Because of recent underemployment, I couldn't really afford to take Mr. diva out for the blow-out NYC birthday dinner he deserves, so I settled on M and P for the weekend wine dinner as an alternative. The results were solid, though not spectacular, and I thought I'd post what happened here for others who may be in a similar situation.
The skinny: for $75 pp, you get to pick any appetizer, entree, and dessert, and you get freely poured pre-selected wines, including a prosseco, a chardonnay, a malbec, and a cabernet. They bring these to you by course, although you can order any substitution for any course as you go, and you can double-up on any pour during whichever course you choose. I thought that this lent a great value to the meal, and all of the wines were quaffable, though not outstanding.
For appetizers we picked the tuna tartare with avocado (boring, but serviceable) and the bleu cheese wedge. I actually thought the salad beat out the appetizer because the tomatoes were yummy and home-grown tasting, and the bleu cheese dressing was quite good, maybe Maytag?
For mains, I got the filet Oscar, which came with some big flakes of crab, a good bearnaise, and decently roasted asparagus spears. He got a Tomahawk steak, which wasn't advertised as such, but was basically a bone-in rib-eye although the menu led us to believe it would be a prime rib. We ordered the "signature balls" as a side, which were mashed potatoes mixed with chives, cheddar, and bacon, rolled with panko and fried. Again, nothing earth-shattering but satisfying.
Desserts were spotty. The chocolate cake I ordered was terrible--way too dry and crumbly, but the banana toffee ice cream it came with was O.K. Mr. diva's peach and sour cherry tart was better--the ice cream was good, and the dessert was plump with peaches, almonds, and cherries.
I'm still trying to figure out how to eat in NY on a budget. We really can't afford the most high end places, but we are trying to find a balance between so-called "cheap eats"joints and middle-of-the road places. Mr. diva was totally happy with this restaurant and thought it was among the best places we've eaten at, and that's awesome because it was his birthday. On the other hand, we moved here (to NJ, though we come to NY frequently) from Austin, TX, and I wanted just a bit more refinement and innovation for the price.
Maloney & Porcelli
37 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022