Puck’s revelatory cookie, a beautiful new brasserie and high marks for Mundo

There are days when I wouldn’t trade my job for the Megabucks jackpot, and there are others when I’d rather stay home and open a packet of instant oatmeal.

Starbucks now serves hot breakfasts, such as the panino (the much underused singular form of panini) I ate with egg, Gouda cheese and turkey bacon. Is it just me, or are pre-cooked eggs slightly less tasty than bubble wrap? Bring on the Quaker’s.

Then I run into something like the revelatory oatmeal cookie at The Pods, the Wolfgang Puck group’s new coffee-bar concept at Crystals. It has a melt-in-the-mouth texture, a rich, buttery finish and only a subtle sweetness. It might be the best-tasting energy bar of all time.

Crystals figured prominently in my dining agenda this week. My second stop was Sirio’s, designed by Adam Tihany and featuring a glass-fronted demonstration kitchen, the restaurant has hit the ground running. This is the stuff dreams are made of: Tuscan bread soup, pappa al pomodoro; pici, a thick Roman spaghetti; and a veal chop Milanese so perfectly breaded you could sit on it without getting a grease stain on your pants.

Four of us dined at Wolfgang’s new Brasserie Puck, one of the most beautiful new dining spaces in the city. The best tables afford a view of all the tourists who aren’t shopping at Assouline and Tom Ford. Want to drop a cool $6,900 on a silk dressing gown? Tom Ford has just the thing.

The menu: yawn. The Puck Group isn’t taking too many chances here. The food is, of course, top drawer. But other than Alsatian pizza called tarte flambée and an amazing spaghetti with slow roasted veal cheeks, there is little we haven’t seen before.

I was actually more impressed by Mundo, the new space at the World Market Center, 495 S. Grand Central Parkway. In spite of the boastful “a culinary haute spot” posted under the sign, the food here is terrific and highly imaginative. Eschew the more mundane fare such as grilled chicken enchiladas for the more mundo dishes: green chili spiced lamb chops, short rib enchiladas and a great chile-lime corn side dish.

Quality like this doesn’t come cheap, though, so tonight I plan to repair to my living room with a $7 bottle of Tempranillo Garnacha from the Spanish producer Penasol. It’s a lusty red wine available at Whole Foods Markets, home to a highly evolved cheese counter, too.

Hungry, yet?



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