BIRTHDAY AT BECCO
November 12, 2014
For those of you that didn’t know, I turned 28 this past weekend. And just like every good celebration, my weekend was filled with friends, fun and most importantly, food.
Usually on my birthday, I plan a big dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Outback Steakhouse. But this year I decided to change things up again and go somewhere I had never been before. I also opted out of doing a huge group dinner because they are never as fun as they seem. You are trapped and can’t talk to everyone at the table and there is always that one friend who has to pull out a calculator and dissect the bill.
Instead, I let one of my friends take me out to dinner. My one regulation was it had to be someplace I had never been before. It is very hard for me to not have control over such decisions (especially when it involves food and especially when it is on my birthday) but I put all of my trust and faith into my friend’s judgment.
The name of the place we went to is called Becco and it is located on 46th street between 8th and 9th avenues. With a huge and glowing sign, it is almost impossible to miss.
THE HUNGER JAMES OFFICIAL RATING:
For it being a non-chain restaurant in midtown New York, it was surprisingly big, having about four or five different rooms to dine in and a decent sized bar area in the front. Luckily, our table was nestled all the way in the back, away from the accordion player and front door.
One of the big specials they were advertising (and something they are pretty famous for) is something called “Sinfonia de Paste” which is essentially an all-you-can-eat pasta course. Very Olive Garden, but much classier, if that’s even possible. Loving never-ending pasta deals, I was curious to try it, but when the waitress mentioned two of the pasta dishes contained shell-fish, I realized I would need to find something else to eat.
Also, I shouldn't be eating bowl after bowl of pasta anymore...
While looking over the menu, I didn’t really know how to classify the cuisine at Becco. I mean, it’s an Italian restaurant, and they obviously serve pasta, but the overall menu didn’t scream “NYC Italian” to me, which I found very interesting and refreshing. When you think of an Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan, veal parmesan and fried mozzarella all come to mind, but Becco had more fine-dining options, such as Osso Buco and a Porterhouse steak.
I finally decided upon the Pollo al Limone dish while my friend ordered the Maiale Arista, which is a fancy-shmancy term for “pulled pork.” All of the entrees were served with a Caesar salad and a basket of all different kinds of Italian breads.
The salad was pretty good, as good as a Caesar salad can get, and the chicken was delicious. I very rarely order a grilled chicken dish out because it’s one of the only things I know how to make (aside from macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dogs ), but what intrigued me
about this dish was the sauce it came in a lemon-butter sauce with olives and capers. It was also one of the only items on the menu that was served with sautéed spinach, and that is becoming my favorite vegetable as of late. (Ugh, vegetables. I hate being 28).
When our plates were clean and our stomachs full, I leaned back in my chair and finished the remainder of my red wine. I only had a few minutes to relax and digest, because before I knew it, I heard that classic sound of waiters clapping and approaching our table. All of the waiters, and a few of the patrons, all clapped along and sang me “Happy Birthday” and I was served a delicious apple pie with vanilla ice cream and candle.
It was such an amazing night and I recommend Becco to anyone visiting Manhattan for an authentic New York City meal.