Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Quality Time at Quality Italian NYC

Fourth Wall Restaurants, founded in 2007, is fairly new in the NYC restaurant scene. Included under the Fourth Wall umbrella is Quality Meats which has been one of Ryan and I's go-to steakhouses over the past few years. When I heard they were opening up an Italian steakhouse called Quality Italian, I was psyched. What's better than an amazing steakhouse? An amazing steakhouse with an Italian twist. What does this mean exactly? For starters, Italian steakhouses tend to make use of all of your favorite Italian herbs and olive oils. They often have garlic bread to start, a wonderful selection of fresh fish (this is sometimes lacking at regular steakhouses) and of course, homemade pastas! Lastly, the after dinner drinks tend to include Grappa and Limoncello which of course makes my night.

Allow me to walk you through the awesomeness that is Quality Italian...

First of all-NOT an easy reservation. I had an easier time getting a prime dinner ressie at Eleven Madison Park then I did for this joint. The best I could do? 5pm on a Saturday. Hello early bird special! The couple we were meeting up with really wanted to go and I knew I wanted to blog so we went ahead and prepared for a 5 o'clock dinner.

Ryan and I arrived early for a cocktail. To my absolute glee they have a bar area right when you walk called The Standing Room. They serve fabulous wines by the glass, beer and fresh Quality Coolers which are homemade teas and lemonade. They have small bites like Parmesan Deviled Eggs and Lobster Rolls if you just wanted to snack AND sell take home goods such as Reese's Peanut Butter Biscotti and Housemade Nutella (say whaaaaa?!?!!) . They also have a bar upstairs on the main dining floor but we decided to hang here for a bit. I actually opted for one of the fresh Coolers-the Peach Basil Iced Tea. Ryan got a Manhattan. My tea was fantastic! It was beautiful (I love a good presentation) and so refreshing with the perfect hint of sweetness. 

Once our friends arrived we went upstairs to be seated. The space is pretty massive. We were escorted into what looked like it could be a private dining area for special events. The room was lovely, dark and romantic with lofty accents. Being that I work in the industry, I saw a lot of press on their Chicken Parmesan Pizza (It's actually called The Quality Italian on their menu). It's a massive chicken parm served like a pizza but there's no actual crust-just juicy fried chicken, saucy, cheesy goodness. I asked our server, Thomas, about his favorites. I loved that he was not only very friendly but honest. He advised us The Quality Italian was delicious but that he really suggested that the pastas, steaks and fish were his favorite menu highlights. He said we should return with a larger group and get the monstrous chicken parm as an appetizer. Done and done. The four of us proceeded to order the following-

Assorted Oysters for the table-fresh and crisp. Served with four house-made sauces. I'm a standard cocktail sauce fan but it's always nice to have fun options. 

Baby Kale Salad-I didn't order this but it looked great and was actually quite large. All of the salads could easily be shared between two people. 

The Beef Steak Tomato with Stracciatella-Stracciatella is a soft, creamy mozzarella-like cheese so the salad is very similar to a caprese BUT they also add a pesto like sauce & roasted tomatoes for a little extra flavor...heaven.

The Chopped Salad-Ryan got this and raved! Again, it's huge and filled with crispy onions, salami, mozzarella and more. I plan to try this next time. 

The Porterhouse-40 oz's of perfectly cooked and seasoned meat. A classic fave. Like Quality Meats, these guys served their tender steaks with a signature, homemade steak sauce. So good.

The Balsamic Filet with Crispy Bone Marrow-this was my dish. I have to say it'll be hard for me to return and not order this. My filet was absolute perfection and the crispy bone marrow (also presented beautifully) shoved me right into sheer bliss. 

The Grilled Branzino-My friend Emily ordered this and said it was amazing. It certainly looked it. The fish was also filleted which is a huge plus. 

ALL of the sides were amazing. We ordered the Grilled Mushrooms and Tuscan Fries which were great but just to add a little more glee to the evening, they sent out extras! Not sure why to be honest. I didn't drop any names or mention I was in the industry so I assume at Quality Italian the early bird really does get the worm (aka. extra goodies). Thomas sent us the Baked Rigatoni with Meatballs (OMG) and the Corn Creme Brûlée (again...OMG). As much as I loved the mushrooms, the sides he sent out are must-trys.

Ryan's the big dessert guy but being that we were all stuffed we just opted for a few after dinner dranks, the aforementioned Grappa and Limoncello did us in nicely. 

Quality Italian rocked. It just shot up to being one of my new favorite NYC restaurants and we plan to return soon. The service was just impeccable. We sat for 3 hours and never felt rushed through one of the best meals I've had out in a long time. Ryan agrees. I don't know that we'll be returning to Quality Meats as I am completely sold on the new Italian version. 

In short-get to Quality Italian stat and make those ressies WAY in advance. EAT UP!

My Peach-Basil Iced Tea in the Standing Room

Fluffy Garlic Bread with Savory Olive Oil

My Beef Steak Tomato and Stracciatella

Assorted Sides-Baked Rigatoni, Corn Creme Brûlée and Grilled Mushrooms

My image of the Porter House didn't come out so well so I pulled this from Yelp's Food Spotting
A meat-lovers dream.

Since we didn't order this, I also pulled this from Yelp. We're def getting this next time. 
It looks too good to be true...Nom Nom.

The best Limoncello. I know my Limoncello and theirs is unreal. It's homemade and not too sweet and syrupy like many tend to be. The perfect ending...

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