Tag Archives: Fine Dining

Brasserie 8 1/2 Scores a 10 For Fine Dining in NYC!

View of Atrium Lounge from Dining Room
All Photos By Gail

A commitment to enjoying life in Manhattan means taking advantage of the many finer things that New York City has to offer. One of those fine things is visiting unique restaurants where you can linger over a delicious meal in a relaxed and beautiful setting, with gracious service that elevates you from the daily grind, and creates a memorable experience. Because you only live once! Recently, the Worley Gig was invited to dine at Brassiere 8/12, a true hidden gem in the heart of midtown: and when we say hidden, we mean it, as the restaurant is tucked away just below street level in the famous Solow Building on West 57th Street (you know, the one with the big red 9 out front)!

Brasserie 8 1/1 View from Street

Just enter through the revolving door and follow the spiral steps down the your destination, where a lovely evening awaits you!

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Bobby Van’s Grill: Fine Dining Made Easy

Bobby Vans Interior Shot
All Photos By Gail Unless Noted

Fine Dining in New York City does not have to mean sitting in pretentious surroundings faced with unfamiliar food choices that sound more like works of art than something delicious to put in your mouth.  More often than not, the greatest dining pleasures are derived from simple choices, such as a nicely cooked steak accompanied by a few favorite side dishes, and served in the comfort of a warm and classic old school atmosphere.

Bobby Van’s has perfected  this approach to earn the reputation as one of the top Steak Houses in the city. At their midtown location, Bobby Van’s Grill, you’ll find all of their steak house and seafood specialties sharing an expanded menu that includes wood fired pizzas and pastas, catering to the tastes of the family-oriented clientele that frequents this Broadway-adjacent neighborhood. When we stopped in to BVG on a recent, seasonably chilly December evening however, we were there for one thing: a delicious steak dinner. We got just what we came for.

Artichoke Salad

We find it is best to stay on the lighter side with starters when a steak is imminent, so we looked for an interesting salad to share. Warm Crispy Artichokes and Fresh Greens ($15.95) surprised and delighted us with its fresh and innovative use of chopped, flash-fried artichoke hearts tossed in a lemon vinaigrette with frisee, diced tomatoes and parmigiano reggiano, topped with a Parmesan crisp. Very highly recommended.

Filet Mignon

We will never pass up the opportunity to order a fine Filet Mignon and Bobby Van’s, priced at $49.95, is an outstanding value (a petite filet is $43.95, but I say if you are going to go, go all the way). The tasty char seared on the outside of this medium rare baby conceals the perfectly pink center of a buttery meat mountain. The accompanying Béarnaise sauce is a terrific complement, but we also enjoyed dipping alternate bites into Bobby Van’s own house steak sauce, which is the perfect blend of tomatoey sweetness with a horseradish kick.

Hashed Browns by Anne
 Above Photo By Anne Raso

We’ve come to think of Hash Brown potatoes as a traditional complementary side to a good steak. Bobby Van’s Hash Browns are lightly infused with flavorful bits of sauteed onion and green pepper and browned in clarified butter to ensure that they are crisp but not greasy. Creamed Spinach
Creamed Spinach: Simple and Classic.

Mac & Cheese

The baked Macaroni and Cheese, made with white cheddar, has become a new favorite (how could we have forgotten the fact that beef and cheese taste so great together?). This dish has a delicious homemade essence but somehow also manages to taste light and delicate. If you are trying not to go crazy on the carbs, I would certainly suggest Mac and Cheese as a suitable potato-side substitute.

All side dishes are portioned generously enough for two and priced to share at $11.95 each.

Crepe Layer Cake

It goes without saying that there is no room for dessert after such a sumptuous meal, but we were so intrigued by the 21 Layer Crepe Cake that we could not resist on the possibility that we could manage even a single bite. This very light and luscious treat is comprised simply of whipped cream sandwiched  between layers of thin, tender crepes and topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry coulis. Point being, even if you think you are too stuffed for dessert, you can likely finish this one as it is lighter than air, yet very satisfying to the sweet tooth.

Pumpkin Nuage

Our very attentive and enthusiastic waiter also recommended we sample an off-menu special dessert on the night of our visit, the Pumpkin Nuage: a cheesecake with a traditional graham cracker crust whose filling’s texture is somewhat like that of a pie. If you are a fan of cheesecake and pumpkin pie, this dessert will knock your socks off.

Bobby Vans Steak Sauce
Bobby Van’s delicious bottled steak sauce is sweet but spiked with horseradish for a tasty kick.

For its delicious delivery of our favorite comfort foods in a festive and comfortable atmosphere, Worleygig.com recommends Bobby Van’s Grill for your midtown dining engagements, but especially when you want to have the best.

Bobby Van’s Grill is located 135 West 50th Street (Between 6th and 7th Avenues), New York, NY 10020, and is convenient to many subways including the 1, N and R Trains. Hours are Monday to Friday: 11:30 AM – 11 PM, Saturday and Sunday: 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  Phone (212) 957-5050 for Reservations.

Bobby Vans Bag

Junoon Offers Fine Indian Cuisine Amid Understated Elegance

“Passion is no ordinary word,” so musician Graham Parker once mused. In Hindi, the word Junoon means “passion,” so it follows that this restaurant, located just west of the trending Madison Square Park neighborhood, demonstrates passion for creating a memorable dining experience. From the decor to the service and of course, the delicious food, a visit to Junoon means it’s time to relax and indulge all of your senses.

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Donatella Offers Gourmet Pizza and Fine Italian Dining in Chelsea!


From The Golden Oven Comes What Could Be NYC’s Best Pizza  (All Photos By Anne Raso)

Italian food is a cuisine for which New York City is deservedly famous. From the upper west side to Little Italy, there is certainly no shortage of Italian dining establishments to frequent. But if you’re looking for one restaurant offering an updated take on tradition that can also satisfy the diverse cravings of every member of your party – whether it be for pizza, pasta, meat or fish you might want to check out Donatella, located right in the heart of Chelsea, because this place is really something special.  Proprietor Donatella Arpaia (formerly of David Burke & Donatella fame) has created a down-to-earth yet classy culinary experience where the wood-fired pizzas are joined by more-formal fare, all served in a modern, well-lit and highly inviting space.

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Fine Dining at Philippe: Haute Chinese Cuisine By Philippe Chow

Fine Dining in Manhattan isn’t always all about molecular gastronomy and tiny portions served on over-sized plates. While “Fine Dining Bargain” is not a phrase you are likely to hear at any time other than during restaurant week, there are upscale restaurants in town where you can get an exceptional value for your hard earned cash while also indulging your inner Foodie. One such destination is Philippe on East 60th Street, which has become a favorite of celebrity clientele from Lady Gaga to President Obama, and we think we know why: the location is discreet and food is off the hook.

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Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret: A Taste of Russia!


Welcome to Rasputin! ( Image Source)

On the topic of a visit to Brooklyn’s famous Russian hotspot, Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret, whether you read an online review or ask people who’ve been there what to expect, what you’ll likely hear is that you are in for a real “Experience” – capital E intentional. Rasputin successfully combines an evening of multi-course fine dining with a full sensory night of entertainment that progresses from live singers to a Las Vegas Style floor show to an afterhours disco inferno. Every step of the way you can immerse yourself in an authentic slice of Russian American culture.

Pomegranate Bliss Cocktail: Drink a few of these to start the night off right! (All Photos By Anne Raso)

Upon arriving, my friend Anne and I were greeted warmly by the manager, Serge, who promptly seated us at the “best seats in the house” –  one of two tables arranged at the front of a beautiful, horseshoe-shaped second floor balcony overlooking the stage, dance floor and all the diners down below. From where we sat, we felt like we were spying on a very lavish wedding feast and its accompanying reception; and though we were slightlyremoved from the immediate festivities (being seated away from the dance floor) we felt very much a part of the jubilant atmosphere permeating Rasputin on a Saturday night.  It did seem apparent that many people come to Rasputin specifically to celebrate a special occasion (birthday, anniversary or whatever), or at the very least to just enjoy dining with a large group of friends. With the plentiful food served family-style on huge platters, this place is the ideal venue for a one-stop festive evening of dining and dancing.

An evening at Rasputin is as much about the entertainment as it is about the food, and while the two take place simlutaneous, let’s get to the food first. Since there were just two of us, the restaurant staff tailored one of the simpler “banquet” menus to accommodate our small party. I would recommend dining at Rasputin with a minimum party of four, because this place definitely has a “the more the merrier” vibe, which is reflected in the menu’s array of “banquet” prix fix menus ranging in price and extravagance from The Noble Banquet, which we were served ($75 pp Friday and Sunday, $100 pp Saturdays and Special Events) up to the Banquet Rasputin ($145 pp Friday and Sunday, $165 Saturdays and Special Events). Each Banquet features literally dozens of dishes including appetizers, first and second courses, entrees and desserts – so no one is leaving hungry, that is for sure. They do offer an ala carte menu, but if you really want to taste a lot of different Russian foods, as we did,  you’ll get the best value by choosing one of the banquets. Drinks are another matter entirely. Anne and I cut ourselves off after two cocktails, but it is customary to order a bottle of vodka chilled on ice for the table and just let it flow freely throughout the evening.

Our first courses consisted of an array of mayonnaise-based salads such as potato salad with boiled eggs and vegetables, chicken salad studded with sliced grape tomatoes (seasoned with just a pinch cayenne pepper) and a delicious shredded crab salad served with boiled shrimp (pictured above). Of note was a delicious selection of Seared Ahi Tuna with a Sesame Seed Crust served with Creamy Wasabi Sauce that was absolutely mouthwatering. The hot foods were up next!

Yukon Gold Potatoes & Mushrooms a la Moscow were hearty and delicious.

Parisian Pierogi stuff with Mushrooms, Meat and Cheese. The flaky croissant pastry elevated these pierogis to a level above the boiled or fried variety that you’ll find at a Ukrainian diner such as Veselka.

Roasted Quail with Wild Rice: The bird was tiny but tender.

Next up: Lambchops and Chicken Kabob with Whipped Potatos. The chicken was super tender while the lamb came off the bone easily and was perfectly juicy. The fresh rings of raw onion added a kick of flavor.

A “light” dessert of mixed fresh fruit and mini, mousse filled pastries was challenging to sample because we were so stuffed from all of the delicious foods we’d already indulged in. Most of the portions could have easily fed two more people. Fortunately, our attentive waiters were happy to pack up most of our leftovers so that the feast could continue the next day.

And now, a few words about the entertainment!

Post Continues After The Jump!

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Gail Meets Chef Jonathan Waxman!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 is to enjoy the company of good friends while dining in fine restaurants as often as possible. No one can accuse me of not sticking to my resolutions, because last night I had an amazing meal at chef Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto Restaurant on Washington Street near the Meatpacking District. My dining companions were my longtime friend Ivy, her charming husband Rick and their adorable daughter Violet, who is the best kid you could ever hope to have, let me tell you. We’re all huge fans of Bravo’s Top Chef, and having enjoyed the most recent season of Top Chef Masters we are also admirers of Waxman’s “keep it simple” philosophy/approach to gourmet cooking. Dining out is always so much more fun, and a much richer experience, when you are accompanied by true foodies like Ivy, Rick and Violet. We had an amazing meal and a really fantastic time catching up.

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