CHICOJULIO

IMG_5336

Love, love, love margaritas and tacos, well, all Mexican food for that matter. So, I went to check out CHICOJULIO on the Upper West Side.

IMG_5338

This Cantina-style restaurant offers live music, and, when I was there, it was by way of a three-piece jazz band. Not necessarily what you’d expect from a Mexican restaurant, but actually a really nice surprise and touch. The aesthetic is clean, yet vibrant in color, and definitely goes with the tasty selection of food and drinks. For a beverage, I ordered The Smokey Cucumber (Blanco Tequila 100% Agave, Fresh Cucumber and Lime Juice, Egg white, Agave nectar, Chili infused Mezcal). I really liked this, the drink was smooth, with a refreshing crispness from the cucumber and lime, and followed by a little heat and smokiness from the chili and Mezcal. 

IMG_5337

To start, we had their Guacamole (made to order with tortilla chips). You can choose your preferred level of spice, which I really liked. The chips had a great crunch, and went very well with the rich, creaminess of the guac.

IMG_5339

For my entree, I ordered their Trio Taco De Atun (Seared sesame crusted tuna loin, white cabbage, chipotle aioli, lemon zest, served on corn tortilla). This was so good. The portion is really generous for such an affordable price, and the ingredients are fresh and abundant. I loved how substantial the rare tuna was, and how flavorful and delicious the whole dish was. 

The Shorts:
Name: CHICOJULIO
Location: 768 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the food and drinks were great and the ambiance was very fun and charming.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. I recommend going for dinner on a night when they have some live music, it makes everything a bit more vibrant.

East 12th Osteria

image

On the corner of 12th Street and 1st Avenue, you’ll find a restaurant with a beautiful aesthetic, wrap-around glass panels and a rustic wood door. Inside is just as beautiful, and they’re serving delicious Northern Italian food here at East 12th Osteria in the East Village.

image_1

Everything here is fresh and made to order. You really feel like you’re a part of a true dining experience and not just out for a meal. The whole menu looked amazing, and while it was a little tough to decide, I feel the ordering we did do, was right on point. Before the meal, they bring out freshly baked breads (thin, crisp breadsticks, rosemary flat crisps, and a mini herb roll). These were all amazing and delicious. I especially loved the little rolls, which were warm, pillowy, and herby with hints of oregano.

image_2

Then, you’re served a generously sized amuse bouche that could practically constitute for a small appetizer. I was served a Beefsteak Tomato Gazpacho. It was divine. If I could sum it up in one word, it would be fresh. They don’t complicate this dish, just some olive oil, and simple seasoning of a little salt and pepper, and topped with mozzarella, it was delicious and refreshing.

image_3

Then, as an appetizer, we got the Involtini di Melanzane, Provola Affumicata e Basilico (Eggplant Rolls filled with Smoked Provola Cheese, Tomato Confit, Basil Oil). Holy damn. This was so wonderful. There’s a distinct smokiness to the dish that almost gives you the illusion that you’re having meat, but the dish is totally vegetarian. The eggplant is soft and creamy, and wrapped around this rich, smokey Provola cheese.

image_4

For my entree, I ordered Branzino di Lenza (Line-Caught Branzino, Baby Vegetables). I really loved this dish too. The fish is tender and juicy, served with a crispy, flavorful skin on top. The baby vegetables were perfectly cooked and lightly dressed in a really nice lemon-butter sauce.

image_5

And, we really went in and got dessert too. I had the Fondente al Cioccolato (Chocolate Fondant, Hazelnut Cream, Raspberries) served with a pistachio ice cream. Another perfect dish that really wrapped the meal up beautifully. The cake is light, and then out pours the warm, gooey, lava like hazelnut creme. The flavors really go so great together when mixing the warm chocolaty cake with the cool, creamy ice cream and a little sweet tartness from the raspberry puree.

The Shorts:
Name: East 12th Osteria
Location: 197 First Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Definitely. The experience was great, the food is exceptional and the atmosphere is just lovely.
Would I recommend it? I mean, I think all of the above speaks for itself.