Archive for the ‘restaurant review’ Category

Good, but not impressive

April 17, 2016

Maria Pia
319 West 51 Street
New York, New York

(212) 765-6463

Good, but uninspired

Maria Pia is a very convenient Italian theater restaurant. The service is prompt and the food is good. You can all the old classics Saltimbocca, Osso Bocca , etc. and they are all done well. There is a good wine list and cocktails are available. What is missing is the new inventive dishes, that make a restaurant very special.

We had the shrimp on pasta with a very nice and slightly spicy tomato sauce and the Osso Bocca with a very wet polenta both were very good. Dinner for two is about $ 100

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Pepela: So much, for fond memories.

April 10, 2016

When I really like a restaurant, I make it a point to go back whenever I can. My first impression of Pepela was elegance with interesting and very tasty food. I have just tried Pepela a second time and I am sorry I did.

The first thing I noticed was that the greeters or Maitre d’ was gone. I think it was the owner or manager that eventually got to us and he seemed dishelmed and not dressed very well. When we got to our table, we noticed that the seating seemed dirty. The waitress was very curt and not at all willing to help us. There was long waits while food came out. The only way to describe it was blah. The mushrooms  baked with cheese were flavorless. The Ochakhuri turned out to be two wraps of kibbe with some extremely unevenly done potato wedges. I have had better at outside kiosks.

The whole place seemed tired and the bathrooms needed repair. So much, for fond memories. This is one place I will want to forget.

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Great Chinese Food In Framingham, Mass.

April 10, 2016



For a restaurant to be on the second floor, not in a major shopping mall, but still be busy says something in itself.


Sichuan Gourmet, above a well-stocked Asian supermarket is just that place. It has a well-earned 27 at Zagat and the prices for an Entrée are below $25 sometimes less than $ 10.


The menu is large, but the real highlights are the chef’s specials. Vegetables vary according to what’s in the market as does the entrees.


Everyone has had sweet and sour shrimps that where gloppy and too sweet. Sichuan Gourmet does in a Grand Mariner sauce that is just right. Simple dishes such as shredded duck on julienned water chestnuts are done just right. I do not know how they do it, but their oriental eggplant with garlic comes to the table steaming and the color of the eggplant skin looks dazzling.


The service is super-fast. Warning some of the dishes marked with four peppercorns should not be attempted without a fire extinguisher at the ready.


Dinner for three is approximately $ 80


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Chain Restaurants Bad: Legal Seafood Good

April 10, 2016

Legal Seafoods

50 Worcester Rd

Framingham, MA

(508) 766-0600


It is my practice , confirmed by too many tasteless, cold meals I avoid chain restaurants. Legal Seafoods is the exception.


Every time,  I go there the food is hot tasty and a good value and most of all the fish is fresh.  LegalSeafoods is moderately priced the average entrée is about $ 27, but some of the items like lobster can get pricey.  If you are really interested in a filling, inexpensive meal. Try the fish chowder followed by the mussels and you will waddle out of the restaurant. The portions are huge so be prepared to share. While the ambiance is noisy in a huge metal ceiling warehouse like structure, you can still talk at a normal level. Service is accommodating , but a little slow.

The only real problem, I have with Legal Seafoods, is that they are not in New York

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Il Principe: An Oasis in an Urban Dessert

April 10, 2016

Il Principe is part of the Hotel Hugo and is located 525 Greenwich, which is less than two years old. The street is basically a UPS operation and as such has little or no pedestrian traffic.  Indeed, at night it is a little scary. In addition it is nearly impossible to approach by car from the south during NYC’s extended rush hour as you have to cross Holland tunnel traffic. There are outside tables, but unless you really love the rubble of large delivery trucks go inside. The lobby dining room is quite a different matter. There are marble floors, finished wood slats on the walls and lots of glass, very nice.

We started off with a Cesare Salad with barely roasted romaine lettuce and shave ptarmigan cheese, not traditional, but very nicely done. Then we had an enormous bowl of fried calamari done perfectly with a tasty, but again non-traditional dip, almost a Russian dressing.  My main courses were Osso Bocco on a creamy polenta. I am an eater, but I took home almost half the meal. We also had lamb chops done expertly.

Dinner for two with a drink and tip is about $ 200

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Ariana Kebob: Before a Broadway Shaow

April 10, 2016

Ariana Kebab House

787 9th Avenue

New York, NY 10019

212 262 2323


Need a quick meal before a Broadway Show try Ariana Kebob. This nicely decorated small restaurant can be an interesting introduction to Afgan food.

Try the pumpkin fried bread always a winner and the Araruak ( Meat filled raviolis with an meat sauce on top. Kebobs are right off the spit. The service is friendly and attentive.

For those of us who familiar with afghan food, Arana’s fare is a little bland and they cut corners by serving Jasmine rice rather than rice pilaf.

Dinner for two with appetizers, entree and dessert is about $ 60

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Forty Four: Identity Crisis

April 10, 2016

Forty Four
40 West 44 Street
New York, NY

Fourty Four is buried in the back of the Royalton Hotel and I do mean buried at the very end of the hotel. Indeed you have to walk through a block long cocktail lounge to get there. When you finally get to your table, the waiter does not hand you a menu, but asks you for drinks. When you tell him you have a reservation for dinner, the waiter disappears!

About 30 minutes later another waiter stops by to ask about drinks, again he tries to disappear, but we insisted. He then brought a DRINK menu. We persevered and finally got a dinner menu. At this point, my confidence in Forty four was not good.

We ordered and were pleasantly surprised when the food arrived hot and correct. The Cauliflower appetizer was delicious. The hanger steak was done correctly.  Best of all was the lobster risotto.

Forty Four is not cheap; there are $ 26 hamburgers on the menu. Dinner at Forty Four will cost about $ 120 for two without drinks.

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Red Compass : A Very Bad Old Joke

April 10, 2016

Red Compass
154 Orchard Street
New York, NY
(212) 473-9100

A very old bad joke:

Patron: Waiter, taste my soup!

Waiter: What’s the problem; if it’s cold we will heat it up

Patron:  Waiter, taste my soup!!

Waiter: Is it too salty??

Patron: Taste my soup!!!

Waiter: O.k., Where’s the spoon?

Patron: Ah ha!!

Red Compass is so incompetent; we never really got serving sets. It took a half hour to get water. The dishes used in serving were cold. My lamb stew was cold. The chicken liver dish had everything but, chicken livers. After two and a half hours, we realized they could not calculate a bill for us.

Very sad, don’t bother

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Good Food, No Decafe

April 10, 2016

764 10 Avenue

(212) 586-0888

Crispins is loud, unadorned and has no privacy, but it does have very good food.

There is a row of nice wooden tables touching each other, cafeteria style and for some reason theis loud base thumping music with brick walls, that make conversation even across the table a chore.

The appetizers are immense and very tasty and the main courses are wonderful. The crab cakes are solid real crabmeat and the veal cheeks will literally melt in your mouth.

The deserts are o.k., but there is no de-caf expresso, de-cafe coffee or even de-cafe tea to be found.

Dinner is not cheap, with appetizer , dessert and wine can easily run almost $ 100/pp.

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Good Try, but No Medal

April 10, 2016

New Style Hand Pulled Noodles
23 Pell Street
New York, NY 10013

212 285 8668


Hand pulled noodles are the specialty of really fine Chinese restaurants. There is something about the texture and taste that cannot be duplicated. New Style does hand pull its noodles, but they stop pulling too soon and the noodles although good are the thickness of Spaghetti rather than that of angel hair.

We also had the crispy duck, which turned out to be fried duck thrown onto a bed of Napa.  C’mon guys try to plate it correctly.

I would recommend the lamb & noodle soup , the lamb permeated the soup without being greasy.  Stir fried pea shots are always my favorites, sweet and tender they did not disappoint.

The ambiance is more like a café than a restaurant . Dinner for two was about $ 50

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