Friday, 13 December 2013

Saxon + Parole - Dinner in the East Village on a Friday in June.


Saxon + Parole, New York, NY




Food: Traditional Grill Fare.

Overall: 7.3 vs. restaurants priced $$$/5.
Ambiance: Very Good.
Food: Very Good.
Service: Exceptional.
Wine/Drinks: Very Good.
My rating scale: Exceptional, Very Good, Good, Ok, Needs Improvement, Terrible.

Overall: Great food and great service combine to make Saxon + Parole a place you have to visit.

Ambiance: Shabby sheik. If you’re looking for an intimate one-on-one experience, sit in the back room rather than the front room.

Service: The servers are very well educated on the food that they are delivering, are extremely attentive, and are pleasant to deal with from start to finish. The service is one of the best I’ve come across.

Food: S+P always has a good selection of oysters and tonight I tried the seafood tower consisting of oysters, shrimp and mussels, which were very smoky. The second appetizer was a mushroom mousse with toasted bread. The dry aged steak was a great piece of meat and was perfectly prepared. The ricotta gnudi with English peas and truffles was a nice compliment to the meat. Do not leave without ordering the s'mores for dessert! Be prepared for the scent, the s’mores will fill the room with a strong campfire smell.

Wine/Drinks: On this occasion, I did the wine pairing alongside the entrees, and the sommelier perfectly matched the wine with the food. Saxon + Parole has a great selection of cocktails, and if I were only rating cocktails I’d give S+P an ‘Exceptional’ rating. The wine list is very good but could be a little more extensive.

Eat well my friends,
- Just A Guy That Loves Food.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Babbo - Dinner in Greenwich Village on a Thursday in June 2013.


Babbo, New York, NY


Food: Italian

Overall: 7.4/10 vs. restaurants $$$$/5.
Ambiance: Very Good.
Food: Exceptional.
Service: Exceptional.
Wine/Drinks: Exceptional.
My rating scale: Exceptional, Very Good, Good, Ok, Needs Improvement, Terrible.

Overall: If you are in to experiencing food and not just eating it, then Babbo is a must experience. A diner’s experience changes from one night to another,; the food, the service, the patrons, the music…I dined at Babbo two weeks prior to this night and both were incredible experiences.

Ambiance: Babbo is broken down into three areas: the front by the bar where walk-ins are seated, the ground floor, and the upstairs. My favorite is the upstairs where the natural light pours in through the skylights.

Food: For appetizers I had the grilled octopus with “borlotti marinati” and spicy limoncello vinaigrette, the goat cheese, the beet and ricotta and the two minute calamari. For pastas I had the Pappardelle Bolognese. Fo rmy entrée I had the pork chop. The appetizers and pastas will wow you. If you like pasta, I’d suggest trying the pasta tasting menu with wine pairing. It’s a lot of food and you’ll roll out of there, but if you have a big appetite you’ll love it.

Service: The staff is extremely well trained. The room is filled with staff that are there to help at any moment, all without making you feel as though you’re being watched.

Wine/Drinks: Once again I sought Sommelier Anna’s advice. As I’ve mentioned before, she is really pleasant to deal with and has always steered me in the right direction. Babbo has one of the most interesting and extensive wine lists I have come across. You can’t go wrong here from well-known go-to’s to obscure producers and varietals.

Eat well my friends,
- Just a Guy That Loves Food.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Second Bar + Kitchen - Dinner on a Sunday in May 2013.


Second Bar + Kitchen, Austin, TX




Food: American
Overall: 7.0/10 vs. restaurants priced $$$/5
Ambiance: Good
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Wine/Drinks: Very Good
My rating scale: Exceptional, Very Good, Good, Ok, Needs Improvement, Terrible.

Overall: If you happen to be in Austin ‘keeping it weird’ give Second Bar + Kitchen a try for some good American food.

Ambiance: Second Bar is located in downtown Austin and the staff is keeping Austin weird by showing off their tattoos and piercings. The restaurant is industrial modern sheik yet avoids feeling cavernous and cold. The long marble-top bar is a great spot to meet a friend and grab a drink or have a casual dinner side by side.

Food: The appetizers are the real treat. You cannot eat here and walk out with out ordering the fried pickles – so good. Also. don’t miss the sashito peppers,or the veal meatballs. The chef does a good job maintaining the moisture and flavor in the braised short rib.

Service: Much like the city of Austin, the staff members at Second Bar are chilled out and laid back. Expect a server with tattoos and a look that belongs more in a speakeasy than in a restaurant. The staff is attentive and pleasant.

Wine/Drinks: There is a nice selection of wines by the glass. It could improve upon its cocktail list.

Eat well my friends,
- Just A Guy That Loves Food.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Babbo - Dinner in Greenwich Village on a Sunday in June 2013


Babbo, New York, NY




Food: Italian

Overall: 7.6/10 vs. restaurants $$$$/5.
Ambiance: Very Good.
Food: Exceptional.
Service: Exceptional.
Wine/Drinks: Exceptional.
My rating scale: Exceptional, Very Good, Good, Ok, Needs Improvement, Terrible.

Overall: The dining experience at Babbo is about as good as it gets. I’d highly recommend you try it for its taste bud tantalizing experience.

Ambiance: If you are eating before the sun has set, I’d recommend sitting upstairs where the skylight allows for natural light to immerse the room. It’s not easy to get a reservation at Babbo, but you can still dine there without a reservation; the tables at the front of the restaurant are reserved for walk-ins on a first come first served basis. You best line up early if you’d like a seat. Eating anywhere at Babbo is incredible, but if given the choice, it’s better in the back and upstairs.

Food: There are so many spectacular dishes on the menu that you really can’t go wrong with anything you order. For the adventurous types there is: tripe, lamb’s tongue, pig foot, calf brain, and more.  The pasta tasting with wine pairing is spectacular, but be prepared to roll out of there, it’s a lot of food. On this night, I had the grilled octopus with “borlotti marinati” and spicy limoncello vinaigrette, black spaghetti with rock shrimp, spicy salami calabrese and green chilies, chianti stained pappardelle with wild boar ragu, and “brasato al Barolo” braised beef with porcini mushrooms. The octopus was a conversation stopper; there were more than seven flavors erupting at the same time; it’s a very complex dish. The black spaghetti was highlighted as one of the must-have dishes, but I didn’t find it to be as good as the pappardelle.

Service: Babbo just does it right. The restaurant is well staffed and the staff, right from the host to the sommelier to the table , each person knows their place, and does a great job. I particularly like when a waiter gave an honest opinion about the best dishes rather than when asked, “what’s good?”, replying with “everything” - waiters need to have opinions.

Wine/Drinks: Anna, with her crimson hair, is one of Babbo’s sommeliers and is really pleasant to deal with. She has always steered me in the right direction and has done so with a smile. Babbo has one of the most interesting and extensive wine lists I have come across. Once again, you can’t go wrong here.


Eat well my friends,
- Just a Guy That Loves Food.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Sushi of Gari 46 - Lunch in Midtown on a Thursday in December 2012


Sushi of Gari 46, New York, NY
Food: Sushi

Overall: 7.4/10 vs. restaurants $$$$/5.
Ambiance: Good.
Food: Exceptional.
Service: Very Good.
Wine/Drinks: Good.
My rating scale: Exceptional, Very Good, Good, Ok, Needs Improvement, Terrible.

Overall Comments: Go to Sushi of Gari 46 because you want great sushi. It's not in a "cool" area, there is no scene, and it's pricey. It's important to note that there are several Sushi of Gari's in Manhattan, and all are different.

Ambiance: It's not in the best of locations located wast of 8th Ave on 46th street. The interior is typically of many Japanese sushi restaurants, light wood and bamboo.

Food: I had the "Tuna of Gari" and it was incredible. There is nothing you need to do to it; no soy nor wasabi need be added. The sushi chefs slice the top of the tuna and line it with just the right amounts of garnishing - each piece of tuna is prepared differently.

Service: Not memorable for being either good or bad. The servers do a satisfactory job.

Wine/Drinks: There is a bar, however I didn't have a drink nor did I look at the wine or the saké list.

Eat well my friends,
- Just a Guy That Loves Food.