Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
Nick & Toni’s is a little neighborhood Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. It’s not the place I expected to find serious cocktails. It’s not even a place I’d expect to find overly serious food.
Yet I came here late one afternoon with my friend Clay Williams. Clay films most of my holiday videos and he is an amazing food photographer. After our Easter video shoot, I needed to upload the files and he had a cocktail shoot at the aforementioned Nick & Toni’s. I was really just along for the ride to finish up some file transfers.
But since the shoot was an extensive one for Edible Manhattan (check out the article – Clay’s photos are a million times better than mine), there were a lot of specialty, local-based cocktails thrown Clay’s way. And somehow I managed to get a straw in a few of them.
I was overly impressed at the long, complex cocktail list at such a modest little restaurant. They were quite unexpected and a few of the ones I tasted were very successful.
I’m not normally a fan of negronis, but the few sips I had of their Barrel-Aged version might be enough to change my mind. Negronis are usually quite bitter with a strong dose of minerality. Beverage director Richard Scoffier manages to tame the combination of Finger Lakes gin, sweet vermouth, campari, and orange bitters by aging the entire thing in bourbon barrels from Tuthilltown Distillery.
The sweet, caramelized notes from the barrels come through in the new cocktail that is a brand new Negroni creation – both citrusy and bitter, but rich and sweet too. If the cocktails are this good, I’m going to have to come back for the food.
|NICK & TONI’S CAFE|
|100 West 67th Street (between Broadway and Columbus Avenue),
Upper West Side