Tag Archive | Brussels Sprouts

Restaurant Review: TBar Steak & Lounge

T-Bar Steak and Lounge Storefront
Image Courtesy of Lawlor Media. All Other Photos By Gail, Except Where Noted

One of the best things about the expansion of uptown Q Train service is that it’s now so much easier for downtown foodies to escape their dining comfort zone and visit great restaurants on the upper east side, such as TBar Steak & Lounge! At TBar, you’ll encounter the same high quality steaks served at classic, old-school establishments like Morton’s or Bobby Van’s, but TBar’s sleek, contemporary decor elevates the atmosphere to something a bit more festive, while they also offer a broader menu. Despite the word Steak being prominently displayed in its name, TBar’s also serves expertly-prepared fish, chicken and duck dishes as well as burgers, pasta, and huge fresh salads, so there really is something on the menu for every palate.

T-Bar Steak Front Dining Room
Image Courtesy of Lawlor Media

You will feel welcome right away in the the well-lit, open space of the main dining area, though it can get a bit lively when the room is full. If you are looking for a quieter, more intimate dining experience, you can ask for seating in the back room, which has a cozy feel with its recessed, red lighting.

Back Room Interior Shot
Back Dining Room

Flower Vase Interior Shot

TBar also has lovely modern decorative touches, such as these lush flower arrangements displayed in brightly-colored, oversized vases, which help to divide the space.

Olive Bread

While you peruse the menu, be sure to indulge in a slice (or two) of the freshly baked Olive Bread, which is studded with moist, ripe olives and served hot to your table with a selection of other fresh breads.

TBar Cosmo 1

Set the stage for a relaxed meal a with refreshing and potent TBar Cosmo!

Beet Salad Overhead

As an appetizer, my dining companion and I chose to split the Beet & Endive Salad ($17.00) which includes both red and golden beats as well as slivers of crisp apple, creamy goat cheese rounds, and a sprinkling of toasted, lightly candied pumpkin seeds, all tossed with an emulsified vinaigrette.

Beet Salad Detail

I never met a beet salad that I didn’t love, and this one is a palate-pleasing mix of textures, where the hint of sweet nuttiness from the pumpkin seeds really compliments the tang of the apples. This salad is perfectly portioned for sharing.

Plated Filet Mignon

We came to eat steak, and steak is what we ordered, in the form of a thick, 8-ounce Certified Black Angus Filet Mignon ($39), prepared with butter and seasoned simply with kosher salt and black pepper. There are steak lovers who will try to convince you that any cut of beef not served on-the-bone means sacrificing flavor for tenderness, but I do not subscribe to this school of thought. TBar’s filet mignon was absolutely delicious, being tender, pink and juicy on the inside with a flavorful, crispy sear on the outside — perfection! Meat cravings: officially satisfied!

Medium Rare Filet
Medium Rare is The Way to Go!

Steak Sauces

A roasted half-bulb of garlic accompanies the steak, should you feel compelled to dip the tip of your knife into one of the cloves and apply a dab of its mellow goodness to your meat (or try mixing a bit into one of your side dishes). A trio of complementary sauces will also arrive at your table, including the house Steak Sauce, classic Béarnaise, and Au Poivre sauce, that let you change it up to your liking!

Steak Elevation

Sides Overhead View

For our sides, we went with the Mashed Potatoes ($10), which were creamy, buttery bliss, and the Crispy Brussel Sprouts ($10) with thick cut bacon and a balsamic reduction. You can choose to omit the bacon if you prefer. Portions are generous and both sides could serve three people, depending on much food you have ordered.

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp With Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream

Finally, despite being completely full and satisfied from a delicious steakhouse meal, we could not say no to TBar’s decadent desserts  — the Banana Parfait Mille Feuilles, which serves a party of four ($24), is especially legendary — and our selections did not disappoint! For easy sharing, a great choice is the warm Apple Crisp ($15) drizzled generously with caramel sauce and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This dessert is loaded with tender apples, and so huge it could easily serve three people. (Confession: I took half of it home to eat the next day!)

Lemon Cheese Cake

There was also a special dessert that we could not resists:  Lemon Cheesecake ($12) with a sauce of tart lemon curd and fresh raspberries, which was so light it nearly floated off the plate. It tasted just as good as it looks!

Interior Shot with Boxes

As an aside, TBar Steak & Lounge happens to be located right next door my favorite import/gift/ housewares store, Flying Tiger (really, go there, you’ll thank me).  I noticed when we were seated that the restaurant had placed a selection of Flying Tiger’s navy-and pink-polkadot round storage boxes in the front window as part of their display. The boxes not only looked great, but this action ups the neighborhood-gem vibe that you get from TBar, while saying so much about how this restaurant supports local commerce. Just another reason why I’ll be looking forward to future visits.

TBar Steak & Lounge is Located at 1278 Third Avenue near the Northwest Corner of 73rd Street, NYC. Visit their Website at TBar NYC Dot Com.

Advertisements

Restaurant Review: Coming Full Circle at Circolo45

Circolo 45 Exterior Shot
This and Interior Photo By Gail. All Food Photos By Anne Raso

Ask a random sampling of Manhattanites if they can tell you the location of Bond Street and most will likely either scratch their heads or offer that it must be somewhere in the Financial District. Because Bond Street is an enchanting enigma of NYC real estate, a kind of Urban Shangri-La, if you will. Stretching for just two short blocks above Houston, nestled between Broadway and Bowery — and still paved with cobblestones from the days when New York City was in its youth – Bond Street offers a mix of unique public art, both definitively modern and gorgeous historic architecture, and best-kept-secret foodie destinations. It’s appropriate then that 45 Bond Street is the address of Circolo45, an intimate Italian Trattoria featuring fresh takes on traditional favorites and exceptional, old world service.

Circolo 45 Interior Shot

Recently renovated just nine months after its initial opening, accents such as pastel-painted walls in the bar area and white-painted brick in the rear dining space, minimalist, line drawn portraits hung  throughout the restaurant, and the variable candlelit “mood lighting” all fit right in with Executive Chef and General Manager Daniele Sicuranza’s vision of Circolo45 as an Italian Retreat with a “simple, yet vibrant” atmosphere. The varied menu’s emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and an extensive offering of homemade pastas echo the themes of simplicity and comfort in a setting that elevates the dining experience.

Tizi Cocktail

We started off our evening with one of Circolo’s specialty cocktails, the Tizi; a rose-colored elixir similar to a Cosmopolitan but with Elderflower syrup added. Delicious! I like my cocktails fruity and potent, and this delivered on both counts.

Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Parmigiana with Tomato Sauce and Basil

Our cocktails put us in a nice, relaxed mood to peruse the impressive menu, which seems to offer a taste of the various regions of Italy to please every palate. The Appetizer section alone was overflowing with dishes I felt excited to try just from reading their descriptions. Agreeing to go with the classics, we chose to split the Meatballs Florentine Style and the Eggplant Parmigiana (both priced at $12.00). The Eggplant Parm, a perfect size for sharing which arrives with a golden cheesy top, is extremely rich and creamy, more so than I’ve tasted with this dish when ordered at other restaurants. I’m told that the mousse-like texture is owed to additional baking time. If you want the taste of eggplant to really stand out rather than be hidden by the flavors of other ingredients, this is the dish for you.

Meatballs
Meatballs Florentine Style with Tomato Sauce

The Meatballs, served in a ramekin with tomato sauce, sliced bread for dipping, and fresh rosemary, have very little binder added, so they are meaty and satisfying. These are also a good sharing size, especially if you want to sample several items from the menu without getting too full before your main course arrives!

Two starter dishes I’d definitely like to try on a future visit are the Arancini (Fried Rice Balls with Ragu, $10) — which are always a comfort-food favorite – and the Vitello Tonnato ($13), featuring cold, sliced Veal served in a Tuna Sauce. I had this dish once before, at Da Silvano on Sixth Avenue back in the nineties, and I’ll never forget it. It would be interesting to discover if Circolo45’s offering could compare with my fond memories.

Spaghetti with Black Truffles
Spaghetti Alla Chitarra Con Tartufo Nero Estivo

From Circolo’s extensive selection of fresh, house made pastas we chose a signature dish of the house, the Spaghetti Alla Chitarra Con Tartufo Nero Estivo: Fresh Egg Spaghetti with Black Summer Truffle ($20). The thick, al-dente cooked noodles are similar in size to Japanese Udon noodles for a hearty bite. This dish is perfectly seasoned and fragrant with truffle oil as well as a generous addition of sliced Black Truffle. We  reflexively asked our server for grated cheese but were advised to just try the dish sans cheese and let the truffle richness prove itself to be flavor perfection on its own. She was right; no cheese was needed.

Other delectable pasta choices include one of my favorites, Traditional Lasagna Alla Bolognese ($13), and the Paccheri Alla Genovese; Pasta served in a Veal Shoulder Ragu, cooked slowly in the oven ($15). I can imagine that the Veal Shoulder Ragu is exceptional, based on the next dish we tried.

Beef Shoulder

Another specialty is the Spezzatino Alla Toscana, Beef Shoulder oven-baked at low temperature served with tender, golden Potatoes, Tomato and Basil ($24). This wonderful dish is comparable to a pot roast or rustic beef stew. The meat is fork-tender and the large chunks of potatoes are cooked perfectly. If you are not sharing this, you will have enough to take home for a second meal (as I did, and it was even more delicious the second time)!

Steak and fish lovers will also find lots of tempting selections on Circolo45’s menu– from an oven-baked, Salt Crusted Branzino for Two ($54) to a reasonably-priced selection of steaks which we understand are prime cuts!

Brussels Sprouts

A generous side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts (all sides are just $5) could easily serve three people. The tender sprouts are roasted using very little olive oil, in case you are counting calories!

Chocolate Souffle

Circolo45’s dessert selections change daily and we let our excellent server surprise us. Giving us enough time for our food to settle a bit, she returned from the kitchen with a gorgeous and feather light Chocolate Souffle ($9.00). Light and crispy on top and just oozing with a rich Valhrona Chocolate center, this souffle is a few cuts above the ubiquitous warm /molten chocolate cake you see on every menu in town. A perfect ending to a rich and satisfying dining experience. We look forward to a return visit!

Circolo45 is located at 45 Bond Street Between Lafayette and Bowery. Hours are Monday to Sunday, 5:30 – 10:30 PM. Please Call 212-375-0323 for Reservations. Visit their Website at Circolo 45 Dot Com.