Monday, July 27, 2009

The Poo of Tao

So, the other night my friends and I went to Tao. You know, the Tao from Sex and the City; the Tao with the 16-foot Buddha; the Tao that’s too cool for school… yeah, that Tao. I was skeptical making my reservation at Tao, as I am with any restaurant whose fame is derived from its 15 minutes with the fab four. Now, to put this in a bit of perspective, the girls spent a scene at Tao on episode 51, which aired on Sunday, June 10, 2001. In a city where the new “it” restaurant can hardly hold the title from lunch to dinner, it’s hard to believe that anyplace deemed trendy, can stay as such for 8 years.

We arrived for our 9:15 reservation remarkably on time, slightly lubed from a few cocktails at an LGBT event held at the Metropolitan Museum. As we perused the waiting area it became clear what has happened to Tao. It was still jammed; however, it has now become a haven for menopausal Jerseyans celebrating the big 5-0 and Long Island fraternity boys treating their orange-skinned ladies to dinner on their six-month anniversary. Nonetheless we decided to reminisce about the golden year of Tao and moseyed up to the host stand.

The scantily clad hostess told us our table wasn’t ready yet and handed us a beeper. I tried to explain that beepers were prominent during the Zack Morris-phone years and there must be some error, “you see, we have a reservation and TGI Friday’s used beepers in the 90’s.” She just gave me a blank stare; I don’t think she spoke English.

About 20 minutes later we were shooting the hostess “nobody puts Baby in a corner” eyes, until my friend and I decide to march back over to her. As my friend began to complain, he opened with “I don’t think you understand the definition of a reservation,” (oh no he didn’t, yes he did). She ran down the laundry list of reason’s why they were busy, ending with “and, I mean, it is Tao.” To which, I turned to my friend as she looked on and said “Did she seriously just say ‘well, I mean, it is Tao?’” (oh, snap). Another hostess noticed this feline fight brewing just in time and frantically yelled, “Your table is ready, the best in the house, right this way,” and rid me of that incessantly flashing beeper.

Our table was not the best in the house, but nice enough – a half-moon booth facing the impressive Buddha. The interior is a site to see and the music’s great, but you could say the same thing about Buddakan, Morimoto, or Budda Bar. It was Restaurant Week (hence the high wait and low class), so we had a prix fixe menu from which to choose. We began with a round of cocktails - lychee martinis and Ruby Red Dragons. The lychee-tinis were good, but standard and boring. The Ruby Red Dragon is a mixture of Finlandia Grapefruit, yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit) juice, and a dash of pomegranate juice. It was a multidimensional drink with several citrusy layers that worked in tandem to create something refreshing and surprising.

The appetizers we chose were pork potstickers, crispy tuna sashimi, and jumbo shrimp tempura. The potstickers were slightly better than the typical version, but at best I would say they were “fine.” The tempura shrimp were light and tasty without being greasy. The tuna sashimi was a silver dollar-sized plug of fresh raw tuna coated in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and flash fried. The sashimi was the clear winner of the appetizer. The fish was excellent quality, with a salty and crispy crust that enhanced the meats flavor. I stole two from my friend’s plate.

Given our limited options from the prix fixe, two of us chose wasabi-crusted filet mignon for our entrée and the other two chose Chilean sea bass. The sea bass was a showstopper. It was thick, succulent and enlivened with sesame oil. The filet came pre-sliced with a bread crumb wasabi crust and a stack of onion rings on the side. The steak came a perfect medium rare and the flavor profile was spot on. The wasabi was tasty without overpowering the dish. I did, however, feel that the crust dried out the steak, but my friend disagreed. The onion rings were at least an inch thick and some of the best I’ve had. They weren’t greasy, but crunchy and salty.

For dessert, we again only opted for two of the four choices. We had three orders of chocolate spring rolls and one order of banana bread pudding. The spring rolls seemed to be a vial of melted chocolate wrapped in a traditional spring roll wrapper. It was crunchy with a creamy interior, rich, decadent, and delicious. The banana bread putting, on the other hand, seemed to be bananas, Cool Whip, and Nilla Wafers. It was refreshing and tasty, but something I can make from one aisle of the supermarket.

Although the food was solid, it was unimaginative and a bit formulaic. It’s obvious that Tao has done nothing to update its once-hip status and the scene is tired. The next time I get a beeper, I’ll be sure to hand it back and run.

Tao – 1 Sparkle *
42 East 58th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 888-2288

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Being Frugal, Staying Fabulous: Craftbar

I know it seems like every other post these days is about some superchef’s budget bistro. This is in large part due to the growing movement in New York City and in even larger part due to my shrinking bank account. Until I get a monthly dining stipend, I will continue to represent the “everyman” and explore how to dine on a dime. Well, maybe it’s not a dime exactly, but at least the Glitter Gourmet will continue to find ways to be fabulous and frugal. For this venture into glamorous moderation, I decided to turn to one of my favorite New York chefs and headed to Tom Colicchio’s Craftbar.

I arrived at Craftbar at our reservation time of 8:30 on the dot. The hostess opened the door for me, told me I was the first to check in and asked if I’d like to be seated or wait for my dinner guest. This was already better service than many upscale NYC spots and worlds better than other budget bistros I’ve reviewed.

As I sat waiting, I began to compare and contrast as much as I could. The décor has the same modern class as Colicchio’s flagship Craft, without some of the more opulent touches. You won’t find a cooper wall or dangling Edison light bulbs, but you will find a lofted army of wine refrigerators accessed by a suspended iron catwalk – very sexy. My friend arrived earlier than his typical fashionable tardiness and we were taken to our table by a host in Diesel jeans and a Lacoste polo, one of the few indications we weren’t in Craft proper.

As we perused the menu, I began to munch on the rosemary and sea salt grissini that sat on our table. Now I have a weakness for anything with salt and rosemary on top, but these thick, crunchy rods left me wondering how many times I could ask for more before the waitress realized I was stashing them in my bag. Alas, my impeccable class and deathly fear of carbs had me stop after just one.

After answering a barrage of rapid-fire questions, our waitress took our order as she wiped the beads of sweat from her brow. She passed with flying colors and was back a few moments later to deliver our Zweigelt (Austrian red wine) with impeccable wine service technique. Not only do servers whisk away your bottles to be opened at the service stations, but bottles of white wine are kept on ice adjacent to the table.

To start, my friend and I had a smoked pig head terrine with mostarda. The terrine looked exactly like headcheese, a conglomeration of the bits of meat from a pig’s head held together with gelatin. Sounds like heaven on a plate, no? Mostarda is an Italian condiment made of candied fruit and mustard flavored syrup; in this case we had lemon peel.

The smoky pork meat was a delectable reminder of bacon, and it paired exceptionally well with the sweet fruit. As a newcomer to the world of headcheese, the texture of the gelatin gave me pause, but I began to see the light by the end of the dish. The terrine was also accompanied by a slice of the most incredible bread I have had in a long while. The two-inch thick slice was crusty and salty on the outside with a creviced interior of chewy flesh that was just a breath away from being gummy. It seems that I am slowly but surely conquering my fear of carbs.

For my entrée, I had skate wing with fingerling potatoes and sauce gribiche. Skate is a fish similar to a ray and the “wing” literally refers to the wing-like portion of the skate’s body. The skate came lightly fried and was oddly reminiscent of fried clams; other claim that skate tastes like scallops. The pressed and pan-fried potatoes were crispy and divine. This dish was an outstanding upscale play of fish and chips. Sauce gribiche is a French mayonnaise-based sauce that is extremely similar to tartar sauce. I found the sauce disappointing, but also unnecessary. I did, however, get a bit overwhelmed by salt during my last few bites, at which point a cleansing sauce may have come in handy. The dish also had a few slivers of pickled beets and celery leaves that added much more refreshing flavor than I would have thought.

Although I was stuffed, a reviewer’s duties never end, so I forged on toward dessert. Ricotta fritters arrived rolled in cinnamon and sugar with blueberry compote and buttermilk sorbet. The glistening orbs were sugary bites of heaven, putting the freshest of munchkins to shame. Drizzled with blueberry goodness, the fritters would have sent almost anyone into diabetic shock were it not for the soothing calm of the buttermilk sorbet. The sorbet’s light and clean tartness was the perfect counter to the glucospheres.

As we flew out of Craftbar to a movie for which we were unfashionably tardy, I thought to myself, finally a budget bistro that’s more bistro than budget.

Craftbar – 3 Sparkles ***
900 Broadway
New York, NY

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm Cooking With Gas: Sour Cherry-Tarragon French Toast

So, the Glitter Gourmet is primarily restaurant reviews, and being a publicist, I'm terrified to muddle my brand; however, I just created a new dish that I just had to share. If my creativity continues, this could turn into a series, maybe called "Glitter Grub," but I have a well-document fear of committment, so for now, I'll just say this is a one off recipe. Enjoy and leave a comment if you make it!

This dish was born out of my aversion for waste. I woke up one morning to a slew of things wilting and waning around me. As I broke into a cold sweat, I quickly dreamed up a way to use the day-old bread and the last few sprigs from a tarragon bunch. French toast is a great way to make use of old bread. Because it is soaked, it can revive most hardening loaves. Other day-old bread classics like croutons and bread crumbs, dry bread completely, but if you just can’t handle seeing that gorgeous loaf turn to a cracker, than stick with French toast. The flavor profile wasn’t a calculated venture into haute cuisine, but a melding of what was in my fridge. Somehow it worked and delivered an elegant, light breakfast that I’m sure to recreate. The below recipe is approximate, because I only made one serving and eyeballed everything.

Serves 4
4 1.5 inch-thick slices of a sweet bread (challah or brioche work well)
3 eggs
1/4 milk
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup sour cherry jam
1 tbsp tarragon
4 dollops whipped cream

French toast:
Beat eggs with milk and cardamom and pour into a baking pan that will fit all of the slices of bread. Place the slices of bread into the egg mixture and let it soak for five minutes, then flip and let the second side soak for an additional five minutes. Put the soaked bread into a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and flip when the bottom is golden brown. When the second side is golden brown, remove and plate. *

*note: the second side will always cook faster than the first, so keep a close eye

Sour cherry-tarragon sauce:
Put the jam and tarragon in a small skillet over low heat as soon as you begin cooking the French toast. The mixture will slowly become less viscous and turn into a sauce. If the sauce becomes too thick, then add water accordingly in tsp installments until it looks like a maple syrup.

To plate:

Cut each slice in half and stack on each plate to give the dish some height. Pour the warm sauce over each plate and add a dollop of whipped cream. I used Cool Whip, but if you have the means and the time, you should make your own whipped cream. I had neither. Serve immediately or the whipped cream will melt and look as if your plate is covered in…well…it just isn’t a good look.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple: Barbuto

The celebrity chef is something that’s always been a part of New York’s fabric. For better or worse, we’re continually bombarded by the latest whim of television super-chefs like Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, or Masaharu Morimoto. While the Food Network has taken a few showy chefs and made them into mouthwatering moguls, Bravo’s Top Chef Masters is giving some of the hardest working and most talented chefs of today their own 15 minutes of fame… and you can bet none of these chefs will show up at your door for a Throwdown or a challenge in Kitchen Stadium.

Chef Anita Lo’s triumphant win last week had me yearning for a meal at her Annisa; however, Annisa being under renovation after a recent fire, left me totally blue tongued. Luckily, in an effort to beat the curve, I just dined at another upcoming Master’s restaurant before his episode has even aired. I wish I could attribute this to exceptional planning and unwavering dedication to my craft; however, the truth is I just happen to be fortunate enough to join some good friends at one of their favorite haunts, which happens to be Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto.

Approximately 45 minutes late (oops), I called Barbuto as I ran back and forth between West 12th Street and Little West 12th Street, which apparently are not the same thing. Between pants, I tried to describe my friends to the hostess and begged her to send them a round of cocktails on my credit card. To my delight, she was already aware of the situation, new exactly who and what I was talking about, and told me not to worry; she would talk to them and see me in a few minutes. Before I reached the host stand, the hostess knew who I was and whisked me off to the table…I could tell I was in for a treat.

When I reached the table, it was clear from my haggard appearance, that I needed a drink with the utmost expediency. I ordered a dirty martini. The bar has a somewhat odd mix of brands, not carrying my usual Kettle One or Johnnie Walker (my standard choice in Scotch whiskey). I opted for Rain Vodka, which actually may take Kettle’s place as my favorite, smooth and pristine, like…well…rain.

As I quickly skimmed the menu, I began reaching across the table to taste what had already arrived. The calamari fritti came dressed with avocado and chili oil. The oil gave the calamari just enough kick, without overpowering the squid. The calamari was shockingly tender (having suffered years of rubber bands at the hands of culinary criminals like the Olive Garden) and the creamy avocado served as a really pleasing textural foil to the crispy coating on the calamari.

In an effort to get my order in before the other arrived, I made the simple choice and ordered the dish for which Waxman is known, the pollo al forno, a roasted chicken with salsa verde. The truth is that while this decision was rushed, I would have made the same choice if I had hours to ponder the menu. First, I always believe in trying a chef’s specialty on a first visit to see if the hype holds water. Second, as a food critic, roasted chicken can be seen as the great equalizer. It’s something simple, but difficult to perfect, and it’s on almost every menu, making roast chicken a perfect platform from which to compare and contrast.

When our meals came (all at the same time I might add), an entire half chicken landed in front of me, glistening and crackling with an almost celestial aura. While the skin looked more beautiful than Chace Crawford sunbathing, if there was nothing of substance beneath, it was all for not. I dug in to find moist succulent meat that was an ideal companion to the crunchy skin. The “salsa verde” that enrobed the chicken was just fresh herbs and melted butter; on this night it was tarragon. The tarragon leaves seemed to fry a bit in the butter, leaving crunchy little morsels with almost every bite of chicken. I only made it through half of the plate and I can tell you that with a little skillful baking and broiling, you can almost revive the leftovers to restaurant quality the next day… or later that same night.

Barbuto serves most entrees sans side dish, leaving customers to pair sides at will…risky. I chose the barbabietola, braised beets with pickled onions and ricotta salata. While beets are always a visual pleasure, with their astounding purpley red (thankfully I describe food, not art), I was nervous that braised beets and roast chicken might prove to be a ho-hum meal. I already knew that there was nothing boring about my chicken, but I eyed the beets with skepticism. I was again pleasantly surprised; the ricotta snow that dusted the beets and onions was packed with flavor. The salty cheese brought the earthy beets together with the tangy pickled onions for one harmonious savory bite. These were also excellent as a midnight snack.

For dessert I chose a hazelnut semifreddo. Literally, semifreddo means “half cold” or semi-frozen, in this reincarnation it came in the form of an ice cream sandwich. Two chocolate cookies that seemed like 1/8-inch thick brownies flanked hazelnut ice cream. It’s hard to go wrong with the classic chocolate hazelnut pairing and this dish didn’t disappoint. The thin brownie layers still had some chew and the ice cream was soft enough to bite through, while still holding its form. Although I opted for the more elaborate dessert, I must admit that my friend’s affogato stole the show. One of my favorite desserts, this simple finale is a cup of exquisite vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso poured on top. Think of coffee ice cream without the chemicals and preservatives.

By the end of the meal, it was clear that Waxman’s acclaim comes from his skill with the simple and the classic. When I dine on truffles, oysters, or fois gras, I know that I’m in for a treat, but making a roasted chicken into a delicacy of its own takes a true Master.

Barbuto – 3 Sparkles ***
775 Washington Street
New York, NY 10014 @ West 12th Street
(212) 924-9700

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

La Tendance Dangereuse: DBGB

New York may or may not be the trendiest city in the U.S., but it’s certainly the most trended. Trends on this island spread like syphilis in Chelsea. Among the most rampant is the advent of the budget bistro, recently discussed in my review of Bar Boulud and Frank Bruni’s review of Bar Artisanal. In an eerie foreshadowing of the current recession, New York has seen numerous culinary titans taking their high cuisine lowbrow over the past few years. We have Tom Colicchio’s Craftbar, David Bruke’s David Burke at Bloomingdales, and Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Burger, to name a few others. The best of these may swap out more expensive ingredients only to prove that they can turn the common into the divine; the worst of them let quality and consistency sag in the name of a lower price point.

I recently joined a group of friends at Daniel Boulud’s new ultra-budget bistro, DBGB, which stands for Daniel Boulud Good Burger. Yes, Daniel Boulud, the Lyonnais luminary is now in the burger business. While this may seem like a depressing “sell-out” moment for Boulud, he did make a splash with his short rib and fois gras burger at his DB Bistro Moderne, so I held out hope for greatness. As we walked down the ramp of the glass-encrusted entryway, I spotted the gorgeous welcoming committee behind the host stand and I knew we were in for something flashy if nothing else.

As we fanned ourselves in the balmy dining room, we scanned the floor for our seemingly nonexistent waiter. By the time our drink menus arrived, we were more excited to have something sturdier to fan ourselves with, than the actual drink list itself. I won’t harp on the service except to say that this set the pace for our evening. I quickly ordered up something cold and strong, DBGB’s take on a Manhattan made with rye whiskey. I ordered mine straight up and one of my dinner companions got the same on the rocks, the rest of the table ordered Caipirinhas – a Brazilian cocktail similar to a Mojito sans mint. I won with a delicious and smooth Manhattan that filled my standard-sized martini glass and kicked the ass of my typical Maker’s Mark Manhattan. The Caipirinhas were superb, with a vibrant tangy lime taste that rose just above the sweet pure cane sugar; however, the Dixiesque rocks glasses were a bit laughable for these double digit cocktails.

Taking into consideration both Boulud’s reputation as a sausage master and my table’s juvenile gay humor, we had no choice but to order an array of sausages for the table, with a smirk, of course. The sausages are truly appetizer-sized and most people would need three to safely serve as an entrée. The Toulouse was a pork, duck gizzard and garlic link, served in a small cast-iron pan atop a bed of cassoulet beans. While the link was light, delicate and pleasant, it was out shown by the buttery and rich cassoulet. The dish leaves you pushing bits of sausage out of the way, as you wonder why the cassoulet wasn’t granted the honor of standing alone on the Sides section of the menu.

The Tunisienne was a merguez comprised of spicy lamb and mint with lemon braised spinach and chickpeas. The merguez was fine, but typical and if anything, bland. It became quite apparent that the heat in this dish came oddly from a dollop of compote that wasn’t listed in the description. While some of my fellow diners found this a calming option to avoid the heat of the Moroccan sun, I found any bite without the compote was pointless.

Our table’s favorite was the Viennoise, a pork and emmenthaler cheese kaiserkrainer (Austrian cheese sausage) with housemade sauerkraut. This was finally the balance and flavor for which I had been looking. The sausage itself was full of cheesy goodness, foiled by the sour tang of the sauerkraut. To even out our hors d’oeuvres we had the Rillette de Jamboneau Provençal – pulled ham hock with tomato, zucchini eggplant, basil and olive oil. The dish was well executed and clean, but boring and unmemorable.

As our Francophile chops were just getting warmed up, our burgers arrived and brought us right back to the American dream. The French-style burger, with the gag-worthy cutesy name, Frenchie, is a 6 oz beef patty with grilled pork belly, arugula, tomato-onion compote and & morbier cheese on a peppered brioche bun with cornichon, mustard and fries. With that laundry list of French delicacies, you’d think my mouth would be atwitter with flavor; however, I thought I was eating a mustard sandwich. A completely gauche pop of the pork belly into my mouth revealed that it was a crispy morsel of fatty pig heaven. I know the French love their mustard and this, of course, was top notch mustard, I just couldn’t get past the horseradishy bouquet to enjoy the gestalt of La Frenchie.

The equally poor-named Piggie was the successful mélange of ingredients that the Frenchie wasn’t. The Piggie’s 6 oz beef patty is topped with Daisy May’s BBQ pulled pork, jalapeno mayonnaise and Boston lettuce on a cheddar-cornbread bun with mustard-vinegar slaw and fries. To be honest, the jalapeno mayonnaise was a bit lost and the cheddar-cornbread bun wasn’t the mutant corn muffin top I had imagined, but the pulled pork was strong enough to stand up to the beef without overpowering it. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that the pork is brought in from Adam Perry Lang’s famed Daisy May’s and isn’t a DB original. Needless to say, the fries were true French frites and almost impossible to resist.

After prolonged waits between each course we were now running late; however, some glowing tweets by Gael Greene the week before told me that I must squeeze in dessert. Ever watching our waists, the five of us shared one sundae. The apricot-pistachio sundae with marshmallows, vanilla cookies, caramel sauce, apricot coulis and whipped cream was transcendent. The pistachio ice cream brought me right back to the Sicilian coast, while the apricot ice cream was the perfect balance to the nutty and almost savory pistachio. In this dish, balance was supreme. It was difficult to detect most of the ingredients, but only because they all work so well together.

A moment of excitement came when I noticed that Daniel Boulud himself was pacing through the dining room for almost our entire meal. While I have yet to love any of his restaurants, my heart was a bit aflutter and I’ll hold final judgment on his food until I dine at the flagship Daniel.

The bar at DBGB is separated from the dining room by a large pseudo-wall that looks like a giant backless bookshelf. Adorned with knickknacks and catechesis, the top shelf boasts a massive collection of copper cookware donated by some of the most prestigious chefs from around the world from their personal kitchens. As I glanced from label to label on this Culinary Walk of Fame, I couldn’t help but wish I could have dined on something from any of those pans instead.

DBGB – 2 Sparkles **
299 Bowery
(Between Houston and 1st Street)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 933 - 5300

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quality Meat

Though one could argue that gay men respect and appreciate meat more than any other social, ethnic, or cultural group, the archetypal steakhouse has never been a place where we’ve felt at home. These Old Boys’ Clubs tend to have that cigar-stained, mahogany-paneled, raucous backslapping atmosphere that makes one whisper words like “Barbra Streisand” or “window treatment.” Not being one to give up easily, I waded through the Smith & Wollenskys, Capital Grilles, Peter Lugers, et al to find a place where I could have my meat and eat it too. Enter: Quality Meats.

After eyeing this place for months, I was recently lucky enough to join a friend and his family for a birthday meal at the Central Park south meatery. From the moment you descend to the subterranean host stand, you know you’re not in Kansas (City steakhouses) anymore. The décor immediately puts Ozian minds at ease. Entering passed a plaster cow’s bust opens into a dimly lit dining room adorned with wrought-iron chandeliers illuminated with Edison light bulbs and wine-packed walls. As we looped our way through the ground floor, it seemed a bit too dark; however, we ended up at a table by the window on the upper level, so we had ample light.

As the name would imply, Quality Meats, is, at its core, an homage to meat with the typical American leaning toward beef. While I wasn’t able to convince anyone at the table to opt for fish in the name of well roundedness, we did have a crab & avocado appetizer that was so fresh and delicate that it was hard to believe it was made by the hands of a butcher. The elegant and uncomplicated dish was a perfect preparation for our weighty entrees to come.

A few minutes later, my medium rare 18 oz. aged bone-in sirloin arrived, one of those few rare occasions when I feel like a man. This steak quickly took its place among the best I’ve had; at this level of cooking, choosing the absolute best steak is really a matter of splitting hairs. The most notable triumph was the steak’s textural juxtaposition. The well developed thick crust encased a juicy and tender center that rivaled that of filet mignon. Unlike a filet; however, the fattier sirloin cut and the lingering bone kept this cut full of flavor. As usual, I had a hard time keeping my mouth off that bone. Had I been dining incognito or with a band of Vikings, I would have sucked it dry. Unfortunately, my sense of decorum forced me to save my bone sucking for the bathroom at Splash.

Among our side dishes, all were good and none were exceptional. The buttered edamame with mint salt was fresh and perfectly al dente, but the mint salt was lost on me. The grilled asparagus was simple and well executed, but nothing surprising or outstanding about it. The parmesan fries were almost tooth pick thin and crispy. The texture was perfect, but the parmesan was too understated and left me a bit underwhelmed. As an entire meal, the less than exciting sides didn’t bother me. They were all good and let the steak shine, but it would have been nice if a few made me swoon.

The dessert menu had praise before we even ordered. I was relieved to find that steakhouse staples like crème brulee and New York-style cheesecake were supplanted with more creative options. My “Coffee & Doughnuts” was a scoop of coffee ice cream atop a thin slice of coffee flavored cake (not, “Coffee Cake”) and topped with a half-dollar sized chocolate-glazed doughnut. The ice cream was delicious and the doughnut was rich, but a bit too dense for my taste. As my fork quickly travelled around the table, I discovered that the blueberry tart was refreshing, but bland and the milk chocolate caramel tart was decadent, but too rich to enjoy more than a few forkfuls.

Quality Meats certainly holds its own among the city’s steak havens, and the fruit-friendly feel will keep this Gorgeous Young Boys’ club packed. Oh, and the sexy young executive chef can’t hurt.

Quality Meats – 3 Sparkles ***
57 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 371-7777

The Sparkle System

Glitter is made of millions of little sparkles, a particle so easily adhesive that it is almost impossible to remove. Here at the Glitter Gourmet, I’ve decided to institute a rating system of sparkles that will be conversely almost impossible to obtain. The system will be a scale of 0 to 5 sparkles, with 0 being the worst and 5 being the best. Now readers will have an easy and quantitative way to compare and contrast reviews. Sparkle on!