L’Express

249 Park Ave S. New York, NY 10003(212) 254-5858lexpressnyc.com

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L’Express is a solid French bistro. Great for bunch. Okay for dinner. Great again for late, semi-intoxicated dinner. It’s also a nice neighborhood staple, because the food is just good enough to keep you coming back, but not SO good that the place is impossible to get into.

The things they do the best are the bistro classics like Eggs Florentine, Steak Frites (pictured), etc… I compare this place to Felix in Soho, so if you like Felix , you’ll probably like this.

3 teeth

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Maialino

2 Lexington Ave. New York, NY 10010(212) 777-2410maialinonyc.com

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The bread alone is worth 3  knives. In fact, you have to be very disciplined not to scarf down so much that you can’t enjoy the rest of the menu.

That said, if you manage to exercise some restraint and make it to the menu, the antipasti options we had were all good. The fried artichokes being great. The octopus being solid. And the mushrooms being WOW! Fungus never tasted so good.

As for the pastas, we did a little menage-a-sharesy between the suckling pig, carbonara and the amatriciana. The clear winner was the carbonara, follow by the pig. The amatricana was just so-so.

And for dessert, we all split the olive oil cake with mascarpone. Good-ish, but not amazing.

Decor while casual, has its charms and the location can’t be beat. Also, while the decor itself is far from fancy, there is a distinct high-end vibe to the place so it feels special without feeling ostentatious. And the service matches, friendly and very accommodating.

Looking forward to going back.

4 teeth

 

Pure Food & WIne

54 Irving Pl. New York, NY 10003(212) 477-1010 • purefoodandwine.com
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After hearing SO many people rave about this place, expectations were pretty high. Which is always dangerous. That said, it held up pretty well.

First: The garden is very charming. Clean and simple. Perfect on a Summer evening.

Second: The service was very good. Our waiter made some excellent recommendations.

Third: All four entrees we had were spot on. The lasagna (of course), the squash blossoms (my fav), the tamale and the BBQ portobello mushrooms.

Fourth: Both desserts were killer. The peach cobbler was as good as anything I’ve had at a non veggie/raw place. And the chocolate semifreddo was also quite solid.

So, that’s why it got three knives. But why not more you ask? Sounds incredible right? And it was. VERY impressive for raw/non-dairy. So much so that it’ll have you you questioning if it’s really vegan or not. And had that been all we had, I’d probably be throwing out another knife or two. But, things actually got off to a rocky start…

First: The white sangria was terrible! Worst I’ve ever had. They use Chardonay, which admittedly I hate. And what a horrible choice for Sangria, which is supposed to be refreshing! Chardonay tends to have heavy notes of caramel, which isn’t exactly what one would want on a hot Summer’s eve. Should’ve used a Pinot Grigio, Savignon Blanc or Gavi.

Second: All four appetizers where underwhelming. The morels and asparagus were good. But the other three were very blah. And with first impressions being so hard to overcome, Pure was fighting an uphill battle all night. That said, it was a great come from behind performance to reach 3 knives.

And that about sums it up. Great place for a vegetarian date- just skip the apps. And the sangria.

3 teeth