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the sweet scoop
For one of the most autentico Italian experiences around, get your appetite ready and head to Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. NoHo’s rustic market, salumeria, bakery, wine bar and restaurant is an extension of former chef Ignacio Mattos’s original Il Buco, located on adjacent Bond Street.
In the front Alimentari grocery section, you can purchase artisanal dry goods, cured meats, and freshly baked bread to enjoy at home. Or settle into the warm, cozy Vineria and restaurant to sample seasonal specialties featuring organic, local produce and proteins from eco-friendly farms—which chef Justin Smillie precisely crafts using traditional Italian methods. Varied individual and high communal tables invites sharing the love with friends—or making new ones. Belly up to a spot by the open kitchen for a front row view of the staff busily churning out delicacies.
While the atmosphere charms, the simple, straightforward cuisine is most likely to entice a repeat visit. Served with crusty, chewy Italian bread, the house-made ricotta is a must have starter. A pillow of soft curds garnished with sugar snap peas, toasted pine nuts, mint, granola and a swirl of honey offered an inviting sweet-savory sensation. Another knockout appetizer of Manila clams arrived resting in zesty roasted pepper and garlic broth, thick cubes of pancetta sprinkled throughout.
Vegetable contorni, charcuterie and fresh pastas, seafood and meats complete the menu. Try the delicate twirls of “busiate” pasta coated with almonds, anchovies, sun-ripened duana tomatoes and capers. For a heartier entrée, the signature spit-roasted short ribs presented large chunks of tender, peppery meat edged by darkened, chewy bark. They were both exceptional mains.
Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is a solid choice for a romantic date night or breaking bread with a group. Make a reservation to guarantee a prompt seating—then prepare to mangia.
My review as published in the Clean Plates Manhattan 2013 Restaurant Guide Book (purchase it here) and on CleanPlates.com. Photo courtesy of LocalEats.com.
The stage is set for an electrifying evening event on Monday, March 26 at 7 pm. Join celebrated chef Scott Conant, of Scarpetta restaurants and Food Network fame, as he hosts a night of fine food and entertainment to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Guests will savor three hours of soulful Italian cuisine (from antipasti to dessert and everything in between), free-flowing vino and spirits, a silent auction and cabaret-style theatrics from some of Broadway’s shining stars.
Performers include Bethany Moore of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” Marty Thomas of “Wicked,” Tituss Burgess of “The Little Mermaid,” Renée Marino of “West Side Story,” critically acclaimed recording artist Kelly King, GLAAD Award winner Wilson Cruz, and many others.
Chefs Onstage was created by Scarpetta bartender and actor Beau Speer and his SpeerArts Productions. Play a leading role in supporting this incredible cause, while taking in dinner and a show at acclaimed hotspot Scarpetta, by purchasing tickets at SpeerArts.com — or act fast to take advantage of this TimeOut NY discount offer.
For more information about Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, click here.
Images courtesy of SlashFood.com and SpeerArts.com.
One of New York’s most anticipated restaurants has officially opened its doors. Located in the heart of Battery Park City, North End Grill is the latest venture from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Top Chef Masters winner Chef Floyd Cardoz (former Executive Chef/Partner of Tabla) is manning the kitchen and introduces a fresh approach to new American cuisine. The extensive menu highlights seasonal ingredients, with a heavy emphasis on seafood and grilled preparations.
Eager to check out the brand new spot, I headed to North End Grill during their opening week lunch service and was lured in by appetizing aromas of smoke and charcoal. The restaurant’s front room reveals an exposed kitchen with counter seating, high-top tables, a lengthy bar, and a display wall that will soon showcase more than 100 single malt scotches (the restaurant is currently awaiting their liquor license). Past the kitchen is the elegant main dining room—a sleek space of dark wood, white linens and black & white framed photos, with floor-to-ceiling windows and Hudson river views.
Lunch began with a lightly charred clam pizza covered with buttery, briny littlenecks, chopped parsley, garlic and olive oil drizzle. Plump diver scallops arrived delicately seared and coated with a chili-spiced apple cider vinegar glaze, atop a creamy cauliflower purée. The sliced chop of Berkshire pork entrée was juicy and tender, boasting a rich smoky flavor, savory au jus and side of charcoal grilled shishitos and cippolini onions.
For a scrumptious finish that’s fun to eat, order the Butterscotch Pot de Crème. With more of a pudding consistency than a typical Pot de Crème, the sweet golden custard came topped with crunchy chocolate streusel crumbs and fluffy scotch-infused single “maltmallows.” When lapping up this decadent dessert, be sure to dig deep for the layer of thick salted caramel at the bottom of the bowl.
During my visit, Danny Meyer’s standard of service excellence proved to be impeccable, as usual. With North End Grill expected to receive their liquor license next week, and dinner service beginning on January 23rd, I’m already anticipating a venture back to Battery Park City for dinner and a dram or two of scotch very soon.
North End Grill, 104 North End Avenue, New York, NY 10282, 646.747.1600
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And while food is undoubtedly the star of the show, choosing the right wines to pair with your holiday feast can be just as important to having a delicious celebration.
With so many flavors and textures going on in your meal, it can be hard to know which wines work best. In general, you’ll want to select light, crisp wines with delicate aromas, which let the food shine. Also, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a really good bottle. Each variety featured below is tasty, versatile, and typically sold for under $20. And they’re all organic, to boot!
Sparkling: Bubbly is a hit for any occasion and can be enjoyed as an aperitif, for a Thanksgiving toast, or throughout the entire meal. Light and refreshing, sparkling wine will cleanse your palate so you can properly taste all the delicious food ahead. Pop open a bottle of California’s fresh and zesty Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée or the delightfully aromatic Mionetto Organic Prosecco from Italy.
White: To tastefully enhance any course of your Thanksgiving feast, pour a crisp, clean white. Vibrant, citrusy Frey Organic Sauvignon Blanc is excellent paired with everything from turkey and ham (or tofurkey and seitan mains) to potato and veggie sides. Another great option is the creamy Chardonnay from Paul Dolan Vineyards; with hints of crisp apple and vanilla spice, this organic Chard is perfect for holiday sipping.
Rosé/Red: Rosé—whether sparkling or still—crosses the bridge between white and red, and pairs well with turkey, stuffings and most sides. Food-friendly Bonterra Organically Grown Rosé presents a luscious blend of berries and spice, with a nice dry finish. If you prefer red, I recommend a light to medium bodied Pinot Noir. The fruit-forward earthiness and spicy notes will complement your food, without overwhelming it. New York’s Silver Thread Vineyard produces a velvety Pinot Noir, rich with black cherry and plum, that stands up against the tartness of cranberries and chutneys.
Dessert: Room for dessert? It’s always a treat to cap off your holiday meal with a touch of sweet wine. While you savor slices of pumpkin and sweet potato pies, sip on a Port-style dessert wine like Coates Red Cap Late Harvest Zinfandel. Or try bright, fizzy Vittorio Bera Moscato di’Asti for a lighter finish.
The most important thing to remember about pairing is to keep it simple. Selecting wine should be enjoyable, not stressful, so have fun making your selections. Cheers to a happy, healthy holiday!
As featured on Clean Plates.
Photo via FoodNetwork.com