Saturday, January 28, 2012

(The Almost Mis)adventures in Restaurant Week, 2012: Cipriani Dolci

Restaurant Week for the first round in February is upon us once more; and once more, we're making a conscious effort to get together with frenemies and try a place or two if we can manage.

As if not plainly obvious from our adventures last year at Brasserie and Hatsuhana, H1 and I are all for Restaurant Week.  Some may argue it's a crap thing to do that does not benefit business or is not a true representation of the food one may find at participating place.  For us, Restaurant Week offers us a chance to dine on a budget; we discover new places that may otherwise never get money from us; and if a restaurant offers a good enough meal, that encourages us to try it again sometime.

As we've said before, there are so many great places to eat at in the city that ideally we would not like to go to the same place twice but the reality is, through word of mouth we've been recommended to go to some places by friends and we've recommended some to others and may share a future meal with them if we liked a place enough.

The other thing about Restaurant Week is that it gives us a chance to spend a nice evening with frenemies.  Of course, if some of our frenemies would get back to us, we could truly enjoy ourselves...Frass  (seriously though, no worries if you can't make it.  No need to feel guilt for anything but just let us know.  We're actually concerned about you at this point since we've not heard back).

Friday night, H1 and I went out with our favourite Aims to Cipriani Dolci located in Grand Central Terminal.  As shocking as it may seem, The HOchieS have never been to Cipriani.  Italian food does not move me but that's not entirely accurate of me to say.  Have I even had true, good Italian food? Perhaps once or twice but I am not a good judge on Italian food and therefore feel I have no right to speak on the matter.

Cipriani's Restaurant Week menu seemed fairly underwhelming to me.  It was not my first choice of the few places I looked into but I knew it would be fine.  Plus if it was not fine, a certain frenemy of mine named Bobolinkies would have hell toupee.  Or uh, hell to pay.

Luckily for her, she is spared as I came away mostly content with my meal.  In fact, it was pretty good and you know when a basket of bread is presented to you and the bread sticks have cheese baked in and the other types of bread are still warm, that you are in for a good time.

Before I go much further, I must apologize in advance for some of these photos.  There were a few misadventures this night as is customary in the HOchieS' life.  This night, my lens cap on the Nikon got stuck in the lens.  I was panicked for the most of the night when it was wedged tightly in there and I refused to use my butter knife to pop the lid because I found that in poor form to do at dinner (plus Aims would have disowned me, probably).  It pleases me to say that I promptly popped the cap out when I got home but it is with great misfortune that I could not use the camera at dinner and instead had to resort to my phone.

We also used H1's phone for pictures but that was not until later because the main mishap/misadventure/sucky sort of thing that happened was that H1 almost did not make it to dinner on account of crazy times at work.

While we tried to buy some time for H1 to show up, Aims and I had bellinis and enjoyed the view overlooking the main hall at Grand Central.  Aims out-bellini'd me by one (but really, I had only one) and at $13.95 a pop, it was crazy expensive but pretty good, I must say.

As we tried to nurse our bellinis, we got the text from H1 that we should proceed with dinner without her.  It was halfway through our entrees that H1 called and said she was leaving work.  The staff at Cipriani were gracious enough to allow her to join us without trouble and for that we were thankful.

For our entrees, Aims had the fresh mozzarella and tomatoes.  It was absolutely amazing.  Fresh mozzarella is a hell of a thing, and those tomatoes were beautifully sweet.

H1 and I had the same choices for our meals.  It's not something we ever do because we like to share each other's food.  Due to the fact that we initially thought she would not even show up, I made an executive decision and ordered what I had based on my food and Aims' choices.  I'm not sure if I made the right decision though for her entree, but I guess it was still alright for her and she liked it well enough.

We started with the tuna tartare.  It was a large portion served with diced tomatoes, some greens, three pieces of toasted bread and a fantastic sauce.  I probably could have eaten that all night and been super happy.

Next up, Aims had Filet Mignon "al Barolo" with Roasted Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables.  I have no pictures to show for the huge chunk of meat that was with her meal that was cooked to medium and perfectly so.  The meat itself was extraordinarily tender causing Aims to liken it to be pre-chewed.  Ahaha, that's pretty gross but spot on in describing just how damned soft it was.

For our entrees, H1 and I had the Homemade Panzerotti with Ricotta and Black Truffles.  There's something to be said about fresh pasta.  It was magnificent and cooked perfectly.  There were also pieces of truffle on the top and the meal was earthy, creamy and rich without being heavy.

There was a bit of a mix up for dessert though.  Without our menus in front of us and who knows if we heard our waiter incorrectly but instead of ordering our Vanilla Crème Meringue, we ended up ordering a lemon meringue pie slice each.  We could have sworn he said lemon meringue and thinking they ran out of the vanilla, that's what we ended up getting.  I saw people getting the vanilla meringue after we got our lemon meringue pies hence the realization there was a miscommunication some place.

Looks can be deceiving
It was sad too because the crust on the lemon meringue was way too thick and the meringue itself was not that good.  Though, I suppose that means the vanilla crème meringue was probably not that impressive either.

Aims got the chocolate cake and while H1 and I are not big on chocolate things, that piece of cake was smooth, not dense even though it looks it and quite the dessert.

Other than a dropped fork amidst an extremely crowded restaurant which the wait staff noticed I had done and brought me new cutlery (embarrassing, yes), there were no other misadventures to talk about and we ended the evening rushing off for our respective trains.  Incidentally, that's the best part about Cipriani - we were already at Grand Central and yeah okay, we still had to rush for a train because life is funny that way - but it was so close, so busy and so awesome that we could actually see the train schedules from our table which was hilariously convenient.

It was a good night and we're looking forward to hopefully trying at least one more restaurant before Restaurant Week ends.

Address and Stuff:

Cipriani Dolci
89 East 42nd Street
Between Park & Vanderbilt Avenues
New York, New York 10017 


Phone: (212) 973-0999
Fax: (212) 973-9666
Hours: 11am to 12am, 7 Days a Week

Currently listening to: "Call Me, Call Me" by Steve Conte and Yoko Kanno, from the Cowboy Bebop Original Soundtrack.


  1. Hey, you!!! I was stuffed to the gills when I sat down here, and now I am ready to lick the screen, hoping some of those fabulous tastes will seep through!! Great post and photos!!

    On Thursday I am hoping to show some baby/toddler/youngster photos of blogger friends with links back to their blogs. I'm trying to generate some interest for other bloggers, so if you just happen to have some lying around, scan one and email to me!! This should be fun!!

  2. Thanks, Judie. I too am feeling hungry myself right now...blah.

    Not sure I have any pictures on hand but that sounds like a great idea! Maybe you can scribble a picture of a stick figure to represent me? Ha, ha.

  3. Thanks for stopping by!! I've been clicking around your blog for a couple of days and finally had a chance to post a comment. I look forward to stopping by more often :)

    1. Oh wait...I forgot I could reply to comments now. Derp.

  4. Thanks for visiting and commenting! Looking forward to reading more over at your blog too. =)


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