Provocative image of a young Sophia Lauren dominates Da Noi’s entry
Da Noi which in Italian means from us has a very cozy and welcoming feel as you walk in from 49th Street. That feeling is further reinforced by the attentive and thoughtful care given to all who enter by the manager. As I slid into a chair at the bar, I was introduced to the very friendly bartender, Patricia. She was only too happy to talk to me about the history of Da Noi which has several other locations around New York City and to point out her favorite options on both the dinner and wine menus.
The affordable menu is divided into antipasti ($11-$15), pastas ($19-$23) and meats ($22-$45) and all main plates come with the option of coming as a half plate. After watching a few orders come to the bar I wisely selected a half portion, that proved to be quite large and more than adequate as a dinner portion.
Unfortunately, this is where my glowing review and admiration for Da Noi ends. To accompany what turned out to be a particularly good Malbec, I ordered Da Noi’s Melanzane Afumigate $11.95, which is grilled eggplant with smoked mozzarella and tomato. What I didn’t realize until the appetizer was served was that it also comes in a pool of oil and balsamic. The eggplant acts as a sponge and where a drizzle would probably be delicious the amount of oil and balsamic not only overpowered the flavors of the eggplant and cheese in particular but it also made it heavier and less satisfying overall.
Despite the mezza mezza review of the eggplant I looked forward to my Spaghetti Bolognese (I ordered a half portion for $11.95). However, I found the sauce too sweet for my liking. Also the proportion of spaghetti to sauce left me wondering if the line cook had dumped a full portion of Bolognese to accompany my half portion of spaghetti. I suppose I wouldn’t have minded so much if I had enjoyed the sauce but it wasn’t meant to be.
So I’m quite conflicted with this review and wonder if anyone has perhaps had a different experience at Da Noi. The service was flawless and the space couldn’t be more welcoming, but I found the food average verging on disappointing.
Da Noi Midtown / 214E 49th Street / (212) 754-5710
Tavola is an authentic Neopolitan pizzeria and pasta restaurant in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Originally an Italian grocery store the original sign and some of the grocer’s shelves can be seen along the left wall when you first enter this long, rectangular restaurant, but my eye was immediately drawn to the massive wood burning oven at the far end that cooks the pizzas. I ended up chatting with the owner, Nick Accardi, who took over this restaurant about 18-months ago and he proudly told me about the restaurants history and why they are so passionate about the food they make.
I also had the chance to chat with the handsome Italian bartender who spends his days in Brooklyn as a struggling artist. This neighborhood restaurant is definitely worth crossing town to check out. Antipasti range from $8-13; pasta and entrees are $16-28; and the individual pizzas range from $10-19 — while the pastas all looked good, I knew I was going to order a pizza. After chatting with Nick I ordered a glass of Sangiovese and the Calebresa Bona which comes topped with Esposito’s hot sopressata, fresh ricotta, plum tomato and basil.
The thin crust is substantial enough to cradle the hot cheeses, meats and herbs that melted in my mouth. The salty toppings had just a bit of heat but nothing that would set your mouth on fire and I used a bowl of olive oil that Nick gave me to dip the crust of the pizza so when I was done there was hardly any evidence that a pizza was once there.
Do you like pizza? Are you in New York? Head over to Hell’s Kitchen, say hello to Nick or the friendly Italian bartender, Francesco and try their pizza.
Tavola’s is located at 488 Ninth Ave in Hell’s Kitchen.
Hendriks is in Murray Hill on the corner of 3rd Ave and 37th Street in New York City. The restaurant opened earlier this summer and can seat 60+ patrons on the dining room floor and another 15+ at the bar. Large windows and white washed walls and ceilings provide an open and airy feeling to this comfy neighborhood restaurant that is open for brunch, lunch and dinner.
The menu is comprised of classic American fare sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. One-third of Hendriks’ dinner menu is dedicated to appetizers that range from $6-$12. The menu also includes salads, a few pastas and main plates which mostly range from $15 – $25. The waitstaff all seemed genuinely friendly and service was both prompt and helpful, answering my questions confidently and making suggestions. The beer and wine menu is just what one would expect from an upscale neighborhood restaurant in terms of price range and options.
I couldn’t decide which appetizer to order so I opted to try both (I told myself this is for research purposes). The Soppresatta for $6 was a steal. It was so delicious I’d come back for this as a snack regularly if I lived closer. I rolled up each slice of dried salami with the thinly sliced Parmesan cheese, drizzled with honey, and chewy, sweet figs. Combined it tasted like a slice of heaven and I greedily ate every last bite. The second option, Chick Pea Fritters – also $6 – proved to be satisfying, but I couldn’t stop obsessing over my first plate and really only ate the fritters because they accompanied my ale so nicely.
Whenever I go to a restaurant for the first time, I temper what I want with what I see on a menu. In this case, I really was craving pasta, but with just 3 plates on their menu and 10 plates focused on fish and meat, I thought it better to follow the menu’s lead. Because I’d already committed to a good Octoberfest brew, I opted for the Black Angus Burger ($16). The thick burger was served with the aged cheddar still melting on it. It also came with a heaping glob of smoked onion jam and had pickles and lettuce on the side. Lest I forget, the thinly cut french fries came out hot and salty and sprinkled with sage and Parmesan cheese. I wish I could share the smell emanating from my plate, because I’m fairly certain you’d immediately salivate. I know I did.
I’d certainly recommend Hendriks if you’re near Murray Hill in Manhattan. Let me know if you try Hendriks and tell me what you thought of your meal.
Hendriks - 557 Third Avenue & 37th Street - (212) 686-8080
Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans have packed their bags and bid Provincetown and Boston a fond adieu for the time being while they shack up with Varla Jean Merman for a four week run at Theatre 80 St. Marks.
If you find yourself in NYC and would like to watch a hilarious melodrama starring one of my all-time favorite drag queens, Varla Jean Merman, then make note of this adult-themed parody. Mildred Fierce opens this Saturday on October 5th and runs through October 27th on Saturdays and Sundays only. Ticket prices are $25 for general seating or $35 for VIP.
Order Your Tickets Here
September 11th remains a somber day. More than a decade later, I’m still transported to my Back Bay apartment when I first watched a commercial airliner fly into the second World Trade Center building in New York City. I wasn’t able to process what I saw on TV that morning. And in the days that followed I’d continue to struggle, realizing my good friend had been on the plane I had watched crash into the World Trade Center.
As I spent the next week with Sergio and our mutual friends Becky & Lisa, cleaning out his apartment to send his belongings back to his elderly parents who lived in the north of England, and to friends both near and far – I kept replaying in my mind both the scene from TV of the crash as well as our last time together just a few days earlier.
Time hasn’t quite erased that image of the plane’s collision – nothing ever will – but it doesn’t dominate my thoughts the way it once did. However, each year at this time I inevitably think of my friend – thankful that I’d had the chance to be his friend and sad to think how our friendship was cut short.
Driving to LaGuardia airport last week, I noticed this sign. My initial thought was “Hmm… I don’t think New York City knows what the word beautification means.”
Things that make BosGuy go hmm…
I’m in New York City this evening for a day of meetings that start tomorrow. I love visiting NYC in the middle of the week during the summer.
The city that never sleeps seems to slow down a bit in the summer months, provided you stay away from the tourist traps. I won’t have much free time on this trip but hope to get over to Hell’s Kitchen tonight for a bite to eat. Anyone want to suggest where I should go? I was thinking of checking out Boxers on 9th Ave.
SD26 at Madison Square Park serves contemporary Italian cuisine in a large, chic restaurant that features a small patio overlooking Madison Square Park, a long wine bar and lounge, as well as a large open dining area. Zagat gave SD26 a rating of 25 for its food and described the space as “glam modernist dining”. Hmm, what the heck does that mean?
While I was dining at SD26 service was flawless. The staff worked together, answering a steady stream of questions about the Italian wines (of which there are very many to choose from on their iPad menu) to suggestions for nearly every course imaginable for our party of seven.
To get to our table we walked by the open formaggeria. Without hesitation we ordered a large plate of Italian meats and cheeses. At $39 each, I appreciated this would be a work dinner picked up by my firm, but I have to admit it was unbelievably delicious. In fact we devoured it so quickly I have no photos
My next plate, an arugula and endive salad dressed with a light lemon dressing for $12, was very refreshing and made for a nice contrast from the Italian meats and cheeses I had over indulged. I opted for the pasta special $26 for my main course; a homemade buccatini pasta with an All’Amatriciana sauce, which was delicious and filling but I wish had a bit more kick. While the service and food was delicious, the large dining room is best enjoyed if you can get a table along the wall or better yet in the back corner where we were seated. You gain a better view of the space and are less disrupted by passing staff and patrons. Menu prices for most pasta dishes range in the mid-20s and seafood and meat plates ranging from $32-49. While there are excellent restaurants in NYC at all price ranges for every cuisine imaginable, I would recommend this for enthusiasts of modern Italian cuisine without reservation.
SD26 is located at 19 E 26th Street in NYC (212) 265-5959 – Reservations are highly recommended.
Last summer I wrote a hotel review for The Setai Fifth Avenue. This posh independent hotel just steps from the Empire State Building was recently purchased by Langham Hotels. On my recent visit to New York City I happened to stay in the newly branded property that officially changed names approximately two weeks ago.
For those familiar with The Setai, you will be pleased to note on your return visit to the property now called Langham Place, Fifth Avenue, service remains impeccable. The rooms are laid out to maximize the space and the quality of the materials used add a touch of luxury.
Sleek, elegant design is how I would characterize the rooms.
The TV, work space and closet are comfortable and practical in their design.
And the over sized shower and bath tub make you feel like you are at a spa.
While travelers will like the convenient location of the hotel, the perks like the free shoe shine service and even the comfortable slippers that are laid out for you as part of the hotel’s nightly turn down service, I especially appreciated the deliciously brewed coffee in the morning from my room’s Nespresso machine.
Love, love, love this video. Earlier this month this video from BuzzFeed called How to Piss Off Every New Yorker in 36 Seconds went viral.
While I am most definitely not a New Yorker, I can certainly relate, as can anyone who lives in a city, I should think. It is 100% safe for work and worth watching because it is so true.
The adorable gay model, Max Emerson, has created a very cute 2 minute video about life in NYC with a quick visit to the Chelsea Piers, dancing in Hell’s Kitchen at The Ritz, The West Village, Harlem and much more… Enjoy.
The dreaded New York Yankees open their 2013 baseball season playing the blessed but often misunderstood Red Sox in New York City this afternoon. Both teams are saddled with a lot of baggage, but fans from both cities will no doubt be filled with hope.
I’ve had more than my share of meals out this month, but none were as memorable as the one I had at Valbella in the meatpacking district of NYC.
I liked the vibe of this Italian restaurant’s minimalist decor. A large iron circular staircase is the main point of architectural interest and directly in your line of sight as you enter from the street. The main room on the second floor is a bit more intimate and includes exposed brick and racks of wine bottles, that I liked more than the first floor.
The Northern Italian menu will prove tempting but it will hit your wallet with many entrees more than $40. However, on my visit which happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day, I was impressed by the level of service and quality of the dining experience, which included serving our party of seven. The waitstaff was attentive without being overbearing and extremely knowledgeable, making thoughtful recommendations to several members of our party.
Valbella NYC 421 W. 13th Street
I was among the first in my party to arrive so I started at the first floor bar with a martini, but after we were seated and ordered, I switched to wine and started my dinner with restaurant’s traditional Caesar salad, which was beautifully plated. The crisp, fresh cool vegetables and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano contrasted nicely with my dinner that followed – linguine con frutti di mare. The dish was piled high with succulent and somewhat sweet shellfish including chunks of lobster, crab meat and shrimp. The fra diavolo sauce had kick but was more mild than spicy. Portions were hearty, and I left more than an hour later pleasantly full.
While the cost of the restaurant may be a deterrent for some, it was worthwhile and a place I’d recommend without hesitation, although I might suggest requesting tables away from the entrance to ensure you have more privacy.
Valbella is located in the meatpacking district 421 West 13th Street, NYC.
Work brought me to New York City this week and unlike most business trips, I actually had a few hours on Tuesday evening to enjoy by myself. The City looked very festive and no matter where I went, there were plenty of lights, wreaths and all the other decorations you would associate with this time of year.
Shown above is Grand Central Station on 42nd Street. This and the neighboring Chrysler Building are two of my favorite in NYC. The first time I came to NYC, I emerged from Grand Central, walked out to the streets of Midtown, looked up and saw the Chrysler Building. I’ve been in love with New York City ever since.
The skating rink at Bryant Park (shown above) might be less famous than Rockefeller Center’s, but it is larger and far more fun. Earlier this year I tweeted a photo of hundreds on the park doing yoga after work. No matter the time of year I always enjoy stopping by Bryant Park.
Excluding Times Square, I cannot think of a more crowded destination for tourists than NYC’s than Rockefeller Center. The ice rink and Christmas tree below always looks pitifully small under the soaring art deco sky scraper, but that doesn’t deter the crowds who come to get their photograph taken.
Last week Huffington Post asked readers to vote if new ManHunt billboards in Times Square are offensive in their post, Manhunt Ad Appears in New York’s Time Square.
What is the basis of the question? There are never questions about saucy billboards featuring bone-thin supermodels flaunting bare skin nor does there seem to be any aversion to violent movies being plastered through out Times Square.
While one too many Walt Disney musicals might be playing on Broadway in my opinion, last time I checked this was New York City not Orlando. People need to grow up and recognize a billboard featuring two men embracing or a bare chested male model is not risque; not even for my conservative hometown, Boston, where ManHunt calls home.
If open displays of sexuality are really disturbing, perhaps we can direct the NYPD to ask all those overexcited tourists in Times Square to stop slipping each other the tongue and openly groping each other first.