First up Maialino, in the fabulous and exclusive Gramercy Park.
I find it fascinating when restaurants can take very simple dishes with great ingredients and make something spectacular out of them. Too many times do you see dishes way overdone and with so many flavors its hard to recognize what exactly is going on in your mouth (not even including the affect the alcohol is having)
Stopped in to Maialino for their afternoon menu and ordered to start: buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto di parma and supppli al telefono (Tomato risotto croquettes and mozzarella). Both were great and were just what we were looking for.
I think the thing that attracts people to this restaurant (besides it being owned by Danny Meyers) is the overall feel you get when your inside. Beautiful exterior overlooking the park and in the Gramercy Park hotel but a completely unpretentious vibe when dining. A very welcoming staff which most of them wear butcher aprons and a comfortable feel with beer and meat hanging everywhere.
Decided to give the Bombolotti all’amatriciana a try and really be a judge of the tradictional. Being that I grew up on “red sauce” as we would call it, I feel I’m a pretty good judge of a dishes character (At least as I see it). I give this dish an B+. The sauce was good and the pasta was cooked properly so I mean already the dish can’t be a disaster, half the battle was won. The parmigiano reggiano sprinkled on the top was great and I loved how the sauce had a little bit of a kick to it. Really wonderful dish all around ad it was a perfect portion.
Maialino is ok in my book, Definitely one of those restaurants I could frequent.
Don’t Blink! Round two- Meat Drowned in Bourbon (Char No 4)
Isn’t it the places you would least expect that really dazzle you. Got a reservation 1 hour before going there and you cant do that in many places in NYC.
You walk in and look at the wall and all you hear is WHISKEY! BOURBON! SCOTCH!
If you are not familiar with any of these and your unwavering to try you might as well turn around because they even put it in the food. It’s really nice to see a place that really has a soul and a sense of direction and uses some finesse to execute their ideas. A restaurant with a Whiskey background focusing on extremely fresh ingredients and well prepared food. I loved how the menu was simple and not overcrowded. Put your best foot forward, I say.
When you eat at restaurants its really the sum of the whole that makes the place what it is and sometimes the parts outweigh each other. Sometimes it can be bad like is service sucks and the food is great or vice versa. But then there are the occasions where the food is good (not penetrating your stomach to an unimaginable level of bliss reaching a full physical, emotional, or mental orgasm) but the service steals the show, literally. It’s almost off putting when a server wants to be engaged in conversation when your dining especially if you have no interest in talking to them. But if that’s the case I’m sure you have never dined with the server at Char No 4.
Some of the topics that were discussed while dining: Gun control laws, yards in Brooklyn, taking care of children, legality of mace, rollercoasters, farmers, not being a vegetarian, sad time tattoos, celebrity look alikes, BOURBON!, how fresh the salad is, bruises, taping music video with blood, etc etc.
We might as well of had a table for three because I could only remeber a few things that we talked about without our server and she really did a fantastic job of being friendly, knowledgeable and unobtrusive (I’m convinced she wasn’t a server but and actress who knows how to put orders into a computer with extreme finesse)
We split this well balanced salad to start with roasted plums! MmMm
Also accompanying the salad were two bourbon based drinks- One with iced tea, lemon and mint and the other with ginger beer. Also delicious.
Finished up with a pulled pork sandwich that was completed with Char No 4’s very own mustard dressing (Bottle it up and ship to Williamsburg please!)
A summer squash risotto which apparently has alot of calories in it but what risotto doesn’t and I’m not the one trying to go to a wedding anyway.
Overall, Good food pulled by spectacular service and a restaurant with a soul.
Always a winner. Make a trip to park slope, its worth it. Ask for Kiki