Tag Archives: pasta

Scampi

My buddy from Gotham Burger Social Club organized a kickass meal here at Scampi because he loved the place so much and wanted us to all try the greatness of PJ Calapa’s cooking.

We started with a round of seafood apps:

Razor Clams

These were my favorite. They were dressed with fennel, chives and prosciutto, and they were minced up with Manila clams and placed back into the shell. You could just shoot them rather than having to pry them from the shell and eat them in one big sloppy bite.

Fluke

This was a really nice, crisp and fresh crudo dish with tomatoes, castelvetrano olives and lime. Simple but perfect.

Mackerel

Mackerel is one of my least favorite fish to eat, but this preparation was nice – even with the eggplant in there, which I also usually dislike. Pine nuts, basil and tomato really brought his together.

Endive

While this wasn’t technically a seafood item, it contained anchovy in the “bagna cauda” dressing. The parmesan, fried capers and breadcrumbs gave it a really nice texture.

Next up was a selection of four pasta dishes:

Lumache

This had Manila clams, filone and tarragon pesto. This was a great, light clam sauce dish with perfectly cooked “large semi-elbows.”

Mafaldini Scampi

Long skinny lasagna style ribbon pasta with shrimp, parsley, buttre and lemon. Classic and so good.

Campanelle

Show stopper! The trumpet pasta was served in a buttery half-red sauce with fennel sausage, broccoli rabe and parmesan. It was perfect in every way.

Mezzaluna

Half-moon shaped ravioli filled with braised pork in a pomodoro sauce with pecorino. Really nicely executed.

Now on to the main entrée, the 60-day dry-aged tomahawk:

This beauty is only $135 for 42oz, but it’s limited availability, first come first serve, so you will need to ask them if they have any left if you want to try it (it isn’t on the regular menu). Pat LaFrieda, Creekstone Farms.

Chef PJ’s cooking technique is very involved on this beast. It sees constant movement and several methods of cooking, from the pan to the broiler to a butter bath. This is a 9/10.

We also had some nice sides with this steak:

Spring Onion

These roasted onions were plated with gorgonzola, aged balsamic and crispy shallots.

Asparagus

Simply grilled but then topped with cured, grated egg yolk, toasted almonds and tarragon. Even the veggies get creative techniques applied to them.

Roasted Potato

These came with shaved fennel and castelvetrano olives in a light lemon dressing.

For dessert, we tried three items:

Cannoli

These were some of the best I’ve ever had. Very classic treatment with chocolate chips and ricotta cream.

Torta

This was an olive oil cake with mascarpone, berries, almonds and strawberry swirl gelato.

Cassata

Semifreddo, dried apricot, pistachio, chocolate and almonds.

I highly recommend trying this place out. Everything I tasted was great – not one dish fell short or disappointed.

SCAMPI
30 W 18th St
New York, NY 10011

Domenica Fiore Olive Oil

Domenica Fiore reached out to me to try their olive oil. I can always use an extra bottle of olive oil around the food lab, so I jumped at the opportunity. Here’s what they sent to me:

We used it for some sautéed broccolini and mixed it into a truffle sauce to eat with some black truffle stringozzi pasta. The result was awesome.

My wife really nailed it with that dish, and we were both very happy with the quality of the oil.

Cafe Fiorello

My wife and I popped in here before seeing “Darkest Hour” at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (great flick, and too bad that the theater is closing down in a month due to high rent). The place was jam-packed at 5:45pm, but luckily my wife had a reservation locked in.

Our movie was at 6:35, so we wanted to eat quick. We ordered our drinks and pastas at the same time, and they came out within three minutes.

I had the spaghetti carbonara, which was made the right way with no cream and a runny egg.

Enjoy the yolk porn:

It was made with guanciale (pork jowl) bacon, which added nice salt content to the dish without actually using salt.

My wife had the fettuccine pesto, which had a really nice, fresh flavor to it. Delicious, though a bit garlicky.

Everything was great, but the prices were a bit steep. All in, with tax and tip, for just two drinks and two pasta dishes, we were at $95 and change. That’s pretty steep! The interesting tidbit: This was one of the fastest meals we ever had in NYC. We were in and out within 20 minutes, like a horny teenager at a whore house.

CAFE FIORELLO
1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

Banza Pasta

I recently tried Banza pasta. Banza is made from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), so each serving is packed with protein and fiber.

My wife used some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to make a nice, simple, healthy and tasty dish. She diced up the turkey, added sautéed garlic spinach, and topped it with some turkey skin that she crisped up in our new air fryer (product review to come).

It was a great meal. I even added a little bit of gravy to my second bowl. But the pasta was great. You’d never know this wasn’t normal pasta. Great texture and flavor, and with the added bonus of being high in fiber and protein.

Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina

My wife and I stopped in this nice Italian joint for a quick meal. We kept it light here, and shared a meat and cheese board, along with a pasta dish.

Finocchiona, mortadella, cooked prosciutto, taleggio and another kind of cheese that I currently can’t remember. All were great, though I expected the finocchiona to be more like a roasted pork roll as opposed to a salami. Five items for $25.

The pasta was awesome. It was pricey at $36, but there was enough to share. Squid ink linguini with Maryland lump crab.

Before cheese:

After cheese:

This reminded me of Christmas Eve dinner with my family. Mom always made bucatini pasta with blue claw crabs that we caught ourselves at the docks along the Great South Bay. Ours was usually spicy as fuck though. This one did have a slight kick with some jalapeños, so cheers to that. I’d eat this dish every day if I could.

The reason I also have this marked off as a product review is because you can buy their uncooked pasta to go from a counter up front. My wife brought home some squid ink pappardelle once and it was incredible. Really nicely made, not too fishy, and great texture when cooked to al dente. She made it with prawns in a lobster sauce.

GIOVANNI RANA PASTIFICIO & CUCINA
Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011

Crave Fishbar

My wife and I stopped into Crave Fishbar for their daily oyster happy hour. From 5pm to 7pm (4pm-6pm on weekends) all oyster varieties are just a buck each. We each tried one of each kind (along with some other snacks and drinks):

As strange as it was, our favorites all contained the word “point” in the name.

The calamari was really nice too. A perfectly dusted and fried batter, and really tender squid inside.

But what really blew me away at this place was their red crab cavatelli. The cavatelli is home made, and is torched/crisped up so that some of the edges are actually crunchy and al dente. Here are the before and after mix shots (beautiful colors):

I highly recommend that dish. It’s pricey, but worth it. If the pasta is all you’re after, they also have another cavatelli pasta dish, without the crab.

Overall, this place is great. We will definitely be back.

CRAVE FISHBAR
428 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

Noodle Pudding

I stopped in this joint with some friends for a quick bite to eat. I was excited to see lupini beans on the bar menu. For $5 I thought we were going to get a buttload of them, but we only got a few dozen at most.

We tried another bar snack, olives. These were great, but pricey:

Calamarata pasta. This was nice, but not the biggest portion.

Salmon with escarole. I love escarole. This was a nice dish. At $24 it felt a little small, but I think the portion is definitely right for those who are looking to watch their calories.

They have some strange rules at this place, like no birthday singing unless someone is under 10 or over 90. Also this really strange rule about fresh pork and hot weather?

Maybe it has something to do with the meat sweats.

NOODLE PUDDING
38 Henry St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Suprema Provisions

This joint has been getting a lot of love on Instagram ever since my buddies from the Gotham Burger Social Club rated The Suprema Burger as their best, awarding it 9.3 out of 10 points.

So what makes this burger so good? Perhaps it’s the iberico jam, the black garlic sauce, or the aged cheddar cheese sauce. Maybe it’s the perfectly cooked patty, or the roasted grape tomatoes on top. Whatever it is, it’s the perfect union of flavors. And, I mean, come on… look at this fucking thing.

Everything about it just works.

My readers know me, though: I always want a crunch element, and that’s the only thing that was missing in my eyes. But this is nearly perfect, and definitely has a spot on my top five list for restaurant burgers.

Interesting quirk: the burger comes with roasted Brussels sprouts rather than French fries. I didn’t see any fries on the menu, but they’re not very popular in Italian cuisine anyway. Perhaps some fried polenta would satisfy the starch pairing/craving for this burger though. In any case, this burger kicks a whole lot of ass.

But the burger isn’t the only thing that kicks ass at Suprema. Check out this menu and see what items cause your undies to bulge.

We tried a bunch of shit when we went, in order to help promote for the restaurant. Cheers to that.

Realistically though, ever since Gotham Burger Social Club posted their review, the restaurant has seen a big influx of customers. They’re doing just great without my pictures. But here we go…

Braised Octopus

This had a great green olive tapenade and more of those delicious roasted grape tomatoes. The octo itself was super tender, crispy, meaty. On the bottom is a pair of black crispy fried polenta squares. Perhaps they’re colored with squid or octo ink, or maybe even the black garlic that we saw in the burger. Either way – tasty.

Crab & Uni Fettuccine

This was my least favorite of the night. But since it was still a good dish, that’s not a knock in the slightest. For my taste, it was a bit fishy (likely from the warm uni) and lacked a bit of salt. The crab was excellent, however, and the pasta was perfectly cooked.

Photo Credit: Mike Puma of Gotham Burger Social Club

Lasagna

Braised pork, bechamel sauce and ricotta are layered into this shit, and everything is baked into individual cast iron dish-pans. The very bottom was a bit watery and didn’t “set” properly, but that’s nothing a few minutes of waiting will cure before diving in. We savaged the fuck out of this very quickly. Excellent dish.

Meatballs

These are pretty great, and I’m a harsh critic when it comes to meatballs. It’s tough to beat mom’s. Firm, but not hard. Tender, but not mushy. Rich with flavor and properly cooked. A little bit of crusty sesame Italian bread to sop up the delicious sauce here, and you Paisans out there are all set.

Roasted Chicken

Most people like me would cringe at the idea of ordering chicken at a restaurant when there is clearly a pork or beef option available, as well as shitloads of salumi. But I, and those like me, would be missing out at Suprema if we ignored the chicken. This shit was fantastic. It’s brined for many hours, so the flavor penetrates deep to the bone. Not only is the flavor good, but the meat is juicy and tender – like Kim Kardashian’s ass cheeks, only less fatty. The skin is rubbed with a spice mix and roasted to a delicious crisp. Even the tit meat is on point, and not even one bite was dry. This fucking dish is mint.

This joint reminds me a lot of the salumeria spots in Italy that I loved so much. I’m sure I will be here a lot in the weeks to come, taking advantage of the delicious Summer cocktails they mix up, and enjoying the open air but shaded tables along 7th avenue in the West Village.

In summary, get the fuck over to this place as quickly as you can. Go. Don’t be an asshole.

SUPREMA PROVISIONS
305 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014

Becco

My wife and I decided to finally give this joint a shot after a manager at a different restaurant mentioned the porcini dry-aged rib eye to us when we were discussing steaks. That particular cut wasn’t available, unfortunately, since we came here for lunch (dinner menu only). But I was still able to get a good beef-filled meal into my belly nonetheless. Check it out:

I started with the bresaola. I always jump at this when I see it, because it’s not very common on menus anymore. No one wants to cure filet mignon – they want to cook it. But the cured preparation is so amazing!

It was sliced nice and thin, and was so incredibly tender.

Seriously. You need to come here and order this. It’s topped with lightly dressed celery leaf and endive.

My wife had the unlimited pasta trio. Of these, the veal bolognese was the best (spirals), then the tomato and basil (chitarra spaghetti), followed by the chard-stuffed ravioli.

I had a nicely charred hanger steak on a bed of polenta with fried leeks – drizzled upon with a really nice balsamic.

This baby was perfectly cooked and was so tender that you could pull the meat apart rather than cut it with a knife.

An easy 9/10 for flavor. Great portion size and price point too, at around $30 for the composed plate.

See that purple balsamic?

I definitely recommend giving this place a shot, and I’ll be back for that porcini aged rib eye ASAP.

BECCO
355 W 46th St
New York, NY 10036

The Grill

My wife took me to The Grill for a birthday dinner. I had no idea this place existed, but apparently it’s the former location of the Four Seasons.

excellent table breads and cocktails

Famed Torrisi restaurateurs opened this joint and stuck to an old fashioned theme with things like a wheeled cart for prime rib and a “meat press” for squeezing the juices out of various bits of fowl in order to create a nice sauce reduction for their pasta app.

The crab cake exhibits some of that classic technique as well, with thin sliced scalloped potatoes forming a crust on top of the $36 lump crab cake appetizer.

A nice refreshing endive and apple salad cut the fat of our steak entree perfectly.

But for $220, this 50-day, dry-aged Creekstone Farms 40oz steak for two was way overpriced.

It really should have been half that price, but I will say that, despite the wallet raping, this was a pretty good steak. It had a great seared crust, and was cooked to a nice medium rare throughout. 8/10.

Dessert was a fun throwback as well, with this fruit cake style rum raisin ice cream.

Everything here is delicious, but at over $500 all-in for this meal (we had four drinks total), you really need to be ready for a gorging.

UPDATE 1/5/18

I came back in with some friends to try more shit. The steak tartare was incredible. I didn’t think I’d be into it because it contains anchovies, but I really loved it.

The foie gras was incredibly creamy, smooth and delicious. You could order a bunch of these and eat them for your entree if you’re daring enough. The crazy thing is that a friend I was with was unimpressed with this, since he said the foie in his home country of Israel is way better. I can’t even fathom that. This was so good.

We shared the honey mustard duck entree as an appetizer as well. This was easily the best duck I’ve ever had. The mustard has a spicy kick to it, but the honey rounds it out. The skin is perfectly crisp, and the breast was incredibly tender.

One of the guys I was with had the bone-in strip steak. He ordered it medium, but it still had great flavor and texture. The crust was similar to the porterhouse I had on my first visit. At a much more friendly price point of $74, I think this comes in with the same score at 8/10, even though I did enjoy the porterhouse better.

The prime rib, on the other hand, might just be the best piece of meat I’ve ever eaten in my life. This is a 10/10. It gets sliced from a wheeled cart table side, and then topped with jus and freshly shaved horseradish.

It is served with spicy mustard and horseradish cream sauce. Insane. Well worth the $62, and it wasn’t as small as I thought it would be.

 

Also tried an end cut – not necessary since the flavor penetrates all the way into the center even on the middle cut.

They even give you the bone with all the attached meat still there. This is the best part of the meal.

I little something we looked at but did not touch – 112 day dry aged wagyu rib eye. Not much of a cap on it, and it didn’t have a very dry-aged smell to it. We passed. Especially since it was $650.

The lamb and ham are both excellent . There are no mediocre dishes.

Squab was nice but overpriced for the size (to be expected here).

On the side we had a broccoli pot pie thing, as well as some fries that were similar to JG Melon (but way better).

For dessert we shared a slice of grasshopper ice cream cake, which is chocolate and mint. Despite not being a big fan of mint ice cream, or the combination of mint and chocolate, I did like it.

Also worth mentioning – I really love the bar here.

Afterwards we were chatting with the manager and he ended up giving us a quick tour of the kitchen. It was immaculate back there.

THE GRILL
99 E 52nd St
New York, NY 10022