Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miss Menu Mentions -

Once or twice a week, Eater posts a Plywood Report in which they compile a listing of restaurant and bar openings. Most of this info is submitted by Eater readers, and Eater is really good about giving credit for their findings. Last week I sent in my posting about Vino 313, the new wine bar opening soon in Murray Hill, and saw that Eater included it in one of their recent Plywood Reports.

The novelty has definitely not worn off, even though I've been working on Miss Menu for almost a year now. It's still so exciting to be linked to by such a big website!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nothing ThaiNY About It

Another group outing and another restaurant for Miss Menu to select! We were going to a friend's stand-up show and needed to find a restaurant that was pretty quick and could accommodate ten of us. A few ideas were thrown around, but I ultimately picked ThaiNY.

ThaiNY took over the old Noodles on 28 location, but thank goodness they completely gutted the place. What came out of the major renovation was a sleek, modern space that had a really fun vibe - something that a lot of Thai restaurants usually lack. Since we were such a big group, we were seated in the back room, which was probably a good move on the hostess's part because we were a pretty loud bunch!

We started off with wine, and were all pleasantly surprised at how large the glasses of wine were. We ordered a couple of appetizers for the table...edamame and spring rolls. The spring rolls were very crispy and served with a tasty plum sauce. Both of them were seriously gone in seconds.

When it came time to order the entree, I had to go with my good ol' standby Pad See Ew. I know...I've ordered this time and again, but I just love it so much. I always feel like I'm going to miss out! Only difference this time is that ThaiNY calls it Rice Noodle - Bangkok Style. Pad See Ew usually consists of stir fried rice noodles, broccoli, egg, and a sweet soy sauce.
I got my dish with chicken, but I have also had the vegetarian duck too. A quick aside - the first time I saw vegetarian duck, I was seriously scared. It's made out of tofu and comes in a can, but somehow looks like real pieces of duck meat. Weird...but it surprisingly tastes really good and is full of flavor. Anyway, back to the dish. At ThaiNY, they also throw in other vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and bean sprouts, which was a nice way to change it up.

Since I pretty much knew what to expect with my dish, my friends were nice enough to let me try some of their dishes too. Everyone seemed to really enjoy their dishes. After sneaking a few bites off their plates, the Pad Thai was really good, as were the Green Curry and Yum Chicken Salad. All of the portions were a pretty good size.

My friend The Commish had a really fun surprise for me...a Miss Menu sticker!!! I proudly wore it all night and it's now it's permanently stuck on my wall. Thanks M.E., I love it!

The dinner was a huge success and a ton of fun. I would definitely recommend heading to ThaiNY if you're looking for a fun atmosphere and quality Thai food.

394 Third Avenue @ 28th Street
Menu Pages listing

Friday, October 17, 2008

Everything But the Kitchen Sink - Flexitarians-R-Us

I always knew my eating habits were pretty bizarre (my parents can attest to that!), but I'm thrilled to learn that I'm not the only one who eats some meats...sometimes. Miss Menu can now be considered a flexitarian! Don't worry, my diet will certainly not start consisting of tofu and soy milk only, but now I don't feel as bad saying I only eat chicken, turkey, or fish.

The trend seems to be catching on: "Last year a National Restaurant Association survey found that more than 50 percent of chefs rate vegetarian entries among their top 10 trendiest menu items."

- Part-time Vegetarians *Newsweek*

Everything But the Kitchen Sink - Wine Bar Opening

Looks like a new wine bar will be opening in Murray Hill. Vino 313 is hoping to appeal to a 30-something crowd with its upscale, sophisticated atmosphere. It will definitely be a welcomed addition to a frat bar-saturated area!

The bar's name is taken from its location at East 31st Street and Third Avenue. A partner with the Vino Five Group had expected the start-up wine bar to open in September, but it appears they are running a little behind schedule.

Vino 313
201 East 31st Street
@ Third Avenue

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Everything but the Kitchen Sink - NY Wine & Food Fest edition

New York Wine & Food Festival
I was lucky enough to score a ticket to one of the Grand Tastings of the first annual New York Wine & Food Festival. It does help to have a roommate in high places...thanks MB!! I didn't really know what to expect, but I had no doubt this was going to be a very cool NYC foodie adventure!

In a giant tent on Pier 54 in Hudson River Park, dozens of restaurants and wine suppliers set up tables offering samples of their cuisine.

Some of the highlights included:
  • A mushroom dumpling in a truffle sauce from Wakiya
  • A mini Pannetone cake with apricot and raisins
  • Pineapple salsa and Chipotle tomato soup from Rosa Mexicano
  • Manchego rice and grilled vegetables from Pamplona
  • A sampling of cheeses from Murray's
I got to meet some of the executive chefs from fantastic restaurants all around the city, and also got to schmooze with Rocco DiSpirito, who was there to help promote the Bertolli pasta area.Thousands of dollars worth of black truffles...WHOA. Definitely not something you see every day!
Executive Chef Jim Botsacos of Molyvos
Hill Country (Check out the sources of the current and past employers!)
Book signing with Alton Brown of Food Network

It was a gastronomic experience Miss Menu will not soon forget!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Certainly Not My Last Supper

OK, OK, I have fallen a little behind in posting on here...I'm sorry. Again. This summer proved to be one of my best, and also one of my busiest. I spent so much time out of town, going out to dinner, and out for drinks...leaving little time to work on Miss Menu. On a positive note, this has resulted in dozens of restaurants for me to review, so take my word for it...many postings to come. Now that Fall is upon us, it's time to get down to business!

It was my friend BS's birthday a few weeks ago, and his brother JS and girlfriend JW organized a surprise dinner for him. Big group dinners are always a blast, but this one was one of the best NYC dining experiences I've had in a while. When we arrived at Supper, we were lead through the restaurant, then through the wine cellar, entering into this small private dining room. The best way I can describe the atmosphere of this room (and the whole restaurant really) is Old World elegance meets rustic Italian charm. The antique wallpapered walls are scattered with shelves of empty wine bottles. Old Venetian glass chandeliers give the room a warm glow. The whole room feels like you've walked right into a Tuscan villa. It was a fantastic ambiance and made Miss Menu very excited for this supper to begin!

On top of such a great room, we were also waited on hand and foot by a very knowledgeable waiter. He was constantly refilling our wine glasses, asking if we needed anything, and explaining various dishes on the menu. In addition to the regular menu, Supper has an entire special menu that changes daily, as well as dishes that are available on different days of the week. After much deliberation (what else is new!), we all decided to order a bunch of appetizers and salads, and then each order our own entree.

We started with orders of crostini, mozzarella di bufala, grilled asparagus, roasted beets, and an avocado salad. The crostini was served with a garlicky white bean dip drenched in olive oil. It was pretty potent, but very tasty. The mozzarella was unlike any I have ever seen or fresh. Once the skin was pierced, it fell apart onto the tomato and basil on the plate. It may sound crazy, but I don't eat tomatoes. But don't get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoyed dipping the crostini in the mozzarella! The grilled asparagus were cooked to perfection...still had a nice crunch to them and had a great pecorino cheese was sprinkled on top. The avocado salad was served with romaine, roasted corn, and olive oil. The avocado was very ripe, but the salad itself needed a little we added some lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

At this point, I was definitely pretty satisfied with the meal and could have easily called it quits. Unfortunately (or maybe forunately!), the entrees were on their way! A few people like MF ordered steak or chicken dishes and really enjoyed them.
But, most of us ordered pasta. I went with The Timely Priest Stranglers...very strange name, but nothing strange about this dish. The freshly homemade penne-like pasta was served with "Dad's Sunday Marinara sauce" and soft Ricotta di Pecora. The pasta had the perfect consistency and the sauce had such a fantastic, yet simple, flavor. Topping it with the fresh cheese made it that much better.

To round out a great meal, we ordered a whole slew of desserts. The birthday boy got Tiramisu and really enjoyed it.
MB ordered the hazelnut panna cotta, which came with fresh fruit and then was drenched it chocolate sauce. She isn't the biggest chocolate fan, so when the server's hand got a little heavy on the pouring, I happily volunteered to help take some of the chocolate off her plate!
I can't stop raving about Supper. I am definitely eager to go back and try even more of its regular menu items as well as its constantly-changing daily specials. It happens all too often that big group dinners don't go so smoothly, whether orders get messed up or service is lacking. But, I can safely say that Supper gets it right: a fantastic atmosphere, a delicious meal, and a very attentive wait staff.

156 East 2nd Street
b/t Aveues A & B
Menupages listing