Archive for September, 2008

CHEF UMBERTO MONTANO TO PREMIERE NEW MENU AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA’S GRAND TIER RESTAURANT

September 29, 2008

grand-tier

Grand-tierLooking Down

RENOWNED ITALIAN CHEF UMBERTO MONTANO PREMIERES NEW MENU AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA’S GRAND TIER RESTAURANT

Pre-ordered intermission dining is available to ensure a quick return to the performance, along with pre-curtain dining. The Grand Tier Restaurant is open to all Lincoln Center guests. Located on the Grand Tier level of the Metropolitan Opera House, the restaurant boasts impeccable service, a view of two breathtaking Chagall paintings and a wall of windows overlooking Lincoln Center’s fountain.

The Grand Tier Restaurant is located in the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center Plaza, 150 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023.

A La Carter Menu

First Courses $14-$19

Main Courses: $29-$44

Excellent Selection of Wines, Starting around $45

9 Wines by the Glass: $14-$25

Open at 6:00 pm to Lincoln Center ticket holders for pre-curtain and intermission dining. For reservations, guests can call (212) 799-3400.

http://www.rapatina.com/grandTierMetOpera/

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Review by Nancy WalmanGrand Tier4

Patina Restaurant Group opened The Grand Tier Restaurant at the Metropolitan Opera House this season by introducing both a new chef and menu. The restaurant’s new Executive Chef, Jeff Raider, executes the menu of the Florence-based chef and restaurateur, Umberto Montano.

Montano is known for balancing sophisticated Italian cuisine with age-old, traditional techniques, set beneath world-class art – a combination that made his restaurant Alle Murate one of Florence’s most famous. Alle Murate boasts breathtaking medieval art on its ceilings and walls that were uncovered by Montano and his staff. The frescoes date to the 14th century and include the only known portrait of Dante Alighieri. (Some can be seen on the limited-edition menus and postcards).

danteDante Alighieri, By Permission of Umberto Montano

Among Montano’s signature dishes are an outstanding gragnano pasta with a ragout of red snapper sauce and basil pesto. Mixed seafood stew with toasted rustic bread (noted for not including shellfish) was light and delicious, while free-range chicken, stuffed with figs and prosciutto and served with sautéed spinach, was truly unique. Beef filet arrived in an intense Brunello di Montalcino wine sauce accompanied by an airy parmesan soufflé.

While appetizers offered such tempting choices as sliced veal with oven roasted cherry tomatoes or sautéed Florida shrimp with ginger and saffron sauce, we went for the Grand Tier Signature Smoked Salmon, which was a glorious presentation, of the highest quality and perfectly sliced.

For desserts, fresh fruit was in impeccable condition and a perfect conclusion. Besides the excellent wine list, cocktails are beautifully constructed and service is smooth as silk.

If you’re going to Lincoln Center, The Grand Tier Restaurant is a must- include and rates A Major on The Walman Report.

Copyright 2008 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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Periyali

September 21, 2008

PeriyaliPeriyali

 

Address: 35 West 20th Street
NY, NY 10011

Phone: 212.463.7890

Website: www.periyali.com

Cuisine: Traditional Greek

Principals: Nicola Kotsoni
Steve Tzolis

Chef: James Henderson

Capacity: 100+

Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday 12:00pm-3:00pm
Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-11:00pm
Friday-Saturday 5:30pm- 11:30pm

Payment: All Major Credit Cards Accepted
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Review By Nancy Walmanperi-garden3

Distinguished as New York’s first upscale and modern Greek restaurant, Periyali has delighted patrons with authentic, fresh Greek specialties for decades. The name, Periyali, meaning seashore or coastline in Romantic Greek, was the inspiration for the restaurant’s tranquil ambiance and native Greek island cuisine.

Over twenty years ago, the Greek-American owners of Il Cantinori in Greenwich Village, Nicola Kotsoni and Steve Tzolis, were encouraged by friends and customers of the eatery to bridge their knowledge and passion for Greek cuisine into a new restaurant. In the creation of Periyali, Nicola and Steve took a vision for fine, urbane dining and paired it with a friendly, comfortable atmosphere to enjoy the culinary delicacies of Greece.

Nicola and Steve were very deliberate in their interpretation of the menu. Through friends, they found chefs, Irene and Victor Gouras, who ran their own restaurant on the Greek island Patmos, and asked them to come to New York to develop Periyali’s original menu and conceptualize a culinary experience. The team of chefs innovated dishes – rarely served outside of the Greek home – and infused a fresh twist on traditional meals relying less on oil and spices.

Periyali has made its imprint as a culinary tradition and is continually celebrated for authentic and fresh cuisine.

Periyali chef

Lead by executive chef, James Henderson, the fare is elegant and consistent. Henderson satisfies with specialties ranging from the famed Wine-Marinated Grilled Octopus (the best in town), to Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, fabulous Yellow and Red Beet Root with Garlic Sauce, earthy Sautéed Chicken Livers with Lentils and olive oil, Grilled Calamari and aromatic Mussels in Ouzo sauce.

Noteworthy entrees include Rosemary-Scented Lamb, Eggplant and Egg Casserole, Mousakas, Whole Baked Striped Bass and Braised lamb Shank with Tomato Orzo Stew. Desserts tempt: Go for a sampler of such pastries such as spanakopita, tiropita, rice pudding, almond cookies dipped in powdered sugar, baklava and ravani, a corn-meal cake scented with orange.peri-octopus

 

Periyali offers an expansive list of Greek wines, as well as a new cocktail list that revolves around ouzo, a light Greek liquor described as vodka with a hint of black licorice. The signature cocktail, The Periyali, uses as splash of ouzo mixed with fresh orange juice and triple sec served up in martini class. Extending the romantic feel of its native island, The Santorini, pleases with orange flavored vodka, watermelon Pucker and fresh orange juice and topped with a dash of champagne.

Nicola adds a personal touch to the restaurant with magnificent flower arrangements of dogwood, lilacs, lilies and the freshest flowers from the nearby farmers market. The flowers are towering visions, but at the same time are organic and welcoming. Nicola is the creative mind behind all of the design elements of the restaurant from the flowers to the artwork to all of the décor. The back room with its skylight and Greek Island feel is a delight. Located in the industrial Flatiron area, Periyali is an escape with its white-cotton tenting and whitewashed, simple décor. Service is warm and attentive and Periyali remains one of New York’s top Greek restaurants.peri-bar

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Mercadito

September 6, 2008

Mercaditomercadito1

 

179 Avenue B (between 11th and 12th Streets)

212-529-6490

http://www.mercaditony.com/index2.htm

Operating hours are 7 days a week for (dinner). Thursday through Sunday Brunch. No Lunch Service through the winter.

Margaritas, and Cocktails: $8-$12. Extensive List of Tequilas: $9-$36. Beers $5-$6: Appetizers: $8-50-$24.50 (Ceviches Tasting)Tacos & Botanas: $13.50. Platos Fuertes: $19.50-$24.50. Sides: $4.50-Short & Inexpensive Wine List. Wonderful Sangria.

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Revew By Nancy Walman

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Spanish for “little market,” Mercadito’s cuisine is best described as Mexican with “flair” and reflects its southern region from the Pacific to the Gulf Coast. The idea for Mercadito grew from chef/owner Patricio Sandoval’s experiences shopping with his mother in the markets of his native Mexico. The youngest member of “the first family of Mexican cuisine,” Sandoval grew up in his father’s restaurants and the establishments of his brother Richard’s (Pampano and Maya in Manhattan) Modern Mexican restaurant group that stretch from Acapulco and across the border to New York and San Francisco.

As most seasoned, international travelers know, you often find the most interesting and authentic cuisine in quaint restaurants and shops off the beaten path (well, Avenue B was once undiscovered in the restaurant world), and Mercadito gets my award as New York’s most enchanting and original Mexican restaurant. (After three years from our last visit, it has also become New York’s BEST Mexican restaurant).

The design features wood panels on doors and on the restaurant’s dramatically lit ceiling form patterns that invoke the woven baskets used in the markets of Mexico. Natural wood (including logs), stucco and honey colored tiles are used in the specially designed bar (often used for dining) which serves as dramatic backdrop for brightly colored stools, plates and other accents in colors such as blue, green, orange, red and pink. Only seating about 20, Mercadito’s flowering reputation for ceviche quickly made it a popular destination and now with the addition of an enclosed Mexican style courtyard, the chef’s culinary efforts can be enjoyed in style. The “hacienda, as it is called,” features 35 additional seats including an area for parties as large as 10 and a communal table. The “hacienda” also features wrap-around banquettes, lantern-style sconces, and attractive window accents that allow you to dine, or sip one of Mercadito’s signature specialty margaritas (don’t miss the “Pepino,” an intoxicating blend of Torada, cucumber juice, chile de arbol and lime) under the sun, moon and stars.

There were no entrees, per se, on Mercadito’s menu, which is sectioned into exquisite ceviches, guacamole, salads in addition to tacos and botanas (small plates). Now, a handful of Platos Fuertes (main plates) have been added. Starters such as guacamole (try the trio, which includes classic guacamole, guacamole with roasted garlic, chile de arbol, oranges) and, best of all, avocado mango, jicama and smoky chipotle. Mouthwateringly, refreshing ceviches include callo de hacha marinated bay scallops, watermelon, mint, habanero orange broth;
camaron lime marinated shrimp, mango tomatillo pico de gallo,
poblano epazote broth; dorado mahi mahi, avocado, tomato, orange chile de arbol broth; huachinango epazote lemon marinated red snapper,jicama, pico de gallo, chile guajillo broth and mixto lime marinated shrimp, octopus, grilled calamari,tomato, roasted garlic jalapeño broth. A sampler of 3 or 4 will get you off to a fine start. They are served with house-made “saltines,” which arrive as marvelous slabs of flat-bead.

In the taco category, “baby” house made tortillas (the best we’ve sampled in America) are filled with pork, skirt steak, seafood, chicken — there are over 13 so try as many as you can handle (food is meant to be shared) and various sauces. Not to be missed are the tacos al pastor, ancho rubbed pork, with grilled pineapple and chile albol salsa or tacos de carne, oregano marinated grilled skirt steak, ancho rubbed pork, with grilled pineapple or shrimp mole. If you crave seafood, you’ll love the beer battered mahi mahi. Don’t miss the magnificent and unique “carnitas” of wild stripe bass.

In the Platos Fuertes department, you’ll love a new menu item: the amazing ancho chili-pepper, stuffed with chopped meat and toasted almonds We sampled more specimens than any two mortals should and didn’t find one clinker. If you can still navigate after checking out some of the 9 varieties of margaritas, order a “Chelada,” the most fashionable drink in Mexico City, a tall glass arrived with your choice of beer, on the rocks with lime and a good dash or two of Worstershire and Tobasco.

While Mexican desserts are often a letdown in New York restaurants, Mexican coconut flan was distinctly a winner. Amazingly, service, from the warm reception by the General Manager Arturo Reyes, to the excellent servers and buss-staff helpfully on target. You’ll gather, from our report that Mercadito is no cheap little Mexican dive. The cost of those little plates can add up, so expect to spend $100 or more per couple for the full deal. But that’s a lot less than a trip to Mexico.That’s A Major on The Walman Report.

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Copyright 2008 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

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Stand Up To Cancer

September 4, 2008

In support of the organization Stand Up To Cancer, B.R. Guest is collecting donations of guests who “round-up” their bill from Tuesday, September 2nd to Monday, September 8th with proceeds benefiting the Stand Up To Cancer (www.standup2cancer.org) time television event on Friday, September 5th at 8pm to raise funds for cancer research.

 

Guests who visit the following B.R. Guest restaurants will have the opportunity to support the cause:

 

· Atlantic Grill – 1341 Third Avenue at 77th Street

· Blue Water Grill – 31 Union Square West at 16th Street

· Blue Fin – 1567 Broadway at 47th Street

· Dos Caminos Park – 373 Park Avenue South between 26th & 27th Sts.

· Dos Caminos SoHo – 475 West Broadway at Houston St

· Dos Caminos Third Avenue – 825 Third Avenue At 50th

· Fiamma – 206 Spring Street between Sullivan St. & 6th Ave.

· Isabella’s – 359 Columbus Avenue at 77th Street

· Ocean Grill – 384 Columbus Avenue at 78th Street

· Ruby Foo’s Times Square – 1626 Broadway at 49th St

· Ruby Foo’s Uptown – 2182 Broadway at 77th St.

· Vento – 675 Hudson St. at 14th St.

· Wildwood Barbecue – 225 Park Avenue South at 18th Street

· Primehouse New York – 381 Park Avenue South at 27th Street