The inlaws met up with my family for the yearly culture clash in Manhattan and all went pretty well. Started the fun with dinner at Shelley's New York. We were dismayed to find out that the menu was considerably more upscale than we had heard(reports spoke of hotdogs, chow mein, and ribs). Steaks approaching the fourty dollar level were quite shocking to the more rural area, non-
I started with half a dozen kumamoto oysters for 15 dollars that were smooth, clean yet briny and very oceanic as they should be.
Portions seemed to have shrunk in the place(again early reports were all about the overkill) as my lump crab cakes looked kind of scrawny on their huge white plate scrawled with some kind of pesto graffiti. They were all crab luckily and very delicious but barely earned their 27 dollar price tag based on value alone. Steaks looked to be the best thing on the table at 33 dollars.
The place was very attractive in a swank coctail lounge at Disney way save for the horrible painting in the atrium. Deserts looked like they were all about presentation but light on delicacy.
Up next was Golden Unicorn for Christmas morning dim sum. The wait was no more than fifteen minutes even at 11 am.
Good turnover on the carts, servers were nice(much nicer than the hostess) and semi-helpful. I've had nothing but Vancouver dim sum in the last year and this was a notch below that quality but good nonetheless. Highlights included the custard buns, seafood triangular dumplings, and the sticky chicken rice in lotus leaves . Boiled tripe,bbq pork buns were mediocre and congee was sub-par.
A loong showing of Lord of the Rings broke up the downtime between dim sum and an early dinner.
For Dinner it was through the crowd of Toys R Us gawkers in Time square and off to Dervish, the Turkish place on 47 th st. I'll give the servers the benefit of the doubt as they were working on a holiday but still seemed less than helpful. Started off drinking a particularly puckering Ayran. Very nice but then menu options on the special prix-fix were all pretty dumbed down and gringocized. Fresh turkish bread was excellent. I got the baby octopus casserole which lacked any authoritative spicing and was a bit too thin. For deserts some nice Turkish custard dusted with cinnamon and floating in a molasses slick and an excellent rice pudding which was creamy in the middle and well crusted on top. Looking around the table everything looked...well, ok but nothing was as good as the deserts.
Lunch today was a second visit to Sapore on Greenwich Ave. I got a decent cannelini bean puree soup and a bowl of fusili with gorgonzola, parmesan, and ricotta topped with chopped walnuts. Very tasty and came with a coffee for only $4.95.
Dinner was at Da Andrea a cute yet homely Italian place on hudson St. Prices were all very reasonable and the warm octopus salad was delicious. It was formed into a cake with potatoes, olives, and tomatoes. It would be the best part of the meal as my squid-ink taglioni was less than assertive in the bowl while competing with small pieces of salmon and asparagus nibs. A very well-meaning place that I can't complain about at all. Affordability and convenience were the qualiies the in-laws craved and this place satisfied them completely.