Archive for the 'Penne alla Vodka' Category

23
Jul
13

Sòlo – Revisited


We’ve reviewed Sòlo in its prior incarnation (here, and here), so why are we reviewing it again? Sòlo (550 Madison Avenue; New York, NY 10022; Telephone: 212.833.7800 – in the atrium of the SONY building), has reinvented itself as a dairy restaurant. We liked it as a meat eatery, now it changed… We had more than enough confidence in Prime Hospitality Group‘s Corporate Chef David Kolotkin so we decided to give it a try and see what a former meat restaurant turned dairy could do…

SYR had an out of town guest, whose home cooking is the stuff legends are made of (I should know, I’ve stayed in their guest house many a time over the years!), and she came with me. We chose a busy time, on a busy night, with last minute reservations to best test the service. As soon as we were assigned a table, we found ourselves in the able hands of Eka Halim, waiter extraordinaire!

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Fritto Misto all' Italiana

Fritto Misto all’ Italiana

We started our repast with Fritto Misto all’ Italiana, an assorted plate of rice balls, potato croquettes, eggplant and zucchini served with a trio of unique dipping sauces. The tastes were subtle yet definite, the sauces, rather than overpowering, introduced nice variations; we both loved it!

We segued with Big Eye Tuna Tartare - a raw big eye tuna, local farmed apples, roasted pine nuts, marinated in a red wine vinaigrette, served chilled – and Branzino Carpaccio…

Branzino Carpaccio

Branzino Carpaccio

…it consisted of raw, thinly sliced white fish, citrus  salt and capers, drizzled with an artisanal imported Italian olive oil and squeezed lemon.

Both were scrumptious; it was obvious the combination of ingredients was done with as much attention, as much focus on the final result, as the old master painters of the Renaissance put into the mixing of their colors!

Next we tried Eggplant Parmeggiana, slow baked alternating layers of eggplant with tomato sauce, parmesan and daily homemade mozzarella. Every ingredient shone on its own as well as a member of a well choreographed ballet on my palate. Wooow!

Before trying the pastas we had a Warm Goat Cheese Salad, with hazelnut crusted goat cheese croquette, arugula, roasted beet medley, caramelized local market pears, haricots verts drizzled with a red wine vinaigrette. Superbly balanced flavors. We segued into Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana

The rigatoni pasta came with with zucchini, garden basil, imported pecorino romano cheese, eggs, cracked black pepper and cream. Richly flavorful!

We followed with Homemade Truffle & Butternut Squash Ravioli, with truffle Parmesan sauce and sliced black truffle…

Homemade Truffle and Butternut Squash Ravioli

Homemade Truffle and Butternut Squash Ravioli

…the Parmesan sauce gave it all a superb taste without overpowering anything else!

Risotto al Pesto was Chef David’s next choice for us…

Risotto al Pesto

Risotto al Pesto

This delicate, aromatic risotto came with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and haricot verts. Excellent, is an understatement!

Fettucini alla Puttanesca came next….

Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

Fettuccine alla Puttanesca

Fresh homemade fettuccine with imported olives, capers, garlic and grape tomatoes, t’was a true masterpiece in taste and in looks.

Penne alla Vodka was our next dish…

Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

It came with tomato sauce, onions, cherry tomatoes  and romano cheese. Probably the best Penne alla Vodka I ever had.

Fish came next, considering that a mere three and a half years ago I could still honestly say I never tasted fish, I learned to appreciate the creatures rather fast. In rapid succession we devoured Wild Smoked Salmon and Mozzarella, Tuna Filet Pepper Verde and a Chilean Sea Bass Scallopini.

The wild salmon came in an avocado puree, with homemade mozzarella in a balsamic reduction; there is hardly anything as delicious as fresh salmon. The tuna filet was served with green pepper crusted big eye tuna steak, Dijon mustard, cream and a vodka reduction. The sea bass dish consisted of thinly sliced Chilean sea bass sauteed with lemon, white wine, capers, sundried tomatoes, parsley, basil and shallots. All three were a testament to the Chef’s artistry.

We washed this massive feast down with a Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, as suggested by – our waiter - Eka. Though it is a native California wine, its style is very French; it exhibits currant, berry, and cherry combined with a delightful earthy minerality. Its tannins are soft, smooth and well balanced, culminating in a long elegant finish.

We capped the meal with a Tiramisu, again it was obvious that while we had expected a delicious meal, we got a very memorable royal feast!

There is no question I’ll be coming back again and again!

CS

19
Nov
09

Singing the High Notes


This past Saturday night, u café hosted a Cantorial Kumzits. Charlie Bernhaut and Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky presented their second monthly evening on the cantor’s art and great food.

There were some well known cantors and singers in the audience; Mr. Bernhaut, after a few words about his hopes to revive the love and appreciation for chazzanut, asked Asher Scharf to start out the evening of liturgical song.

Mr. Scharf, a seasoned professional, both a cantor and popular singer in the Jewish scene, clearly showed his art and the lessons gleaned from years of singing.

Next up was Ari Heinemam, who is the chazzan at a Brooklyn shull, although during the week he deals with Customer’s Relations at Pomegranate, NYC’s best stacked, cleanest and newest kosher supermarket. His selection was on the Birchas Kohanim - The Priestly Blessing. His melodious, sweet voice was magnificent! His phrasing flawless, his emotion powerfully obvious, as he intoned Yivorechecho Hashem veyishmerecho… veyosem lecho sholoim. May Hashem bless you and safeguard you… and establish for you peace.


Next up was Pinchas Ben Ari, u café‘s owner. His energy, his movements to the cadence of the melody, his gestures as he intoned the different words, made it obvious he had suddenly transcended to another sphere, singing to a far higher audience than that of us – mere humans – sitting in his cafe.

Pinny, as he’s affectionately called, used to be a chazzan in New Jersey; he retired a few years back, from that position, but he showed  he still has most of what it takes.

The star of the evening, however, was none other than Yitzchok Meir Helfgott. Cantor Helfgott has a busy schedule of concerts around town as well as overseas. His December 2006 concert at the Metropolitan was phenomenal, he performed before a packed house of Jews and non-Jews.  On this particular Saturday evening, he did not strain himself but his voice showed a power and mastery far above anything we’d heard.

So, what great food did we partake of? I had a superbly seasoned Grilled Tuna with Sesame Ginger (tuna, coconut rice, grapevine tomatoes, white asparagus and fennel) while my oldest grandson had the Portobello Salad (portobello mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, mesclun salad, mozzarella with a Balsamic Vinaigrette), Penne alla Vodka with Smoked Salmon and a slice of “the best Cheese Cake” he “ever tasted.”

CS




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