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. 

 

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General Assembly

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Sad news, I just recently read that General Assembly, in Flatiron, would be closing after just a short six months of being open. Well, there are always some reasons why places close up shop so soon, but I will say, it certainly wasn’t because of the food or service, which were both amazing. 

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Since it won’t be open too much longer, I’ll save the details of the image and get straight to what I ate. First, you’re served a skillet with an olive oil and salt brushed fresh bread. It’s beyond delicious, warm, light and doughy and slightly crisp on the top from the oven. 

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Next, as an appetizer, we had their Crudite and Dips: Smoked Tomato-White Bean, Housemade Ricotta-Local Honey-Chili Oil, Red Quinoa, Fava and Avocado (Served with seasonal vegetables and freshly grilled flatbread). These were a really great starter, and more than enough for a group of four to share. Each dip is different and dynamic. The Smoked Tomato-White Bean had a great flavor, almost like sun dried tomato, and texture, like a guac consistency. Which, is really what the Fava and Avocado reminded me of. The Ricotta was really interesting, maybe my least favorite of the group, it was thick and rich, but when paired with the flatbread (which actually tasted like matzoh to me), was a nice combination. I really liked the Red Quinoa, which really wasn’t much of a dip, so much as a tapioca consistency. It was a little sweet, with golden raisins, and went really well with the flatbread as well. 

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I also ordered a side of their Charred Broccoli. This was incredible, I could probably eat this everyday and not get tired of it. The florets of the broccoli are charred, but don’t have any sort of burnt taste, just a lightness of crunch and crispness. They have peppers mixed in, and a sauce at the bottom that’s savory and delicious. 

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Then, for my entree, I ordered the Grilled Branzino (Summer Squashes, Eggplant). Another amazing dish. The fish was light and tender, and served in the perfectly generous portion. The vegetables complimented the dish very nicely, fresh, flavorful and delicious. 

The Shorts:
Name: General Assembly
Location: 360 Park Ave South, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? If it weren’t closing, for sure. Tear. 
Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Now, I’m not 100% sure when the doors will finally be closing, but, if you can beat the clock and make it there, you won’t regret it.