Chef: Charles Rodriguez
Pastry Chef: Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez
Cuisine: American Nouveau
Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Price:$40 per person for food + drinks (not incl. tax/tip)
Phone: (212) 757-2224
Address: 653 11th Avenue, NYC 10036
Choosing a good NYC restaurant for a pre-theater dinner is like voting for politician in… well, any election… let’s face it — all the options pretty much suck and you just hope to choose the lesser of many evils. There is an inverse relationship between the distance to the Broadway theater and the value of the restaurant. It is Times Square after all, New York’s tourist mecca, and it is more about where you are than pretty much every other factor. The main high quality restaurants in the Theater District are not really meant to be pre-theater dine and dash, as they usually require a minimum of three hours to truly revel in your dining experience (i.e. Le Bernardin). Blue Fin and Oceana are good options, but overpriced as one would expect. Serafina is a glorified Olive Gardens (that is available in Times Square too of course), and the self-proclaimed Restaurant Row is… well, just a street of mediocre restaurants.
So when I was planning dinner prior to watching “Promises, Promises” (highly recommend by the way), I was determined to find that “lesser of many evils.” Print restaurant is located within the Ink48 Hotel on 48th St & 11th Ave, which is considered the boonies by normal standards, but in this case, it was a 15 minute walk from the theater and that seemed feasible. The Ink48 Hotel occupies a former printing plant, hence the clever names such as Print restaurant and Press lounge.
Adam Block, a longtime restaurant consultant who has worked with reputable chefs such as Thomas Keller, opened Print in February 2010. Print features farm-to-table cuisine with a strong emphasis on using organic, seasonal ingredients from regional sources. From the thoughtfully crafted menu to the modern Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs to the separate entrance, Print is not your typical hotel restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is simple but tasteful with its muted earth tones; there were playful wicker basket-esque lamps and a wall mural which seemed to be composed of chopped logs (I swear it looked a lot classier than I am describing it). It actually reminded me of many of the California restaurants located in Sonoma and Napa Valley.
Now the food. I really wanted to love this restaurant, especially because I had to venture out so far to get there, but the most I can give this restaurant is: it definitely has potential. Everything I had was quite satisfactory; it was good, but it wasn’t great. I loved the Goat Cheese Gnocchi and the Roasted Peach dessert was superb. I ordered the Braised Short Ribs because everyone seemed to rave about it on yelp, but it was a bit dry to me and I had wished I followed my stomach and ordered the duck instead. The octopus was okay but I have been on an octopus binge since Croatia, which honestly served the freshest, most delicious octopus I had ever eaten (Dell’anima’s is a close second). I mean, who can beat Croatia as the region source? However, as I only sampled a few dishes, I would like to return to Print someday to formulate a more encompassing opinion… someday… I just wouldn’t select Print as my primary destination but if I was in the neighborhood again, I would return.
Grilled Octopus, Potatoes, Olives, Chorizo, Herb Purée, Lemon
The octopus was perfectly cooked and lightly flavored with the lemon and herbs. But it’s no Croatia.
Grilled Red Snapper, Roasted Red Pepper, Potatoes, Scallions, Corn Chowder, Sautéed Shisito Peppers
Tasted like a fiesta in your mouth, which I couldn’t really figure out if I liked or not…. I think my taste buds were a bit confused
Braised Short Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, Thumbelina Carrots, Radishes, Green Beans, Gremolata
This dish got rave reviews on yelp, but it was not as flavorful as I would have expected. I thought the meat was a bit dry and the accompanying vegetables were a bit boring
Roasted Peach, Wild Blueberries, Sea Salt Sable Breton, Sesame Ice Cream
I am not a huge sweets person but after seeing the dessert menu, I could not help but try at least one before leaving. The roasted peach with the wild blueberries was simply incredible, and the sesame ice cream — I want a tub of it in my freezer at home now