Cuisine: New American
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Review By: Brian Scott Lipton
It may say something about the typical Upper East Side clientele at 212 that more pages of the digest-size menu are devoted to cocktails than to the food, but rest assured, there’s plenty of good eating to be had at this stylish, laidback eatery, especially since executive chef Vincent Chirico has fine-tuned the menu. Wisely, he’s kept some of the restaurant’s revered favorites – we spotted but didn’t order the veal Milanese, which we recall from a previous visit to be extremely well prepared – while putting his own touch on several creations. Instead of pairing prosciutto with melon, for example, Chirico teams the delicious Italian ham with figs that have been marinated with balsamic vinegar and whipped ricotta cheese. Chirico has expanded the restaurant’s salad offerings, available in both appetizer (but still substantial) portions, and entrée sizes (for an additional $8). The crowning jewel is the Maine lobster salad, in which sizable pieces of nicely cooked crustacean share a plate with fresh lettuces, tomato, and a delicious mound of guacamole. Beef lovers have a number of options here, ranging from the sirloin burger to slices of kobe beef, that are ordered by the ounce (at $10 per ounce). My companion happily opted for excellent hanger steak in a zesty shallot sauce, accompanied by sautéed spinach. Fish fanciers also have a wealth of choices, including a generous filet of Atlantic salmon, served skin-on, napped in a very tasty tarragon cream sauce over a mound of sautéed asparagus and artichokes. While we should have expanded our dessert repertoire, we decided to revisit two past offerings – with felicitous results. The superb homemade strawberry tart was just as remembered: the crust was crisp, the pastry cream was fresh-as-can-be, and the berries were super-sweet And the homemade crepes filled with honest-to-goodness Nutella and capped with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream were as sinful as ever. Who needs cocktails!
Neighborhood: East 60s
Reservations: Click for reservations
Chef: Vincent Chirico
Entree Price: $20-25
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