We went to this restaurant on the way home from our 8-hr visit to the Met. We got off the subway without a particular dining destination in mind, and realized as we did that it was pouring down rain. Running past a number of restaurants, we settled on Acqua because it seemed reasonably-priced and welcoming.
It turned out to be a good choice. The service was friendly and the food was very good. I had the chicken marsala with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach (I ate lots of spinach in NYC for some reason), and Jeremy had some sort of penne pasta dish (feel free to add to this meager description, sweetie). We also had chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert, which was very tasty, but apparently unmemorable, because I nearly forgot to add it to the review.
It was kind of noisy inside, but that is seemingly the case for pretty much any NYC restaurant, and the source of the noise that night was mostly the flamboyant birthday group seated next to us. I think we would both recommend this restaurant, and I’d happily eat there again if there weren’t so many other places to try out during a visit.
Good Enough to Eat
We ate brunch at this little restaurant on our way to visiting The Frick, thanks to a recommendation in “Gerry Frank’s Where to Find It, Buy It, Eat It in New York.” I think we must have arrived at a good time, because there were only a few other diners when we arrived, and the place was full when we left.
It has a cozy country atmosphere, complete with a little picket fence out front and country music playing in the background. We were a little put off by the latter, and also by the dozens of smallish objects hanging from the ceiling that resembled nothing so much as giant papier-mache fleas, but the food was very good. Jeremy had some waffles that were both studded and topped with nuts, and I had the Peter Paul Pancakes, which are studded with chocolate chips and topped with toasted coconut. The toppings were a tasty addition, but made it difficult to spread on the accompanying orange butter. If I were to make the pancakes at home (and I could, since the restaurant has put out a breakfast cookbook), I would be more liberal with the toasted coconut, and sprinkle it directly onto one side of the pancakes as they cook, to eliminate that problem.
At any rate, a very tasty brunch if a bit spendy. When Jeremy comes home for Christmas, I may well check out that cookbook from the library, and try out a few of their recipes myself.
Another restaurant we found while running aimlessly in the pouring rain looking for a reasonably-priced meal, this time after our visit to The Frick. We discovered after the fact that this restaurant is on the “Don’t Bother” list in Gerry Frank’s book, but we thought it was good, comforting American food and thoroughly enjoyed our meals. Jeremy had a roast turkey dinner (sort of a Thanksgiving preview), and I had the Tuscan roast chicken. The bread was wonderful, and I could actually bring myself to eat the cooked carrots there because they were more crisp than mushy.
We ate a rather early dinner there (I think we arrived at 4:30pm), having skipped lunch after our big brunch at Good Enough to Eat, so it was very quiet there, and our food came quickly. Jeremy informs me that the furnishings—all lovely mahogany—were originally in a bar in Germany and later shipped over here. There were nice harvest decorations around the walls and in the chandeliers, and it was just an overall good dining experience.
After visiting The Cloisters, we made our way down toward Jeremy’s school because he had a critique to attend. He suggested we go have an early dinner at Camaje, a little bistro in the Village where he arranged a Labor Day introductory luncheon for NYAA students last fall. After wandering around for a bit and not finding the place, we ended up passing by Cucina Stagionale, a name we recalled from looking through Gerry Frank’s book earlier in the day. We couldn’t remember what he said about it, but they have a very reasonable early dinner special from 4:00-7:00pm, so we decided to give it a shot.
For a total of $25 for the both of us, we got a choice of soup or salad (we got Caesar salads), wine or soda (the latter, of course), a choice of entrees (we both chose fettuccine primavera), and coffee or hot tea with tiramisu. You could hardly find a deal that good here in Salem, and the food was all wonderful, authentic Italian. Not being coffee-drinkers, neither of us are particularly fans of tiramisu, but even that was very good. The service was relaxed, but it didn’t bother us, and because we were again eating on the early side, the restaurant was practically empty, which made us even happier.
While wandering about looking for Camaje, we walked by a bakery called Amy’s Bread whose name I recognized from—yes—the Gerry Frank book. After dinner at Cucina Stagionale, we stopped in and bought a pair of Sourdough Chocolate Bread Twists and a Double Chocolate Pecan cookie for dessert. They were both very tasty, and apparently Jeremy has already gone back to get another cookie there since I left for Salem.
While looking up this bakery on Google to see if they had a website, I also discovered that Amy’s Bread put out a cookbook by the same name. One more book to get from the library this winter…
Golden Unicorn Dim Sum
Jeremy wanted me to experience dim sum for the first time while I was in NYC, so we picked one out in Chinatown (by an odd coincidence we chose one on the same page of the book as Good Enough to Eat), and went there for lunch on Friday. It was indeed an experience worth having, though steamed dumplings do not exactly have the ideal texture, in my opinion. Jeremy liked it, and said that the food there tasted slightly better than the dim sum place he usually goes to, but it was also a bit more expensive and hard to anticipate the final tab.
Jeremy still wanted to take me to Camaje after we failed to find it on Thursday, so we looked at the map again and headed over there after our second trip to the Met last Saturday. No problems finding it this time, and we were seemingly lucky to get a table without making reservations, even though the place was at least half-empty for our entire meal. It is a cozy little bistro with very leisurely service: we never felt neglected, but the meal did take us a good two hours to finish.
After much agonizing over the menu, we decided to be a bit extravagant and order prie fixe meals: Jeremy got the autumn pumpkin soup, while I had the French onion soup gratinee; we both ordered the roasted hanger steak with crispy shallots and mashed potatoes; and then for dessert, Jeremy had the banoffi pie and I had creme brulee with lavender craqueline. It was all wonderful, and made a perfect conclusion to my visit to New York—Jeremy has good taste!