Since the weather in Chicago is terrible, my mom and I are stuck in New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Our flight was cancelled and we are hopeful that the later one will go through as planned. Since there isn’t very much to do in an airport, I thought I’d take the time to introduce my first post about my trip to New York City. Since this is a foodie blog, you best believe I’ve got some delicious posts in store for you. This is the first post in my showcase of dining out in NYC, featuring restaurants with Thai cuisine, Peruvian cuisine, and Neapolitan Pizza, all of which were conveniently located in NYC Midtown.
Q2Thai NYC - Thai cuisine:
Our first dining out experience in New York City was right after arriving at our hotel. We were starving! Thankfully, our hotel was conveniently located in between Hell’s Kitchen and Times Square which left us with a huge amount of restaurant choices. We walked down 9th Ave and saw a stand featuring a nice lunch special at Q2Thai. So, inside we went.
The special included an appetizer, salad, and a main dish. I chose vegetable dumplings for my appetizer. They weren’t anything special.
I forgot the exact name of the main dish, I think it was Pad See-Ew with Tofu but don’t take my word for it. It was good and satisfying! The sauce was very good and slightly sweet and I loved the flat rice noodles (my favorite), they weren’t too soggy but they were still thoroughly covered in the sauce. Just the way I like it!
Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the appetizer, the value was good for the price. General rating for Q2Thai=4 stars.
Don Antonio by Starita – Neapolitan Pizza
Early Saturday was spent walking around and exploring Times Square. It was a wonderful experience that got us feeling hungry. One of the things on my bucket list was to try New York style Pizza! Well, after some in-depth online research of the pizza places in the area, we found the one we wanted to try - Don Antonio Pizza! It had great reviews on Zagat and the menu made my mouth water, we couldn’t wait.
The restaurant was smaller than expected, but after seeing the other restaurants in the area, I can safely say that Don Antonio is actually pretty big. It’s intimate but bigger than many of the places in Hell’s Kitchen. The menu was extensive and there were a lot of choices. We finally decided on splitting the Ortolana pizza which included tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, artichokes, mushrooms, basil, pecorino romano, extra virgin olive oil.
I never realized until recently that Chicago pizza is cut into squares. In Poland, we cut our pizza into slices similarly to the pizza we got at Don Antonio. I definitely think Pizza should be cut into slices. It makes the pizza-eating experience so much more.. authentic.
How was the pizza? Well.. it was phenomenal! I once had NY Style pizza in some smaller place in Chicago but it was not that good so I wasn’t expecting this one to be all that great either. I was pleasantly surprised. It could have been because we chose a pizza with bomb toppings… one way or another, this pizza was delicious! But is Neapolitan pizza the same as the NY style? Who knows. I guess that’s up to real New Yorkers to decide. The general rating for Don Antonio Neapolitan Pizza = 5 stars!
Inti NYC Restaurant – Peruvian cuisine:
Not only did I go to NYC for the first time in my life.. I also had some of my firsts in NYC during my visit! A truly first “first” happened on Saturday evening when my mom and I went for dinner at a Peruvian restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen called Inti NYC Restaurant. Yeah! It’s my first time trying Peruvian food! I was pretty excited to finally try it out!
The waitress wasn’t very nice and had a slight attitude problem. We were one of the firsts in the door for dinner however Inti became rather full about 30 minutes after we arrived. There was only one waitress and one busboy so this could have been the reason for the terrible service. While we waited for our appetizer to arrive, we snacked on these delicious snackitty things.. I think they were made of corn, but I can’t be sure. It tasted like a mix between pretzels (due to the salt, I think) and popcorn, except it wasn’t popped. They were highly addictive and I was pretty hungry so I ate more than I should have.
Our appetizer finally arrived and it was mindblowing. We got Ceviche de Corvina which was corvina fish chunks marinated in lemon juice, hot peppers, cilantro, and onions. It was served with sweet potatoes and corn. First of all, I have never had such strange corn before – it was thick and big and it tasted more like potatoes than corn. Second, the fish was a little chewy but really delicious – I guess it wasn’t even cooked, the fact that it was soaked in lemon juice cooked it pretty much (words of my mom) that could be the reason for its interesting slightly chewy texture. The appetizer was big and very spicy and very lemony. It was complex and delicious! Great start to our Peruvian dining adventure!
We had to wait a good deal of time before our plates were finally cleared and we got the dinner entrees. I was excited! My mom got the Salmon Primavera which is baked salmon served with mix steam vegetables with garlic and butter sauce. The salmon was perfectly baked and very moist. It tasted just as good as when I had it at Park Grill restaurant in Chicago last weekend. My mom really liked her dish.
I, on the other hand, got Picante De Camrones which were shrimp sauteed in garlic, onion, and tomato sauce, brandy, and served with quinoa salad. I don’t actually ever eat shrimp but this dish sounded the most interesting from the list and I was intrigued. I think the last time I had shrimp was… heck, I can’t even remember. I’m not a big shrimp eater.
I was pleasantly surprised to find spinach in the quinoa pile, which made for a delicious addition to the meal. I was sadly not a big fan of the tomato sauce. I was expecting a more of a “spaghetti” kind of tomato sauce: fresh and crisp. This sauce was buttery and reminiscent of heavy Italian sauces. I am not a big fan of Italian cuisine, simply because I don’t really like such buttery and heavy sauces. I didn’t finish the whole dish. It was very good but just not for me.
Well, after we finished eating, I think we had to wait about 20 minutes for our plates to finally be cleared. I was a little upset. This was very bad service. In addition to that, our waters have been empty throughout our stay at Inti Restaurant and if you know me at all, you know I LOVE my water. I had to drink my glass AND my mom’s glass. I would have been more understanding if the waitress was at least apologetic and nice. But she was very rude, dismissive, and she didn’t look like she cared very much about her job.
Anyway, finally after 20 minutes of waiting, we got our dessert order for which we had an option of flan or tres leches. We chose an order of each so we could try both since we have never had either of those desserts.
My mom was a big fan of flan. It was extremely sweet but she really liked the bitter sauce. It was an interesting contrast. I guess her and I have totally different tastes because I found the sauce not very good, it was way too bitter for me and the whole flavor of flan was much too intense. I could barely even taste my tres leches after eating some of the flan.
The tres leches was delicious and airy and just mmmmm. Ultra moist, not too sweet (at least not after eating the flan) and just perfect.
The food was amazing and a definite 5 star rating just for the food. The service however would be given a 1 star. Total rating for Inti NYC Restaurant = 3 stars!
Kammie wants to know:
- Which of the three featured restaurants you think you would enjoy eating at the most?
- Have you ever tried Peruvian food? What do you think about it?
- Have you ever been in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City? What’s your favorite place there?
Let me know in the comments below!