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Tucked into a beautiful corner in the Upper East Side, Parma Nuova is the latest creation from the minds of restaurateurs Giorgio Manzio and La Masseria Group’s Enzo Ruggiero, Giuseppe Iuele and Chef Pino Coladonato. We stopped by on Monday night to sample some of their menu items!
When you walk into the restaurant, you’re greeted with the quintessential, comforting scene of an elevated New York Italian restaurant: white tablecloths, cherry wooden chairs, a tall candle stand on every table. We sat down before the dinner crowd rushed in, so got to see the ambiance transform from quiet to bustling yet warm.
For our first course, we chose the BURRATINA CON MELANZANE, PEPERONI ARROSTOE POMODORI SECCHI. Served with sundried tomatoes, marinated eggplant, and sweet roast peppers, this preparation turned the typical, but still delicious burrata starter found on every menu in the city, into something bright, unique, and delicious. Our second dish was the INSALATA PARMA, a medley of arugula, radicchio, tomato, peppers, olives, and endives, topped with sheets of parmesan. It was the last day of the heat wave, and we needed a cool salad to revive our bodies – this hit the spot.
We sipped on summery aperol spritzes and enjoyed our appetizers while we excitedly browsed Parma Nuova’s decadent pasta and entree menus. After debating over traditional and modern dishes, we finally settled on GNOCCHI ALLA SPUMA DI PARMIGIANO E TARTUFO, a gnocchi in parmesan sauce with fresh truffles. When the pasta is brought to your table, the server comes with a precious truffle in a glass jar and shaves it directly onto your plate! I’d never seen this done before, and as a truffle-obsessed foodie, I was awestruck. If you’re a fan of truffle, and I’m thinking that applies to almost every single person reading this, you definitely need to try it fresh. Our decadent pasta helpings were completed by their daily special, the Branzino, with roasted carrots and potatoes. The fresh fish was deboned and plated, cooked with a deliciously simple seasoning and the perfect complement to the rich, cheesy pasta.
Before we finished our meal, we had to try some of their desserts – the TORTA DI MAMMA PAOLA, a flourless chocolate cake, and the MISTO BOSCO CON SORBETTO AL FRUTTO DELLA PASSIONE, a passion fruit sorbet topped with fresh summer berries. Offering something luscious and something refreshingly light, these desserts left us very full, and very happy. Before we left the restaurant, we caught up with Giorgio and Enzo to learn a bit more about Parma Nuova’s launch and vision. Officially opening just a few weeks ago, the restaurant offers a similar menu to Masseria dei Vini, just with a few more regional specialties from the Parma region. The La Masseria team is hoping to offer the Upper East Side a taste of the authentic Italian cuisine that has delighted Rhode Island, Palm Beach, and Midtown West for years.
A masterclass on how to do seafood right
Looking for some delicious Lebanese cuisine in Manhattan? Well… Welcome to Au Za’atar with two locations, in East Village and Midtown this Lebanese cuisine experience is sure to live up to all of your expectations!
Manhattan is a true “melting pot”. Over 800 languages are spoken in the city. Coming from an extremely diverse background myself I always enjoyed indulging in different cultures’ cuisine and learning a thing or two about the culture, cuisine, and customs while I indulge!
Lebanon is the third-smallest country in the Middle East, Lebanon boasts over 7,000 years of rich history. The country was once owned by the French and many people in Lebanon still speak French. “The name Lebanon comes from the Semitic origin word “lbn” which means “white” in reference to the snow-capped Mount Lebanon.” – Source: CIA World Fact Book
Lebanon is among the oldest sites of wine production in the world. While at the restaurant my friends and I knew we must try Lebanese wine. We had a few glasses of “Château Heritage – Saint Elie”, a Cabernet from 2017. This Cabernet had distinct notes of blackberry, black fruit, and blackcurrant. It had subtle oaky, earthy, and red fruit notes. I would definitely describe the wine as a full-body wine that is powerful yet silky on the tongue. I would highly recommend trying this wine if you are a Cabernet fan or trying to get into Cabernet wine, due to the silky yet sharp taste.
Au Za’atar is the only place that started tableside shawarma and has been on Travel Channel, Food Network, and many other media outlets. Helmed by the Lebanese-born Tarik Fallous, the Arabian-French Bistro’s menu attempts to pay homage to all of the distinct flavors that make up traditional Lebanese cooking. “All the recipes at Au Za’atar are recipes I grew up eating, recipes from my mother and family–recipes that I enjoy cooking.” The inclusive menu, which features over 60 items, offers a roster of unrivaled classic dishes like expertly-whipped baba ganoush, a smoky in-house cultured labne, and pita bread so soft and flavorful, it hardly requires any of the signature mezze that accompanies it. On the more ambitious side, Fallous serves up dishes like Dalaa Mahshi — a braised lamb shoulder stuffed with minced beef, seasoned rice, and topped with herbs and ground nuts — or Samke Harra, a spiced sea bass fillet cooked in tahini with diced potatoes. The restaurant, cobbled together with dark wood and simple curtains, is Fallous’ fragment of Beirut in the heart of the East Village and a recent and first expansion to Midtown East. The standout dish is the tableside shawarma: a towering hunk of beef served directly from spool to plate. To prepare the meaty, cylindrical sculpture, Fallous and his team marinate fresh cuts of beef for 24 hours in house-made tahini and an eight-spice blend, before stacking them atop a spinning pole, where they’re cooked in steady, even turns on a spinning griller. Fallous delivers the contraption directly to each table, so guests can slice their fresh cuts of meat, served with warm pita, and spiced potatoes. “I wanted to have a place for my family and friends,” says Fallous, “where I can take them to Lebanon without them having to leave New York City.”
For food, we started with two large tower spreads; when I say large, I mean LARGE! The spread included all sorts of delicious items such as; hummus, pita, pickles, muhammara, tabouli salad, fattoush salad, arnabeet mekle, fattet al-betenjane, foul medames, labne, baba ganoush, and halloum mekli. The two spreads are listed under Mezze & Dips Samplers on their menu.
My personal favorite appetizer they brought out was the halloum mekli. The halloum mekli can be described as; fried cypriot cheese drizzled with garlic honey and olive oil. All my friends and I were fighting for the last fried cheese that’s how mouthwatering each bite of the halloum mekli was. Another thing the whole table didn’t leave a trace of was the tabouli salad. Tabouli salad can be described as wheat bulgur mixed with fresh parsley, tomatoes, scallions, mint, fresh lemon juice & olive oil. Tabouli salad is delicious and healthy, can life get any better?!
After we attempted to complete the spread we received 3 Mana’eesh. Mana’eesh can be described as baked flatbread or Lebanese open-face sandwiches. We sampled the falafel pizza, za’atar manouche, jebne manouche mana’eesh’s. The falafel pizza was the table’s favorite of the 3. It was a flatbread with cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and diced falafel. The falafel was SO tasty, it honestly tasted like a lamb for a second. If I could guess I would say that falafels are a great vegetarian lamb replacement. Jebne manouche was a cheese blend flatbread, very similar to the very well know Italian classic cheese pizza. While the za’atar manouche was something I’ve never tried anything like before. The Za’atar manouche flatbread had sun-dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac & olive oil.
We ended our feast with the delicious beef Shawarma. We had an option between chicken and beef but beef seemed to be the highly favored option for my party. Shawarma is made by placing raw meat on large, rotating cones. As the Shawarma rotates, the meat is cooked by a heat source behind the cone. The Shawarma plate also came with seasoned french fries that we couldn’t get enough of. So delicious!!!
On top of the great food and wine, the staff was so kind and insightful, they made my friends and I feel like family. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who lives or will be visiting New York City. Be sure to check out their Instagram for some mouth-watering GOODEATSONLYYY.
Welcome to Hortus NYC: a Michelin-recognized gem nestled in the heart of Nomad. A mature and sleek lobby greets you as you check in with the host, browse the menu stand, and are led upstairs to the intimate indoor seating balcony. Blending Asian fusion flavors and techniques with a modern American flair, Chef Lenny Moon has captured the hearts of new yorkers. We stopped by on Tuesday evening to sample some of their exciting new spring menu items, as well as some classic menu favorites.
First up was the Royal Platter: lobster tails, jumbo shrimp cocktail, salmon crudo, and caviar-topped oysters arrived in a wooden bento box filled with ice. This delicious selection primed us perfectly for our meal with its fresh flavors and light fare. Our favorite of the platter were the oysters – some of the best we’ve had in the city. Next, our soju-based cocktails arrived. We ordered the Piña, a lime, mint, and pineapple based drink, and the Black Plum, which had a makgeolli and burnt orange flavor profile. The Piña is great for those wanting a light & sweet fruity sip, and the Black Plum is perfect for old-fashioned-lovers or those who prefer a less sweet, more boozy pairing to their meal.
For appetizers, we ordered two Hortus fan-favorites – the Yuzu Bacon Rose Pasta and the King Crab Noodle. Both generous enough to be a main dish, each had such distinct flavors. The Yuzu Pasta, which the host described to us as a classic rigatoni vodka with a sweetness lent from the rose and a citrusy essence from the yuzu, was decadent and that savory-sweet goodness found in all my favorite dishes. The King Crab Noodle was also creamy and thick, but had notes of spices to it due to the mala, a Sichuan spice, in the sauce. Topped with crab meat, the seafood element did not overwhelm the pasta but added a tasteful fresh complement to the buttery sauce.
The Ribeye and the Duck, a new spring menu item, were our mains of choice. The ribeye arrived with a miso chimichurri sauce, green beans, and crispy potatoes. The duck confit was my favorite item of the meal, cooked to perfect tender juiciness and surrounded by an orange hoisin sauce with quinoa salad and pickled beets. Finally, for dessert, we tried their Matcha Tiramisu and their Yuzu Panna Cotta. Where the Yuzu Pasta has a subtle hint of citrus, the panna cotta is packed with explosive citrusy flavor – each bite was mouth-puckeringly sour balanced with the rich, creamy panna cotta base, with a butter cookie crumble and raspberries on top. The Tiramisu was fluffy with a subtle sweetness and matcha flavor that contrasted the punch panna cotta perfectly.
After enjoying our food, we caught up with restaurant captain Sarah to learn a bit more about the vision behind Hortus:
What’s the vision behind Hortus?
Sarah: Hortus stands for “garden” in Latin. We’re actually asian-fusion, we lean towards Korean, Chinese, Japanese, more on the asian side, but has a European twist which you can see on some of the dishes.
How are the seasonal menus selected?
Sarah: We’ve had 3 different chefs, all have been Korean. The first chef developed the menu to be a mix of Korean and Latin, the second chef was right before the pandemic, and our new chef, Lenny Moon, decides on the menu with the owner and manager. They change the menu 2-3 times per year, around summer and winter.
What is your favorite dish from each course?
Sarah: Love the Kumamoto Oysters and Salmon Crudo. The King Crab Noodle is the top, definitely, and the Truffle Donabe with the Hangar steak is what we’re known for. It’s been on the menu for the past 4 years. My favorite dessert is the Matcha Tiramisu.
Any hidden gems on the menu you’d like guests to know about?
Sarah: The salad has an incredible dressing, and has papaya and mango. That’s definitely a hidden gem. I’d say for appetizers – the Prawns and Oysters, and for main, the Sea Urchin Donabe. People tend to be afraid of the raw sea urchin. The Yuzu Panna Cotta is definitely underrated for dessert, since people don’t know what panna cotta is, but it’s delicious.
Anything else you want people to know about Hortus?
Sarah: I want them to know we’re affordable, especially for being on 5th Avenue, and to give us a try!
Our 4-course meal was truly a delight, and we highly recommend booking a reservation at Hortus NYC as soon as you can to celebrate spring with their new menu!
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Taking classic Indian flavors and serving them with a modern twist