What’s the (food) rush 2: Fancy plates

The life of a tourist: walking day in and out, eating, taking pictures and more walking, eating and taking pictures. Making the most of the visit as I don’t really know when I can make it back to the Big Apple again.

With the “skip the diet” pass I get during vacations, I can eat anything and everything. The hours of walking around the city will burn the calories taken in anyway, or so I think. If not, I can deal with it when I get back home. In the mean time, let me savor the flavors of NYC.

After trying the hole in the wall and food truck lip-smacking treats, I got invited to try the fancier joints as well (lucky me!).

The Armani Ristorante, 717 Fifth Avenue, is at the upper level of the Armani building in Midtown Manhattan that houses the brand’s many lines and accessible directly via an elevator from the street level or through the sculptural spiral staircase of the retail store.

Make your way to Armani Ristorante via the Armani store’s sculptural staircase.

As expected of any Armani look, the black and white dining hall overlooking Fifth Avenue is devoid of frills and the appointments sleek. It’s one trendy joint and serves Italian cuisine.

Buon giorno!
In black & white. Expecting anything else?

My host, Tony B., who is a regular diner, recommended the Ossobuco Alla Milanese (Braised Veal Shank “Milanese Style” with Calabrian Saffro Risotto, $46) which was served after the appetizer. It was tender and tasted really good.

Appetizer

Taking a recommendation & trying this rich tasting meat dish– Ossobuco Alla Milanese….
…which comes with this risotto.

Tony B. ordering from a modelesque waiter.
My other lunch mate– Victoria.

The dessert, however, was better looking than it tasted. Serves me right for beleiveing the modelesque waiter rather than my instinct.

The I-really-didn’t-care-about-to-write-down-the-name dessert.  

With Jonah on another lunch date, we went to Lincoln Ristorante in Lincoln Center. The Italian restaurant enjoys a good view of the Lincoln Center plaza courtyard where Henry Moor’s sculpture on a reflecting pool stands (and an episode of Elementary was being shot as well. I saw you, Lucy Liu!).

The Lincoln Ristorante gets a view of the Lincoln Plaza courtyard.
Henry Moor’s sculpture on a reflecting pool. Elementary was shooting an episode in the area.

I see you, Lucy Liu!
My lunch date- Jonah Cruz.

From the minimalist look of the dining hall enjoys natural lighting through the vast floor to ceiling windows guests can get a glimpse of the central open kitchen, the heart of the restaurant. Here, the daily fare is prepared the “traditional Italian way” using only the freshest of ingredients.

The heart of Licnoln Ristorante– the open kitchen.

This restaurant’s menu selections change daily and the $32 lunch menu offers a choice of two of the three courses offered—the antipasti, paste and secondi. From the paste and secondi fare, I opted to have the Fettuccini Integrali (Whole Wheat Fettucinne, Smoked Sablefish, Savoy Cabbage, Mustard Caraway), a very well-coked pasta dish with rich flavoring, and the Coda di Rospe e Cozze (Monkfish, Mussels, Fennel, Potatoes, Saffron Broth) which was so delicious in its freshness.

This fluffy, airy, soft breads are just delicious.

Fettuccini Integrali, al dente whole wheat pasta showered with flavor.
The fresh, tender & tasty Branzino– grilled Sea Bass.

A plate of desserts was offered at the end of the perfect meal.

A plate of perfect meal ender- petite Italian desserts.

Nuhma and Richie took me out to dinner at Breslin Bar & Dining Room at the Ace Hotel in
16 West 29th Street. Decorated in “old New York” look of wooden wall panels and seats wrapped in leather, this spot seems to be one of NYC’s very happening place with house music booming at the lobby and diners filling the dining hall in the next room. It took a while before we got a table in this no reservation restaurant.

Busy at the Breslin Bar & Dining Room at the Ace Hotel.
Another view of the busy place.

With Nuhma & Richie. We found a spot at the 2nd floor bar before a table was offered.

After trying the pork sausage, I shared the Pork Knuckle dish with Nuhma. I have known that Nuhma is a fan of the chef of this restaurant but I have tasted a btter version of the dish. It was just a bit salty for my taste (which I kept to myself since I didn’t want the chef flying out of the kitchen and do karate chops with me ala Zhang Ziyi).

A comment on this Fried Pork Knuckle dish can instigate a Zhang Ziyi episode. Did I dare say it was “too salty”?

The kitchen was abuzz all night.
Richie enjoyed his beef burger though.

Well, I am glad I was able to sample the dishes on the fancier plates of the Big Apple. I know there are so much more and I will try them when I make it back to the city that doesn’t sleep.

***

For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 06, 2014.

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