Tag Archives: Restaurant Week

Lunch at Mercer Kitchen

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I have been wanting to try Mercer Kitchen for awhile now, so decided to check it out with a good friend, for lunch at Restaurant Week. It’s a trendy restaurant smack dab in the middle of Soho at the Mercer Hotel, with the dining area downstairs, underneath the street where we could see people walking above us through the latticework on the ceiling. Exposed brick walls, long banquettes, and candlelit sconces give the place a timelessly stylish, chic and sophisticated ambiance.

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The meal itself was also wonderful. I started off with black truffle and fontina cheese pizza. Usually I like my pizza to have tons of different toppings, but this one didn’t need it. It was amazing on its own, and quite a nicely sized personal pizza — I ended up taking half of it home. If you like truffle oil or truffle in general, you need to order this pizza! It had the perfect balance of cheesy goodness and hints of black truffle in each bite. However, was a little bit on the oily side.

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For the main course, I ordered (The Mercer) Burger which consisted of pepperjack cheese (which I replaced with cheddar), crunchy red onions, Russian dressing and french fries. The burger was on the small side, but don’t be fooled… It will still fill you up and is well made. The meat was juicy and flavorful. I especially enjoyed the taste of the crispy fried onions with cheese and dressing. The lettuce and tomato were both fresh and added to the overall deliciousness. I also liked the skinny fries- They were quite crispfully tasty.

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My friend, however had chosen the Veal Milanese which was according to her, tasteless and inedible. To the waiter’s credit, he took it back without any attitude and brought out her next choice of Steam Skate with Tarragon, Sesame Seed, and Baby Bak Choy, almost right away.

Dessert was warm Valrhona chocolate cake with crisp Orange Tuile and Vanilla Bean gelato. This molten chocolate cake was heavenly- Rich and oozing with sweet chocolateness. I loved the warm chocolate filling, but to be honest didn’t really taste the orange bit. And the vanilla bean gelato was a disappointment. It was a little bland, as it lacked vanilla bean flavor.

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My friend’s banana cake with salted caramel gelato was a true delight and that gelato was superb- Very sweet, strong caramel flavor. Yum!

Overall, a lovely meal with lovely company and attentive, friendly and professional service.

 

Location: 99 Prince Street.

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Restaurant Week Dinner at PO

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Po is a delightful little Italian restaurant tucked away on Cornelia Street in the West Village.  The vision for Po is simple: “A restaurant that serves fresh, simply prepared seasonal fare in a cozy and inviting neighborhood setting.” And this they have done.

After we were seated, we were served a nice chunk of bread with a side of olive oil, as well as complimentary white bean bruschetta– Sliced bread with white beans and more olive oil. Even though I’m not a huge fan of beans, this tasted quite good: Full of flavor, though very oily. I also loved the crispiness of the bread.

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We ordered off the Restaurant Week Menu, which pretty much had the best dishes from the menu and even some that weren’t on the regular menu. I started off with the Sea Bass Ravioli, made with tomato sauce and scallion butter. I expected it to be a little more substantial, as the plate only came with 3 medium-sized ravioli pieces. It was also a little lacking in presentation. I thought it was decent. The sauce was light, and could definitely taste the sea bass which was the best part by far.

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My entree was veal porcini ragu with fusili pasta, which was delicious. The veal was extremely tender, full of flavor and combined well with the porcini mushrooms. The fusili was cooked to perfection and there was just enough sauce to taste, but not overpower the distinct flavors of veal and porcini. Add to the dish some Parmesan and  a sprinkling of pepper to enhance the flavors, and voilà!

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Next was dessert, which was dark chocolate terrine and drizzled with espresso caramel sauce. The terrine was delectable, with a strong flavor of amaretto and just melted in my mouth. I also loved the sweet smooth flavor of the caramel sauce to go with it. Overall, it was wonderfully rich and creamy. Almost too rich, with almost being the operative word. I still ate most of the chocolate terrine…

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My friend was able to get the other dessert and luckily, shared some with me: Apple torta with vanilla gelato. Now, this dessert was amazing! I have always been a lover of chocolate, but this apple torta was even better than the dark chocolate terrine. The apple torta came to us warm, seemingly straight from the oven. The torta was  chewy, flaky, buttery and crisp all at once. The crust was caramelized and crisp, and had the distinct flavor of caramel. The vanilla gelato was the perfect companion: Creamy, smooth, and flavorful.

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Despite my initial reservations, Restaurant Week Dinner at Po turned out to be a delightful experience with great food and pleasant service.

Address: 31 Cornelia Street.

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Take advantage of NYC Restaurant Week: Winter 2013, which is from January 14 to February 8, 2013. This is when a ton of well known and usually quite expensive restaurants offer a special 3-course meal, which is $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner. Here’s a sampling of participating restaurants: 21 Club, Capital Grille, Le Cirque, Locanda Verde, Morimoto, Nobu, The Palm Court, Russian Tea Room, and Spice Market… And I’ve been to 5 of these (for past Restaurant Weeks.)

Stay tuned for upcoming Winter Restaurant Week reviews!

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Restaurant Week at Indochine


Indochine is a French-Vietnamese fusion restaurant nestled in the downtown NYU area, near Astor Place. While its exterior is quite simple, almost hidden, the interior is lovely, utilizing exotic-meets-tropical design elements such as Japanese box lights, palm trees painted onto the walls and a sleek tiled floor. It is dark, lit with candles and quite romantic.

The Restaurant Week menu was seriously appetizing, with plenty of choices for appetizers, a main dish, side and dessert. It was tough for me to choose which appetizer, but finally picked fried spring roll for myself. The spring rolls came with chicken, vegetables and glass vermicelli, with plenty of lettuce, carrots and pickled vegetable on the side. Spring rolls were very tasty, fried to perfection and full of flavor. I also got to try the steamed Vietnamese ravioli (looked more like a Vietnamese summer roll with the see-through wrap) which had chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts,  shiitake mushrooms, ricotta cheese which gave it an interesting flavor, but was still quite good.


As for the main dish, I choose the marinated hunger steak with daikon and taro shoestring fries, along with a side of sticky rice. I always get my steak well done, and will defy anyone who has a problem with that! The steak came already cut in bite-sized pieces, neatly atop the poached daikon with the taro fries sprinkled on top. The steak was delicious, little bursts of juicy tender flavor and the fries were crispy delights. The daikon underneath was fresh and light.


As for the side dish, I’ve always been a fan of sticky rice and this one was filled with yummy extras: Dried baby shrimp, shiitakes, and Vietnamese sausage. I would’ve enjoyed a little more sausage, but overall quite good.

There were only 2 choices for dessert, and none of them were chocolate so I wasn’t as excited about this course. I picked lemon tart, over  the pineapple and raspberry sorbet. It was decent, very lemony and tart with a side of what looked like creme fraiche.


It was a lovely meal, filled with fun conversation and much laughter.

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