Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bits & Morsels

Alaskan black cod at The Standard Grill.

by Erin Frankel

Vaulted alcoves, balmy white and blue washed walls, tile murals, and crystal chandeliers set the tone. Think waterside Italian restaurant in Capri. This is Marcony. Marcony's approach is humble and exact: Italian island cuisine emphasizing lightly seasoned salads, delicate pasta dishes, and simply prepared and grilled fresh-caught fish.

That is exactly what I got. My meal began with an excellent Tricolore classica (baby arugula, radicchio, Belgium endive, and hearts of palm lightly doused with evo oil and lemon). Next, a dreamy capesante marcony (pan roasted diver scallops with lemon cream, wilted baby spinach with garlic and evo oil, dressed with a balsamic reduction glaze). The mezzanelli was an easy choice (long ziti with spicy Italian sausage meatballs, arugula, tomato sauce, and thin layers of creamy buffalo mozzarella). Finally taking delight in the dentice in crosta di patata (a potato crusted red snapper filet seasoned with a light lemon butter and white wine sauce).

It would be hard to find a more skilled and graceful seafood preparation outside of Capri.

184 Lexington Avenue (between 31st and 32nd)
Tricolore classica.
Mezzanelli with spicy Italian sausage meatballs, arugula, tomato sauce, and buffalo mozzarella.
Capesante Marcony, pan roasted diver scallops with lemon cream, baby spinach, and a balsamic reduction glaze.
Dentice in Crosta di patata. Potato crusted red snapper with lemon butter and white wine sauce.
Where else I ate this week:

The Standard Grill. Nestled under the Standard Hotel’s massive, modern edifice sits an elegant seafood-influenced American bistro ideal for a warm summer evening, with a room for every mood. You can choose to sit in the dining room where low lighting, high vaulted ceilings, white tablecloths, and red banquettes exhibit an urbane vibe. For a more casual, boisterous affair, perch yourself in the sky-light-lit French-styled bistro with black-and-white tiled floors, wooden tables, an oyster station, and a long wooden bar lined with the young and the restless. For some of the best and brightest people watching around (after all, this is why people come to The Standard), sit in the outdoor café facing Washington Street or around the corner under the high steel beams which display the High Line.

The Standard cocktail.
The seasonal fare changes regularly, but you are always sure to find some healthy and delicious swill. Start with a selection of east and west coast raw oysters and ½ pound of the Alaskan King Crab Legs (the raw bar is a specialty here) and then move onto some of the fresh, flavorful salads and delicately seasoned seafood. I suggest the Iceberg Wedge dressed with Kentucky bacon and a creamy blue cheese or the lighter Bib Royale, a Bibb lettuce doused with chives and a white-wine Dijon-vinaigrette.

I highly recommend the grilled Alaskan black cod, which is placed in a light gazpacho broth and accompanied by a potato-leek salad.

There are some heartier selections as well, like the succulent strips of Long Island duck breast, subtly seasoned with blood orange, pistachio, and olives. Make sure to pair your meal with one of the restaurant’s refreshing cocktails like its namesake, a sweet mixture of gin, lemon, and raspberry puree topped with champagne.

There’s always something new and inspiring at The Standard, whether on the menu or in the crowd. I’d happily go back.

The Standard Grill
848 Washington Street, at 13th Street

Iceberg Wedge with Kentucky bacon and blue cheese.
Bib Royale, a Bibb lettuce with chives and a white-wine Dijon-vinaigrette.
East and west coast oysters.
Alaskan king crab leg.
Charred Spanish octopus, sweet potato, and chilies.
Long Island duck breast.
Pinche Taqueria. On a recent warm summer weeknight, I wanted to indulge my burgeoning taco fix. My friend Ben recently convinced me to try his East Side version of beer-battered tacos for a song at Pinche Taqueria, a spin-off of a famous Tijuana, Mexico taqueria which specializes in fresh fish tacos. The tables inside are beyond cramped and the outside space neighbors the Bleecker street subway station. And the food is served on paper plates. Yes, your first impression was my first impression. But, the tacos ARE delicious. Are you really willing to pass up crunchy, beer-battered fried mahi mahi ... mixed with shreds of green cabbage and onion ... dressed with a hot cilantro mayo sauce inside of a piping hot tortilla?

Pinche Taqueria
333 Lafayette Street
Chips and guacamole.
Pinche Taqueria's Fish taco.
Photographs by Erin Frankel.
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