Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NYC's AMALIA actually annoys with noise

I am always happy to try new spots and I was very excited about AMALIA at the Dream Hotel in NYC ( on 55th Street just off of Broadway and two blocks from Carnegie Hall (two areas I hang out alot). The cuisine is Greek-influenced, but quite varied and offers up some tasty and exciting dishes, but when we arrived to a virtually empty restaurant, the music was so loud that we had to ask them three times to turn it down. This didn't ever seem to work, and as the place filled up (despite a very segmented and spread out set of rooms) and got so noisy we just gave up talking all together. Even Will & Samuel could not hear me on my cell phone when I called to say goodnight!

Speaking of decor and layout, Amalia has many rooms and levels with an eclectic feel using bird and floral wallpaper, exposed brick, exposed beams and embossed stucco patterned cielings. The wood floors and tables are comfy with swivel leather chairs that have a 60's feel of sorts. There are odd columns of steel girders (support I guess) that are encased in glass and lit from the bottom for effect.

Pita is served with an herbed oil and is quite nice, but gets no raves. The wine list is nice, but there are only 4 or so each of red and white by the glass. I started with a Greek RODITO-MOSCHOFILERO 2007 from Domaine Skouros that was very refreshing and went on to a yummy TEMPRANILLO "Paso a Paso" 2006 from Jorge Ordonez in La Mancha, Spain.

My appetizer was the COCONUT CORN SOUP which came with what they called Crab Salad (a small bundle of crab) in the bowl and LEMON BALM (a sorbet-like Lemongrass) It was quite tasty and a very large portion as well.

My entree was the ROASTED GIANNONE CHICKEN BREAST with Fresh BEAN CASSOULET, CHANTERELLES in a bit too sweet APRICOT SAUCE and my mother opted for the SAUTEED & CRISPY CALAMARI served with WHITE BEANS, CHORIZO, Piquillo Peppers and Garlic Toast which was called medium-size, but was indeed quite a big portion of both deep fried and sauteed squid making for variety.

We split the CHOCOLATE FONDANT which was intense with a WALNUT CRUST and Berries in Sangria Sauce as well as CHOCOLATE-RASPBERRY Gelato, which had little berry taste at all.

While the food was pretty good, I fear that Amalia just is too noisy for me to jusitfy a return visit.