Spring Greens at Vertigo

I don’t know about you, but after an indulgent Memorial Day weekend filled with barbeque and booze I need a rest from red meat. And with Spring in full effect, seasonal greens are the perfect antidote to get your body back in the swing of things. Sure, you can easily pick up some fresh arugula or mixed baby greens at the Union Square Market, but I have a feeling you’re still on your 3-day weekend high. So treat yourself and head over to Vertigo, for a delicious refreshing salad you probably couldn’t make yourself.

Last Friday I decided to take the day off and enjoy the first day of the summer season. I was meeting a friend for lunch in the Murray Hill area and figured that Vertigo would be a great choice, and especially because I had a two-for-one coupon.

In the summer time, Vertigo opens up its front window panes which allows for people watching and a nice breeze and often attracts quite a crowd during happy hour. But when we arrived around 2:30, the restaurant was fairly empty though there were a few diners finishing their lunches. Vertigo happens to have a great menu with assorted sandwiches, salads, fish, pasta, and small plates that they serve for both lunch and dinner. And since the salads of other Vertigo diners looked particularly good, both my friend Missy and I decided to see just how good they tasted.

Despite the fact that our drinks were nearly forgotten, the waitress having us repeat our orders (since she had not written them down), and Vertigo not accepting our lunch coupon, the salads were really tasty. Both Missy’s Southwestern Shrimp Salad and my Grilled Rare Tuna Nicoise Salad were incredibly fresh and presented beautifully. The shrimp and the Tuna were cooked perfectly and not overdone. Both salads were adorned with several ingredients and appeared as if each ingredient were precisely layered to enhance the overall flavor and texture of the salad. Given the awful service, I’m sure this wasn’t the case, but it’s nice to think they actually care about the presentation.

Vertigo Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Salad

Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Salad - romaine, avocado, corn, tomato, red onion, tortilla strips

Vertigo Grilled Rare Tuna Nicoise Salad

Grilled Rare Tuna Nicoise Salad - New Potatoes, Roast Peppers, String Beans and Caper Vinaigrette

So if you’re in the Murray Hill area and are watching your waist line, Vertigo is the perfect place to go for a refreshing salad with high quality ingredients. Their burgers and sandwiches are equally delicious, especially during their recession friendly happy hour, which is VERY popular. So get their early for a prime people-watching seat and a cool summer breeze. But if you’re looking to eat a quick meal then skip the service and get Vertigo to-go.

A RARE Surprise

RARE CheeseburgerStill on a food high from Tuesday’s Foodbuzz event at David Burke’s Townhouse, I was determined to get me some more beef. I could still taste the delightful saltiness of David’s sliders on my tongue and was looking for a local equivalent. It’s 7pm, and I’m in Murray Hill, where should I go? Since my sister, Amanda, had suggested RARE, I immediately agreed despite the crowd that we would encounter.

I’d only been to RARE once before and was NOT impressed. The service was abominable! Of course the day I decide to visit RARE, they run out of ground beef. How a burger restaurant runs out of ground beef is BEYOND me but they did, and left us sitting there for an hour thinking our food would be “just a minute”. BUT, everyone and every restaurant deserves a second chance, and on Wednesday, that restaurant was RARE.

I mean, the place is always packed so they must be doing something right. The crowd is a mix of businessmen and twenty-somethings all after one thing… the BURGERS. But despite the crowd that night we were seated within minutes, intimately squeezed in between two other tables, just how I like it. Well, not really but my energy was already directed towards deciding on which burger to order.

RARE Chicken Caeser

How Amanda ended up with a chicken Caesar salad, I’m not sure. But spotlight was on me as I diligently tried to get my mouth around the mammoth of a cheeseburger I’d ordered. Though the actual burger itself wasn’t that large, between the lettuce, beefsteak tomato, white onions, and pillow-like brioche bun, the height of the burger towered over me.

RARE Cheeseburger Height

Doesn’t that look like a fun challenge? Let’s just say that I’m glad you didn’t witness me eating this thing. It wasn’t too pretty…unlike the dipping sauces that were served in accompaniment.

RARE Dipping Sauces RARE Shoestring Fries

New Mexican Chili Ketchup, Roasted Garlic Aioli, Chipotle Aioli, and Honey Maple Dip were served with each side order of RARE’s shoestring fries (since they are served a la carte, and NOT included with the burger) I must admit that the fries were a tad limp, but despite their lack of crispness, my sister and I still devoured them. We’re a big fry family!

So the verdict on RARE… very satisfying. I’d be hardpressed to say the food was great, but it’s a solid neighborhood joint to go for a burger and fries. And RARE offers up some interesting preparations, such as the Mexican & BBQ Bison Burger, for those not just looking for the classic cheeseburger.