I’ve said it a million times now, but just in case you missed it: I love Top Chef
on Bravo. It is one of my favorite shows, and during my vacation last month, I visited the restaurants of two former contestants.
Right before I left, I read a review in the New York Times on Tom Colicchio’s (the Top Chef head judge) new restaurant, Colicchio & Sons, located on New York’s west side (85 Tenth Ave, at 15th St.). I planned on being in NYC for a few days at the end of my vacation, and thought about getting a reservation. However, the review stated that reservations should be made at least a week in advance, which disappointed me. But, just to check out what the restaurant offered, I logged on to their website, and discovered the restaurant had a Tap Room (or bar), which served its own menu on a first come, first serve basis. I didn’t make any definite plans to go, but kept it in the back of my mind
When I arrived in NYC from Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon, I checked into my hotel and showered, and decided I was absolutely famished. So, I decided this was my perfect opportunity to try out C&S. I arrived at 5:30pm (I wished they had an early bird special!), which was when the Tap Room opened for dinner. The restaurant was empty, with the exception of two people at the bar, and one other couple seated for dinner.
The Tap Room was pretty impressive. There was a wall of cubbies, filled with fire wood (I’m assuming to fuel the restaurant’s pizza oven, but I’m not sure), and the bar was stocked with more alcohol than a liquor store. I don’t have any pictures of the interior, I didn’t want to whip out my camera and make a total idiot of myself, especially in front of the wait staff. (Just a note to all the ladies reading this: it was clearly a requirement to work at this restaurant to be male, in your mid-twenties and look like you belong at model casting. If you don’t want to go for the food, you should go to have something nice to look at.)
The bar was stocked with beer from all around the world. There were so many options that there was a drink menu as big as the food menu. I decided to try the Ommegang Abbey Ale, brewed in Cooperstown, NY (my home region). While I am not usually a fan of dark beer, this was not too heavy, and it was easy to pick up on the brew’s fruit and spices.
For my dinner, I went classic bar food, or, at least the upscale version of it: a burger. I know, it seems pretty lame to go to Tom Colicchio’s restaurant and order a burger, but let me tell you, this wasn’t your average burger. The burger was topped with pecorino cheese, balsamic onions and thousand island dressing. It was so incredibly juicy, I almost put on a bib after my first bite. Warning: there is no sexy way to eat this burger. But it was so good, I didn’t care. It came with homemade chips on the side which were crispy with just the right amount of salt, perfectly complimenting the burger.
I’d definitely love to go back and try the actual restaurant, but if you’re in the city and are looking for a good place to grab a bite without a reservation, I definitely recommend Colicchio & Sons.