Caesar's is a
surprise. This 34th Street continental restaurant that straddles
a commercial/retail area and the more elaborate than it first appears.
Its modest storefront "face" to the world leads to a place of
brick-lined archways, beamed ceilings, flowers, white table cloths,
comfortable chairs, carpeting, traditional Italianate art and a brick
fireplace. Behind the active, up-front bar are two serene dining
rooms that offer a rustic elegance as well as modest prices, a long
menu and warm, concerned service.
Second impressions are equally positive. Complimentary
bruschetta, boasting top quality olive oil and fresh tomatoes, makes a
prompt appearance as do two types of warm, crusty Italian bread.
They are almost instantly followed by Cesar himself, who might
well be calling you "dear friend" within minutes (he appears to mean
it). He recites the formidable list of nightly specials with some
descriptions of lesser-known dishes. Although they are more
expensive and sophisticated than the regular menus $9.95 pastas, $3.75
side dishes and $5 desserts, none break the bank and all please the
I ordered from both sources, opting for specials like asparagus spears
wrapped in smoked salmon, chicken and barley soup, escarole and bean
soup and brook trout stuffed with shrimp and crab meat chunks.
The more standard fare on the menu is not a let down.
Hearty traditional pastas, like a peasanty spaghetti Bolognese,
heavy with a meat-studded sauce and penne vodka enhanced by its salmon
add on were good, gutsy dishes.
A plate of mixed grilled vegetables delivered a desirable charred taste
and was every bit as satisfying as those two spunky soup specials.
But at the top of the taste chart were three, thick tender, juicy lamb
chops. Served medium rare along side escarole and stuffed baked
potatoes, they were perfection.
Sweets tread the traditional tiramisu-like trail that included a moist
ricotta cheese cake, a Napoleon made with airy custard and delicate,
flaky crust and a husky crumb topped apple cheese cake.
-Richard J. Scholem, City Guide, October 17, 2002
"As The Seasons Turn, Our Appetites Yearn"
Fall is the time of the year when we start thinking about our own
mortality. The leaves burst into flame, then wither and die. These
meditations usually last a minute or two, then we start getting hungry.
Let's Eat Out.
Located at 34th Street, Caesar's presents a modest entry-way that opens
on to a surprising world of elegant dining. The linens are crisp and
white, the exquisite dishes appear and disappear with smiling
efficiency. But it's all accomplished with the customer's pocketbook in
Caesar's has a large regular menu, but the daily market-fresh specials are a true window into the chef's soul.
Appetizers range from $5.95 to $9.95, but most are in the $7.95 range.
The other evening, the specials included baby clams ala verdi with
basil, spinach, and garlic; homemade gnocchi with almonds and grilled
Portobello mushrooms. Other favorites include a variety of grilled
mushrooms over a salad of arugula and endive ($7.95) and French blue
mussels in red or white sauce ($6.95).
House signature pastas include tortellini alla nana with prosciutto and
baby peas in pink sauce ($10.95), risotto Cesare with fresh vegetables
($10.95), and penne Cesare with shrimps, sun-dried tomatoes, gorgonzola
cheese, and pesto sauce ($14.95).
Main dishes include several daily fish specials which might include St.
Peter's fish livornaise or lobster fra diavola as well as filet of sole
stuffed with crabmeat, scallops, and shrimp ($16.95); veal scallopini
Cesare, a Milanese dish with tomato, arugola, basil, and mozzarella
($14.95); breast of chicken Romano sautéed with mushrooms, artichoke,
and Borolo wine sauce ($12.95), and broiled rack of lamb Caesar with
mushrooms and rosemary ($23.95).
Desserts arrive on an elegant continental cart. Most are priced at
$4.50 and include such sweet delicacies as tiramisu, key lime mousse,
canoli, Italian cassata wedding cake, carrot cake, and black forest
-Lissa Wyman, New York Daily News, October 17, 1997