Tag Archives: Midtown

Bite-Sized Banter & Wollensky

If you happen to work or live in midtown Manhattan, you might have noticed that Smith & Wollensky has been looking a little different these days.  How different? Well for starters, the all-important Smith is no longer there.  As part of a pretty clever ad campaign, Smith & Wollenksy is replacing the “Smith” in exchange for a loyal customer’s name.  The campaign started on October 3 and will run through the end of the month.  All you have to do is make a reservation, and hope your name gets picked. 

Each day, a lucky, loyal customer gets chosen to have their name put up outside the restaurant – on the building and awning.  This witty campaign goes all the way…waiter’s jackets are also being changed with the new name, and don’t forget about the napkins and matchbooks!

The though process behind this unusual campaign?  If your name is on restaurant, it becomes yours, and then you are a customer for life.  Now that’s some serious loyalty.  I’ll hand it to them, I was even thinking about making a reservation.  Although Smith & Wollensky isn’t my steakhouse of choice,  I would love to see Bite-Sized Banter & Wollenksy in big letters on 3rd Ave.

So-So Sosa

Social Eatz is a restaurant and bar located in Midtown which opened a few short months ago.  Angelo Sosa is the Executive Chef and owner of this atypical jaunt.  If his name sounds familiar, its because he was on Top Chef.  Or maybe because he recently opened a sandwich shop, Xie Xie, that closed a little more than a year after opening its doors.   Based on the service, food, and location, I am predicting the same outcome for Social Eatz.  Sorry Sosa, you’re restaurant is just So-So.

Let’s start at the beginning, with your name! “Eatz”? Really? The “Z” is about as cute as the “E” Chuck E Cheese. Unfortunately, the name is not the only resemblance to this kids’ colonnade.  Social Eatz, much like Chuck E Cheese promotes being social.  So, the tables are on top of each other.  Seriously though, they are ridiculously close.  Two separate parties share a bench.  So, whether you like it or not, you are on a double date.  Just close your eyes and pray the couple next to you isn’t fighting or making out, not sure which would be worse.

The décor also resembles that of an arcade, minus all the cool games.  This might make sense for let’s say, Johnny Rockets, which serves “classic American food” aka the kids menu.  But, the menu at Social Eatz is anything but juvenile.  It actually appears to be pretty well thought out, with unique flavors and combinations.

And the similarities to Chuck E Cheese continue…The staff is dressed as if they are working a kid’s birthday party, which is also the way they act.  They are friendly in an “I’m the entertainment at your 7th birthday party” kind of a way.  Listen, nice wait staff is better than the alternative.  But come on people, this is midtown Manhattan, not Middletown, NY.   This quirky restaurant just seems utterly confused.

If the food was amazing, all of this wouldn’t matter as much.  But the truth is the food needs some work too.  The Noodle Salad was swimming in the plum ponzu sauce.  It was too cold, which means it had been sitting in the refrigerator waiting for some idiot to order it.  I just happened to be that idiot.  The Hot Wings were actually pretty tasty, although they had a few tablespoons too many of sauce.  They were just exceptionally small, like the size of a pigeon’s wings small.  Also, there were no wet naps.  Come on now people; that is a rookie mistake.  The Chicken Corn and Coconut Taco looked exactly like the Chili Kissed Tilapia Taco.  They tasted the same too.  The star of this meal should have been the Bibimbap burger, which was topped with pickled carrot and cucumber and a slow cooked egg.  The flavors were actually unexpected and intriguing.  However, the egg was over-cooked which made the burger really difficult to eat.

So-So so long Sosa.  Wish I could say I enjoyed my meal, believe me I do.  But this Bite Sized Blonde will not be returning to your restaurant.

Social Eatz
232 East 53rd Street
New York, NY
212.207.3339

Melt Away

Happy Friday! Doesn’t Friday feel different over the summer? Like, the possibilities are endless?  That’s how I feel.  The sun shines brighter (well, of course) and the birds are chirping (I take that back, the only birds I’ve seen in the city are pigeons. yuck.) and the world just seems like a happier place.  But in case you are feeling something different today, like for example, hung-over, then boy do I have a cure for you.

After you take Advil and drink a full bottle of water, it’s time to start thinking about putting some greasy food in that tummy of yours.  Too greasy and you’ll be sick, not greasy enough and you’ll still be hung-over, but just greasy enough to get the job done.  This Bite-Sized Blonde moonlights as Goldilocks on the side, minus the porridge.

The Melt Shop is just the perfect amount of greasy and the most delicious way to get out from under a hangover.  Located in Midtown, the Melt Shop serves up all different kinds of grilled cheese.  They offer nine different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches, including the classic, for the kid in all of us, and more sophisticated options for a mature palette.   They have sides, snacks and sweets to go with every sandwich, including tomato soup and milkshakes!

On a recent visit, I tried the Three Cheese Melt.  Fontina, Gruyere and goat cheese are combined with roasted tomatoes on top of sourdough bread.  The cheeses blend so well together and the roasted tomatoes bring an element of sweetness to the sandwich.  You can taste every ingredient in this sandwich, down to the salty butter on the bread.  I also tried the Provolone with Salami grilled cheese.  Pickled peppers that are anything but mild accent the salty salami and provolone.  The touch of heat from the peppers compliments the salami so nicely.  This sandwich wouldn’t be what it is without the rye bread.  You can taste the caraway seeds in every bite.  It is such a well-rounded sandwich.   The tater tots are also delicious.  Crunchy on the outside, yet soft on the inside; they are served with a side of Melt Sauce, which is some sort of spicy mayo.  I am still racking my brain to figure out what they put in that container of deliciousness.

The Melt Shop
601 Lexington Ave.  (53rd Street)
New York, NY
212.759.MELT