Saturday, April 16, 2011

NYC Adventures

It was Thursday and it was beautiful outside; but most importantly--I was off of work! After showering and a little facebooking, I headed out to explore NYC. My first stop was Torrissi Italian Specialties, one of Eater's 38 Essential New York restaurants. Started by Rich Torrissi and Mario Carbone, Torrissi Italian Specialties doubles as a neighborhood deli during the day to a more cozy, romantic restaurant at night.

During the day, this Italian outpost pumps out some favorites such as chicken parm or house roasted turkey. Contorni or side dishes include spicy rabe, roasted peppers, eggplant relish, fresh mozzarella, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower with progresso. If you are lucky to grab a seat, grab a beer or glass of wine. After waiting a half hour, we grabbed a seat in the small 18 person restaurant/deli. We sipped on porkslap pale ale while chowing down on some delicious chicken parm. Growing up on chicken parm, I find myself to be quite the critic; but Torrissi's was good enough to bring my mother.

Despite their small menu, I can see Torrissi being that neighborhood italian deli that has many repeat customers. Once lunch is over, Torrissi Italian Specialties is converted to a space that will make you think Billy Joel. Not because Billy Joel is immortalized in the framed picture on the wall, but because it make you sing "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant". Torrisi's dinner is a pre-fixed ($50) tasting menu that changes every night. Mario Carbone and Rich Torrissi (chef/owners) reinvent the menu every night giving guest something new--something you're not going to get at any Italian restaurant. The tasting menu is done in the normal italian rhythm starting with antipasta then progressing into pasta (primi), secondi (entrees), and ended with dolce or dessert. The menu is listed on the restaurant's chalkboard and could be found on the website just incase you want to see what they are offering before you get there. Torrissi is a good example on how great food doesn't have to be in a stuffy, fine dining restaurant. Torrissi Italian Specialties has garnered much acclaim for what they are doing, so check it out. Whether you go for lunch or dinner, you might have to wait; but many people are saying its worth it! Also be prepared to wait outside as there's not enough room inside.

Continuing on my NYC adventures, we wandered around the streets in search for outside seating. We walked along Houston and then Bowery, but didn't see anything we loved. We always went to B-Bar, but kept walking in search for something new and exciting. We headed over to Union Square and ended up at Republic, an Asian-fusion restaurant offering outside seating. I sipped on a Tsing Tao (beer from China) when I realized that I had to order something to eat! The beef satay and sauteed mini dumplings proved to be good small dishes that fulfilled my curiosity on Republic's food. We headed out and parted ways-giving me a half hour before meeting my friends for happy hour!

I walked up to Madison Square Park for a Shake Shack milkshake, but was definitely not waiting in the line. I then decided to get gelato from Eataly. It was a nice way to kill time, I definitely recommend it. I think I enjoyed this experience of eating gelato in the park so much because it brought me back to an early food memory. It brought me back to the streets of Florence where I use to get cones of gelato almost everyday.

It was now time to meet my friends at Red Sky on 29th and Park. My friend Shannon works around the corner, so her and some co-workers were heading over to enjoy some drinks on the roof deck. Although the roof doesn't provide any good views, its a nice place to hang out and chat. There was only one server, so we found ourselves getting our own beers on the second level. This also allowed us to cash in on the $3 Bud/Bud Light happy hour special. We didn't stay here too long as the scene grew old and the weather turned cold.

Our next stop was at the corner of 29th and 2nd ave--an Irish bar called Failte. We gathered upstairs for trivia night and the wonderful $1 beer special. We snacked on bar food and got a little competitive. We ended the night with some beer pong, but don't worry I used new cups! There was a good vibe at Failte--if it was a little closer then this might be a Thursday must.

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