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Amalia


Sneakeater
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Amalia is a new restaurant connected to, but not actually in, the Dream Hotel. It's on West 55th Street between Seventh and Broadway.

I was directed there (I'm too gallant to say "dragged") by a young woman who purports to be interested in food but is really interested in design and scene. I think she wanted to go here because she likes the roof bar in the Dream Hotel.

The room design is certainly cool, and the downstairs lounge (not open yet) looks like it will be uber-cool (for a place on West 55th Street). The food, however, is mediocre.

The chef is Ivy Stark, whom I believe has worked at Dos Caminos and another Mexican place. Here, she's cooking "Mediterranean."

I had an appetizer of fried and braised calimaris, with beans and chorizo. The squid wasn't overcooked -- a plus -- but the sauce was too oily.

My main was muscovy duck with a honey glaze, so perhaps it's unfair of me to complain that it was too sweet. The duck also wasn't overcooked -- another plus -- but the skin lacked crispness and that layer of fat lacked unctuousness.

In all, this simply is not cooking of a very high order.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Let's give a shout-out, though, to their cocktail list -- the Bergamot Margarita I had was delicious -- and to their wine list. It's full of interesting stuff, and not ridiculously overpriced. We had a Chateau Musar blanc that, to be honest, I didn't like very much. But on the other hand, you don't see this everywhere (I didn't even know Musar made a white wine). And they get credit for having a fairly obscure bottle that, by its somewhat unusual taste (heavy, almost sherry-like), is not destined to be a big crowd-pleaser.

The list is one of those newfangled ones divided not by region but by weight. I don't remember, but I think at least some of the wines also had descriptions. As a minor-league wine geek, I'm on the fence about lists like this. But, format aside, I did appreciate their selections.

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You know, rereading my report, it sounds like my main problem with the food here is the execution. But it isn't, really. It's with the conceptualizing. This is, like, cookie-cutter food, another version of everything you see everywhere this year. Not particularly well-prepared, either -- but that's only the half of it.

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