GI kicked off Restaurant Week 2013 by picking Delmonico's Kitchen. i recently went to Delmonico's for a post-Thanksgiving dinner with Sully which usually would have precluded going there again, especially for a limited menu.
however, Delmonico's Kitchen was one of the participating restaurants that offered a Sunday lunch option. i'm a big fan of participating in RW for lunch, since the menus are often similar to dinner and cost less. in addition, a Sunday lunch meant that Sully could also attend, since his work schedule during the week makes it so he would be too tired to attend a weeknight dinner.
so color me a little surprised that i have no Sunday lunch RW outings coming up. even when my friends chose a restaurant participating in RW Sunday lunch, they opted for a weeknight dinner instead. aarrgh.
is it because their weekends are too precious? or too precious to spend eating a meal with me? perhaps.
regardless, it was fun to meet up with GI, since i don't get to see him that often (his job often has him travelling and when he's not travelling for work he's travelling for fun) and it was perfect timing since he has a trip to Japan coming up and will be gone for a few weeks.
Delmonico's Kitchen is Delmonico's expansion into midtown, and while some of the aesthetics remain similar, the tone of the restaurant is very different, and definitely has a "midtown" feel to it. the service is less smooth and classic as the downtown location: the server we had at Delmonico's was polite and congenial but all business; the server at Kitchen was a little handsy and a little more personal-in a good and bad way. similarly, the sommelier we had at Delmonico's was a gruff older gentlemen who offered a little advice regarding the wine options, whereas Kitchen's sommelier simply provided us the large wine list and advised us of the RW wine special (which we ended up ordering. $30 for a bottle pinot noir? i'm in!).
the biggest difference between the 2 is the noise level and the spacing between tables. Kitchen likes to pack it in so that you can't enter or exit your table without inconveniencing your neighbors. in addition, the noise level at Kitchen was way too loud. as soon as we sat down i realized i would have to shout in order to converse with GI across the table. it was so loud that at times it was hard to hear what our waiter was saying.
surprisingly, we weren't offered any bread service. i don't know if that was because we ordered off the RW menu or just the service was so harried. as we left i noticed the table of "ladies-who-lunch" that sat next to us received an entire tray of assorted rolls and breads.
for appetizers, GI ordered the Scallop Risotto. the risotto was cooked perfectly al dente in that it wasn't too mushy or crunchy. it was slightly sweet and creamy and topped with 1 large scallop, which was well cooked and retained it's original seafood flavor. not a bad appetizer, just not a memorable one.
i ordered the pasta of the day which ended up being Parpadelle with Bolognese Sauce. the parpadelle was handmade and was paired with a flavorful bolognese that cut the salty, meaty aspect of the sauce with the lightness of tomato. i had been worried about ordering a pasta dish before attempting to eat a steak, but the appetizer, while substantial, managed to be light as well.
for entrees, GI ordered the Slow Braised Short Rib with Whipped Potato and Garlicky Spinach. this is definitely a filling entree. the short rib was just short of melt in my mouth but was still sufficiently tender. they provide an ample serving of the potato with the dish (and seem to trade it off with the spinach, which was a meager portion).
i opted for the Filet Mignon with Chef's Seasonal Vegetables (which ended up being carrots and green beans). the filet was cooked exactly how i'd ordered it: medium rare. they maintained the nice char on the outside but kept the inside warm but still rare. if it had been served with a side of potatoes i would have been in heaven.
for desserts, we ordered the New York Cheesecake which was served with blueberries in syrup and Beignets. the beignets were served with a chocolate dipping sauce and a creamy, subtley-lemon white dipping sauce that i can't identify. the beignets were served warm, dusted with powder sugar and were amazing, especially when dipped in the unidentified white sauce.
Winter RW 2013 has officially started! next stop: Locanda Verde...