I'll be the first to admit it when I'm wrong, as it happens a lot. For example, when we first put @infatuation on Instagram, I was convinced the platform was supposed to be used as a history of our travels, and argued with Stang that photos like this were completely acceptable. That one's embarrassing. Another thing I was wrong about: Marc Forgione. Of all the reviews we've written (over 800) in the last five years, one of the ones that we've had the most disagreement on is Marc Forgione. Back in 2010, we gave it a lukewarm 6.8. Not a slam by any stretch of the imagination, but not a stamp of approval either.
We had two main problems the first time around. First off, there was a terrible cover band playing U2 songs inside the restaurant while we were attempting to eat an expensive meal. Talk about killing a vibe...jesus. Someone once emailed me that they thought that my comments about the live music led them to believe I was discriminating against Forgione himself because he had a mohawk and a "rocker" look. Little did they know I grew up a wanna-be suburban punk, and Rancid remains one of my favorite bands of all time. But a) U2 sucks, and b) the only time a U2 cover band is acceptable during dinner is at the wedding of some other dude who plays in a U2 cover band. Period.
As for the food, we just didn't initially love it. Everything sounded awesome on paper and looked beautiful on the plate, but didn't really deliver once we got around to eating it. Hence the mediocre rating.
It would seem, however, that things at Marc Forgione have changed for the best. That, and I was probably just wrong in the first place. We've been back a few times over the last year or so, and the restaurant really seems to have found its stride. The food is excellent, the service is good, and the upscale, rustic room has always been one of our favorites in NYC. Marc Forgione is Perfect For those times when you want to throw down on a baller meal and not think twice about the bill, or go out for a Special Occasion dinner that's not quite as expensive as the other big boys, but also doesn't feel as stuffy.
So now that we've given Marc Forgione its rightful 8.2, please stop telling me I'm wrong. About this at least. I'm not budging on the U2 thing.
This is how you start off a meal at Forgione. A rich, buttery tartare of Yellowtail is beautifully presented on top of a layer of avocado with pine nuts and salty "Saratoga Chips." Home run.
Whoa. Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa. This lobster appetizer is absurdly good. A tail, a claw, and a few knuckles come swimming in a bowl of fiery chili sauce, which is meant to evoke the flavors of the chili crab dishes you'll find all over Southeast Asia. Served with Texas toast for sopping purposes, this thing is a must order.
Delicate, doughy pasta dumplings stuffed with summer truffles, tasty grilled radicchio, and squash. Not mad about this one bit.
You definitely want to eat steak at Forgione. Especially ones that comes with bone marrow, and are topped with grilled onions and chimichurri sauce, like the Tomahawk Chop special. This steak fed four people, easy.
One of their trademark dishes. A full Bell & Evans chicken, cooked under a brick, and served to feed two with potatoes, broccoli rabe, and the most important part of all: pan drippings. That's where all the flavor comes from. This isn't quite at the Commerce or The NoMad level, but the Forgione chicken is really damn delicious.
Of all the fish dishes on the menu (there are a lot), our server steered us to the halibut, which was nicely cooked with great flavors and a "Proposal" sauce so good that people apparently want to marry it. We might, but we're scared of commitment.
Two simple things they do really well here: ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. The Lil' Shorties are a must - an assortment of small ice cream cones with various homemade flavors. Also, the chocolate chip cookies are all hot and gooey, straight out of the oven. A nice way to end a stellar meal.