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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Livin It Up at Lavo

Thursday night, we went to the hottest spot in town, Lavo.  Although it can be found on 58th street, you would swear you were in the Meatpacking District.  It was so packed, I managed to hit someone standing inside with the revolving door (didn't even know that was possible) and by the time we were finished with our supper at 9 PM, they had already set up the red carpet and velvet rope outside.  We were clearly in the presence of the Beautiful People.  

The restaurant looks very European, but our friends overseas are much more relaxed than anyone at Lavo.  They have it down to a science.  Our waiter was nice and attentive and brought our food out promptly.  They warned us we would have to give up our table in two hours, but we figured they would let us stay as long as we continued to order food and spend money.  Not so.  Exactly two hours later, our attentive waiter and an even more attentive manager came over to kick us out (despite the fact that I still had a nearly full glass of wine).  In all fairness, they had warned us, were very nice when telling us to leave, and we had finished eating, so we had no problem leaving.

The food was mediocre, but truth be told, I probably wouldn't have noticed if it had been spectacular because I was too busy looking for celebrities.  Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone famous (which I think is a first at this place), but that could be because we didn't head to the downstairs lounge which is where the action really is (I'll be going there this Thursday, so I'll let you know if the nightclub is worth all the raves).  Although everything is portioned normally, we decided to order a little from each category and share it all.  We started with the baked clams, tuna tartar, kobe beef stuffed rice balls, and lobster potato pizza.  The rice balls were dry and nothing special - don't bother.  The pizza was probably my favorite, followed by the clams.  For the entree course, we ordered two filets, shrimp scampi, crispy chicken, eggplant parm, and asparagus, broccoli, and polenta fries for sides.  The eggplant parmesan was easily my favorite.  It was by no means fancy, but it was saucy, cheesy, and [thankfully] massive so everyone was able to eat a large piece.  The polenta fries and crispy chicken came in at 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.

It just so happened that the day before we went, Sam Sifton's review of Lavo graced the pages of the New York Times.  As a restaurant critic, I love Sam Sifton.  There is a sarcastic humor captured in his writing and his reviews are pretty dead-on.  His review guided us through the menu - we knew exactly what to order and what to avoid.  Everything he wrote - from the waiters pushing the meatball (thanks to Mr. Sifton, we knew to pass) to the meathead clientele rang true.  These are not Jersey Shore-type meatheads.  They are a new breed: the Meatpacking Meathead.  The finance boys looking for whatever tight dress-wearing lady they can pick up because she could just be the woman of their dreams (though she most certainly isn't).  Also present: the old men looking to pick up the exact same women.  Good luck to both of them.
Shrimp Scampi
Crispy Chicken
Eggplant Parm
Polenta Fries

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