My wife and I just honeymooned in Manhattan this last week and I decided to share my culinery experiences with my fellow chowhounds. Sunday night we thought we'd try out Tocqueville (E15th and 5th Ave). We were both pleasantly suprised when we were greated at the restaurant with smiles and our table all on time :). The atmosphere is superb for that romantic evening or a quiet get together with friends.. the windows being curtained so no one can see in and the lighting is pleasantly subtle. Starting with a tequila bloody mary for myself and a Kir for my wife we were almost in heaven from the outset... Now to the food. My wife had the Salmon Three Ways... basically a mix of both salmon tartar and smoked salmon with a side of salmon roe. She pronounced it to be absolutely superb (this from a woman who only started eating sushi and sashimi last August). On the specials board was a sashimi tasting platter, which I decided to have. It was made up of the Salmon Three Ways, a Kumamoto Oyster in a rice wine mignonette, Hamachi sashimi and two other items which to be honest I have no idea what they were but god they were good. After this we quietly sat and enjoyed a glass of Shuller Tokay while waiting for our entrees... OMG the staff left us alone and didn't constantly harass us with asinine questions or conversation. Again the specials came into play and my wife found herself having a Tuna Steak (med rare and cooked to perfection) with a light pepper crust. Her only problem with this dish was as she said "the pepper tastes something you can buy from Shoprite in the spices aisle". I had the Seared Maine Diver Sea Scallop and Foie Gras, again I found myself in heaven, the scallops weren't over cooked and each flavour from the foie gras, artichokes and beans melded together beautifully. Dessert, well there was no hope in hell of even contemplating dessert, so we both settled for the small "cookies" if you can call them that and the complimentary glass of champagne from the maitre de, when he found out we'd been married the day before. All in all I would recommend Tocqueville for those special occassions when the dollars mean nothing. The food was superb, the service wasn't in your face like many other high class restaurants, and the setting was exactly what we wanted for our first meal alone as husband and wife....
From high class to low class in the space of 24 hours. Just joking. My wife needed her fix of fried seafood so where else to head to but The Reef on City Island. I won't even review this place because for those of us that know it will just say "Good artery hardening fried fish and lots of it". I'm not dissing the place, it's just one of those places that you either love or hate and my wife and I both love it for the fun and the "laid back" atmosphere .. read it's a cafe. Next stop alot of beer and a few dogs at the Yankees game on Monday night... again not 5 star but the game wasn't bad.
Believe it or not my wife has worked in Manhattan for the last 8 years, and never really done the tourist thing, so we headed down to Time Square on the Tuesday, walked around and let her look at all the tall buildings. Lunch was one of the worst experiences of my life and I knew it would be as soon as my wife said "Let's go there for lunch". There just so happened to be Rosie O'Grady's. My burger had absolutely no taste what so ever and her swordfish sandwich was dry as all get out .. only saving grace the Guiness was cold.
Dinner was a major experience. Went to Marchi's (E31st and 2nd) with our respective families read Italians and Australians. That's Australians and not Austrians :). We'd been warned by my wife's mother to expect a mix of Italian food and that was exactly what we got. Everything was absolutely wonderful except for the chicken which was a little dry. This is definitely a place I would recommend, but becareful of who you take there remembering the menu really does not change, and besides this is one place I don't want everyone finding, that way I can get a table whenever I want.
Today was lunch at Michael Jordans at Grand Central. All I will say is the burgers were good, cooked exactly the way we wanted but it's another mecca for the tourist --- go elsewhere!!!!! Try La Mela down in Little Italy, after all that's my next stop when I go back to the city later this week.
All in all we got a small taste of everything in Manhattan and the boroughs ranging from the great to the good to the seriously ugly, and next stop is the kitchen to get some pepto.
Keep on chowing