Fresco ~ Birthday Celebration 1

Stick around, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride! I love birthdays as much as the next guy – but FOUR birthday celebrations had me cross eyed by the end! Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed each and every single one of them, but I may be on a strictly salad diet until Christmas so my system can get over the food come it is in at the moment! I also apologize in advance for the lack of photos, I was having TOO wonderful a time to worry about pictures so most of the ones I took were lousy! (Might have been the cocktails!)

Celebration Number One – Absinthe Spoon, Cocktail Fork and Cake Fork were gathered with Fork for this first celebration at Fresco. Fresco is one of Fork’s favorite restaurants for celebrations. It’s loud and bustling, the food is great, the service attentive and wonderful, what more do you need to get a party started.

Fresco is owned and run by the Scotto Family. If you watch the Today show you will see them regularly doing cooking segments, and if you are in the NYC area, you can watch Rosanna Scotto on Good Day New York.

I am going to get my only complaints out now. I would really rather gush about my wonderful celebration and the wonderful food, so the two little bones of contention should get out of the way first so you can sit back and enjoy the rest of our meal.

First. Cocktail Fork and I ordered the Black Angus Rib Steak to share. I dream about this steak – sadly, this night it was more of a nightmare. We asked for the steak to be cooked medium. A medium steak should have a pink band inside, but otherwise be cooked. This steak walked over to the table and sat down. It was positively raw inside. I asked for it to be sent back to be cooked a ‘little’ longer to medium. Everyone else had their main courses. I waited and I waited. We asked and we asked. Sadly, what arrived back on the table was so over cooked it was sinful to have done that to a beautiful steak.

Second. We were celebrating. We were drinking wine. We needed another bottle of wine. So we ordered a bottle. We waited and we waited and we waited. And we asked and we asked and we asked. We were sitting toward the front and I was watching the sommeleir out of the corner of my eye. When our waitress (very, very lovely young lady) went to him for the 4th time about our bottle, he rolled his eyes, became a little pissy, and actually came over to the table to ask if we wanted more wine. Really? What a novel idea.

Now back to our regularly scheduled dinner….

You simply cannot go to Fresco and not order the Potato & Zucchini Chips. These are addictive. Very thin slices of potato and zucchini deep fried, crumbled gorgonzola mixed in and stacked into a mountain of fabulousness! You cannot stop eating these. Cake Fork, who is not a blue cheese fan, absolutely adored them. I think it’s the type of gorgonzola they use. It’s more of a Gorgonzola Dolce than a true blue or with the bite that a gorgonzola usually has.

We also shared an appetizer of Fried Calamari. Perfectly crisp, perfectly tender little ringlets of calamari. Great cornmeal crust on the outside. The lemon and fresh aioli that is served along with the calamari is really great – so glad they don’t serve it with marinara. Fried calamari needs salt, lemon and little else – except this amazing aioli!

One of my favorite salads on the planet is from Fresco. If I had to choose only one thing to have as an appetizer, this would be it – Shaved Raw Artichoke, Celery Heart and Crimini Mushroom Salad. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? It is truly delicious. Cake Fork who didn’t want any and was sharing only to be polite had no problems eating every bit of the salad served! Along with the artichoke, celery and mushrooms, there is also baby arugula, shaved grana padano, and a lovely light dressing of cracked pepper, lemon and olive oil. So simple and yet so complicated. 

 For main dishes, we’ve already been through the Fork and Cocktail Fork disaster. Fortunately there were so many appetizers and the portions for Cake Fork and Absinthe Spoon so large, the steak was not missed!

Absinthe Spoon had the Pappardelle with Duck and Wild Mushroom Ragu. Oh EMMMM Geeeeeeee… very good. Pappardelle is wider than fettucine or tagliatelle, translated means gobble up. The duck and mushrooms are slow braised in wine with tomatoes, rosemary and thyme. The ragu had a wonderful, rich, deep flavored earthiness.  

Cake Fork ordered the Crispy Free Range Chicken. What arrived was a half chicken that had been marinated in lemon and herbs. It was served with a medley of pan roasted artichokes, zucchini, and tomatoes and a side of creamy mashed Yukon Gold potatoes.

Oh, dessert. The desserts at Fresco are truly amazing. One dessert better than the next. Of course, we had to have 2!

First up! Apple Bomboloni. Sigh. Dough. Fried. Yummy filling. Even better dipping sauce. Folks, it don’t get much better than this! Fresco changes the flavors of the Bomboloni seasonally and every change is mighty tasty.  This version was sugar coated vanilla doughnuts with an apple filling. Without going a step further these little doughnuts were perfect, but there was also a bourbon creme anglaise.  If I say the doughnuts were over the moon, the creme anglaise brought you around the moon again. If we had been more piggy, we would have finished up the creme anglaise with a spoon. (Good thing Absinthe Spoon was there and we had to behave with a slight bit of decorum)

Dessert Number 2 was a Brownie Fudge Sundae, complete with a birthday candle and no (thank you so much for that) singing! We start off at the bottom with a thick gooey brownie, then a slathering of hot fudge sauce, a scoop of malted milk ball ice cream, completed mit schlag and an almond cookie. So we can say the dessert is healthy, a scattering of fresh sliced strawberries (but remember, there are NO calories in anything with a birthday candle!)  Totally amazing from top to bottom!

By the way, their cookbooks are wonderful! Beautiful photos, wonderful easy to follow recipes. Try them, you’ll like them!

Fresco ~ 34 East 52nd Street ~ New York ~ 212.935-3436
Fresco By Scotto on Urbanspoon

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