Manolo Tapas

4165 Broadway New York, NY 10033(212) 923-9100 • manolotapas.net
 
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I ate here right before going to an Adele concert across the street, and maybe it was the fact that I ate there right before going to an Adele concert that made everything seemingly taste better, but the food really did seem quite good.

We had a wide variety of tapas and just about everything was worth ordering again. The sangria, the serrano ham & manchego plate as well as the crab cake were all fantastic. The olives, potatoes and octopus were also solid. In fact, the only miss were the lamb stuffed piquillos, which was unfortunate because I had high hopes after all of the other successes, but the lamb was a little too mushy, more like sloppy joe, which cheapened the takeaway of the dish.

Service, decor and price were all great as well, adding to the draw. So, should you ever be in the same hood for a concert at the United Palace Theater, I would definitely recommend Manolo as part of your pregame, it’s a strong three knives.

3 teeth

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Boulton & Watt

5 Ave A New York, NY 10009(646) 490-6004boultonandwattnyc.com

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I heard about Boulton & Watt thanks to Thrillist, which is a great blog for foodies. They always seem to be listing the best new restaurant openings. Best brunches, etc… And while I don’t always agree, I still love the tips.

And speaking of not agreeing, sadly Boulton & Watt would fall into that column. Which is unfortunate, because I was practically drooling when I read their amazing menu, loaded with temptations. Unfortunately, I always seem to forget that menus are just words, and in this case, only a few dishes lived up to the expectations those words set in motion.

The first being the pickle jar we ordered, jicama with chili and lime. Such a simple, fun concept. They have tons of pickled options. Each very inventive and from our sample of one, very good.

We also really like the fried green tomato caprese. Great merger of two iconic dishes.

But perhaps the best thing of the night was the banana bread pudding in a chocolate whiskey sauce that was goo-riffic! Warm, oozing everywhere. And even though I was full, I powered through it. After all, no pain, no gain as the saying goes. Albeit that’s probably not the original intent of the colloquialism, but you have to admit, it fits quite well, unlike my jeans the next morning.

And now for the shortcomings. And by “short” I mean the short rib and bone marrow toast. I mean how do you screw this up people?! It’s a layup! Like missing the culinary broadside of a barn. Tasting like mediocre sloppy joe with the consistency of Alpo.

The curried mussel pot proved to be just eh, especially by comparison to the Belgian Beer Café in the Flatiron, which handily bests it.

And the duck carbonara was flavorless. In dire need of some heat. Either cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, arugula- anything to give it some pepperiness. Of course I added copious amounts to make it worthy of my mouth, but to serve it in such a state is just careless.

Definitely a mixed review for certain, teetering on skip it. However, while I wouldn’t go out of my way to return, I might give it another shot if I were shopping in Nolita. It’s got a great industrial décor reminiscent of All Saints and lots of energy, a.k.a. noisy as all hell, so if you don’t like yellversation or you have a bad case of laryngitis, I’d strongly urge you to take a pass. If, on the other hand, you want a cool bar for good drinks and don’t care too much about the food, you could do a lot worse.

2 teeth

Schnippers

23 E 23rd St. New York, NY 10010(212) 233-1025 schnippers.com
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While it’s no Shake Shack, the food isn’t half bad and the line is MUCH shorter. Plus, let’s be honest, Shake Shake isn’t what it once was and I’m not just saying that because it’s currently a construction site.

But enough about the Shack, let’s talk about Schnippers, because apart from the name, which sounds like a slang term for a woman’s sexy bits, it’s actually surprisingly good, depending on what you get.

Oh, and the décor does look a lot like a giant fast food warehouse, akin to the ones you find along interstate rest stops. But apart from that…

Among the stars are the salads, believe it or not. The fig & bleu in particular is pretty damn good. Caramelized figs, apples, walnuts, bleu cheese, croutons and vinegarette. Better than most places that specialize in Just Salad.

Another shout out goes to the onion rings. Nice and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The way the lord intended. And yes, if the lord can care about football, then the way I see it, he can care about onion rings too.

The sweet potato fries are also pretty on point. Especially with the maple dipping sauce, which I found to be a better compliment that many of its peers.

The sloppy joe is a nice, cheap novelty as well, taking me back to my teenage years, which is probably the last time I had one. But muscle memory (the tongue is a muscle after all) didn’t forget, picking up right were my last rendezvous of sloppiness left off.

On the lesser side of impressive would be the turkey burger, which I found to be just okay. As were the regular fries, which lived up to their regular name.

So my advice, look past the décor and the name people. She’s got it going on. Not like Stacy’s mom or anything, but if you’re craving a burger joint and you don’t feel like waiting in a 2-hour line, than you could do a lot worse.

3 teeth