Fresh, Tasty Five-Star Options
By: Ellis Nassour
Here are resources to help you find reliable, clean, and distinguished restaurants in and around the Theatre District that stress highest quality, friendly service, and use the freshest ingredients in traditional recipes. All have extensive wine lists, from affordable California and international vintages to, well, ones you might consider when you hit the Lottery. Both are great for before-and-after dinner and when you’re looking for a place to dine on a special occasion.
Plataforma Churrascaria Rodizio
Brazilians love their meat and flock to this high-end rodizio [all you can eat] steakhouse. Partner João de Matos says, “It’s a 75-year tradition. A festival near Sao Paulo attracted thousands and the few restaurants were overwhelmed. Orders got confused and there was almost a riot. The owner had waiters pass the various meats around and let customers select. Before you knew it, rodizios sprung up all over Brazil.”
With Plataforma Churrascario Rodizio, De Matos and partner Luis Gomes have brought tradition to the Theatre District – and it’s authentic. “Our goal is value for your money, exceptional food, and service,” states Senor Gomes. “We’ve been consistent for 20 years!”
It’s hard to resist the gourmet salad station with four casseroles from old-world recipes and 40 rotating international choices: carpaccio (thinly- sliced, pounded meat), sal picão (chicken salad), sushi, shrimp, tabouli, rolled grape leaves, cheeses, and veggies.
Don’t go overboard because it’s hard to resist the endless skewers of succulent cuts of perfectly grilled prime beef, lamb, pork loin, chicken, ribs, and sausages. Wednesday and Saturday, there’s something extra special: Brazil’s famed national dish, long-simmering feijoada, made with black beans, savory pork, and fresh, and fresh, native herbs.
Sides include broccoli, potatoes, and fried bananas. Should you make it to dessert, passion fruit mousse is delicioso! And, yes, there’s Brazil’s national drink, the otic Caipirinha, made with cachaca.
Plataforma Churrascaria Rodizio, 316 West 49th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. 7 days. Voted #1 Brazilian steakhouse in America/The Daily Meal. Live music, Friday and Saturday; Check website for prix fixe specials and validated parking. Zagat, Gourmet, NYTimes-recommended. Reservations, (212) 245-0505 or www.plataformaonline.com.
La Masseria Ristorante
The name translates “farmhouse.” For 15 years Pino Colandonato (executive chef), Peppe Iuele, and Enzo Ruggiero’s La Masseria, boasting a Michelin rating, has been vastly popular for its authentic Puglia-inspired recipes – many carried down
“Masseria is peasant cooking – simple, fresh, flavorful, everything home-made, including our mozzarella,” Says Pino. “Whatever the land or sea offers.” Peppe adds “Anything we won’t eat, we don’t serve!”
A popular salad is the mesculin with string beans, cherry tomatoes, and warm goat cheese. Antipasti change daily, but a must is fresh, stuffed smozzarella and stuffed eggplant with smoked mozzarella. Pasta standouts are scialatielli (short cut thick fettuccine with eggplant and smoked mozzarella); and potato gnocchi with radicchio in taleggio cheese sauce.
Entrées include veal chop Milanese, grilled t-bone, aged prime rib eye, grilled salmon, Mediterranean branzino, and risottoes. A Pino specialty is oven-roasted rabitt Caprese. In addition, there’re 15 daily specials.
Must desserts are ricotta cheese cake and fresh fruit tarts. Enzo, the wine expert, is passionate about pairing the perfect wine with the right dish. He’s crafted an excellent selection of Southern Italy wines.
La Masseria Ristorante, 235 West 48th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue s.7 days. Visit website for validated parking option. Concierge Choice Award: Best Pre-Theater Restaurant. Zagat rated, NYTimes- recommended. Reservations: (212) 582-2111, www.opentable.com,