Recent Posts by Leonor White

The Big Apple on a Budget: Tocqueville, a New York Restaurant Review

Published by Thursday, April 18, 2013 Permalink 0

The Big Apple on a Budget: Tocqueville, a New York Restaurant Review

by Leonor White

I discovered Tocqueville last New Year’s Eve, and it’s been my go-to place ever since when special people come to town. My latest visit to this understated yet elegant Union Square New American-French restaurant with a French flare and amiable, well-trained servers brought rave “reviews” from the entire table.

Seven days a week, the restaurant offers an excellent value prix fixe menu ($29). The menu consists of three courses — appetizer, main course and dessert — as well as an amuse-bouche and interesting housemade bread à go-go. In the evening, Tocqueville offers a pre-theatre menu at $44, as well as a full à la carte menu. We went for Saturday lunch, when the restaurant was unusually uncrowded, so we sat on the ground floor from where we could enjoy a view of the restaurant’s refined décor. The dining room was pleasantly quiet with tables set widely apart and well-designed acoustics, allowing us to concentrate on the marvelous food and have good conversation too.

As mentioned, the prix fixe offers three courses, with two choices per course. From the appetizers, everyone tried both offerings, the “creamless sunchoke soup” and the “salad with mushroom terrine”; both dishes were flawless, the flavors bold but balanced. Prior to our appetizer arriving, we were served an excellent “roasted asparagus and beetsamuse-bouche, a great start to our culinary adventure. Throughout the lunch we were also able to enjoy an assortment of homemade bread, namely, brioche, focaccia filled with olive chunks, and crusty, white sourdough with homemade butter (you heard me right, homemade).

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The Big Apple on a Budget: Mas (la grillade), a Restaurant Review

Published by Monday, March 18, 2013 Permalink 0

by Leonor White

I recently discovered a farm-to-table restaurant in the West Village. I was looking for an upscale lunch at an affordable price to dine with my family. Mas (la grillade) is the sister restaurant to Mas (farmhouse), but, as the name indicates, focuses on grilled meats.

During lunch hours, a seasonal menu of locally grown foods cooked solely over wood fires of oak, apple and other hardwoods is served. This menu is comprised of three courses: appetizer, main course and desert, and it all comes at a very reasonable price, $27.  Lunch à la carte is also available, but I would recommend opting for the menu, as you get a chance to experience Chef Galen Zamarra’s seasonal favorites. The restaurant is also open for dinner, and just as for lunch, there is a prix fixe menu (but for a higher price, $68), as well as an à la carte dining.

We went for lunch on a Saturday, and it did not disappoint. The restaurant is simply but tastefully decorated, making a bold statement with regards to its farm-to-table concept. As the menus arrived, we all had our eyes fixed on the first item in the menu: “Grilled Pear and Sunchoke Soup with Mint, Black Truffle and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms.” Despite the fact that there were other appetizers to choose from, such as the “Grilled Trumpet Royale Mushrooms with a Salad of Mizuna, Grilled Onion Vinaigrette, and Croutons,” we all thought that the soup sounded divine, and it was indeed. The grilled pear and sunchoke flavors made for a distinctive taste; the soup was sprinkled with mint and black truffles and topped with mushroom croutons.

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The Big Apple on a Budget: Celeste, a New York Restaurant Review

Published by Wednesday, December 19, 2012 Permalink 0

The Big Apple on a Budget: Celeste, a New York Restaurant Review

by Leonor White

Celeste, located on Amsterdam Avenue between 84th and 85th, in New York, is one of my favorite places when I’m facing a cash squeeze. Thanks to the excellent value it offers, as well as the authentic Italian food it serves, it has deservedly become a popular fixture in the neighborhood.

After being greeted by the owner, you are taken to your table and presented with fantastic Italian bread and extra-virgin olive oil. The antipasti range from Fegatini Di Pollo (chicken livers) to Saute Di Cozze (sautéed clams) to Crostini Con Alici (breadsticks wrapped in anchovies), and my personal favorite, the Involtini De Melanzane, consisting of eggplant rolls stuffed with prosciutto and pecorino cheese baked with tomato sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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