April 25, 2008

New York Food, Yum!

Tomorrow, I’m switching to another hotel here in New York, not because I don’t like where I’m at or the location I’m in – the upper west side is awesome – but because the new location will be closer to where I tend to spend my time and to where I want to establish a more permanent presence.

So I want to give mention to a few things regarding food up here on the upper west side.

Usually, after I get back to the hotel for the evening and am hungry or before I go out and want breakfast first, I call restaurants for delivery.

First, the best: Texas Rotisserie and Grill (since this is already New Yawk, ha ha, you can’t say “get a rope!”), on the northwest corner of 96th & Broadway.

My first day here, I happened to be strolling past and the aromas coming out of the place were heavenly, so I snagged one of their delivery menus, folded it and stuck it in my back pocket.

On the first occasion that I needed a delivery, I referred to it.

So many choices, not only where entrees are concerned, but appetizers and side dishes as well, and all coming out of one place. I’ve had their rotisserie chicken and their meatloaf, and such sides as their from-scratch mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, whipped sweet potatoes and garlic parsley potatoes, and have nothing but great things to say about all of them.

I am a major meatloaf maniac, and their meatloaf, made with beef and turkey, has got to be the best meatloaf I’ve ever gotten from a restaurant. Yum!

To boot, all the portions they serve are profoundly oversized yet under-priced from a New York standpoint.

Dessert wise, their chocolate chip cake is to die for.

And their delivery time is nothing short of amazing. The knock at your door seems to come almost before you’ve hung up the phone.

Second, the worst. Artie’s, a Jewish deli at about 83rd & Broadway.

I stopped in there for a couple of potato knishes on my second day here, and they were easily of a quality to sing songs over. So…

A couple of days later, when I was hoping to get an early start, I called them at opening time (9 a.m.) and gave them a breakfast delivery order: a Nova lox platter, a potato knish, a chocolate egg cream and two large coffees. The woman who took the order told me it would be around 15 minutes.

At 10:25, I called to ask why the food had not yet arrived. The same woman told me that the cashier was sorry, she hadn’t put the order in on time, but that it was now on its way to me. 25 minutes later it arrived, I paid for it and tipped the delivery guy and took everything out of the bag. There was no knish, though it was on the receipt.

I called Artie’s, and the same woman, in a totally indifferent tone of voice, asked me, “Oh, so do you still want the knish?”

“Since I paid you for it,” I replied, beginning to feel just a little miffed at her attitude, “I would assume so.”

The lox platter was great, generous and very filling, there was a lot of stuff included in it besides the Nova, a bagel and so forth, but when I went to drink the coffee I found it was old and burnt beyond drinkability. When the knish arrived at about 11:00, I was so disgusted I simply threw it in the trash can.

I tried calling the manager to register a complaint. I was told that he would be back in 2 days and that his name was Omar.

I tried, for a couple of days after he was supposed to be back, to get in touch with him, but he apparently doesn’t want to hear customer complaints and is always, therefore, “not there”. The mysterious Mr. Omar, in my opinion, is a scumbag who runs a shoddy business – the indifferent bimbo who runs the place on weekends probably Monicas him to keep her job and as payment for her under-the-desk services, the mutt excuses her ineptitude and lack of any customer service attitude.

Since then, I’ve looked up customer reviews of the place and find that most of them are unfavorable where service and even cleanliness of the place are concerned.

So while I wouldn’t recommend Artie’s for the dog you hate the most, I give major marks to Texas Rotisserie & Grill.

Two upper west side eateries to enjoy dining out at, both also reasonable by NY standards, are Acqua, an Italian restaurant on Amsterdam Ave at 95th that uses a wood oven and serves delicious, wafer thin crust, Italian style pizzas as well as some pasta & veal (I’ve had the aforementioned dishes there) that are extremely desirable to eat, in ways I can’t begin to describe beyond the “adjective” yum!. The other, more laid back but a must for locals-oriented Italian dining, is Perfecto, on Broadway between 92nd and 93rd Streets.

I treated a new acquaintance I met a few days ago to dinner at the latter (her recommendation). For my own part, I had had mussels in a wine and tomato sauce for an appetizer (I sampled my companion’s grilled octopus and it was excellent, as well), and my entrée was linguini with white clam sauce, while she had veal marsala. We tried one anothers’ dishes, and both were Perfecto.

Since then, I’ve tried the Sicilian pizza at Perfecto, and it is also Perfecto.

The above places (with the exception of piece-of-shit-Omar and his Artie’s) are all among the locals oriented eateries that you don’t see in the out-of-town yuppie guides, they are places that locals dine at, within the average middle class budget and every bit as good as the more pretentious “to be seen at” restaurants one reads about in the society pages., where there are dress codes, etc.

Having eaten at some of the most expensive restaurants in NY in the past, I can honestly say that these “common” establishments (we’re talking NY here, where competition is king) feature fare that is equal to or in some cases better than the places where, choked into a suit and tie when you’re not even at work, you can dine for hundreds of dollars, just to say you’ve eaten there.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather have dinner at Mike’s Pizzeria on Yellowstone Blvd in Forest Hills, Queens, than at Mama Leone’s any day of the week.

by @ 7:54 pm. Filed under Dining, Just Talking, New York, Opinion
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7 Responses to “New York Food, Yum!”

  1. atheling Says:

    LOL, Seth, you ought to write for Conde Nast Traveler. You can call your column, “Playboy of the Western World”, or something as literary!

    Thanks for the eye opener about your gastric adventures! :)

  2. Seth Says:

    Atheling –

    Just telling it like I see it.

    Like Walter Brennan used to say, “No brag, jes’ fact.” :-)

  3. BB-Idaho Says:

    Aw geez…I gained 6 lbs just reading. :)

  4. Seth Says:

    BB –

    That’s a danger of being in N.Y. — the food is so good and many places that serve it are extremely generous with their portions, it’s easy to gain weight. :-)

  5. Chicago Ray Says:

    Keep enjoying the big Apple Seth and have as safe trip back my friend. The ethnic food varieties like here in Chicago is simply great enough to make one…well…simply too fat. :>)

  6. GM Roper Says:

    Me mouth he is a-droolin’
    In gastronomics I ain’t got much schoolin’
    But I knows what I likes
    Such as pig brains and tripes
    And on that dear friend I ain’t foolin’

  7. Seth Says:

    Ray –

    I may not be coming back to Chicago, I think I’ll just stay right here in the ol’ home town for some time to come. Ahhhhhhhhhh……..or perhaps Sighhhhhhh (followed somewhere along the way by “Burp!”) would be more appropriate…

    GM –

    LOL! You get the picture. :-)