Michael Lomonaco is not just the executive chef at Porter House Bar and Grill(10 Columbus Circle) — he’s also the owner. This month, the restaurant is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a series of special menus looking back at where it started and its current hits. Ever have monkfish served like a T-bone steak? How about venison, Scottish pheasant, squab and wild boar all on the same plate? Could you even handle the richness of Wagyu beef with caviar, foie gras and white truffles?
Despite its namesake, Lomonaco emphasizes that Porter House is not a steakhouse, but a restaurant whose menu reflects the constantly changing American table. “What was once exotic or foreign is today commonplace,” he explains. “The rich contributions of the Latino and Asian kitchens are fast becoming part of our everyday menus the way French and Italian cooking have been foundational styles for generations.”
We asked Lomonaco where he likes to go when he’s not cooking up the next new thing.
For a well-made cocktail or interesting beer selection, accompanied by some really tasty dishes, I love The Penrose. Very relaxed and with great service and superior mixologists, this is a great addition to the strip of Second Avenue that has been suffering through the new subway addition. 1590 Second Ave., UES
Catching up with friends
Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle — a fancy joint for sure, but great classic cocktails, some jazz and a real taste of real New York style. A Manhattan, some little snack, the jazz — you might even spot Woody Allen on Monday nights. 35 E. 76th St., UES
Best meal under $10
We have a food cart on West 58th and Eighth Avenue where we grab gyros and falafel. We swear by this no-name cart. And now I grab my new favorite: Beef Saltena at Bolivian Llama Partyat Turnstyle in the Columbus Circle subway station.
I have a real love affair with French food and wine, especially the bistros of Paris. My favorite go-to is Benoit, the city’s best bistro by way of Paris and brought to us by Alain Ducasse. This is as close as you can get to the original Parisian location. Great wine list, authentic French cooking and some of the classics along with updated, modern French food. 60 W. 55th St., Midtown
Sandro’sis the Roman trattoria of my dreams and Sandro Fioriti, who came and conquered New York dining with his Roman cooking in the ‘80s, is still going strong, with classic Roman food and a warm and welcoming family-run dining room. Spaghetti al Limone — Sandro’s signature pasta — will have you dreaming of the Eternal City. 306 E. 81st St., Yorkville
The River Café remains one of New York’s most thrilling dining spots. Buzzy O’Keefe’s restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge, with some of the city’s greatest sights makes romance the main course — full transparency, I proposed to my wife Diane here, and we still love going on our anniversary. Brunch, lunch, dinner or even just a drink at the bar, chef Brad Steelman cooks wonderful New American and the whole experience will transport you. 1 Water St., DUMBO
That would be a satisfying meal that allows me some joy and time to think. A bowl of noodles at Totto Ramen, seated at the ramen counter, makes the whole day great. No reservations, so I get in line at around 3:30, not too crowded at the time, and wait for the perfect bowl of broth and I can slurp in peace, thank you. tottoramen.com
I gotta go with Porter House Bar and Grillon this one — we have the view of Central Park, a stunning room and the most photo-ready steaks you could ask for. I’m just saying.