Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ballaro- A Cozy Neighborhood Place

A cozy neighborhood find. Ballaro ( is great for a bite out with your friends, with its warm, comfortable atmosphere you will be happy you chose this place. Though the wine list was reasonably priced, and the bar tender (who was also our server and very helpful) let us try a number to wines until we found one we could all agree on. There was a complementary cheese, meats and bruchetta spread set up across the far end of the bar which was not only presented beautifully but tasted delicious! It included a nice variety of cheeses and we especially enjoyed the selection since we were starving. The salads were light yet very flavorful which quenched our need for greens after the cheese spread. We enjoyed the spinach and artichoke salad and the mesclun. The Tuna crostini was good, but the pasta stole the show. a beef ragu with veggies tucked inside was incredible and i would highly recommend trying it. All of the dishes were prepared perfectly and we will definitely go back! Great for a quick bite out, date, night with your friends

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grape and Grain-

Grape and Grain ( is cozy laid back wine and tapas bar tucked into the east village on 6th street between Avenue B and C. This dark dimly lit restaurant gives off very relaxing vibe, with brick walls and dim lighting provided by old fashion chandeliers, you can’t help but pop in, at least for a drink. Inside of our table was a drawer filled with secret notes and poems from past diners. Have a great time reading this hilarious hidden messages, especially the one about the Jewish transvestite going to McDonalds (really funny and includes a picture). Don’t forget to add your own message to the drawer before you leave.

Grape and Grain offers a nice and reasonably priced wine selection, so pop open a bottle or have a glass before deciding which delicious item on the menu to try. The presentation of the dishes was beautiful. We started with the tuna Carpaccio which was sliced into very thick pieces of tuna, and accompanied by a jalapeƱo infused citrus vinaigrette and pickled avocados, a very bold dish. The meatballs did not disappoint, they were cooked perfectly and the roasted chicken salad was filled with flavor. Known for the pizza’s, we tried the margarita and Portobello. They were both wonderful , and made on a delicious foccacia bread. We capped off our meal with the apple dessert. It consisted of a warm apple tart with apple sauce covering the top (that was a little weird, could have left off the apple sauce- was never a fan of adding it to things), but the cinnamon ice cream truly made up for the extra sauce. A wonderful way to kick off the week, would recommend this place for a group of friends or for a cute date night.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cozy up at Perbacco

Perbacco( ) Is an adorable, cozy romantic Italian restaurant tucked away in the East Village. The brick walls are lit by soft candles and there is light music playing in the background making this restaurant great for any occasion. There are a few long tables in the middle of the restaurant, so it would be great for groups too. Our waiter was very helpful with selecting a wine from the impressive wine list. We went with a Gavi (always works for us).

We toasted to the New Year and then our cheese plate arrived. It was beautiful (see picture below), an 18 month aged parmigiano reggiano, sweet gorgonzola, d.o.p, birro valtellina and castelmagno. Each cheese was paired to perfection with a honey, mustard, pepper spread and celery spread. The salad was very refreshing, the touch of honey really completed it. Then the meatballs arrived… they were delectable, absolutely cooked to perfection they melted in your mouth. Definitely one of the best meatballs we have had yet.

For our main course we had the Risotto al Tartufo and the seared tuna. There were so many truffles on top of and mixed in to the risotto it was a wonderful delicious surprise. The tuna was sliced into thin curls resting on top of a bed of chopped endive. It was cooked to perfection and paired beautifully with the endive.

Since it was early we fired we would have another bottle of wine with our dessert (good move!), the Hamburger Di Cioccolata (homemade chocolate slider) was not only the most adorable delicious dessert, and it was perfectly disguised! It literally looked like a burger and fries! The “bun” was angel food cake; the “lettuce/onions/tomato” was made up of caramelized apples with a light caramel sauce and the “meat” was a thick chocolate mousse. Next to this mini sweet slider were “fries and ketchup”. The “fries” were thinly sliced pears and the “ketchup” was a warm raspberry sauce, truly a beautiful presentation.

Whether you are looking for a quite cozy date night, dinner with your friends or just authentic excellent Italian food, head to Perbacco, you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jadis, just relax

Jadis- ( ) What a fantastic hidden gem on the LES. When you walk into this dim lit, cozy wine bar, you know you have found the perfect spot for a relaxing night out. The dark wood, exposed brick and wine bottles (scattered everywhere) it’s surprising how large the space really it. The back area is full of couches and is the perfect spot for a large group; smoking patio in the back completes the scene.

There is a wonderful and reasonably priced selection of wines French wines to choose from. Our waitress was very helpful in selecting a nice wine for us to try. The cheese plate was delicious, a great variety to choose from (and I must admit, all my favorites were on the list!) Brie Goat, Pierre Robert, Manchego, Camembert and Gruyere. The pininis were toasted to perfection and the light salad on the side completed the dish. But what really stood out were the mouth watering quiches. The Quiche Au Poulet , the Popeye and the Lorrain were by far the best quiches I have ever had in my life, by far the best in the city. End the night at this perfect date spot by cuddling up and sharing the Chocolat Fondant . Jadis is great place for a night out with your friends or sharing a romantic evening. Definitely worth going back!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wine30, Let me warn you, this is a bit aggressive…..

Wine30 ( you walk into Wine30, you want to like it. It is a cute (tiny) wine bar in Murray Hill with nice dim lighting and exposed brick walls. Unfortunately that is the most positive thing I am able to say about Wine30… When we arrived all tables were reserved, so we sat at the bar… this wasn’t terrible because the owner was the person behind the bar (one would assume good service would follow) (FYI MAN IN THE PIC= HORRIBLE OWNER!). Wine came right away, and then the wait began. We ordered appetizers and our main meal right away, as well as a cheese to start since we were starving……

We waited 30 minutes until the waitress came over and asked if we had received our order, obviously we hadn’t (either she would have served it to us or seen us eating it)… When the bar tender heard us, he grabbed the first plate he saw and gave it to us… it wasn’t what we ordered- it was someone else’s (it was a selection of dips, which we tried out of pure starvation, and it wasn’t great), we explained that they weren’t ours and they were quickly/ angrily taken away. We finally received 6 pieces of "bruschetta", which were really just small burnt pieces of toast with little toppings. It was not very good, and there were 3 of us so it was a bit annoying to split. The cheese came on a tiny plate with a jam that didn’t pair well with it and we had to ask for bread since we weren’t planning on eating the brie with our fingers (very disappointing!) Then waiting another 20 mins for our main course to arrive. The plates were too small; the chicken was not warm- and considering it took so long you would think it would be hot! Mediocre service is an understatement.. No one asked how our food was, the bar tender was so focused on the regulars; if he wasn’t staring at us awkwardly, he was yelling over us to talk to the people behind us! A waiter dropped a bunch of plates (which had some splatter) and didn’t say a word, didn’t even check.

Finally when the bar tender/owner asked how our meal was we explained that it wasn’t great, that we waited forever and the food was mediocre, he then proceeded to YELL at us for 10 minutes! Have you ever heard of a restaurateur yelling at 3 small girls? He then got angry, yelling got louder, went over to the computer to print out our order to show us the “time issue” (which he was wrong about and wouldn’t admit to), proceeded to ask us what amount of time we expected brachetta to take.. The whole experience was unreal. The arguing continued, and then the bill arrived. We placed our credit cards in to split the bill and he then threw the credit cards back at us saying “here, I hope you’re happy, THANK YOU LADIES!” The behavior was absolutely shocking! DO NOT GO TO WINE30- it is a horrible small place with bad food and terrible service!

Very disappointing experience

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stay away from SD26

SD26 ( ) was a very unpleasant experience. The ceilings were very high, a large very open feel to the restaurant, you can see the open kitchen wherever you are sitting. The waiter brought over water, and it tasted like there was something wrong with it or the glass had not been washed properly and there was still detergent. When we asked for new water he tried to sell us “extra filtered water”- um what? We had a few waiters; it was hard to keep track of who was actually helping us. They came around with bread- that was probably the best part of the experience. The wine list is on a screen- which at first we thought was cool, and sort of game like, but quickly realized that the wines were all super expensive and there were no descriptions… a man came over to “help us with the wines” the first thing he said was “well if you ask me ladies, anything over $500 goes great with everything!”, I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually spend $500 on a bottle of wine on a week night. He then tried to up charge us, we asked about one of the bottles, and he told us about a different one saying it was “just $4 more” when really it was about $30 more! Ok onto the food situation…the cheese were ok (nothing interesting like we are used to), but they came with 5 walnuts, we basically had to beg for bread to go with it. The peppers were good, but the portion was tiny. Then came our lobster pasta… let’s just say calling it “andante” is being nice! It wasn’t even close to being fully cooked, so obviously that was that, and you couldn’t tell it was lobster- the few pieces (not even a full bight) were so small, it was unrecognizable as lobster. This experience was a disaster, and when we got the bill it was $94, they expect people to pay that much for not eating?! So when the manager came over, we decided to tell him the truth about what we thought of our dinner…he apologized, asked if he could get us dessert- we said no, there was nothing on the menu even worth the calories, so he said he would adjust the bill…..and that he did $11 for each of us--- yes we were impressed by that. We ended up having to go to another restaurant nearby to actually eat…. Terrible restaurant, rude pushy waiters, awful food, I bet it will close soon- don’t go!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vero Panini & Wine Bar

Vero Panini & Wine Bar,( more of a fun bar atmosphere in the front of the restaurant,there is an outdoor area, but it was too cold when we were there (ok let's be serious it is def a fun bar, but you are reading this to hear about the food!).... Once you get seated in the back, you are in for a real treat! They have a very nice wine selection to choose from, and we were starving so while ordering our wine we asked to start off with our usual cheese plate. They had a good selection of cheeses to choose from and when it arrived, it came with an assortment of breads and fruits (they were generous with the fruit which was awesome). However, the Beef short rib taco…..Now that was incredible, completely melted in your mouth. Then to mix it up we shared the vegetable tower and the chicken. Even though the “tower” was labeled as a “main dish”, it worked as more of a side with the chicken for us,it was good, nothing really stood out about the chicken. Then for dessert we had the most incredible cookie creation I have ever had in my life (yes that’s right I still have dreams about this dessert), it is a warm gooey delicious chocolate cookie underneath ice cream, berries and cool whip, truly perfection. If anything, everyone should try this dessert! Next time you have to meet someone for drinks, go on a "casual date" suggest Vero, and hope the other person is up for some cheese and or dessert:)