Admittedly, I think Lavo is a little bridge & tunnel. The bar is always stacked 5 deep with hordes of midtown d-bags and the women who would give up their left arm to become Mrs. D-bag. If you look up “scene” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Lavo. For that reason I have generally avoided this establishment. However, they are one of the highest grossing restaurants in the country, along with their counterpart Tao, in both NYC and Las Vegas. I figured someone has to like this place, and for that reason I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Lavo is enormous. The upstairs bar and dining room go on forever, and they have a second level downstairs which functions as a club by the same name. Everywhere you look you see young beautiful people dressed to impress. The space is gorgeously polished and quintessentially New York. The rooms are buzzing with energy of lively people and trays of food and drinks flying passed you. There are tables everywhere, soft light, subway tile & old mirrors.
The food is Italian with steakhouse classics and a large price tag to match the huge portions. Considering people go here for the scene and not the food, I’ll say that the food is light years better than anyone needs it to be. The menu is also enormous and packed with salads, pastas, pizzas & more. The tuna tartar was light and perfectly acidic. Their signature meatball, which is the size of a grapefruit, it surprisingly tender and cooked to juicy perfection. For an entree I’d suggest the baked salmon which was crusted and swimming in a lovely lemon-butter sauce or the chicken parm. I am sad to say that their steak was disappointing. There was no seasoning or salt, but it was cooked perfectly. Do not, I repeat, do not miss the desserts. The fried Oreos and the 20 layer chocolate cake are worth the trip alone.
This place definitely serves its purpose in Manhattan. It is a great place to be loud and have a fabulous time with a group of friends. Their brunch is one hell of a party. You can definitely take people from out of town who want a classic NYC experience. Here’s what we had:
Tuna Tartare - Diced yellow fin tuna, avocado, crispy garlic, black olive dressing
The Wedge - Creamy gorgonzola, pancetta, heirloom tomato
Roasted Beets - Goat cheese, citrus, toasted almonds, sun dried tomato vinaigrett
Meatball with Fresh Whipped Ricotta
Margherita - Fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil
Spinach and Artichoke - Mozzarella, roasted garlic, black olives, wild mushrooms
Rigatoni Melanzana - Fresh tomato, roasted eggplant, bufala mozzarella
Brick Oven Salmon Oreganato - Seasoned breadcrumbs, lemon, white wine, garlic butter
Chicken Parmigiano - Thinly pounded chicken, marinara, mozzarella
20 Layer Chocolate Cake - Chocolate devils food cake, peanut butter mascarpone
Oreo Zeppole - Double stuffed, malted vanilla milkshake
Address: 39 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022