I wrote few weeks ago about choosing Restaurants in NY for my weekend trip with my sister in NY. This is where we ended up having Lunch and Dinner every night, and what we thought of it.
Thursday Lunch: Betony : Betony was a complete disappointment. It was probably the restaurant that I had the highest expectations going in, and they were definitely not met. The food was ok but definitely not a place to go if you have a gluten allergy like me. My only appetizer option was Young Lettuces, Green Goddess Dressing (not even interesting lettuces just really average ones) . My sister had the gnocchi which are pictured below and looked much better. For main course I had a Poached Lobster Asparagus, Almond, which was expertly cooked, but it was just a lobster. No ingenuity points there. As for the service, it was awful. The only great service was the bartender, everyone else terrible. Our waiter had the distinction of doing the following two things: When asked what do you recommend, he looks at us with a blind stare and says: what do you mean? After we probe and say whats good in the menu and what should we order- he was amazed we would ask and said i don’t know – not the way to sell your menu. Additionally when we were trying to pay the bill, he was having a social conversation with a colleague, when the bus boy calls his attention the fact that we were trying to get his attention, he looks at us ignores us, proceeds with his conversation and comes to us 5 minutes later. It is way to expensive for that kind of service and food, and it is NY , so many more places to put your money. On the positive side the decoration of the place is amazing! I am willing to give the restaurant one last chance at dinner – maybe lunch is not its forte and the dinner menu looks so much better. but not convinced yet.
My sisters one sentence review: Good food nice ambiance lack in service
Thursday dinner: Mission Cantina Thanks to Times Square Traffic we missed the dinner reservations that we had -so what does one do? Go to Mission Cantina very late and get some tacos! By 1130 when we were there there was no line. I loved this place. The tacos were amazing. Of the appetizers we ordered, the spicy chicharron and the bowl of creamed masa with beer braised collard greens were great . Of the tacos, I especially liked the calabazas- stewed winter squash, queso fundido and the alambres- brisket, bacon, chicharron de queso. A must for late night munchies, the buzz is totally justified. Also the price-benefit equation is great, lots of bang for your buck. Of course i could not take any pictures of the food because my phone decided to be too smart for its own good and tell me what i should do with my 5% remaining battery (of course it was not to take pictures), so i only got the roof as a memento 🙂
My sisters one sentence review: Amazing small tacos place! Perfect for a late night
Friday Lunch: Torrisi Italian Speicalties : I have blogged before about this restaurant, how it is my favorite NY italian, and it never dissapoints. My sisters one sentence review: Great menu, amazing ingredients and innovative plates. Best italian by far.
Torrisi changes their menu daily, so this is what we had for lunch:
I think the main highlight was the spaghetti with Octopus, it had pepperoni in it and it was just a great mix of flavors. The Lamb Southern Mulberry was a revelation as well. It was Lamb carpaccio style, which i had never had, with a wonderful spicy sauce. In terms of ingenuity, the salmon potato pancakes, or how they called it Lox, eggs and onions, were superb.
Friday Dinner: Empellon Cocina. Another favorite that we had to check out, I think we were in a marked Mexican Mood. My first experience with Empellon was for brunch, and i loved it. For dinner however it did not convince me as much. The ambiance is still great and so are the drinks, but I was missing some of the great staples they had at brunch. The guacamole is of course a must, but we had a mixed bag with the tacos. We had the Brussel Sprouts, Beef belly and Ceviche. The Beef Belly was tough and not too appetizing. Tacos wise, we had a better experience at Mission Cantina. Also we ordered the Wagyu Brisket and it was just not good – any of it, especially the bone marrow tamal. The tamal was too dry and the brisket to greasy.
My sisters one sentence review: Very good late night environment .. Guacamole is the best but i prefer it for brunch rather than dinner
Saturday Lunch: Estela Another one where the expectations were not met. I am hoping the dinner menu is better, but for brunch it just didn’t deliver much. Some creativity in the dishes, but not worth the price of admission. We regretted not ordering the blood cake, but we did order the eggs with harissa (which were very nice), steak with eggs (good but normal), the celery salad(not good at all) and the Burrata (he green sauce over it was quite interesting)
Saturday Dinner: Alder. This restaurant was the revelation of the trip. What proves that it was good? After we were done eating and completely full, we liked it so much we just had to order two more plates to keep trying stuff. The menu looks simple in design, but the dishes are very nuanced and all have great little surprises. Also I really enjoy tapas style as it gives you a really good chance to taste the menu. What did we order? Grilled Octopus (some of the best octopus I’ve had – ever!); Duck which was expertly cooked; The Foie Gras bites which were to die for; Seared Scallops, which had a great Butternut Squash puree; Rib eye; and hamachi crudo. The root beer dessert is gluten free, and although I was hesitant at first, it was amazing, a great pudding. Also, I loved our waiter. Unlike out Betony experience, he was great guiding us through the menu, was super knowledgeable of allergies and to top it all off was a pro at sake selection. I will be coming back for seconds to this restaurant, and its just another proof that Wylie Dufresne is a genius
My sisters one sentence review: AMAZING, there is not one bad plate. Tapas style Great for sharing. The service is also great.
Sunday Lunch: The Modern Bar Room Another Classic that was worth a second look. First reason we were there: the bellini. In my book its the second best in the city (only beaten by Cipriani). Second reason their food is always wonderful and their menu is constantly changing so we knew we were in for a different experience. The food did not disappoint. The best dish i had were the roasted carrots. Yes plain carrots were the best meal of the day, that’s how wonderfully they were cooked. The poached cod was also really good, as was the herb crusted beef. The only slight off dish was the poached egg, as i would have let it poach for a few more minutes, too runny for me. A great place for Eater Sunday Brunch
My sisters one sentence review: Very good bellini, the bar is casual but a perfect menu, the carrots are surreal
Sunday dinner: All’Onda A great Italian find. their Venetian food was really good and i loved the decoration of the restaurant. MY favorite dish was the Risotto Astice (lobster, saffron, fennel) which had a great creaminess. Also the Parmesan potatoes were a true guilty pleasure. For the second time in the day, we also had fabulous carrots!
My sisters one sentence review: great find.. The risotto is a must. All of the plates looked amazing . The parm fries as a side