Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy last weekend! Bianca, The Palm, Home, and Colicchio & Sons!

Thursday night

After a long day at the office, we headed out for a meal at Bianca...a spot we had last hit up about 3-4 years ago and needed our fix again. Bianca is owned by the same person who owns Celeste (a Farkas family favorite) and Teodora - both of which serve authentic, delicious and affordable Italian food. The constant wait is partially a result of Bianca's cramped quarters but also indicative of the fact that the food there is awesome & everyone wants a piece.

When you're told that there's a wait, you can go to the bar next door and they'll come find you when your table is ready. Or you can just hang out on Bleecker Street. Either way, you're a winner when you get seated. Bianca feels very New York. You are practically seated on top of your dining neighbors and the pace of the wait staff can best be described as hustle & bustle. They start you off with some bread & fantastic olive oil. Rumor has it that the owners bring in their ingredients fresh from Italy.

They have a limited selection of vino by the glass but what they do have is good (and affordable). A pot of mussels to start was a great way to kick things off. In typical fashion, Eric was slurping down the leftover mussel broth at the bottom of the bowl. Jess is a HUGE fan of their balsamic chicken and she ordered that. It didn't disappoint. The balsamic sauce is thick and sweet with just enough acidity, and alongside a bed of mixed greens, this dish is filling and fantastic. Eric went with their lasagna bolognese. It was as good as the reviews made it out to be.

By the end of our entrees, we were stuffed & pleased to see a $50 bill... Two glasses of wine, a bowl of mussels, and two entrees. This place is a steal and we'll be back prior to 3-4 years down the road. In typical NYC fashion, by the time we were out of the restaurant, another couple was promptly seated at our table. The hustle & bustle never stops....

Friday night

April 8th... Eric's mom's birthday! We celebrated with a meal at The Palm West. We had previously eaten there for Eric's parents anniversary in December and his father liked it so much that he wanted us to go back. Sure thing! You can check out our initial review of The Palm here.

The only thing we would add is that the waiter we had was a bit sour and the steak was overcooked by one notch: medium rare was medium, medium was medium-medium well. While the steak was still delicious and we finished every last bite, we made a note of this to the manager and they brought out a tray of desserts for us on the house. A very nice gesture.

Saturday brunch

For brunch we headed over to Home, a cute spot in Greenwich Village. Our friends who live nearby steered us here and we were looking forward to some home cooking in a beautiful outdoor garden.

We were both slightly underwhelmed. The duck confit & butternut squash hash with sunny side up eggs was good, but it sounded better than it tasted. Jess' chopped salad was OK but nothing to rave about. I don't think we'll be back for brunch in the near future. Oh well.

Saturday night

That night, we met our friends at the Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons. This was preceded by Tom Colicchio (@tom_colicchio) tweeting us (@restohoppers) his recommendations on what to order. Unfortunately for us his 3 recos (pork belly, cod, & duck) were not on the Tap Room menu. The Tap Room is the dining area by the bar, and has a different menu than the dining room.

For starters, we got adventurous & shared the bone marrow, which was raved about by all the reviewers. It was spread on some toast with an onion relish. We all liked it but didn't love it. We tasted more of the onion relish than the marrow. We also shared the taleggio & sopressata pizza and the cavatelli...a great way to start the meal off.

For our main course, Eric got the burger and Jess went with the tilefish. The burger with onions & pecorino cheese was really juicy and flavorful and a hit at the table. Jess was so enthralled with Eric's burger that she came back for a 2nd bite! Eric was dubious at first, but the bbq potato chips served on the side were a great compliment.

We topped things off with a duo of desserts. The ice cream parfait outshined the cookie jar by a mile.

All in all, the food, the company, & the atmosphere were top notch! If you want to get a little bit of Tom Colicchio goodness without breaking the bank at Craft or the main dining room, then Tap Room is a great place for you.

So, there you have it... a helluva weekend for the resto hoppers!