Showing posts with label Times Square. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Times Square. Show all posts


Homemade Pasta for Your Pre-Theater Prix-Fixe

Anyone who has ever tried to find a delicious, non-chain, affordable restaurant in the Theater District for a pre-show meal knows that this isn't always an easy feat. Ninth avenue has some great options but storefronts change seemingly every week so you don't always know what to trust. Olive Garden is a definite NO. And Restaurant Row has become so overrun with tourists that you'd rather just avoid it altogether.

I was recently invited to try the newly-opened Torino Italian (1700 Broadway, entrance on 53rd Street) for my own pre-show meal (we saw Side Show...highly recommended!!), and it did not disappoint. A contemporary Italian trattoria open for a few months now, Torino is the vision of David Sasson, known for opening both Marseille in Hell’s Kitchen, Barbounia in Flatiron, and the new Pavilion restaurant in Union Square. At the helm is Consulting Chef Carlo Bigi, a Torino native who most recently worked at Il Principe at the Hugo Hotel and Sant Ambroeus.

Walking in, I was instantly intrigued by the decor. Unique chandeliers and light fixtures bounced ambiance off of curving wooden shelves lined with wine bottles. That said, the tables are arranged in a way that makes it very easy to plop a fellow diner on the head if you are carrying a large bag/coat (with my pack mule tendencies, that seems to ALWAYS be me). So just be weary of that.

For dinner, we started with two appetizers: Meatball Crostini served in a cast iron pan ($9) and the Insalata Torino with kale, ricotta salata, fennel, olives, and cherry tomatoes ($15). The meatballs were pretty perfect, and I loved how they were served, with plenty of melted parmesan and crispy bread to scoop everything up with. The salad was super refreshing. I recently learned from my boyfriend's Italian family that fennel has a special palate cleansing place on in a meal so it fit right into this delicious salad.  

Meatball Crostini ($9)
Insalata Torino ($15)

For the main course, I opted for a classic. Cacio e Pepe ($16) is one of my favorite ways to have homemade pasta prepared as you can really taste the quality of the noodles without having to fight through a heavy sauce. This version was perhaps a little heavier than I would have liked (more like an alfredo sauce), but I enjoyed every last bite of the al dente pasta. My friend had one of our waiter's favorites, the Lasagna di Melanzane ($19) with eggplant, tomato and provola. Talk about decadent! This dish came out steaming hot--and remained that way throughout most of the meal due to the insulation of the serving dish--and had a great balance of richness (cheese) and flavor (tomato).

Cacio e Pepe ($16)

Lasanga di Melanzane ($19)

We had to run to our show so didn't get to sample dessert (although honestly I was so full, that was likely a good thing). However, if you leave a little bit more time and room, try their newly launched prix-fixe menu:

Lunch: 11am-4pm (includes 2 courses for $24 or 3 for $29)

  • Insalata Torino (Kale, ricotta salata, fennel, olives & cherry tomatoes)
  • Meatball Crostini (veal & beef, tomato sauce, parmesan & toasted ciabatta)
  • Soup of the day
  • Oven Roasted Rosemary Chicken (lemon caramelized stuffed with rosemary, spring vegetables)
  • Fusilli Pesto (string beans, potatoes, toasted pine nuts)
  • Salmone Scozzese (asparagus, mache farro salad, pickled red onions)
  • Choice of dessert from the regular menu

Dinner: 3 courses for $39

  • Insalata Torino (Kale, ricotta salata, fennel, olives & cherry tomatoes)
  • Meatball Crostini (veal & beef, tomato sauce, parmesan & toasted ciabatta)
  • Crispy artichoke
  • Hanger Steak (sautéed broccoli rabe, polenta & pepperoncino)
  • Oven Roasted Rosemary Chicken (lemon caramelized stuffed with rosemary, spring vegetables)
  • Fusilli Pesto (string beans, potatoes, toasted pine nuts)
  • Salmone Scozzese (asparagus, mache farro salad, pickled red onions)
  • Choice of dessert from the regular menu

For reservations call 212-757-2233 or visit

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary dinner for 2 in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Torino on Urbanspoon


Broadway Recap: Realistic Joneses and Bullets Over Broadway

April is one of my most favorite months because it means I get to see many of the new Broadway shows. This Spring is shaping up to be a celebrity-filled, comparatively scandal-less season.

One new show I saw, The Realistic Joneses, starred Toni Collette and Tracy Letts as a middle aged married couple dealing with life and their new "friends" played by Michael C. Hall and Marissa Tomei who enter their lives and stir things up. The play is an interesting take on the saying 'keeping up with the Joneses' because each of these couples has more traits to be repulsed by than jealous of. But maybe that's a statement on life? The grass is always greener, right? The acting was superb, but unfortunately the story was a bit hard to follow at the end. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see Hall out of the serial killer role or observe a particularly chipper Tomei.

(The Realistic Joneses is now open at the Lyceum Theater; 149 W. 45th Street and tickets can be purchased here).

The second show I saw was Bullets Over Broadway, starring Zac Braff in his usual goofball but surprisingly charming and intelligent role. Originally written for the screen by Woody Allen, Bullets is a revival that's all glitter. Dance number after dance number, this show shines with pure entertainment and pizzazz. The plot revolves around a playwright (Braff) who needs someone to back his next show and a mobster who needs a way to please his showgirl girlfriend. Love triangles abound and lines are crossed. The two leading ladies, Marin Mazzie and Betsy Wolfe, are shining lights who perspire talent and really steal the show away from Braff, who is fantastic to watch but owns vocal chops nowhere near as amazing. There's a lot of Tony talk buzzing around this show so get tickets before they become a hot commodity.

(Bullets Over Broadway is now open at the St. James Theater; 246 W. 44th Street and tickets can be purchased here)

Before I saw Bullets, I was invited to the Lantern's Keep, a hideaway of a cocktail bar tucked into the lobby of the Iroquois Hotel, for a pre-show blogger reception. I tried their signature cocktail, The Glass Door, with gin, lemon juice, cucumber, apple and sugar. Yum! We also sampled some of their bar bites, including candied nuts, olives, pancetta wrapped white asparagus, risotto balls (seriously one of my favorite foods!), lamb carpaccio on a potato chip, peanut chicken satay, and ceviche on a cucumber. All was delicious! I'm definitely going to have to remember this place as a pre-theater time filler :)

Stay tuned for more Broadway recaps and be sure to give us your full reviews of any of these shows in the comments below!

Lantern's Keep on Urbanspoon


A Mr. Popper Moment

Two nights ago the most amazing thing happened--I took a pictures with a penguin in a photobooth. No joke, here's the proof:

How awesome is that right? As jealous as you all are of my avian encounter, I'm sure you're wondering why and how this is relevant to your lives. Let me back up a bit. My friend Stephanie invited me to wine hour event at NIOS, inside the Muse Hotel. The back room of NIOS is having an identity crisis and the restaurant had an event to launch their re-naming contest. The contest will run through Friday, May 17, with entries themed to two categories: Greek and Wine. The winner will receive a cocktail party for up to 25 people in the newly-named space. You can enter to win by submitting your Greek and/or wine themed entries through the hotel's Facebook and Twitter pages or by stopping by the restaurant.

Photo Courtesy of NIOS
The Muse Hotel is part of the Kimpton Family and they have a policy that if you can walk in the door you can stay at the hotel. Hence, the Columbus Zoo was visiting with a real live penguin! Even better, there was a photobooth to document the penguin's visit! I was so excited that I couldn't even control myself and I think I was grinning ear to ear for the rest of the night.

You can check out Kimpton's pet policy as well as some adorable animal photos here.


A Weekend (And Then Some) of Food Events

It's the time of year NYC's epicureans have been waiting for. The sun is out on a semi-consistent basis, event permits obtained, all that's left for some of the summer's best food events are the hungry people! Here's a list of four awesome events coming up in the next week:

Big Apple Block Party

Saturday 6/9-Sunday 6/10, 11am-6pm, Madison Square Park

You'll recall I attended this event last year, and I definitely have plans to at least stroll through and smell the bbq again this year. Oh, who am I kidding. I'm definitely going to partake in some 'cue. Admission is free, but go early because it get's really crowded and the lines all run into each other. Prices depend on what you buy, but I'd highly recommend staying local and trying the Blue Smoke Salt and Pepper ribs.

Sunday 6/10, 12pm-4pm, Museum at Eldridge Street

Celebrate the combined history of Jewish and Chinese cultures in the Lower East Side at this free event sponsored by the Museum at Eldridge Street. Among the excitement you'll find Chinese opera and acrobatics, klezmer music, Yiddish and Chinese language lessons, mah jongg, scribal arts, food and folk art demos, crafts, synagogue tours, and more! Don't forget to get some egg rolls and egg creams as well!

Monday 6/11, 5pm-9pm, 46th Street between Broadway and 9th Avenue

As a card carrying member of the Times Square Alliance's Crossroads program (thank you former job), I am privy to lots of perks in that exciting yet godforsaken part of town everyone loves to hate. With that said, The Taste of Times Square is a great event. This year they will feature $2-$6 bites from the likes of Bourbon Street Bar & Grille, Carmine's Italian Restaurant, Junior's Restaurant, Meson Sevilla, and Toloache. Buy your taste tickets in advance or get them day of, but make sure to show your Crossroads card if you have one for 2 extra tickets with every 10 you buy.

Wednesday 6/13, 7pm-9pm, powerHouse Arena

People's Pops popped up on the NYC food scene a few years when they opened a shop in Chelsea Market  and sold their pops at city greenmarkets. All concoctions they create are made from locally sourced ingredients, and let me tell you, they are delicious. So delicious in fact, that they wrote a cookbook! Join the authors at this free event as they discuss their journey from homemade experiment to ice treat empire. Boozy pops will be served.