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Contorno’s Restaurant in Holiday Inn Express Tasting

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The other week, Contorno’s Restaurant celebrated their official grand opening at their new space inside the Holiday Inn Express on West 31st Street. They held a tasting event where guests sampled hors d’oeuvres from the menu developed by executive chef David Buico along with wine tastings. The menu was filled with rustic Italian style small plates designed to pair nicely with their extensive wine list.

My friend and I had the chance to attend the event. Here’s a look at some of the items we tasted that night.

(From left to right) Grilled Flat Bread with Wild Arugula, Smoked Prosciutto and Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano; Suppli made with Arborio Rice,  Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella; and Crostini featuring Gorgonzola and Fresh Honey Comb served on toasted Raisin Walnut Ciabatta

(Clockwise from top left) Grilled Zucchini with English Mint and Pine Nut Pesto; Shrimp al Pancha with White Heirloom Beans, Spicy Salami, Tomato Jus; Hand rolled Ricotta Gnocchi, Wild Boar Bolognese and Shaved Ricotta Salata; and Old Fashion Veal Meatball over Chick Pea Puree, Veal Jus

And of course, there was dessert! Milk Chocolate and Pistachio Tart, on left, and a New York Cheesecake, on right.

We liked how the honey on the crostini added a touch of sweetness that was very pleasant. The grilled zucchini was simple but always enjoyable. Maybe that’s because I’m a big fan of grilled zucchinis and I also like minty flavors. However, the dishes we enjoyed most would have to be the Shrimp al Pancha and the Gnocchi. The Shrimp al Pancha had a surprising spicy kick to it and you can really taste all the herbs and spices that were used in the dish. The Gnocchi had a pleasant taste and texture from the ricotta cheese.

We also walked around the room tasting various red wines. I’m not an expert of wines but I always like to make a note of the ones I like – Vallagarina Lagrein 2009 and La Fenetre Pinot Noir 2009.

On the topic of wines, Contorno’s is introducing Wine Flight Tuesday’s, where each week GM/Sommelier Marta Cisneros will lead customers in sampling a red or white wine flight from a different region, and help them learn about the wine and how to pair it with different dishes.

And if you’re looking for a place to hang out after work, for drinks and small bites, Contorno’s has a weekly Happy Hour Special from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, with $5 house wines, draft beers, and well drinks. The restaurant is located at 30 West 31st Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway, near the Empire State Building, Herald Square, and Korea Town. Check it out if you’re in the area.

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