Boston Restaurant Blog -- May, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
After a weekend trip to Brooklyn over the past winter (including a brief stop in the Upper West Side and Greenwich Village), I got around to doing a quick two-day trip to Manhattan early last week. While in the city, we hit a couple of breakfast and lunch favorites, while also checking out two other restaurants for the first time.
On Monday afternoon, we started out by grabbing a late lunch at Viand Cafe on Broadway in the Upper West Side, with the omelet being as good as ever at this local favorite, while the open-faced reuben was absolutely sinful but also quite delicious, with a good amount of corned beef topped off with lots of cheese. We had eaten so late that dinner came upon us rather quickly, with our dinner place being an old-school Italian joint in Greenwich Village called Rocco Ristorante. Located on a quiet section of Thompson Street toward the southern edge of the Village, Rocco has been around forever (well, since the early 1920s, anyway) and the interior reflects this, with a cracked mosaic floor, a tin ceiling, and soft lighting in its two cozy rooms. The servers were of the old-world type, with one constantly coming over to top off our waters, while the other speaking to us in broken English while going over the various items on the menu. We started with an offering of tomato and onion bruschetta as well as a couple of glasses of a mellow, buttery montepulciano wine. Soups were next, with the minestrone having a good amount of vegetables in it, while the meat tortellini in chicken broth was decent, though the broth was a bit thin. Our entrees soon arrived, and the Tagliolini alla Rocco (homemade square spaghetti with shrimp, arugula, and tomatoes) was wonderful, with a rich sauce that put the dish over the top, and the veal cutlet with fontina cheese, prosciutto, and bolognese sauce was equally good, with a hearty and meaty sauce similarly adding a lot of flavor. The prosciutto in this dish, by the way, was crispy and more flavorful than about any I've had in recent memory. We were too full for dessert, unfortunately, so we paid the bill and headed out for a stroll through the Village.
Tuesday was a beautiful day, so we decided to take a long walk through Central Park. For breakfast, we hit the Manhattan Diner (another local spot on the Upper West Side that I have been to a number of times), enjoying both the whole-wheat waffle with fruit on top and the wild mushroom and goat cheese frittata. Then it was off the Central Park, where we wandered around for a good part of the day. While there, I got to take a peek at the intriguing Central Park Boathouse, which is on a lake in the heart of the park, though we didn't actually eat there. Eventually, we headed over to the Upper East Side, where we had a very early dinner at Indian Tandoor-Oven, a laid-back Indian restaurant on W 83 Street that has been around for a long, long time. Consisting of two small rooms, Indian Tandoor-Oven is a somewhat plain-looking (though comfortable) spot that is just feet away from busy Third Avenue yet is quiet enough to feel miles away from it. We were seated in the first room by one of the windows and started off with a couple of Indian beers as well as vegetable samosas (flaky and slightly dry, but very nice) and tandoori roti (slightly nutty-tasting from the wheat flour used). For our main course, we had the chicken tikka bhoona (mild yet aromatic and a slight garlic taste) and the saag aloo (more chopped than pureed spinach, and slightly dry potatoes). Overall, the food was not quite up to the level of the last Indian restaurant I went to in Manhattan (the outstanding Surya in Greenwich Village), but it was certainly satisfying, and the prices were quite reasonable.
I left New York soon after our meal at Indian Tandoor-Oven, missing the city as soon as I crossed into Westchester County. But I may be heading back to Manhattan soon (possibly next month), and if I do, I'll be sure to post about any other restaurants I get to along the way. In the meantime, it's back to dining out in the Boston area!
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