Michael's New York

I’ve long heard of Michael’s Restaurant in midtown- highly known for its power lunch scene of all people who should see and be seen in media. In my field of work a power lunch is almost non-existent but the idea behind this restaurant always intrigued me. So I when I was invited to check out their new cocktail program and fall menu I was thrilled. It wasn’t a power lunch but at least I could experience the food and ambiance. We began by checking out the new cocktail list from mixologist Michael Flannery.

I ordered the Happy Hacienda and my friend had the Solera Sazarac.

Both of these drinks were really strong with big, bold flavors up front- almost manly. However the addition of a little lemon twist and a candied orange peel brought a delicate balance to the drinks that gave a sweeter softer side. Next up some delicious bar snacks. There were bright zesty scallop shooters, deliciously fatty glazed pork belly sliders and rich caramelized onion burgers. However my favorites of the night were the Korean Chicken Lollipops and The Crispy Oysters.

The lollipops were enormous with a wonderful sweet and spicy paste while the fried oysters were simply addictive with a little grapefruit, lemon and butter on top. I was only sad the bar area was a little too dark so the pictures didn't come out so great. Oh well- I know it tasted awesome. Then it was time to head into the main dining room for dinner where the sommelier started us out with a delicious 2009 Domaine La Porte Sancerre. I love a good Sancerre and this one was rich with incredible minerals perfect for our amuse bouche- Fried Polenta with a Bacon Marmalade.

Hmm… salty, smoky, sweet…what’s not to love about this start? Onto my appetizer the Stone Crab Claws.

The delicate, sweet crab meat was perfect with the tangy mustard sauce. However I couldn’t even finish all three claws since I was busy sampling the other appetizers of the night.

The Squash-Pumpkin Soup with crispy Fried Brussels Sprout and Farmers Market Beet Salad with yogurt were seasonal and delicious. Unfortunately the Veal Sweetbreads and Porcini Risotto weren’t as wonderful. The texture of the mushrooms and rice really clashed for me and the sweetbreads were laden down by creamed spinach and au jus. Sweetbreads are so rich on their own I found the combination overwhelming. Luckily I had a bit of room saved left for my entrée Ellensburg Rack of Lamb, Potato Gratin, Cipollini Onion, Broccoli and Lamb Jus.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had lamb and this dish reminded why it used to be my favorite. The meat had such an intense flavor and the roasted cipollini on the side was perfect. My friend had the Seared Maine Dayboat Scallops with Orzo, Pancetta, Celery Root Remoulade and Spaghetti Squash.

I was getting so full at this point I could only try a little bite but I really think that Spaghetti Squash is a highly underrated vegetable- it’s delicious. Well I was about to burst at this point but then they brought out a sampling of the dessert menu for the table to share along with a delicious ice wine.

Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse and Pistachio Cranberry Ice Cream.

Three Milk Cake with Citrus Icing, Dulce de Leche Ice Cream.

Cranberry Pecan Pie with Cranberry Compote and Vanilla Ice Cream.

And my personal favorite of the night a Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Cinnamon Ice Cream.

Overall I was really impressed with our meal. The food, wine, pastries and service were all exceptional. Michael McCarty, the owner, was there and really made sure everyone was having a good time and enjoying themselves. The entire place was decorated for Christmas with wreaths and ribbons that really gave the restaurant a cozy elegant feel. It wasn’t the power lunch I had always heard about but it was a pretty powerful and delicious dinner.

Michael's New York