As soon as you walk up the stairs at Quality Italian, a host will greet you and you’ll barely be able to hear what the hell they’re saying. That’s because this restaurant is loud—like “we considered texting a question to someone sitting right across from us” loud.
We don’t say this to discourage you from coming here. All the food is solid at this Midtown spot, which has a wide-ranging Italian menu that will likely please even the pickiest diner. Like a lot of places in this part of town, Quality Italian serves entrées with prices that start with a “3” or a “4.” The portions are large though, so bring a group (which ideally includes someone with a corporate card). That way, you can share some big dishes and shout at each other for a few hours like everyone else here.
Despite the name, this place bills itself as a steakhouse, and the nicely-cooked dry-aged prime sirloin is one of the best things here. (This is a Quality Branded restaurant after all. They typically do meat well.) There are also a few other options, like a New York strip and a double tomahawk steak that’ll set you back $165. Italian items make up the rest of the menu, and standouts include the fried calamari with bacon and parmesan and the rigatoni alla vodka (flambéed tableside) with Calabrian chilies and a ton of lobster.
As long as you don’t mind some serious crowd noise, think of Quality Italian the next time you need to do dinner in Midtown with a few other people in an informal setting. The space is huge and feels like a warehouse that’s been converted to an industrial loft with rustic modern furniture. Since you’ll likely leave stuffed, plan an early meal here so you can take a long walk in Central Park (just two blocks away) while the sun is going down.
This healthy portion of ricotta is covered in honey and pine nuts, but the best part is the crostini, which is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They only give you three pieces, and you should ask for more. The worst they can do is say no.
Crispy Calamari Casino
Ordering calamari is like ordering fries. How interesting can it be? But we’re glad we tried the version here. Prepared almost like a loaded baked potato, the battered calamari comes tossed with parmesan cheese, aioli, scallions, bacon, and fresh basil.
Spicy Lobster Rigatoni Alla Vodka
When you order this pasta, someone will roll up to your table with a portable stove, pour vodka in a rigatoni-filled saucepan, and light the whole thing on fire. We haven’t had a dish with this much lobster in a long time. Be aware that it’s fairly spicy, and be sure to wait a few minutes after the flambé show to start digging in or all you’ll taste is alcohol.
Bone-In Dry-Aged Prime Sirloin
You might say to yourself: “This isn’t the type of place to order a steak.” Don’t listen to yourself. This cut of beef comes with some rosemary sprigs, roasted garlic, and caramelized onions on the side (none of which you’ll need because the meat is good enough on its own).
This grilled branzino with crispy shallots and pistachios is one of the least interesting things on the menu. However, it’s cooked well, and we love how it’s smothered with a ton of slightly cooked-down tomatoes. But you’ll likely forget about this dish as soon as you leave.
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
At first, we thought that $19 is pretty expensive for a slice of cake. But this is no single slice of cake. This is an entire tall, moist round chocolate cake. It’s so much cake, and it’s good. You also get fior di latte gelato, cherry compote, and espresso nibs on the side.