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Followup on 3 nights in NYC, Aldea, Scarpetta, Chez Napoleon & others..

Mouton Noir | Feb 15, 201007:02 AM

First, want to thank Rrems, kathryn and simon for their help in planning NYC trip. We had great fun. Food was amazing. Want to detail it here briefly:
1) Monday... Stayed at Ink 48 on 11th & W48th. Had expensive breakfast although it was tasty (esp my scrambled egg sandwich). After walking back to Manhattan on Brooklyn Bridge, stopped in for tasty snacks @ Stone St Tavern in financial district. Wife had minicrab cakes, which were OK but not like you'd get in Washington or Baltimore; i had stuffed peppers, which were cheesy and tasty, not bad for pub grub.
For dinner -- before seeing Avenue Q -- stopped in at Chez Napoleon on W50th. Great little resto, reminiscent of Parisian style small restos. Bottle of decent pinot noir for $32. I had french onion soup which was perfect, followed by handsome serving of rabbit stew in mustard sauce. Wife had asparagus with vinaigrette, then famous delicious cassoulet. Fabulous meal for price, $130 for 2 incl desert. Avenue Q was hilarious.
2) Tuesday ... Had much cheaper, classic greasy spoon breakkie at City Light diner on 10th @ W52. Can't beat the price, and good eggs and hash. It filled our tummies enough for sightseeing & walking, stoped in at Barbuto on Washington for quick wine and snack -- the calamari in a romesco-like sauce. Enough for 2 and i found it excellent. (Wife was less impressed but she liked).
After catching Colbert Report, went for dinner at Aldea on W17th. Was excited given my Portuguese background, and was NOT disappointed. Fabulous place. Service and staff excellent. Waited at bar and wife spilled drink on my pants. Bartender made another drink for my wife at no cost. (Luckily was wearing black jeans). I took reccs from Chow and ordered 3 apps to start -- sea urchin, cuttlefish and pork belly. All were to die for. Loved the sea urchin. Wife loved the cuttlefish. I liked how pork belly came with small slices of apple on top. For mains, wife had an amazing monkfish. Nice texture and taste. I went with duck risotto (or arroz de pato), and that too was splendid. Did love the crispy skin parts. For dessert, i got "sonhos," which are deep fried-like donuts with 3 diff sauces for dipping, all good. Wife had a brioche which also excelled. The resto was packed on Tues night and if they keep up the quality and service, it is likely going to be a hotspot for a while. I told staff it ranked right up there, for Portuguese cuisine, with Montreal's Ferreira and Toronto's Chiado restaurants. (Both of which I recommend).
3) Wednesday... the day of the so-called "storm" (As Cdns, it was more like a day of snow, not storm). Before musuem hopping, went for dim sum at Jing Fong @ Elizabeth St. Wife knows how to negotiate/pick dim sum items, so let her do most of the choosing. No disappointments. For less than $20, worth every cent.
For dinner, went to Scarpetta. Again, another stellar meal (although i would rank Aldea, by a small notch, ahead of Scarpetta). The spreads with the bread were amazing, esp the eggplant. For starters I had the short rib risotto. Melt in your mouth good. Then, wife and I split a rabbit pasta dish. Can say it was one of the best pasta dishes i have yet had. (Have been to Italy twice). The rabbit had a nice dose of mint, which really brought of flavour. For mains, wife had the goat, which was excellent. I had black cod and tomato, and surprisingly it was the tomato that made the dish. Nice piece of carmazlied fennel (me thinks) accompanied the dish. Cod cooked perfectly. (although i would say i enjoyed my appetizer and pasta just a bit more).

Can't wait to get to Manhattan again.

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