Quality Italian


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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. 




So, I feel like 2015 is my year of visiting places that have been around for a while, that I’ve, for whatever reason, yet to go. Balthazar has been around for almost 20 years, which is often a rarity in NYC, let alone anywhere. Well, I finally made my way over to SoHo to check out their brunch. 


Reservations are definitely recommended, since they’re hardly available, if you don’t have one, you’ll most likely have to wait. But, if you want to pick up some of their pastries and breads, you can just pop into their bakery right next door to get your fix. Otherwise, you’ll enter the grand, open dining room for some traditional bistro fare. 


I ordered the Smoked Salmon (with crème fraîche and toasted brioche). The presentation was really nice, with diced egg white, herbs, yolks, and capers and onion on the side. This was a really lovely dish, the salmon was fresh and flavorful, and the brioche bread was light and buttery. 

The Shorts:
Name: Balthazar 
Location: 80 Spring Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, the atmosphere just has a special feel to it and the service is wonderful.
Would I recommend it? Yes, I’d make sure to snag a reservation before going, because, who likes to wait anyway? And if you’re not in for the whole thing, check out their bakery next door.