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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Momofuku Ssäm Bar

207 2nd Ave. New York, NY 10003(212) 254-3500momofuku.com

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While I didn’t actually eat AT Ssäm, I did eat FROM there, thanks to a little site called trycaviar.com. For those of you who know seamless.com or grubhub.com, it’s basically the same thing only instead of trying to offer a ton places they focus on quality vs. quantity. Which means you can order delivery from some pretty awesome places… like Momofuku Ssam Bar. So, here’s what we ordered:

We went with three mains and three sides and shared everything. Of the mains the only miss was the pork shoulder wrap. It was bland by comparison to it’s brother from another mother, the lamb wrap. It was moister and much more flavorful than the pork. But both seemed to be adorned by the same Korean/Thai accouterments (I know it’s supposed to be Korean, but the use of peanut feels more Thai).

The other main was also pretty special. Apparently a dish so popular Momofuku serves it at more than one of their restaurants. It’s made with sausage and rice cakes and it’s packing some serious heat (pictured). Highly recommend.

And since we’re talking highs, the spicy potatoes are a must. Best I’ve ever had. Blows away the typical small plate you tend to find at every tapas restaurant from LA to Madrid.

The broccoli is also good, but compared to the potatoes they are at least two flights down from Heaven. And same goes for the bean salad granted it might be three flights down.

So a strong 3 knives for Ssam and a weak 5 for trycaviar.com, because while it is definitely awesome it is also pretty friggin’ slow. Meals take, on average, over an hour for delivery. So if you’re famished, trysomethingelse.com.

3 teeth

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar

11 West 31 St. New York, NY 10001(212) 714-2992http://www.ayzanyc.com

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This place actually IS something to sneeze at. And what’s so shocking to me is that it was actually doing quite a bit of business. Now I can only assume that most of it was spill over from the adjacent hotel and thus filled with tourists who don’t know any better, or at least thinking that makes me feel better, because if this is actually being kept open by the business of my fellow New Yorkers, I find that a bit depressing.

First of all, the décor is nothing special and pretty much what you’d expect from a hotel wine bar, granted being able to sit outside after the winter we just had shouldn’t be taken for granted I suppose.

As for service, it was fine, but the food was afflicted with a horrible case of mediocrity. The angry chicken lollipops, for example, were far from angry. In fact, the only thing angry about them was me for ordering them. We’re talking zero spice. False advertising alert!

The other big miss was the truffle pizza that tasted like the frozen soggy crap you’d buy out of a vending machine at a bus station in the middle of the night while traveling cross-county through South Dakota.

There was one dish that managed to rise above, however. It was the prosciutto, manchego and fig tartine. Now, I’m not entirely certain that it was actually good or if it just stood out amidst the comparative losers, but either way, suffice it to say that this is not the place you want at that top of your wishlist.

1 tooth