A really light and refreshing way to end the meal.

I definitely recommend this place to everyone, especially those who like noodles. They have nice sandwich items at the midtown location that really shine too.

LITTLE TONG NOODLE SHOP
235 E 53rd St
New York, NY 10022

Four Cuts Steakhouse

Four Cuts overall score: 82

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED!

My wife and I came here for a quick meal and to take photos for Instagram.

Flavor: 8

The porterhouse was a 7/10. It was cooked nicely to medium rare, but it lacked a bit of seasoning and dry-aged flavor. The strip side had a bit of a chew to it, but still pretty good. The filet side was perfect!

The “sauce” we ordered on the side was the “cherry peppers and onions” selection, which I knew in advance wouldn’t be an actual “sauce” as listed on the menu.

Four Cuts Steakhouse is owned by the same folks as Tudor City Steakhouse, and I recall that I enjoyed the cherry peppers and onions there (it, too, wasn’t a sauce, but, rather, a toping or a side item). I dig it. And these are perfect to use for leftover steak and eggs the next morning.

We also tried the filet “oscar” style.

This was a 9/10.

The lobster meat and hollandaise really worked nicely together with the steak, which was perfectly cooked to medium rare.

I highly recommend that filet, and I’m looking forward to trying more cuts the next time I visit.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

You can see here on the menu that all “four cuts” are represented (not counting the lamb chops):

However, they also offer specials like the filet “oscar,” and this tomahawk that I unfortunately didn’t get to try:

It looked and smelled delicious! The meats hail from Masters, and are all dry-aged for 28 days.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions are large here, and plating is pretty standard in the steakhouse style. Elegant and simple.

Price: 9

The prices here are all very fair. In fact some are a huge bargain considering what neighboring steak joints are charging, much like their sister restaurant, Tudor City Steakhouse.

Bar: 7

There’s a cozy little stretch of bar that was seeing a fair amount of action on a Friday evening. I liked this little guy sitting on there:

Drinks are pretty good too.

First they brought out a vodka martini by mistake, but they knew before I did (I hadn’t sipped it yet). They just brought out a gin martini and told me to keep the vodka one too. Bonus!

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There are definitely some steak items that aren’t listed on the menu. The tomahawk steak and filet “oscar” style that I mentioned above, for example. Make sure you ask what they have. By way of alternative meats, you can go with either lamb or chicken.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

The crab cake was meaty!

The star of the apps were the oysters Rockefeller and the clams casino. These usually come six to an order, but the chef did us a solid and gave us three of each so we could try both preparations.

I also really liked the tuna tartare. Big portion, clean and fresh taste, and simply executed.

Sautéed asparagus with garlic:

Hash brown potatoes:

Sautéed spinach with garlic:

For dessert, my wife liked the raspberry cheesecake best of the two:

But I liked the raspberry creme brûlée. This was a unique take.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s branzino, salmon and tuna on the menu for you non-carnivorous losers out there. But based on the quality of the baked shellfish apps, I would say you’re in very good hands ordering a seafood entree here.

Service: 10

Tony is incredible, and the wait staff is top notch. You really are treated like royalty here. My favorite service aspect of the meal at Four Cuts was the table bread. It comes with a really tasty garlic, olives, capers and tomato oil spread that will blow you away. It’s almost like a “bagna cauda,” but I’m not sure if there are anchovies involved.

Ambiance: 8

This little “mom and pop” steak joint exudes a cozy yet elegant atmosphere that really makes great use of the space. It felt like the right balance between a traditional steakhouse and a local neighborhood joint. Go give it a shot. There’s even free garage parking for four hours right around the corner on 58th Street.

FOUR CUTS STEAKHOUSE
1076 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Chimichurri Grill

NOTE: THE CHIMICHURRI GRILL EAST IS CLOSED, BUT THERE IS A CHIMICHURRI GRILL WEST LOCATION THAT’S STILL OPEN

I was invited to Chimichurri Grill East by the restaurant’s PR specialist to try a special five course tasting menu (with wine pairings and dessert), and to write a review. Let me get right to it!

The restaurant is an elegant, modern and fine dining Argentinian steak house. This is somewhat of a rarity here in the city, as most Argentinian places that I know are more on the pub atmosphere end, and don’t serve actual Argentinian proteins. Argentinian beef is something that people clamor for, so it’s good to know that this place serves the real deal.

Moreover, Chef Carlos Darquea uses family recipes to create the dishes he loves and grew up with. Everything is authentic and from the heart.

His wife Alicia is the wine director, and together they own a sister restaurant, called Chimichurri Grill West (a theater district mainstay for nearly 20 years), which serves the exact same menu but in a different atmosphere.

Here’s what we had:

Course 1: Sweetbreads (Heart)

This was really nice. These veal heart sweetbreads are sliced and grilled, served with a red pepper, parsley and garlic sauce, and featured on a slice of crispy purple potato. Very pretty and delicious. This was similar to something like foie gras.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 2: Beef Tongue Stew

I really loved this warm, hearty and delicious dish. It was reminiscent of homemade beef barley soup. The tongue was diced into small cubes and braised to tender perfection.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 3: Grilled Romaine Salad

The feta, buttermilk and dill dressing makes for a nice creamy compliment with the grilled greens. And the crispy bacon lardon is just perfect.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

We had a scoop of homemade passion fruit sorbet to cleanse the palate. Very nice!

Course 4: Pasta with Seafood

This house made pasta is served with a chardonnay and basil sauce that gets added to a roux and the various seafood juices that Chef Carlos extracts from the seafood used to make the dish; clams, calamari, prawns, mussels and halibut.

Note: this is a smaller portion than what is served if you order from the menu.

Course 5: Grass Fed Argentinian Rib Eye

This was great. It’s wet aged for 32 days as it travels from Argentina to the US. Chef Carlos finishes this Black Angus steak directly on wood charcoal to develop a great crust on the outside of the meat. It’s even plated with some charcoal, and when you pop the rosemary on top, it smokes and gives off a great aroma.

It was cooked to a perfect medium rare. It had a huge outer cap and a lean eye, likely due to the grass fed nature of the beef.

You’re in for a really nice bite when you combine the caramelized vidalia onions and sauces that come to the table with this dish.

The steak (which was a full sized portion, FYI) also came with French fries. These were perfectly crisp and deliciously seasoned.

Dessert: Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee

Wow. What a great dessert! So flavorful, smooth and unexpected. A great Latin twist on the classic French custard.

That about covers it! I really can’t wait to go back and try some more cuts of steak. The menu here is new/fresh, exciting, and completely outside the box.

They even have nice happy hour specials from 4-8pm, and a great express lunch menu for all you midtown power lunchers. Get on it!

UPDATE: 12/22/17

On a subsequent visit, I tried a few more delectable items.

La Suprema Burger

Veal sweet breads and caramelized onions on top of a 6oz grass finished filet patty. Very nice. The sweetbreads almost act like a cheese, adding that creaminess and fat content to the lean beef.

Clams with Chorizo

Perfection. Just order these and you’ll thank me later.

Bife Con Fritas

Strip steak, perfectly cooked, with those delicious fries. Can’t go wrong with this bad boy. I liked this better than the rib eye, and at just $42 for 12oz, you’re saving some cash in the process.

Special Off Menu Bone-In Rib Eye

Similar to the boneless cut I tried during the multi-course tasting, this lean rib eye backed a great flavor with a robust char from the on-coals cooking process.

Empanadas

Albondigas

Charred Cauliflower

CHIMICHURRI GRILL EAST
133 E 61st St
New York, NY 10065

CHIMICHURRI GRILL WEST
609 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036

Tulsi

UPDATE: This place is now CLOSED!

A food buddy of mine set up a press/influencer meal at this midtown east Indian joint. I have somewhat of a deficit when it comes to Indian restaurant reviews on this site, so I was excited to try this place. I had heard good things from friends, and they were recently awarded a Michelin star.

We started with a bunch of apps.

The chicken tikka was my favorite of these babies. The meat was super tender inside and crispy/charred on the outside.

Chaat.

Paneer cheese.

Of course the amazing naan.

Their garlic naan was awesome, and went very nicely with the coconut shrimp curry.

In fact all of the curries I tried were pretty great here.

I also tried a goat biryani, which was probably the best biryani I’ve ever had. It was spicy! And the goat was super tender (just be aware of bones throughout).

My favorite dish of the night, however, was this halibut dish.

The fish was cooked really nicely, had great texture and a crisp outside, while remaining flakey and tender inside.

So beautiful too.

The lamb chops were incredibly tender as well. I really liked the spice profile on them. Aggressive, but really earthy. I didn’t get a shot of the inside, but they were cooked to a perfect medium rare to rare temperature. And like I said, so freaking tender. I actually cut them with a butter knife.

Dessert was interesting. My favorite was their rendition of cheesecake. Super creamy!

And I also liked these yogurt cream “cannoli”-like shells:

But everything else I tried was beautiful and tasty.

TULSI
211 E 46th St
New York, NY 10017

Jubilee

Jubilee is a gorgeously decorated midtown east French restaurant that was founded by Eric Macaire, and is co-owned with Chef Luc Holie and his spouse Ilda. When you step into this joint, you feel like you’ve entered someone’s home, and are dining in their living room. Not only is the decor and atmosphere inviting, but the staff is very warm and friendly as well.

Jubilee is known for offering a variety of fresh steamed mussels in delicious sauces. There’s even a special, separate menu that’s dedicated to just mussels! If you’re like me and you can’t decide between the nine sauces, you can get a trio of mini pots to try. I suggest going with a group of people, that way you can get three trios to share as an app; you’ll be able to try all nine varieties!

My wife and I had the dijonnaise, curry and truffle chicken sauces. All were excellent but we liked the truffle chicken the best. What’s cool about the trio is that they remove all the mussels from their shells, so the juicy bivalves are swimming in pure flavor. And there’s a LOT of them in each cup; don’t be deceived!

A full size order of these will come with shells on, in a pretty metal pot. That’s more traditional. But I think the trio is a better value.

They also have some excellent prix fix offerings, both for lunch and dinner. For example, the dinner prix fix includes two courses and a beer/glass of wine. Not bad at all, considering they don’t cut corners on the selections or portion sizes. I’ll take mussels, a hanger steak with fries and a beer any day for under $30. That’s great!

Speaking of steak and fries, they serve up a pretty great boneless “cote de boeuf” rib eye frites here.

That’s a lot of fries! And they are perfectly golden crisp, to boot, and well seasoned. The steak is about an inch thick and 14oz. It had a great sear on the outside but maintained a perfectly pink medium rare on the inside. 8/10. Better than many midtown steakhouses.

Add the complimentary green peppercorn or bernaise sauce on top and you’re in heaven. Those sauces are great for fry dipping too.

Speaking of dipping, I couldn’t stop myself from dipping the fresh country style table bread into my wife’s platter of escargot that she got for her app. The buttery, garlicky, herby sauce was addicting!

And speaking of the bread, it was served with a smooth, spreadable soft butter. I hate when the butter is hard!

But I can’t forget to tell you about my app: the foie gras terrine. It was so incredibly smooth and flavorful, and so incredibly velvety and decadent. I highly recommend it.

We also sampled the grilled leek salad, which comes topped with a pair of fried quail eggs for good measure. I’m typically not a fan of leek texture – a bit too woody for me – but these took on an almost braised quality, and, as such, were super tender and flavorful.

Not only was the food good here at Jubilee, but it was also beautifully presented and plated. For example, take a look at this sea scallop and orzo dish.

Absolutely stunning, not to mention the perfect sear on those babies. And that sauce you see around the risotto was an earthy truffle and porcini blend that was drinkable.

No French meal would be complete without some house made French desserts. For me, creme brulee is an old standby that never disappoints. Here, it was smooth, rich with flavor, and perfectly caramelized on top.

But, rarely seen on menus is a Paris-Brest. I was excited to see it here. It was so light and airy, yet it still packed a walloping punch of flavor. That might have been my favorite of the desserts. It was really pretty, too.

And finally, warm chocolate cake with ice cream. Pure decadence. It was so soft and chocolately inside. It was kind of hard to pull away from this and eat the other stuff.

Dessert also came with these tiny little soft lemon cookie/cake hybrids. There’s a fancy French name for them, but a big, doofy, arrogant, proud American ogre like me doesn’t know it off hand and is too lazy to go looking for it.

In any case, this place is one of my favorite French restaurants now. They have weekly specials mapped out for the entire month. Right now is coq au vin, and later in the month there’s a beef bourgignon. I may have to go back very soon! I hope you go as well.

JUBILEE
948 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails

I had the pleasure of attending an Instagram influencer event at Handcraft last night, and I have to say: I was super impressed with everything I drank and ate. This place really knows their stuff.

The meal started with some buffalo style deviled eggs, which were absolutely delicious.

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They had the same flavor profile you get from good spicy chicken wings, with a pop of hot sauce.

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Then came our first cocktail: Tokyo Drift. This was made with gin, sake, cucumber, lemon and fizz.

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It was really refreshing and slammable, which was nice to pair with the next part of the meal: Handcraft Nachos.

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These are tots, topped with corn, bean chili, pico de gallo, guacamole, chipotle sour cream and cheese sauce. These “totchos” were absolutely fantastic. You definitely need to start your meal with these when you come here.

Next up on cocktails was the Liquid Lunch: watermelon and strawberry gin, basil, balsamic vinegar and lime.

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This baby was like drinking a salad! So savory yet still with a nice pop of sweetness. I loved it.

We drank that with a killer fried chicken sandwich.

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This is up there with Delaney and Fuku+ in terms of taste and quality. It’s topped with pimento cheese, pickled green tomato and kale, served on focaccia.

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The chicken was so tender and juicy inside, and that cheese acted like a sauce to boot. Awesome.

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The final cocktail was a Bourbon Punch: bourbon, amaretto, southern comfort, orange and pineapple.

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The hard liquor really gets balanced out by the sweetness here, and the fruitiness of the drink went well with the next course: The Game Changer.

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This mountain of meat consists of a bison patty and a wild boar patty. Then it gets topped with duck confit, brie and cherry chutney, served neatly on a brioche bun. Amazing. The cherry chutney almost acts like a cranberry sauce, turning this into the perfect Thanksgiving substitute for those of you who despise turkey.

I highly recommend this place, and they have a great beer menu too.

HANDCRAFT KITCHEN & COCKTAILS
367 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016