When traveling to New York City, I can’t help but eat from one end of the city to another. From hot dogs and gyros on a street cart, to steaks, lobster and American cuisine, I seem to spend my New York City time eating. And finding a place that will work for everyone is difficult.
I recently discovered a new place for me to relax, have a meeting and enjoy some well-priced food. And the food is good too. The Fireside Restaurant in the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel is a find because it offers something for everyone. This is not a hotel coffee shop. It’s actually unique in its offerings and I like it.
The idea behind Fireside is shared plates. It’s more than pub or bar food, but there’s a good selection of that will tickle your taste buds. Chef Ron Ulzak calls this cocktail cuisine. Everyone orders something and you share it. For a quick bite it’s great.
Stopped in for a late night drink. The bartender is friendly, other travelers and even locals drop by to relax. The location is great. If I lived in the Big Apple, this would be one of my hangouts. Why? It’s friendly, has a great atmosphere, upscale without ridiculous prices (very reasonable for New York). Had drinks with a business associate a few blocks away (her choice), but the noise level, lack of service and atmosphere made the experience painful. Next time, it’s the Fireside.
First on the list is the Duck Quesadilla. Tomatillo salsa blends well with sweet duck confit. I wasn’t sure about the citrus crème, but this worked very well with the dish.
The Ahi Tuna Tartare was interesting. Nice ginger and sesame flavor mingled with the tuna. The sweet vinegary flavor of the pickled cucumbers was a good contrast.
I love lobster rolls. Okay, I LOVE lobster rolls. Traditionally, a lobster roll is a tail served with mayo on a roll or wrapped in bread. A squeeze of lemon finishes the roll. The Fireside offers a lobster salad in a buttery roll. The salad does not hide the flavor of the lobster (which is often the case in fish salads).
We had a problem with the Grilled Lamb Bites. The problem was how to eat them. We decided that picking them up (they are small chops) with your hand was the only way. I would have like the lamb cooked a bit more rare. This is a unique fun food made for sharing with friends.
The Crispy Calamari was okay. The red pepper remoulade is just okay. The cocktail sauce could have used more oomph (spice). The calamari is deep fried in a light coating, but I missed the spice from the duo of sauces.
Some items I didn’t try include Buffalo Wings (served with a Maytag blue cheese fondue – Maytag is one of my favorite cheeses), the chef’s signature Chicken a la Brick Salad and the Two Handed BLTA (bacon lettuce tomato and avocado) Sandwich. Pepper bacon sounds great. They have a few “Let’s Not Share” items for food stingy diners.
Had lots of fun with desserts here. The Fireside “Fondue” is like traveling back to my childhood. A warm bowl of dark, rich Valrhona Chocolate is served with a variety of fresh fruit to be dipped. I love chocolate dripping marshmallows. Idea: make the marshmallows in house. This is easy and diners will flip.
The Ben & Jerry’s Profiteroles allowed me to have some Chunky Monkey. I would have preferred small dishes of each flavor (Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia, and Chocolate (Oh My Gosh) Fudge Brownie. For commercial ice cream, B & J is smooth, creamy, rich and full of great flavor combinations.
My bottom line with the Fireside is I like it. It’s comfortable and upscale, good attentive service with agreeable food. It’s not setting any culinary trends, but it’s not designed to. The Fireside is a place to relax, have a drink and eat something that is certainly not coffee shop fare.