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Exciting Adventures in Good Eating and Drinking

by R. Allen Leider and Barbara J. Rearick

x Sofia Italian Grill
344 West 52nd Street, NYC

NYC's Premier Italian Grill

For over thirty years Sofia has been the epitome of what the New York restaurant experience is suppose to be. Shining brighter than any star you'll find on Braodway. The new Sogia Italian Grill is located on 48th Street between 5th and 6th avenues, next to Rockefeller Center) Throughout the years, Sofia Italian Grill has been reknowned for its cuisine, as well as being one the top restaurants in NYC.

For an authentic taste of New York, visit us for lunch or dinner, it doesn't matter, at Sofia's you're guaranteed a great meal and wonderful service. No night on the town is complete without a fabulous meal at Sofia's. This is the perfect place to host your special occassion. Our managers can help you coordinate the perfect meal for your special event. Contact us at either of our two locations to speak to someone in regards hosting your next family get together or celebration.Each Sofia's location carries an extensive wine selection containing some of the most sought after vintages. Sofia's is the perfect place to get a great meal accompanied by the perfect glass of wine.

Hospitality and Professional Service!

These are not only are guiding principles, but they also have a face in ToniAnn Albanese, our liaison for private parties and events. With a background in restaurant service and business management, this native New Yorker combines an intuitive understanding of what it takes to create a successful event with acute attention to detail. “My concern is that every guest receives 100% satisfaction every time and I will to extraordinary lengths to make that happen.” This translates into ongoing communication, continual follow-up, individualized consults on menu specifications and wine pairings, accommodation of special requests, close attention to timing and flow of the events and all the hundreds of details that make events flawless, memorable and unique. Since Sofia Italian Grill opened, we’ve developed a reputation for being the go-to spot in Midtown for private parties, business meetings and special events. That’s because we’ve been able to combine the key elements that successful private events require: a great space, maximum privacy, attentive and discreet service, impeccable timing, custom menus, the latest business presentation technology and, of course, excellent food and wines .Located in our restaurant’s cozy upper level wine cellar, our five private dining rooms can accommodate lunch or dinner parties from 6 to 80, and cocktail parties for up to 150 persons. We’ve hosted working lunches and dinners for many of the area businesses; birthday, sweet 16, bachelor, anniversary and retirement parties; special dinners for out-of-town companies; launch parties for new ventures; and holiday cocktail parties.

Whatever the occasion, Sofia's offers specialty menus for lunches, dinners and cocktails parties, custom menus and a la carte service
with full bar located on the same level. There's a state-of-the-art sound system and flat panel TV screens, Wi-Fi connections, projection screens, podiums and microphones for all types of presentations. Table service and/or passed hors d’oervres are available with .access toour substantial full wine list, plus custom wine and food pairings


x Bamboo 52
344 West 52nd Street, NYC
between 8th and 9th Avenues

A Revamped BAMBOO 52 Restaurant Boasts New Menu & New Look.

Restaurateur/ chef John Greco, owner of four popular venues in New York City, including Philip Marie in Greenwich Village, 123 Burger Shot Beer and the lounge Posh in Hell's Kitchen, has re-designed and re-launched his gourmet Japanese restaurant BAMBOO 52, 344 W. 52nd Street. It's a trendy Space with Great Prices on Gourmet Sushi, especially at Lunchtime. The spacious bistro
an outdoor patio as well as a comfortable lounge area with banquettes in the back. The lighting is low, a D.J.-spins tracks, drinks flow at the amazing 40-foot bar, and mural-size celebrity portraits. The new menu boasts a wide selection of sushi and sashimi, including the addition of over 20 designer rolls, offering a wide selection of fresh fish and tantalizing ingredients at consumer-friendly prices.

Lunchtime at BAMBOO 52 is a diner's paradise with terrific deals that include a choice of miso soup or salad, a glass of sake and dessert. Bento Boxes with the choice of three items start at $12.95 or go the sushi route for only $9.95 with the choice of two rolls from such a wide selection as delicious spicy salmon, tasty albacore jalapeno, exotic eel avocado to yellowtail, peanut avocado, and vegetarian.
Dinner is equally enticing with a wide variety of custommade designer rolls that include: "Lovely" <Chilean Sea Bass and crunchy Tempura>; Lobster Tango <lobster, mango and eel>; Bagel <smoked salmon, kani and cream cheese>; and Dragon <kani, cucumber, eel and avocado>. There are also the very popular "Samurai Boats" that feed three - four guests, ranging in price from $l5 - $25.

Catering to large parties is a hallmark of BAMBOO 52 on W. 52nd Street, a strip in Hell's Kitchen chock full of clubs and bars. Greco has designed an extensive menu fulfilling the needs of large groups from party to sushi trays.
To compliment the party, there is an open bar menu with options to choose from one - three hours. Speaking of bars, BAMBOO 52 boasts one of the best Happy Hour deals in the city weekdays from 11AM - 9PM: signature cocktails, well drinks, house wine and beer are two for one. The bar boasts an "inspired martini" menu of premium libations along with "signature cocktails" and an eclectic choice of sakes.

With credentials from the Culinary Institute of America, Greco has a rich palette of experience. Artistry is paramount; given his time spent at Le Cirque, working directly with Alain Sailhac. Afterwards he enhanced his culinary prowess by working at San Domenico. He was soon called to open the famed restaurant on Central Park South. Next, it was a return to Italy to work at the famed Harry's Bar in Venice. In demand, Greco was asked to return to the states to help Harry Cipriani's in the Sherry Netherland on Fifth Avenue. Sushi is a masterful craft: Greco learned from chefs that know best, using his experience and knowledge to recreate and innovate a diverse, mouthwatering gourmet menu.

BAMBOO 52 is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11AM to 2AM. The restaurant offers nightly parties with guest DJs, $1 oysters, and various drink specials. Ladies Night is Wednesdays, beginning at 9PM with two for one drink specials all-night. A special bonus: late night sushi happy hour after midnight two rolls at full price, receive the third one for free. On Tuesdays, BAMBOO 52 offers "Karaoke Kraziness!" starting at 9:30PM...take to the microphone, receive one-free drink.

Reservations are strongly recommended by calling 212-315-2777 or For further information for BAMBOO 52, located at 344 W. 52nd St., call or visit the web site at


x Legal Seafood
Locations in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Florida.

Legal Sea Foods is probably the best seafood restaurant we've been to in 20 years.†Not since out first trip to Philadelphia's famed Bookbinders ages ago, have we savored delicacies of the oceans prepared with such care,†style and talent.†Legal Sea Foods began to correct the notion that seafood was risky to eat, smelly and only for those living close to major fishing ports.†With a few exceptions, Americans had become accustomed to inferior restaurant seafood and eating seafood at home often meant fish sticks!†George Berkowitz, the company's founder, and his son, Roger, were determined to make seafood as fashionable and acceptable as really good steaks.†A few words about the "chain" concept - these restaurants are many steps above our usual perception of chains.†The decor and structure from one location to another is individualized and unique, even at the many locations in Boston itself.†The link that binds all these eateries together is the consistency in the freshness and quality of the food - especially the seafood that is exclusively shipped from their own processing plant in Massachusetts. One of the secrets of Legal Sea Foods is the flexibility of the menus, with various nuances and specialty dishes from place to place depending on the tastes of the chefs, who may be inclined to add Carribean, Jamaican, Asian or European flavors to their own menus.†When we were at the Boston Long Wharf location, there was a two-week promotion of Icelandic fish varieties.

Our feast consisted of some complimentary canapes - wood grilled scallops on toast with raspberry sauce and goat cheese with the important touch always needed for a successful dish - one could taste the variety of flavors.†The clam chowder was legal Sea Foods' own recipe and hearty with chunks of fresh clam meat.†I am also assured that the Lobster Bisque is unlike any you've encountered and runs rings around other seafood restaurants' bisque.†In a menu of exotic choice, I must admit I was a Philistine, drawn to the crispy fried clam roll by the fact that I haven't had one in ages and here it was - a scrumptious, huge heap of lightly fried, whole bellied sweet clams done to a golden brown in appropriately hot, non-trans fatty oil mixture ( canola, safflower and grape seed ) on a large, soft toasted roll with some of the best French fried poatoes, accompanied by Heinz organic ketchup, I've had anywhere in the last 50 years.†The whole of it was washed down with Legal's own Arnold Palmer Ice Tea. We didn't need dessert, but we were only there for one meal and could not resist.†The desserts run the gamut from the kitchen made ice creams and sorbets to the delicate pastries such as profiteroles, Bananas Foster, and the best Key Lime and Boston Cream pies you'll ever eat.†An additional note from my wife, the Key Lime Pie should be given serious consideration even if your belt must be let out a notch.†An additional delight to the evening was the entire tab for the dinner for two, sans wine, but with one cocktail, was only $65.00.†Yes, the place is usually packed and waiting is to be expected even with reservations, a must to make at least a couple of days in advance depending on the size of your party.†Dress is casual neat.

A new edition of the eight year old TheNew Legal Sea Foods Cook Book has recently hit the shelves with new mouth-watering recipes by the many chefs whose artistry graces the tables at the various branches of the company.†The recipes reflect the many locales and sociological strata that are served, from the basic baked, broiled or fried to the very, very cosmopolitan and ecclectic†tastes of New Yorkers and Bostonians.†Some young adult patrons seemed to be enjoying the wine, champagne and cocktails as much, or more, than the meals, but there were still plenty of bountifully laden platters being ferried on a regular basis from the kitchen to the waiting tables.†The restaurant presented a totally relaxed and enjoyable dining experience, and was just a few paces away from the bay, the new Aquarium and the IMAX theater. Legal Sea Foods also has a thriving mail order and online order business that ships the freshest lobsters, angus steaks, chowder and fresh seafood delicacies anywhere in the world. is the URL for a dining experience like none other or call 1 800-EAT-FISH.†If your location is land locked and/or you're a landlubber who must have a regular fix of fresh, quality seafood, check out their offerings.†They make great gits, too!

George and Roger Berkowitz are on a quest to urge Americans to eat more FRESH fish and the best way to do that is to open the best seafood restaurants in the country.†George began Legal Sea Foods in 1968 with his original recipe fish and chips served on paper plates in a location in the Boston fish market.†Thirty-five years later, Legal Sea Foods restaurants dominate five retail fish markets.†Their motto is "If it's not fresh, it's not legal", and all their seafood is less than two days old, never frozen and served with loving care.†Generally the fish that makes it to your local grocery is up to four days out of habitat.†The company has it's own seven step process to monitor freshness and food safety.†They have a 75,000 square foot Quality Control Center in Allston, Massachusetts devoted to provide their restaurants with the freshest, tastiest fish and seafood available anywhere.†Imagine using the Legal seafood buyer as your guide when visiting the fish market!†The owners have a policy of respect for the fishing industry, a continuation of all species and maintaining a safe and clean ocean environment.†


xBubba Gump Shrimp Company
Times Square, NYC

Ripped from the pages of the bestselling novel and from the hit Tom Hanks feature film, this sensational Forrest Gump themed seafood emporium serves some of the best Louisiana cuisine we've tasted in ages.†The restaurant has been open less than a few months in the center of New York's ever-expanding Times Square area on Broadway and already there is are long lines of both dinner and lunchtime tourists and native New Yorkers to savour the recipes attributed to Bubba's Mama. Certainly, there is no other restaurant in the area serving these tasty New Orleans style treats - and in such large portions.

The waiters spout Forrest Gump trivia and there are movie props and and endless loop of the film on monitors all over. The staff is perky and eager to please, the service is swift, even in the high volume hours.†The sizable dining floor ( formerly a BIG bank branch ) has many different themed areas, all fashioned like sets from the film thatmake you real right at home when the cajun tunes start wafting from the sound system.

xStart with one of the imaginative appetizers like 3/4 pound of peel and eat shrimp steamed in beer with delicious sauces or nibble on the exclusive Hush Pups with seafood ingredients embedded in the in Pups ready to be immersed in Bubba's Remoulade Dip.†Some in our party found great delight in the Cajun Checken Tenders with Blue Cheese Dip and Cajun sauteed shrimp with garlic bread.

Once you have the digestive juices flowing, dive into one of the Shrimp Specials or Forrest's Favorites.†More exclusive shrimp recipes than you could imagine. My favorites are the Coconut Shrimp with Cajun Marmalade and the Shrimp New Orleans†with spices on a bed of rice. My sidekicks got their thrills from Bourbon Street Mahi Mahi and Mama's Southern Fried Chicken which runs rings around KFC or any other fast food poultry.†This is one of the definitive New York 'roll up your sleeves and dig in' eaterys.

There are also crisp and tasty salads and thick, chewy sandwiches.†Personally, I am partial to the BBQ Pork ( with special sauce ) and Dixie Fish sandwiches.†If you have room, you can finish with one of the creative desserts - Gumpberry Cobbler, Authentic Key LIme Pie or one of the floats, smoothies or sundaes.

The fare is moderately tourist priced - about $15-18 per entree. Sandwiches are about $10 each and worth every penny.


xBurger Joint - Le Parker Meridian Hotel
119 West 56th Street, New York City

Reviewed by Monis Rose

My blood boiled. I was livid. My boss wouldnít let me go to a Spike TV function. Iím leaving, I said to myself. I think I actually said aloud, ďOh, my stomach hurts so bad. Truth is, my stomach was aching. It need to be filled with some good food.

I went on an adventure to find the Burger Joint. First I walked into Le Parker Meridian Hotel. A $500-to-a-few-thousand-dollars-a-night place. Itís Snoopís joint when he needs to smoke a doobie in Midtown. It was swank, chic, posh, haute, whatever the new trendy word hipsters are saying these days. White on white everything with high ceilings. Every aspect of this place looked and felt expensive. Then, there was the Burger Joint. There was no signage anywhere telling me where to go. I knew it was in this hotel but I couldnít find it. I asked one of the many security guards and he hastily pointed north. I went around the lobby desk and saw plastered on the wall near a narrow corridor a neon burger sign. I walked towards it and stepped down a flight of stairs.

Dive-ier than anything Guy Fieri would ever step into. I loved it. Greasy, no-frill burgers where I can be a mess like I usually am. This place was for me. Wooden tables surrounded by hanging movie and music posters. One cashier, one line. The menu sat next to the cashier that read: THE WORKS: BUN, MEAT, CHEESE, LETTUCE, TOMATO, ONION, PICKLES, MAYO, MUSTARD. NO SPECIAL ORDERS. YOU GET IT AS IT IS. IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE ANYTHING OR DONíT UNDERSTAND, GET IN THE BACK OF THE LINE AND TRY AGAIN. $5. CASH ONLY! The other options where sides. Coke or shake and fries. Thatís it. KISS: keep it simple stupid. I appreciate that motto. Because itís such a small place, itís crowded no matter what hour you go. I couldnít find a table so I took my burger up to the roof.

Le Parker Merdien has a roof top pool on the sidelines of Central Park and scarfed my burger down. This was a true moment of bliss. Washed it down with a thick all-natural ice cream shake and crunched on some ruffled extra crispy fries. After a good 45 minutes, I took a dip in the pool. I had to seize the moment.



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