Sunday, April 7, 2013

Local Czech food with locals!

When it came time for a final Czech meal, I really wanted to try out a more decidedly local restaurant. Oh boy, everyone had the same idea.

U Parlamentu is a favorite among locals and now travelers alike for they serve authentic Czech food with local beers at bargain prices.

Service is fast for what it is. There were only two waitresses I saw servicing the entire floor and it was very packed!

We started off with the crispy garlic bread - normally you think toasted bread with butter and garlic minced - baked to a buttery goodness, no?

Czech garlic bread
Not according to the Czechs. Their bread is browned and very crispy. You get garlic cloves - 3 of them - 1 for each slice of crispy bread. The garlic has to be mashed against the toast until you feel there is enough garlic flavor. There is no butter with it. Once you get the garlic juice onto it though, it tastes pretty good.

Pork medallions with sauerkraut and bread dumplings
The best part of this simple Czech meal was its pork, which is really good in Prague. Very moist, tender and  the sauce's blandness is matched by the sauerkraut's pickled taste. The bread dumplings were just like montau - chinese steamed bread! I found it reminiscent of home.

Marinated beef in creamy sauce
Barb was not too impressed with this dish at all. It was too bland for her and there was nothing to cut that - not even sauerkraut.

Service was a bit short but we got cheap, traditional Czech fare fast. 

Valentinska 8, Prague 110 00, Czech Republic (Praha 1)
tel. 420 721 415 747

Italian in the city...

In a city full of restaurants, notably Italian and French restaurants, il Corallo Trattoria shouldn't stand out with its tight and crowded seating and old tiled walls.

And yet it does! It is not just because the new owner has a long history with the restaurant - with his wife having worked there under the previous owner and he is a unique personality.

This little gem is popular with NYU students due to proximity, price and taste.

This restaurant has many dishes! Too many choices makes ordering very hard!

It took us (former and present co-workers) quite some time to decide on the main courses because everything looked that good!!! I thought I made a choice but on the back was pizza!!! We opted out of the pizza because there were just so many pasta dishes.

We split an order of Crostini Pomodoro which is homemade bread toasted topped with fresh chopped tomatoes, pinoli nuts, fresh ricotta cheese and fresh basil. It was very delicious even though we had bread with olive oil and vinegar to start.

Then we split two plates of salad...the same salad but I forgot to note the name of the salad. Sorry!! But it wasn't truly anything special.

The specialty of this place seems to be its ingenious white sauce which is both light and creamy! It seems to be the standard for at least three of their delicious pastas.

Fettuccine Maremonti
This was my dish - Fettuccine Maremonti, fresh green noodles with wild mushrooms and shrimp in a light tomato sauce. The noodles are real noodles - thick noodles - hearty noodles that went well with a slightly tart but light tomato sauce. The shrimps were perfectly cooked - not overdone and there was a lot of fresh mushrooms - but the ratio of mushroom to shrimp to sauce was too much. I could not finish my whole dish at all.

Taglierini Sorrento 
My co-workers got theTaglierini Sorrento - fresh thin black noodles with shrimp, lobster meat, scallops, clams, fresh chopped tomato, parsley, olive oil, white wine and garlic sauce and this was simply divine - I think should I be in the neighborhood again - I'd get this dish to go - along with others. Squid ink is an ingredient that few people really use well - but here - in Il Corallo's expert hands, it is a lovely way to have your noodles and add a rich rounded flavor to the rest of the seafood in this dish.

Fettuccine Piemontesi
My friend enjoyed her Fettuccine Piemontesi - fresh green noodles with chicken and mushrooms in a cream of truffle sauce. Here again, il Corallo, shined. Their delicious green noodles were absolutely filling - and the white cream sauce is always divine - light and creamy yet a perfect compliment to the hearty noodles. This would be the other dish I'd have to take home.

Fettuccine Buttera
And this was quite enjoyed as well - the Fettuccine Buttera - fresh noodles with italian sausage, spinach and toasted pinoli nuts in an olive oil and garlic sauce. The Italian sausage was delicious in the light sauce. The nuts complimented the dish as well as the sausage did. But the best was yet to come.

Farfalle Di Spiaggia
This was il Corallo Trattoria's crowing achievement. This - Farfalle Di Spiaggia - bow tie pasta with lobster, shrimp, fresh green peas, and avocado bits in a cream sauce with parmigiano and romano cheese. Again, they excelled at making their cream sauces. This bow-tie pasta was tender and held the cream sauce well. The lobster and shrimp was cooked just perfectly and tasted just fantastic with the sauce. I didn't notice too much avocado or green peas so the balance was actually rather perfect. This is my very last dish to take home. In fact, I definitely want to have this dish the next time I come to il Corallo Trattoria - by no means, will I not return!!

The service was pretty attentive but if you get there with more than 2 people, the wait would be 30 to 40 minutes. The turnover might be fast but they don't really rush their customers out the door. At least, not this night. The owner was very nice and the server was patient when explaining their specials of the night as well as some of the dishes/pizzas that weren't being served that night.

All in all, while I wouldn't suggest a date night here - it is a great place to meet a friend for good, cheap Italian pasta and wine.

I almost regret writing this but they don't need my words for their place - they're plenty busy enough!

Il Corallo Trattoria on Urbanspoon

II Corallo Trattoria
176 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
Sunday through Thursday, 12:00 pm–10:30 pm 
Friday & Saturday, 12:00 pm–11:00 pm

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The First Meal in Prague - Lunch

After walking around our first day - we were hungry and opted for a meal at a bar that was relatively empty. As all the restaurants were in the same way, empty; we figured that they were open just for people like us - tourists on our own meal schedule.

Of course, not long after we sat down, perusing the menu, a bunch of people - admittedly tourists - came in! It became full quite quickly!

Anyway, the place was just called "U Cerveneho raka" and was full of dark woods and wooden furnishings. 

Just before the storm - ceilings and wooden furnishings - an empty calm space.
Oddly enough, the wooden furnishings were pretty comfortable. Or else, we were just too tired. Anyway, the waitress came by and we asked if we can swap out the appetizer for the dessert and she said yes! Nice!

They gave us the bread basket which was nice and fresh.

Bread basket - a variety of different bread

So we ended up eating the same thing - flattened chicken breast which was fried and served with lemon and fries.

Flattened breaded chicken breast with french fries.
The meat was plain fare but the tangy ketchup - heinz but more tangy than homemade ones - made up for it. At least for me. Barb had to add salt and pepper to her portion.

I liked their american french fries which were crispy outside and starchy inside. Yum.

Dessert which was a raspberry jelly donut and whipped cream
Dessert came later and was actually a raspberry jelly donut - warm and fresh whipped cream with chocolate drizzle! Delicious!

I have seen the bad reviews in terms of service but honestly, they were quite nice to us. The only problem was trying to pay. The check was hard to get and we just got up and paid at the bar. We just don't have that issue stateside. But I find in Europe, they let you sit as long as you want. No rushing!

Here I must acknowledge that beer is way cheaper than anything else to drink! Soda, cocktails, etc all cost way more than beer. Had I been a college kid, Prague would have been my city of choice. Ha!

Bar U Cerveneho Raka
Karlova 30
110 00 Prague
Czech Republic
Monday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 10 a.m. - midnight

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A taste of home in Prague

After a long day of sightseeing - across the Charles Bridge and back, up and down cobblestone streets, we were really, really tired. We rested (I took naps in Europe...lots of em :) ) and decided to go next door for a taste of home.

Yes, my friends, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. Lol. And they let their people (at least the host) drink for I saw him take a shot when we sat down.

It was a bit of muck, as we entered and there was no host. The host/staff all speak great English and he showed us to a table and gave us menus. The typical where are you from etc did fall from his lips but it was alright. We were ready to drink and eat...

First we got the drinks. Barb tried the Hurricane, not so good outside of Nawlins'. And I tried the tropical rock. I loved it. :)
Tropical Rock
The hurricane is a Nawlins' signature drink and it was not really that great here. But my tropical rock was awesome! Sweet and yum.
Pulled chicken
As for food, Barb got the pulled chicken which was decent. I am guessing it tasted just the same as Hard Rock Cafes all over the world. I would say ask her because she's just the appendage to my posts as she doesn't even comment on the food. Ha! "It's ok" is pretty much what she says. 

I got the pulled pork because I found that Prague has good pork. Yes...European pork seems yummier than home. That's what I feel and I'm sticking to that opinion.

The only thing I hate is that they pour the sauce on...I like the sauce on the side, I'm not always into getting the meat so very drenched in sauce. Sometimes you want to taste the meat!
Pulled pork
My meat was decent - quality of the meat is decent and the sauce was the same as a Hard Rock back home. I deconstructed my sammich because it was just chock full of meat and the ratio of meat to bun was too much for me. Oh and the ketchup was a bit tangier than it is in the States.

Purple Haze
Barb switched to Purple Haze. I got another Tropical Rock (told ya I liked it) and after sitting at the table a while, (we got the Lennon hat table) we went back to the hotel - right next door - Hotel Rott - a nice hotel, by the way.

Great host and waiter made this experience way better than you would think. And if you weren't tired tourists, you'd be hard pressed not to go to Old Town Square - just around the corner!

Hard Rock Cafe Prague
Dům U Rotta, Malé náměstí 3,
Praha 1, 110 00, Česká Republika
Tel. +420-224-229-529
Restaurant: Daily 12:00PM - 12:00AM
Bar: Daily 12:00PM - 01:00AM
Rock Shop:Daily 10:00AM - Midnight