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Friday, August 21, 2009

Peachy Picks Bice

Whom You Know first featured Bice in Tasty Tidbits:

We are pleased to present it now as a recommended restaurant of Peachy's Picks! The outstanding cuisine, lovely upscale atmosphere and interesting history make it a midtown spot that you will want to visit again and again. In the year 1926 in Milan, Italy, Bice started and was named for Beatrice, the mother of current owner Roberto Ruggierre. It has several worldwide locations in the United States, Canada, Asia, Latin America and Europe. The New York location began in 1986. Today, it boasts plates by Versace!

Featured above are:

The INCREDIBLE (our word!) Insalata Di Astice Con Avocado, Finocchi, Ravanelli, Mais, Pomodore Rucola, Palmito e Aragosta Vinagrette: Chilled Maine Lobster served with avocado, tomato, argula, heart of Palm, fennel, red radish, corn and lemon lobster dressing.
Peachy Deegan had this as her appetizer and the fresh lobster was absolutely to die for, artisically arranged among the seasonal vegetables.

The Polpettine Di Granchio Con Salsa Tartara e Insalatina Verde: Long Island crispy crab cakes with tartar sauce and baby green salad. Quite nice said the dining panel!

We were greeted by gracious host Doug Alexander, Manager of Bice, and Captain John Djombli attentively educated us on each course. We began with bread that tasted like you were floating on a cloud of paradise, served with gourmet extra-virgin olive oil. Pinot Grigio was served - Masopoli from Friuli. After her lobster salad, Peachy Deegan had one of the most popular dishes at Bice: the Ossobuco Con Risotto Alla Milanese E Cremolata, Braised natural Veal shank served with saffron risotto and herb cremolata. It was the best Braised natural Veal shank she has ever had! The flavor was amazing, the tenderness was quite notable and the attention to detail in the presentation was top-notch.

Along with cappuccino, a wonderful array of dessert was served including baked alaska, chocolate cake souffle, cookies, and Peachy's favorite was the Pistachio gelato, although everything chocolate was amazing as well.

Our fabulous dining panel commented:

"Last evening I dined at Bice, the midtown Italian staple on East 54th Street. General Manager Doug Alexander was kind enough to take us through a brief history of the Bice group of restaurants, their other locations, and his favorite dishes, as did our captain John. We took our time with the extensive menu of antipasti selections, a number of pasta dishes that are homemade on premises by a single employee, and a generous choice of meat and fish plates, in addition to the daily specials menu.

The homemade breads were delicious, and the rich San Giuliano extra-virgin olive oil was a special touch. A full bottle of that, and a balsamic of the same brand were left at the table. Our wine, chosen by our waiter, was a fresh full-bodied Friuli, a good companion to all of our dishes, a Pinot Grigio from Italy. The Long Island crab cake appetizer was my starter. The two cakes were fresh and crispy, with a hint of spice, served with a small, but adequate side of mixed greens. The crab cakes were rich, but the breading was light enough to leave me ready to delve in to the entree's. We took our time with the first plates, and the service timed the arrival of the second course well. I ordered the veal scaloppini in a lemon and caper sauce. The five small pieces of veal were well presented, as were the other entree's in my group. The sauce was rich and creamy, with a natural lemon flavor, and not overpowering. The plate included a small portion of mashed potatoes, and tasty grilled vegetables.

And then, the desserts came. A selection was ordered for our table of four by the house. The baked Alaska was fluffy and light, the chocolate soufflé was richer than rich, with a hot center that poured out more rich chocolate when opened up, the plate of three different flavors of profiterole topped with chocolate was divine, and a trio of gelato was also delicious. All of the desserts were garnished with strawberries and blueberries. We ended our meal with Lavazza cappuccino's, a plate of small freshly homemade brownies and almond cookies and biscuits, and Limoncello shots."

"This place is a true gem in the neighborhood. I loved the atmosphere, it was not too stuffy, and it really oozed elegance.

We were seated promptly at our 7pm reservation time and warmly greeted by our Captain John. We were so fortunate to then have the pleasure of being welcomed by the General Manager Doug. Both of them were so knowledgeable about the menu and Bice’s history, we were all enamored.

The bread basket was just delicious, but make sure you leave enough room for the rest of your meal, the foccaccia bread is yummy!

At first I was disappointed when I was advised that they were out of the Tuna Tartar, one of my favorites, but extremely happy when John suggested I have the special, Lobster Insalata. This beautiful chilled lobster was served with avocado, tomato, arugula, palm and wonderful radish, it was so colorful. The lemon lobster dressing was just delicious. For my entrée I asked John his opinion between the Filet Mignon and Pan-seared Lamb chops, I went with his recommendation……the Lamb was perfectly cooked, served with a tasty grain mustard sauce with spinach and mashed potatoes. The side of Sautéed broccoli was a perfect addition.

With little room left…..I did mention to be easy on the bread….I did manage tastes of Baked Alaska, soufflé chocolate and profiteroles….these should not be missed!
A meal at Bice will not quickly be forgotten!"

"Bice offers an elegant, relaxing atmosphere in midtown. The sidewalk café seating must lead to interesting people watching, but in the current August heat we were happy to be seated in the large dining area. The restaurant is spacious with good lighting, and busy but not too loud. I think the front bar area was the most unique part of the space, with a striped wooden floor and an inviting bar; definitely this would make a classy spot for an after work drink, and I did notice some people eating at the bar as well.

All of the food seems to be of very high quality, and we are told the kitchen is flexible and willing to work with off-menu requests (although the menu is full of interesting options!). The bread was so good it was hard to save room for dinner, and the San Guiliano Alghero organic extra virgin olive oil was very flavorful. For my first course I had the Tagame di Melanzane, a baked eggplant with mozzarella and goat cheese that came in an individual dish fresh from the oven; it was delicious and definitely could be a meal by itself. For my main course I chose the Pappardelle al Telefono. As our knowledgeable captain John told us, at Bice there is a person whose only job is to make fresh pasta every day! The menu offers homemade cavatelli, ravioli, fettuccine, even gluten-free pasta, and of course the pappardelle, which was recommended by John and by the restaurant’s manager, Doug. This pasta was perfect: long wide ribbons with a creamy tomato sauce accented by basil, with so much mozzarella that every bite unveiled more layers of mozzarella between the ribbons of pasta. I definitely recommend trying this dish, but keep in mind that it is very filling and a huge portion so bring a hearty appetite! The broccoli rabe with garlic was a very flavorful side, and large enough for the table of 4 to share.

Our meal culminated with a parade of desserts placed at our table, the true highlight of the meal! We sampled homemade gelato in amazing flavors, from basic vanilla to hazelnut, caramel, and my favorite, pistachio. This was the perfect pistachio ice cream with just a touch of saltiness to balance out the sweetness. We tried baked Alaska, profiteroles, and an amazing chocolate soufflé cake- it was a dark, bitter chocolate perfectly complemented by vanilla gelato. It would be hard to pick a favorite dessert as it seems they are all a treat! In terms of drinks, we enjoyed a lovely Pinot Grigio with dinner and finished off with a round of refreshing Limoncello. I definitely suggest Bice for those looking for a dinner venue in midtown; although the menu is on the more expensive side, the food is wonderful with fresh ingredients, and the portions are generous."



7 East 54th Street (5th Avenue & Madison Avenue)


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