Written by Hulda Lawrence
Although it is very Scottish, St. Andrews is owned and operated by Martin and Mark Whelan whose parents are from Ireland. They have another restaurant, Maggie's Place, that is Irish.
On a recent visit, we were seated in the larger restaurant proper where the waitresses wear kilts and the service is fine. Sharon, the lead bartender, is Scottish and has been with the restaurant since it opened. She mixed the best Cosmopolitan I have had in a long time.
From the extensive menu we opted for Crispy Cornmeal Crusted Oysters as our appetizer. They were wonderful. Other starters include Cock-a-Leekie Soup, Scottish Salmon on a Warm Potato-Chive Blini, Home-made Haggis, Prince Edward Isle Mussels, Jonah Crab Cake and several salads. Prices for starters are $5.50 to $10.50. The raw bar with Wellfleet Oysters from Cape Cod, Malapeque Oysters from Canada and Blue Points from Long Island is also popular for appetizers.
There are entrée salads like Grilled Chicken on Baby Greens, Spinach Salad, Black Sesame Crusted Yellowfin Tuna on Baby Greens, Herb Marinated Shrimp Cobb Salad and Classic Caesar with Grilled Chicken, Shrimp or Smoked Salmon. These salads are $11.95 to $14.95.
Two notes on the service: at several times during our lunch the table was "crumbed" and a large blue container of sea salt, a product of France, graced the table.
Although we might have ordered such sandwiches as Grilled Steak on a Portuguese Roll, Jonah Crab Cake Sandwich on Onion Brioche, or St. Andrews Char-Grilled Burger, we decided to order one of the most popular entrees, BBQ Baby Back Ribs which truly are "slow roasted 'til they fall off the bone," accompanied by House-cut fries, an excellent creole slaw - and packets of towelettes. We also shared Yellowfin Tuna with fingerling potatoes, julienne vegetables and a red pepper coulis. Other entrees include Steak Frits, Pan-Seared Shetland Island Salmon, Grilled Striped Bass, Grilled Chicken Paillard and Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with mushroom saffron risotto. Entrée prices are $14.95 to $18.95.
There are pastas: Tiger Shrimp on Fresh Fettucine and zucchini, leeks, asparagus and spicy crushed tomatoes; Four Cheese Ravioli; and homemade Cavatelli with Grilled Chicken available at $11.95 to $14.95.
All of the desserts sounded so good we had trouble choosing. We ordered a Sticky Toffee Pudding, Cranahan and a Butterscotch Ice Cream Sandwich. Cranahan is a traditional Scotch favorite with Scotch Whiskey folded into whipped cream accompanied by fresh berries and sprinkled with toasted oatmeal. It was heaven as was the toffee pudding with caramel sauce and whipped cream. Among the other delights are St. Andrews Cookies and Milk, Crème Brulee and all kinds of ice cream as well as Baked Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Ice Cream. Desserts are $6.95.
Of course we had to end our meal with Irish Coffee.
This is a relatively quiet place, but on Saturday night at 9 p.m. there is live Celtic Music with no cover charge. At dinner there are such additional dishes as Bubble & Squeak, sautéed cabbage, potatoes and bacon; Crispy-Honey Free Range Chicken; Fresh Brook Trout stuffed with crabmeat and Scottish Oatmeal with prices from $17.95 to $27.95 for Filet Mignon. There also is a prix-fixe dinner at $28.95 of three course available all evening.
St. Andrews prides itself on the many single malt scotches it provides. They are available in dram or taster sizes. There is a complete list with descriptions of the origin and age of these whiskeys.
For a little bit of Scotland in the heart of Manhattan, a visit to St. Andrews will brighten your life.
Hours: 11;30 a.m. to 4 p.m. lunch daily
La Masseria, at 255 West 48th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue (212-582-2111), is inspired by the Italian farm. Its name is the same as the ancient fortified building where all the produce is preserved and everything is kept, from live animals to tools. The three owners come from Capri and Puglia where the olive oil and wine are well considered. The walls are decorated with replicas of farm implements and there is a splendid light fixture made from three antique wagon wheels. It lights up the mezzanine and private dining space.
This is an extremely well located restaurant when one is going to theatre. The food is good, simply prepared and well-seasoned. Service is swift and intelligent. Our waiter from Capri made suggestions for our lunch that proved very good.
As we sipped our drinks, Cosmopolitan for me and a Negroni for my companion, we nibbled on the thin, crisp breadsticks which we dipped into a fine caponata. The menu is ala carte so we shared a bowl of Zuppa del Giorno, soup of the day, which was Pasta Fazola. It was a hearty soup and especially warming on a cold day.
We shared Insalata Masseria, a tasty mix of rugola, radicchio, endive, mushrooms, olives, tomato and roasted peppers. Other salads include Della Massala, frizee with parmesan cheese and warm bacon dressing; del Pastore mesculin, string beans, cherry tomatoes and warm goat cheese; and Misticanza all'Aceto Balsamico, mesculin with balsamic vinegar. Other antipasti are Mozzarella Farcita Dello Chef; Grilled Vegetables; Fritto Misto del Mare; Carpaccio di Manzo; artichoke hearts with a warm taleggio cheese; grilled baby octopus and cuttlefish wit broccoli rabe on a bed of fava beans. Appetizers are $6.50 to $14.50.
Our waiter suggested and we thoroughly enjoyed a mélange of eggplant, mozzarella, tomato and homemade fettuccini. Other pasta dishes are Linguine alle Vongole; Ravioli Angelina; Tagliatelle alla Bolognese; Whole Wheat Ziti with mixed vegetables; Gnocchi with tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella; and Penne del Massaro, a light tomato sauce, bacon, radicchio and smoked mozzarella. There also is a risotto of the day and Granotto al Frutti di Mare e Fagioli, special pugliese grain with white beans and a mixed seafood sauce. These choices are $12 to $19.50 for the Granotto.
There is an outstanding wine list with bottles from Pinot Grigio at $28 to Barbaressco "Buja" Piemont 2000 at $280. In addition there is a goodly number of wines available by the glass. My companion appreciated Brunellesco at $7.50 and my choice Amarone della Valpolicella Terre di Bo at $14 was superb.
Our entrée was Grilled Prawns on a Skewer over a bed of mixed greens and tomato salad at $22.50. Other pesci are Grilled Whole Mediterranean Sea Bream, Grilled Salmon Fillet with grilled zucchini and mustard sauce and a dish of the day.
Other entrees include grilled, thinly pounded Chicken Breast with braised leeks; Chicken Chunks with mushrooms in white wine sauce with garlic and rosemary; thinly pounded Veal Chop with tomato and olive salad; Oven-roasted Rabbit; Grilled T-bone Veal Chop ; Grilled aged Prime Rib-eye Steak and Calf's Liver sautéed with onion s and blueberry vinegar. These entrees are $14.50 to $28.50.
Our dessert was a wonderful Tiramisu with a strong Limoncello aroma.
The restaurant seats 90 and there is a private area. It is, however, on the noisy side.
Hours: Lunch Mon-Sat. noon to 3 p.m
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.