June 20, 2012

Frank's Steaks

Frank's steaks has a long history in Rockville Centre, Long Island. Formerly the Lincoln Inn, Frank's has made a name for itself with their skirt steak, which Zagat once called the 'best skirt steak in the world.'

ABF & I were there for a special group event, and our party took up quite a few tables.

My appetizer: Caesar salad. This is pretty basic--it came with a very citrusy, light dressing instead of the standard heavy, creamy dressing. It also had nice shavings of fresh Parmesan and lots and lots of croutons, which I definitely picked out of there. Yeah, I'm that person.

ABF ordered the French onion soup and it was gorgeous! This was so good with delicious melted mozzarella just oozing over the side. Perfectly browned/broiled spots dotted the cheesy top, and delicious pieces of chunky onion bread floated inside. the best part about this soup--it's not overly salty! Just right, balanced, soothing. I'd definitely get this next time over the salad.

As I mentioned, Frank's earned a lot of its reputation for their Roumanian skirt steak, marinated in duck sauce, garlic, and Worcestershire (among other flavors). I ordered the 'petite' fillet, which comes in at 8 ounces over the standard 16 ounces. This was more than enough for me. It also came with light, refreshing creamed spinach (you could actually taste the spinach!)and decadently silky mashed potatoes (no doubt made with heavy cream and lots of roasted garlic--oh so good). I couldn't finish off the petite plate, even, so this was plenty.

ABF ordered the New York Strip streak--this was succulent! I might have to go for this if we go back--it was much less sweet than my skirt steak.

ABF ordered a glass of their house Merlot which his go-to drink. I ordered a glass of the house Pinot Noir and for once, we both preferred what I ordered! As you know, I often develop 'order envy' with whatever ABF gets--he just has 'the knack.' This time, though, I felt the Merlot was too sweet, while the Pinot Noir was light and a perfect complement to the already sweet-and-salty steak.

The steak tastes very similar to quite possibly the best skirt steak ever had, and that's at the York Grill (on NYC's Upper East Side). Surprisingly, York Grill has not made an appearance on this blog yet but is still, to me, one of the best restaurants in New York .

The best part about Frank Steaks was the service. They greeted every customer there as if they were regulars (and true, many were), but even us! We were a very large party, at least 15, and our server didn't miss a step. He was nice without being 'too nice' or overbearing. He got everyone's order right (impressive), checked on us at the right times, and was really good at what he did. They have lots of little touches, too, like the rock candy sugar stirrer with my cappuccino.

Note--Frank's is not an inexpensive place. Even the chicken entrées come in at around 30 dollars. However, it's satisfying, well-done food with top-notch service. If you're looking for a special occasion, if you want a really nice meal with welcome home service, Frank's is a great place to go.

Frank's Steakhouse

54 Lincoln Avenue

Rockville Centre, NY

Phone: (516) 536-1500

June 18, 2012

Time for Tapas: Olea

I met my friend Holly for tapas in Fort Greene, Brooklyn at a place known for a fantastic happy hour. With half-price drinks, half-price tapas, and a low-key, welcoming vibe, Olea Mediterranean Taverna is a favorite of Holly's, and a few bites in I could see why.

Two red wine sangrias to start: the sangria has a delicious, fresh blackberry flavor. It's not too sweet-- sometimes sangria can taste like super-sweet fruit juice. Olea's sangria has a nice balance between the wine and the fruit. Delicious and half-price, and it went down oh-so-easily!

We started with a few small plates: silky, garlicky, and chock-full of cucumbers, with tasty whole wheat pita -delicious.

We also got a favorite of both of ours: bacon wrapped dates with almond slivers inside. Okay, fine, we got TWO orders of this!

Holly convinced me to order the lamb meatballs. Lamb is not a common choice for me. Aside from the amazing lamb chili at the New York Vintners meal (LINK HERE) I don't normally enjoy it that much. These, however, were amazing.

Spiked with cinnamon, Soft, but still holding together, with a tangy, zingy melted goat cheese topping, these were fantastic. I could have gone for another order of these in a heartbeat!

I always order patatas bravas when I get tapas--and these were exceptional. Perfectly crisp but not greasy, with a harissa-spiked mayo that wasn't that spicy.

We ate our fill, had a couple of drinks, enjoyed the people-watching outdoors and just enjoyed a lovely evening in Brooklyn. Personally, I think it's pretty easy to enjoy Brooklyn. ;)

Our bill came to a grand total of $19 per person. That's for 3 drinks pp and more than enough food. What a deal! Even after leaving a nice tip, we still spent easily half what that would cost anywhere else.

I'll be back there in a heartbeat for another day of tapas and sangria-- and if you stop by yourself, let me know!

Olea Mediterranean Taverna

171 Lafayette Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11238

(718) 643-7003

June 11, 2012

Brunching in Bay Ridge

I've lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for quite a while, and yet there are still so many delicious places to try. I'm fortunate enough to have friends near and far who aren't adverse to traveling for a good time.

A new friend, K, whom I met through Jen A, has been going to Hom for quite a while, and spoke so highly of it that we jumped on a Living Social deal that included 2 entrées and 2 glasses of their famous sangria for just under 30 dollars. Four of us met on an overcast, super-warm Saturday and were quickly seated out back. The skies looked like they were about to open up, but we decided to live on the edge. ;) (It turned out just fine--not a drop of rain fell!)

Sangria's a lovely thing, but first I need to cool down and pep up with some iced coffee. This was a huge, strong serving of just what I needed--tart, just-acidic-enough coffee ($4).

We did also enjoy a carafe of their white sangria, which goes down very easily! It tastes like white grape juice with peachy overtones, and it is quite refreshing on a muggy summer day. I hear the red sangria is also delicious (next trip!)

A complimentary pile of carbs came out next--from raisin-studded bread to tiny chocolate-chip muffins (as delicious as they were adorable) to flaky, buttery biscuits--this was all too tempting.

I still struggle with mixing sweet & savory, so I had butter on one half and some scrumptious, light strawberry jam on the other. And then later, I had another one, just like that one. Equally nommable.

Jen A ordered the peach pancakes ($12.95), which were fluffy buttermilk pancakes with cinnamon-spiced peaches and a thick, peachy syrup on top of them. I had a few bites of this dish--very yummy! I eat pancakes maybe twice a year, but these were tasty!

The other 3 of us ordered the Green Eggs & Ham (12.95), an omelet with onions, peppers, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and pesto! Pesto in eggs! My new favorite combo! They will gladly hold the peppers, onions, mushrooms, or whatever you like--but I got mine fully loaded.

Seriously--I can't wait to harvest my basil, make some pesto, and put it on eggs! This dish was singing with the flavors of fresh veggies, melty cheese, and that just-enough-touch of pesto. Wow.

It turns out we could only use one of the Living Social deals that day, so we'll have to come back a few more times. It's not cheap, but it's not outrageous either--and the flavors are fantastic. If you're in or near Bay Ridge, try brunch at Hom! They serve it Wednesday-Sunday!


8804 3rd Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11209

(718) 238-4466

June 08, 2012

Casa Nonna

I met up with That Sara the other night for a mid-week dinner-yay! We went to a restaurant that is crazy close to her house: Casa Nonna, a dark, expansive, sprawling restaurant with low lighting and interesting decor (rows of plain white plates on one wall, brass buckets on another, and ceramic rain boot sculptures under a table--just a few things we spotted there that night).

They bring out their housemade bread, a chewy, tasty focaccia with fresh rosemary, red pepper flakes and chewy pockets of what I think was cheese (whatever it was, it was delicious!) Our server brought out a pepper-free version for Sara, who's allergic to all types of peppers.

Even with the fresh rosemary (which I can only take in small doses or I feel like I'm eating a pine tree), I devoured way too much of this. Chewy, salty, tangy, and crispy with a lovely kick of heat? Yes, please.

I ordered a quartino (about 2 small glasses for $16) of their Barbera d'Alba after my first choice, the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, was gone. This was perfect. Spicy, fruity, and a great match to everything I ate.

We were pretty hungry but saving room for dessert, so we skipped the apps and went straight for entrées. Sara got the spinach ribbons with roasted mushrooms. This was fantastic--earthy, well-seasoned, and the spinach flavor really came through in the fresh noodles.

I ordered the pici, or twisted strands, with the pork and beef ragu. The sauce was very good, but the noodles were a bit chewier than I expected. Sara's dish was much better, but mine was still tasty and did the job. I'd get hers next time if I had to choose between the two.

On the house-- 2 mini meringues covered in the most delicious chocolate. The meringues were a bit crunchy, which skeeves me out texture-wise (along with malted milk balls and nails screeching down a chalkboard), but the chocolate was so good that I mostly ignored the texture. For dessert we shared the bomboloni, which are small doughnut holes soaked in limoncello syrup. Delicious! Not as heavy as I expected, and the limoncello syrup and candied orange strips were the perfect accompaniment. This was just enough to share without leaving me feel stuffed.

It's not cheap, with most entrées being over 20 dollars, but the food is well-made and it's a nice, relaxed atmosphere. I wouldn't go out of my way just yet (though I will try it again), but if you're looking for a decent meal in midtown and want to avoid Times Square or Penn Station, this is perfectly in the middle and perfectly tasty.

Casa Nonna

310 W. 38th St. (8th Ave.)

New York, NY 10018


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