Dinner Plans: Bocca Restaurant & Bar
A little piece of Umbria in the Flatiron District.
October 19, 2012
Any talk of a night at Bocca Restaurant & Bar on 19th Street must ostensibly begin and end with the restaurant’s maestro, Nicolo Di Stefano, a nimble tactician who floats around the dining room shaking hands and presenting bottles of wine for guests’ consumption.
Each table, it seems, will get at least a pop-in from the charming host, who doles out food and wine suggestions, explains the inspiration behind the restaurant’s new Roman cuisine, or, in our case, encourages a trip to his ancestral homestead of Umbria, Italy. But there’s a little piece of Umbria already in the dining room’s warm, almost classical old world ambiance.
In the kitchen, executive chef James Corona marries flavors in such a way that’s both simple and decadent. One such harmonious dish is Corona’s al dente oxtail ravioli bathed in a porcini and mascarpone sauce, which has near artful layers of flavor. Another favorite on our visit was the tuna tartare, for its blend of onion, capers, and spices. Heartier mains like the slow-roasted pork shoulder with broccoli rabe and roasted red onions, or the prosciutto-wrapped tuna are also excellent choices. 39 E. 19th St., 212-387-1200
Cook the Book: 'In Season'
Whip up Cesare Casella’s radicchio salad with anchovy dressing and Grana Padano.
October 10, 2012
Do you eat out every night of the week? Store sweaters in your oven? Even if you answered yes to both of those questions, you can (and should) make Salumeria Rosi chef Cesare Casella’s scrumptious radicchio salad with anchovy dressing. This dish and many delectable others appear in the first cookbook from New York magazine food editors Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, In Season, due out October 25. You can taste-test the book’s recipes and meet the chefs who conceived them at New York Taste, an epic food event happening on November 5 at new venue The Waterfront. Get your tickets today and make Casella’s piquant, bitter green salad tonight.
Cesare Casella’s Three-Radicchio Salad with Anchovy Dressing and Grana Padano
1 head radicchio di Castelfranco
1 head radicchio di Treviso
2 heads Tardivo
1 large garlic clove or 2 small cloves
4 anchovy filets, in salt, rinsed well
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces Grana Padano
Remove the leaves from the Castelfranco and cut into four pieces lengthwise. Remove the leaves from the Treviso and cut in half lengthwise. For the Tardivo, separate the leaves but keep whole. Place all leaves in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and anchovy fillets until they reach a smooth, paste-like consistency. Whisking continuously, begin slowly adding the liquid ingredients until well combined Add the salt and pepper to taste. Continue to whisk. Add the dressing to the radicchio and gently toss to coat all the leaves. Taste for additional seasoning. Divide the salad onto four plates, and shave the Grana Padano on top.
Shop a Virtual Farmers’ Market
Find aged goat cheese, Georgia peaches, and more at a new online farmstand.
October 09, 2012
Balakian Farms blended organic heirloom tomatoes
For those New Yorkers too busy to spend an afternoon meandering around the Union Square greenmarket, America’s Farmstand, the first-ever virtual farmers’ market, is the answer to your farm-to-table prayers.
The company grew out of founder Todd Greenfield's hope to bring artisanal, organic produce and products from family-run farms to a wider audience across America. “I found myself asking farmers, ‘What if?’ What if there were a way to get your vegetables, fruits, cheeses, organic meats, and other fresh foods directly to the people who want them, rather than having them lose freshness traveling to—and sitting in—warehouses for days before being transported to supermarkets?” said Greenfield.
Surf the site today and you'll find fresh-from-Georgia Pearson Farm peaches, Balakian Farms blended organic heirloom tomatoes, New England Provisions Maine lobsters, Wood Homestead maple syrup from the Adirondacks, aged goat cheese from the Hudson Valley’s Coach Farm, and more. Many of the items offered are fair-trade or gluten-free, two things Greenfield is passionate about.
3 New Restaurants to Try
These three recently opened New York eateries deserve a visit this fall.
October 01, 2012
Gruyère Malakoff from Murray’s Cheese Bar
Murray's Cheese Bar
This cozy Greenwich Village restaurant, the first from the acclaimed New York City cheese maker, serves sustainably raised charcuterie, fondue, and a rarebit cheddar burger, plus more than 30 wines by the glass—perfect for pairing with the selection of more than 40 cheeses on offer. 264 Bleecker St., 646-476-8882; murrayscheesebar.com
“Having done two French bistros, I liked the newness of an American restaurant,” explains owner Mark Stern. Chef Pierre Rougey created a menu featuring signature dishes like smoked pork chop with pickled watermelon rind and olive oil poached salmon with cucumber relish. The décor, created by Stern and designer David Cafiero, includes a library, “where patrons can nestle into cozy Chesterfield chairs and enjoy cocktails on tables from refinished boat doors.” 31 W. 21st St., 212-510-8722; prandialnyc.com
Sirio Ristorante New York
Executive chef Filippo Gozzoli helms the kitchen at this new Italian restaurant at The Pierre from famed Le Cirque restaurateur, Sirio Maccioni. The cuisine centers around contemporary takes on Tuscan dishes from Maccioni’s childhood home, Montecatini Termi, while the décor from designer Adam Tihany is inspired by 1960’s Italy and Federico Fellini’s iconic film La Dolce Vita. 2 E. 61st St.; siriony.com
Old School Imbibing at The Roger
With an updated youthful flair, Hotel Roger Williams takes a new moniker.
October 01, 2012
Every decision of the reinvention of Hotel Roger Williams came from the point of view of a wealthy young boy named Roger, explains hospitality expert Steven Kamali, who reimagined the hotel based on a “junior” version of the brand’s fictitious character—a social, wealthy, worldly, young inheritor of the hotel. “He wanted to really break free from the old mold, and that’s why we created The Roger,” Kamali says.
Through a complete renovation, Kamali and his team bring sophistication, comfort, and glamour to the common areas such as the Anna Busta–designed parlor and café, which are bedecked in wood, repurposed brick, and rich blue hues. Never before seen shots of Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Jay-Z from Rock Paper Photo live on lobby shelves, illustrating Roger Junior’s taste for culture and music.
Whereas Hotel Roger Williams long enjoyed success as a place for families, business people, and tourists, its reimagined second coming welcomes locals and a more youthful social crowd. “We wanted to introduce The Roger to New York City,” says Kamali. “If you work or live in the neighborhood, we [hope] to introduce it into your weekly repertoire of bars.”
For this reason, mixologist Johnny Swet crafted a stellar cocktail menu comprised of innovative concoctions such as the Cucumber Vesper with organic cucumber vodka, gin, Lillet, and white pepper, and the Rye Manhattan with Bulleit Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Peychaud’s Bitters. The bar menu is based on reinventing “good old American classics,” a parallel to the hotel’s own revolution, Kamali says. “We think [The Roger] lends itself more to a tony Madison Avenue [haunt] and to a private club in London than to what you may have found here previously.” 131 Madison Ave., 212-448-7000
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LUCA PIOLTELLI
Beer, Burgers & Belly Laughs at The Stand
A new Gramercy Park spot is serving up American classics with a side of comedy.
September 27, 2012
What do you get when you mix comedy club veterans with mixologists trained at buzzy Minetta Tavern? A one of a kind American tavern-cum-comedy lounge called The Stand. The new space is the brainchild of Patrick Milligan, Cris and Paul Italia, and David Kimowitz, who also run cringehumor.net (a site for up-and-coming comedians).
While the 100-seat showroom is where the laughs go down, the intimate 75-seat restaurant upstairs is worth a visit all on its own. Helmed by chef Seth Levine, guests can snack on a variety of re-imagined comfort foods including the adventurous pizza empanadas: pan-fried pastry pillows stuffed with homemade marinara and buffalo mozzarella cheese. Those with heartier appetites can tuck into the chicken pot pie bread bowl, served in a carved-out brioche.
As for cocktails, Mark Noonan and Cameron Dale, both bartenders at Minetta Tavern, have created tasty drinks made primarily from house-made ingredients and syrups. Taking advantage of fall produce, the 3rd Avenue includes fresh apple purée, house-made five-spice syrup, and a healthy dose of Bulleit Bourbon. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a fabulous night of standup. 239 Third Ave.
Salumeria Rosi Opens on Madison Avenue
Cesare Casella brings his Tuscan charm to the Upper East Side.
September 26, 2012
Upper West Side trattoria Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto now has a more sophisticated sister location on the Upper East Side. A collaboration between executive chef Cesare Casella and Gruppo Parmacotto’s governing family, the Rosis, the newly opened Madison Avenue ristorante one-ups the UWS shared plates concept with full-size entrées, an expanded salumi and cheese selection, and surprisingly, a sake program. Apparently Casella finds sake and salumi pairings to be delightful.
In preparation for the opening, chef Casella took his sous chefs to Tuscany so that they could experience the cuisine firsthand. Signature dishes at the East Side salumeria include Tordelli con Ragu di Carne (Lucchese ravioli), Controfiletto di Maiale al Profumo di Rosmarino (rosemary scented pork chops), and Cuscusso di Mare (mixed seafood couscous), all expertly executed by chef di cucina Will Hickox, former sous chef at Del Posto.
In addition to the dinner menu, there will be a salumi counter with freshly cured meats and a 600 bottle wine list curated by beverage director Michael Doctor. The 60-seat ristorante, designed by Dante Ferretti (the production designer known for films The Aviator and Hugo) is a modern take on the classic 1950s Italian décor, like a trip to Pompeii without the jet lag. 903 Madison Ave., 212-517-7700
India’s Moti Mahal Delux Heats Up the Upper East
At the Indian chain's first U.S. outpost, we find classic butter chicken and mango lassis done to perfection.
September 18, 2012
India’s Mughlai cuisine has existed in some form or another for almost 500 years. First developed in the imperial kitchens of an empire long-since faded into history, the flavors live on at restaurants like India's Moti Mahal, which introduced the Mughlai style of cooking to the public a hundred years ago. Today, there are more than a hundred Moti Mahal Delux locations throughout India, Nepal, and London. New York’s newly opened outpost, nestled on a not-too-quiet corner near the Cross-Bronx Expressway, is the first in the Western Hemisphere.
One step into the dimly lit dining room—with small tables and curtained windows that somehow shush the noise outside—and the aroma of pungent spices transports you to India. Although it’s tempting to jump right into the canonical heavy-hitters, some of the opening courses are impressive in their own right, such as the seared scallops (essentially perfect on their own) topped with a sweet mango chutney. More modern are the Mocktail Golgappa Shots: lightly fried meat wraps in a shot glass with spicy-sweet sauce. And the Kadi Patta Jheenga—grilled, curried shrimp cooked with curry leaves—is not to be missed.
The two must-try main dishes here are both traditional chicken offerings; each deserves the international renown gained over the course of the cuisine’s centuries-long history. Butter chicken, or Murgh Makhani, comes bathed in a creamy tomato-based sauce with umpteen other ingredients, ratios of which have clearly been perfected. And the chicken is so tender that it is in fact buttery. The Tandoori Chicken, cooked at an extremely high temperature in the restaurant’s Tandoor oven, is likewise succulent.
There is an undeniable depth of flavor up and down the menu here, with each layer contributing to the overall complexity. The sweetness and spice come in waves, with a residual climbing heat that, in the wrong hands, would be dangerous or, at the very least, require a soothing Mango Lassi to cool your palate. But the chefs here are experts with methods and skills honed over hundreds of years and thousands of miles. We’re lucky they made the trip. 1149 1st Ave., 212-371-3535
Dinner Plans: Paris, by Way of The Carlton Hotel
With an oyster bar and cabaret, Millesime proves its expertise in romantic French dining.
August 17, 2012
Michelin-starred chef Laurent Manrique brings classic French cuisine to New York with Millesime, a seafood brasserie located inside The Carlton Hotel. Named after the French word for vintage, Millesime specializes in classic French fare like lobster pot-au-feu with scallop sausage and sauce choron, and roasted chicken with garlic and thyme jus.
Executive chef Alan Ashkinaze has also incorporated his travels to the West Coast with a Caesar grillée, made of grilled romaine lettuce with smoked black cod, Parmesan, and lime; a calamari carbonara; and a tuna tartare with berbere spices, dates, and mint.
Not just the eclectic menu, but the sumptuous décor, too, will transport you to Paris at Millesime. In the dining room, which seats 150, there is a 100-year-old mosaic floor, a Tiffany glass dome, and a marble oyster bar where you can take advantage of Millesime’s raw bar. In addition to the main dining room, you can enjoy cocktails in the Bar Millie, or go to a cabaret in the Salon Millesime, with its nightly music program. 92 Madison Ave., 212-889-7100
Agave Nectar, Now a Liqueur
Try this more floral substitute for simple syrup at your next summer fête.
August 03, 2012
FROM LEFT: Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur, Velvet Wings, Mariposa Mojito, Viceroy Daiquiri
Widely acknowledged as “the new honey,” all-natural agave nectar is made from the sap of the agave tequilina plant, which is also used to make tequila. So naturally, the first-ever agave nectar liqueur, Mariposa, packs plenty of tequila. The ultra-versatile new liqueur has been crafted with 100 percent agave tequila and premium vodka to mix with any base spirit—from Champagne to gin to whisky. Accented with heady hints of rose oil and gardenia, Mariposa hits the palate with notes of orange blossom honey, pomme fruit, and juniper berry. Try using it as a luxe substitute for simple syrup, or in these summer cocktail recipes by brand mixologist Jared Schubert.
1 ounce Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
1 ounce silver rum
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 sprigs mint
4 ounces soda water
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with soda water.
3/4 ounce Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
1 1/2 ounces silver rum
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
Combine all ingredients into a blender with one cup of ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a hurricane glass. Lime wheel and cherry garnish.
1 ounce Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
5-6 ounces chilled brüt Champagne
1 sugar cube
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
To a Champagne flute, add sugar cube and top with bitters. Pour in liqueur and Champagne. Orange twist garnish.
Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur is available at MacAdam Buy-Rite. 398 3rd Avenue, New York, 212-679-1224; americaswineshop.com