Recent Reviews

Yelp Reviews I have recently completed are below. You can also visit my Yelp profile page for more!

Painkiller (49 Essex Street, New York, NY) – March 9th, 2011

****four stars on Yelp

So I started a blog. Yeah, just like everyone else. I get it. Someone read my blog about the night I went to Hurricane Club, where I raved about the fantastic tiki drinks. You know what happened next? They offered up a suggestion of a place called Painkiller. They said it was awesome and I should definitely try it out.

So I did. I don’t like to disappoint.

After some dinner at Rye House, Dave K. and Tal H. braved Essex and Grand with me like troopers to find what I promised them (fingers crossed!) was a great bar. When we saw the blue and slightly dingy exterior with “TIKI BAR” painted right on the front wall I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The absence of windows meant I wouldn’t find out what it was like until I was already inside. Okay, I’m game.

It was everything a tiki bar should be. Dimly lit, the bar was overflowing with fun props for the drinks such as flamingos, umbrellas and naked ladies. Score.

We grabbed a booth and the fun and friendly waitress took our order. The menu was great and extensive, boasting crazy names for their drinks. I chose the Suffering Bastard with bourbon. My friends were not surprised. If it has bourbon or whiskey, I’m going to drink it.

When my drink arrived, I was happy with the cheesy ceramic totem pole-esque glass with all sorts of crazy Caribbean paraphernalia coming out the top. I’m a sucker for themes I guess.

It was a great drink, although a little heavy on the ginger taste. I didn’t order another one. Partly because I didn’t know if I could digest that much ginger, and partly because I couldn’t wait to try something else and see what vessel it would arrive in.

After telling the waitress we “want something in a shell” (I don’t have a good reason for that. Suffice it to say we had quite a few starter cocktails at Rye House) and she returned with a massive conch shell overflowing with booze and orchids on top. 4 over-sized and brightly colored straws later, we were happily finishing it off.

The crowd was mostly seated, with a few people standing in the bar area. It’s pretty small, so I can see this place getting crowded and claustrophobic easily, but we were there on a Sunday night (of a holiday weekend) and it wasn’t too bad. Not to mention they played Beastie Boys and Ace of Base, which of course I sang along to, probably to the dismay of my party, but I didn’t much care. Don’t I sound fun to go out with? (Detect the sarcasm).

We finally poured ourselves out of there and into a cab, still reeling from how inexpensive the bill was considering how large (and festive!) our drinks were.

Three words sorta kinda sum it up. I’ll be back.

The Hurricane Club (360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY) – February 15th, 2011

***** five stars on Yelp

I was a lucky girl to get two Valentine’s dinners. The first was with my actual Valentine on Saturday and the second was with all my girlfriends last night. Where do you think we went?

Oh, that’s right, The Hurricane Club.

After deciding swanky drinks were in order for ladies night on V-Day, we settled on The Hurricane Club because it was new-ish and I had heard positive things about it.

Well, let me tell you, not one person who talked this place up lied. Not even a little bit. The gorgeous soaring ceilings, glittering massive chandelier, beautiful leather and wood chairs and tables, exotic flowers and candles everywhere…oh mercy.

I sauntered up to the bar feeling supa dupa hot just being in that place and was handed a crazy drink menu that unfolded into a type of map. There were so many choices. I tried to take my time and get something really awesome, but I couldn’t wait another moment to order.

People all around me were drinking out of coconuts, vases and copper tin cups. I told the bartender to hurry up and make me a #77 (Monticristo Spiced, coconut, cardamom, passion fruit) and you know it came in it’s very own coconut shell complete with a little umbrella and a small plastic stand so I didn’t have to hold it all night.

I almost lost it with excitement.

I started sipping it slowly, but might as well have opened up my gullet and poured it right down there. It was really good. The type of good where when it’s finished, you want to cry. You can’t get to the bar fast enough for another one. Luckily, at that time we were seated at our table and then I got even more excited. Are you wondering how that’s possible?

Okay, here’s how. We ordered the #480 (Pitu, spiced passion fruit, muddled ginger) and it arrived in a massive vase (planter might be more accurate) with orchids floating on top and a lime that was on fire as the icing on the proverbial cake. 5 oversized straws later and we guzzled it right down. I AM SO HAPPY REMEMBERING THIS.

Moving right along….

The food was just as outstanding as the drinks, which surprised me. I shared the coconut shrimp with another in my party to start and it was perfect. I don’t know how else to describe it. It had this sauce that somehow had Mediterranean, Malaysian, Hawaiian flavors all rolled into one tiny dish and once again, my ladylike manners disappeared. I had to have every last morsel. As a main course I ordered the Dover Sole and it was a rather large piece of fish, covered in almonds and lemon. It was fresh and tasty, but at this point I was so full of booze I had to stop eating.

One more drink later (#46 – Knob Creek, mandarin, bay leaf, toasted rice) and everyone was full, happy and sufficiently boozed up.

As if you weren’t already putting on your stilettos and heading out the door to try this place – get this – on the way to the bathrooms is a rum fountain.

YES. Not joking. It’s a marble fountain built into the wall with a brass spout and a nice gentleman who will work it for you. He will fill up a small bottle of rum for you to take home with you or, if you are classy like me and my friends, you can just open your mouth and he turns the faucet on and it rains rum in your mouth.

This place is made from the best stuff on Earth.

iTrulli (122 E. 27th Street, New York, NY) – February 14th, 2011

***** five stars on Yelp

Are you kidding me? Why on Earth did I wait so long to try this little place tucked away on 27th Street?

I’m so foolish. I don’t have any other good explanation.

This was some of the best gourmet Italian food I have tried in the city. I started with a glass of Pinot Grigio and some chickpea fritters. The little triangles of fried goodness didn’t disappoint me at all, and I inhaled everything. It was topped with goat cheese and Sicilian Caponata. The whole thing was so perfectly paired, I didn’t even want to talk to the others in my party. Just let me eat my delicious appetizer, clowns!

Onto the main course and I ordered the fried salted cod. In the horrific words of Rachel Ray “Yum-O”. (I’m not a RR fan, but I find those words so appropriate right now. I can’t explain my creative genius. Please detect the sarcasm.)

The cod was a wildy enormous dish and I couldn’t even come close to finishing (which never happens to me). I sat there feeling happy and full, thinking about getting into my cozy bed and sleeping through my food coma when dessert menus appeared. Since we were celebrating a birthday, everyone ordered dessert. I guess I can eat just one more thing.

One passion fruit creme brulee later and I was officially stuffed. The creme brulee was tasty as expected and light enough to not make me want to die from food overload. Everything was awesome. Even the bread basket full of foccacia and a homemade herb butter was outstanding.

I guess iTrulli takes a back seat to the glittering Blue Smoke right next door, but it should not be underestimated or overlooked. I made that mistake and I regret it immensely. I have already planned for my next visit to try their homemade pastas, made fresh and hand rolled every single day.

Italian win!

The Smith (55 Third Avenue, New York, NY) – February 7th, 2011

*** three stars on Yelp

After one too many drinks at Shoolbreds (per the usual) my group and I headed Southwest to The Smith for some dinner. Being the sister restaurant to Jane, which I found only so-so, my expectations were rather low.

We were seated right away by a less than interested hostess. After reviewing the menu I settled on the mac and cheese appetizer (to share with Tal H.) and the slow roasted pork sandwich. I chose the mac and cheese because I can’t help myself and went with the pork sandwich because the menu boasted shaved cauliflower on it, and I love cauliflower. The mac and cheese was good, homemade and a hearty portion, which I always enjoy, and makes sharing more fun.

The sandwich was decent. I could only eat half, but took the rest home for lunch the next day. It did have cauliflower like it promised, and that was tasty, but too much arugula made the sandwich messy and I had to pull a lot of it out. The pork was not memorable, but overall I was satisfied.

I will give the Smith props for its decor. It’s an industrial-esque space, with subway tiles walls, exposed bulbs and tiny tiles on the floor. Water (both sparkling and flat) is placed on each table upon arrival in empty booze bottles without labels. Nice touch. The space was cold and cozy all at one time. Cold because of the tile and metal used to decorate and cozy because the tables were so close together and it was pretty packed. Frankly, it was a little expensive and everyone hyped it up for something that’s really no big deal. Solid for the area, I would return again if Apiary is closed.

High five for the photobooth downstairs, however it was out of order.

Quality Meats (57 W. 58th Street, New York, NY) – February 3rd, 2011

*** three stars on Yelp

I guess you could say I am a sort of Steakhouse Connoisseur. I really love meat. Lamb and veal especially. I also adore fish, lobster and hearty side dishes. Steakhouses as a genre carry all of that. They are also usually set up like a boys club, and only recently have they become hip and sexy.

Quality Meats did a great job of combining the traditional feel of a steakhouse with a modern sexy twist that really lured me in. I was there for dinner with a colleague, and we decided to split the crab cake appetizer. It was very good, but nothing too special. I have a hard time being “wow’d” by a crabcake, so maybe you don’t want to take my advice too much to heart. The bread basket was pretty great too, so since we only ordered one app, we worked on the bread a little as well. It was still warm. I die.

Next up was the entree part of the experience and I went for the veal chop, surprise surprise. If lamb or veal is on the menu, I’m going to order it. I just prefer it to beef. I can’t explain it. It’s one of life’s great mysteries. We had a few questions about the sides, mainly asking the overly friendly waitress what were her favorites, as my colleague and I had only agreed upon the sautéed spinach at this point. She said “I’m going to surprise you!”, yanked away our menus and bounded off the place the order. At first I was a bit taken aback. Why would she do that? Then I realize I could relax because choosing a side dish was ending up like Sophie’s Choice and it was nice to be able to settle into the booth and start sipping my Riesling.

After not too much time, the main course arrives steaming hot and we got to work. The veal chop was pretty good, but that’s all I can say about it. The best part was the large pieces of tomato in some sort of creamy sauce that sort of blew my mind. I hate chunks of tomatoes. I like tomato sauce, tomato juice (in my Bloodys only!) and tomato flavored dishes. I just don’t like whole large pieces. I don’t know why. I guess I’m weird.

These tomatoes were so delicious. They were cooked, not too hard, not too soft and the sauce was such a great compliment. I would have preferred a plate of that, minus the veal. My dining companion got the aged bone in sirloin and his was infinitely better than the piece of meat I had chosen. Well seasoned and tender. When the sides arrives (did you forget about those?) the spinach was exactly what you would expect and tasted good. I don’t have high expectations for sautéed spinach, there is not much that can be done with it. Our surprise side dish was the Parmesan waffle fries. They were good, but too heavy and we could only muster eating a few bites. The Parmesan was a nice touch, but I would have been just as happy without it. Also, they were not waffle fries like you find at a diner or burger joint, they were much closer to hash browns. Fine by me, I prefer hash browns anyway, but it’s important to note the menu is slightly deceiving.

We were too full to even think about dessert and passed on even looking at the menus. We stayed for another drink or two, drinking in the space (and the wine) as much as we could. The rough hewn wooden exposed beams, stark metal staircases, small votive candle and dim lighting that really made it very swanky. Nothing like my other favorite steakhouses. I don’t know if I would pick this as my Saturday night dinner destination, but I know I would bring clients here and perhaps come back with coworkers. It was good, but nothing had the wow factor I was looking for except those potatoes.

QM might need another try on the food, but you know what? I’d go back for the Riesling.

2 Responses to Recent Reviews

  1. Pingback: Tiki Bars Are My New Favorite | Hungry Child in the City.

  2. Pingback: Yelp ROTD!! | Hungry Child in the City.

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