Quality Italian

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Midtown West. It’s not an area you’ll find me in often, but, I’ve gotta say, it’s a lot less scary than I remember it (and scary as in, loads of tourists lost in the streets and plenty of suits hustling around). Either way, retreating to an amazing restaurant always wipes away any fear of getting trapped behind a group on people rolling 4+ deep on the sidewalk when you’re in a hurry. So, I got to decompress at Quality Italian.

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The space itself gives a mixed feel of casual elegance, meets power lunch scene, with a touch of modern industrial aesthetic (the light fixtures are incredible). The service here is completely on-point and professional, so you really don’t need to worry about a thing (except what to order, because everything looks fantastic). A bowl of fresh bread is dropped off at the table, and I don’t care if you’re watching your carb intake or not, you have to try a piece. It’s warm, soft and buttery and topped with coarse grains of salt. It’s amazing, eat it.

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To start, I ordered a cocktail. I didn’t look at the menu, instead our server asked what type of spirits I usually like, and he had me at “tequila” and “spicy”. I looked back at the menu and couldn’t find the cocktail, but I was pretty sure he described it as a Tricolore Margarita.

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It’s brought out with just the huge, square, tri-color (hence, the name) ice cube, each color representing a different flavor element. The margarita gets poured on top, and, magic. As the ice starts to melt, the flavors all meld into the drink, giving you that sweet meets spicy wrapped up in delicious.

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For a starter, I had the Tuna “Panzanella” (Charred Shishitos, Tomato, Garlic Croutons). This was so delicious, I could have had a whole plate of it for dinner. The tuna is so flavorful, fresh and tender, and all of the ingredients compliment it so well. I especially really loved pairing the garlic croutons with the tuna, of course, the panzanella part of the dish. The croutons soak up all of the juices and sauce, turning the pieces into little mushy, bready, flavor bombs. Very technical term. 

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Then, for my entree, I ordered Grilled Branzino (Pesto Rosso). Unbelievably good. The full description of all elements isn’t present on the menu, so, I couldn’t 100% tell you what everything was, but I will say it was incredible. The fish is light, yet super flavorful, flaky and tender. It’s complimented by a rich and pleasantly sweet and savory tomato sauce with a touch of tartness, and halves of heirloom cherry tomatoes. It’s served atop a bed of large grain couscous, which, is also awesome. 

The Shorts:
Name: Quality Italian 
Location: 57 West 57th Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Absolutely. I will say, this isn’t the type of place that someone with my wallet could go to often, it’s definitely at more of a finer-dining price, but also very well worth it. 
Would I recommend it? For sure. Power luncher? Special occasion coming up? Just sold some of your old stuff on an app? Go here. You won’t be disappointed. 

 

10Below Ice Cream

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Summer’s in full effect, it’s hot as hell, and the best cure is ice cream. Fact. I have a couple personal favorites, but always up for trying the newest thing on the scene. So when 10Below opened up in Chinatown last week, I had to be one of the first to check it out. 

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It was especially hot out, and there was a healthy line. Since everything is made to order, and each order is pretty involved, it takes a bit longer than your average scoop spot. They’re the first to bring Thai-inspired ice cream rolls to NYC, using an advanced cold plate that reaches temperatures well below -10°F (hence, the name). Luckily, they had an angel, in the form of a young water-pourer, to hydrate the people in line.

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I finally made it downstairs into the shop, hip-hop music bumping and the guys behind the counter enthusiastically singing along to every song, making it a fun environment. Many of the menu items are also named with hip-hop references and influences. Because, you gotta have a good beat when you’re mashing up all those ingredients, and smoothing them out, to roll up into, well, ice-cream-roll-ups? 

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I ordered the Peanut Butter and Jealous (Peanut Butter, Fig Jelly, Captain Crunch, and Condensed Milk), and added Bananas as a topping. This was a real delight. The ice cream itself looks cool, but, it also tastes great too. It’s rich and creamy, no ice chip appearances here. Flavor wise, it had a nice, light, hint of all of the flavors. I got the peanut butter more than the fig jelly, which, I would have loved, but, it was still really delicious, and the cereal and condensed milk added a great touch. 

The Shorts:
Name: 10Below Ice Cream
Location: 10 Mott Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes. A couple of the other flavors really stood out to me, so, I gotta try them out. Next time, hopefully without the long line. 
Would I recommend it? Go get your (ice cream) roll on, it’s worth it.