New York State of Mind

Spent some time in Manhattan recently, eating like the pigs we are. Check out what we dug up.

The tissue-thin pizza at Serafina in the Dream Hotel is made with water filtered to mimic the acqua you’d find in Naples. Gimmick alert! Gimmick alert! The pizza is not quite as good as in Italy, but it’s damn close. The Caprino pizzette was topped with goat cheese, mozzarella, and radicchio, while the funghi pizza for the table was sliced square and served on a wooden cutting board alongside great tumblers of fruity iced tea garnished with fresh mint and a raw sugar rim. We’re suckers for some good iced tea. The shards of mosaic glass flaming up the wall make the Midtown worker bees look like tongue-speaking apostles, though the glittering murals of Anna Nicole are a tad morbid.

It wasn’t our idea to have dinner at the Rainbow Grill, the tourist trap sitting 65 floors up Rockefeller Plaza. We would have preferred Fatty Crab, a Malaysian hut in the
Meatpacking District, or Buddakan even, but hey, it was the parentals’ pick. The ceilings are cruise-ship low. So are the tables, while the chairs are normal height, which makes you feel like a guest at some unholy tea party where a Caprese salad costs $26. Yikes! Rainbow Grill is owned by the Cipriani family, who also own the Harry’s bars in Italy. The mozzarella in that Caprese was made in-house and bubblegum elastic (in a good way), and the thick veal chop with butter and sage was perfectly cooked. Everything else was decent. For the outlandish prices though, we expect better than decent, and the overall experience reeked of antiquated, jacket-required BS. I’d much rather rather eat at China Grill.

Bobby Flay’s Bar American is way more soulful than you’d expect from a celebrity-chef restaurant. Just get a load of that burger, big-mouthed and juicy, oozing with bleu. The metal cones in which the perfect frites are served are straight out of a French bistro, but the spiced mayo,
ketchup, and mustard they’re served with are pure Bobby. Made with sweet Vidalias, their onion soup is rich and heady beneath a blistered layer of Vermont Cheddar. An emerald button of chimichurri freshens the whole thing up.
Outside of the neon hangover of Midtown Manhattan, the Upper West Side offers the best one-two punch for sweet tooths. We first experienced Grom’s transcendant artisinal gelato in Florence, where flavors like apricot and cioclatto fondente made us believers. This is their first stateside location, and though the flavors (which debut seasonally) are rather bare this time of year, the gelato is just as we remember it. Zabaglione has the light whisper of Marsala wine, and the fondente is as rich as ever. Just two doors down, Beard Papa’s Puffs are a Japanese import and an East coast newcomer. Pâtissiers bake fresh cream puff shells and fill them to order. The delicate vanilla cream is available everyday, with weekly specials like chocolate, green tea, and pumpkin. They’re heavenly. Plus, their bearded mariner mascot with the tasseled yellow cap and blue pipe reminds up of Santa.
Photo: blogalcious

No comments: