2. Food, glorious food – Meal one
In the city that is purported to have everything, you’ll be surprised to learn that there isn’t a Gregg’s. But don’t let that put you off. There’ll always be a tepid steak bake waiting for you when you get home. New York does, of course, have many culinary delights, from all four corners of the earth, and one of my aims, aside from the Broadway show visit, was to sample as many different tastes as possible while I was there.
This isn’t because I’m a foodie. It’s mainly because I’m just really fucking greedy. What frightened me on the plane journey, almost as much as plummeting out of the sky and dying, was that I might fall asleep and miss one of the meal servings. I have a soft spot for those little bread rolls that don’t have a soft spot, you see. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and, as per usual, I managed to snap my plastic knife while attempting to spread rock hard butter on the little fella.
I had made a solemn vow not to indulge in the type of food that you can easily get over here during my time in NYC, so it came as a big surprise to me that I managed to fit three Big Macs into the mix. I’m lying – one was actually a double cheeseburger. But they were just snacks, not my main meals. And I needed the energy. It’s knackering out there. I did sample some food joy though. And here’s a taste of what and where.
On my first full day in town, I headed for Colicchio & Sons (85 Tenth Avenue, Chelsea; (212) 400-6699, colicchioandsons.com) for dinner, or lunch you might say, if you’re southern and call it the wrong thing. It’s rated 4th out of 6,009 restaurants in New York on Trip Advisor, so I felt pretty confident that it was going to be half decent. And it was. With a prix fixe menu costing just $25 (which happened to be the same price my other half had to pay for some cold sore cream over there – how I laughed at the herpes riddled one’s pain at having to fork out for that – “BLISTEX IS ONLY ABOUT £5 AT HOME – I CAN’T FUCKING BELIEVE THIS”) – the meal was a great bargain. And cold sore cream isn’t filling or particularly tasty. Not that I know – I don’t have the dirty virus. I was laughing on the other side of my face (and limping) when I had to buy an ankle support bandage a few days later though.
Of course, I avoided the offerings that included face, such as ox cheeks, and plumped for lardo bruschetta with breakfast radish and crispy brussels sprouts for my starter. It was delicious. Well, the topping was a bit sickly, to be honest, but who wouldn’t like deep fried sprouts apart from most people? However, I thought they were great and the little green, cripsy buggers almost made me forget that the bottle of wine was £50. But not quite. The last time I’d bought a bottle of wine for £50 was never. I’d also built up a slight sweat about the fact that my glass of water might not be from the tap. Sometimes fine-ish dining can be traumatic if you’re tight. But, as I refused an H2O top-up, just in case, I pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind and moved on to my main. Niman Ranch top sirloin with Tuscan kale and bone marrow butter. Again, really enjoyable and beautifully presented. But at the back of my mind, I kept thinking about transplants, donations and biopsies. I began to convince myself that someone needed that bone marrow and I’d just eaten it. Yes, I know it’s not the same type (or is it?), but my mind works in mysterious ways. Well, ridiculous ways. And, once it began to repeat on me, I started to believe that it was trying to escape and make its way to the local hospital. But let’s ignore that. It’s not like it remained with me all day. I wasn’t belching bone marrow butter continuously. I didn’t puke in the hotel room that evening. Ok, I did do those things. It was nothing to do with the food, I can assure you – it was my mental illness and the fact that I had continued to drink (considerably cheaper) red wine all afternoon.
The service was attentive and the restaurant’s ambience remarkably didn’t suffer from my presence. And, what made it a bit more special, was that dining across from me was one of the main characters from The Sopranos. To be honest, I’ve never actually seen The Sopranos, but he looked like he was probably out of it. So that was cool.
I would therefore definitely recommend a visit to Colicchio & Sons. Even the glasses of water turned out to be free. I, and my dining companion, were delighted.