Now I have been going to Lido Harlem for drinks since around the time they first opened up in Harlem some years ago, but never really ate there (except for the occasional bar food, calamari and wings), and since I always liked the place, I thought it was high time that I actually did a review!
I arrive around a few minutes after 7pm and said to the manager at the desk up front: “dinner for one”. Right away was the response, and was taken to a table that was up in the front of the restaurant, in the mist of all the action, (it was quite crowded for a Tuesday night). Now I did not inform them that I was coming to do a review, and was trying my best to be “under the radar”, but after being seated, I noticed that the manager was staring a bit in my direction a few times. I also noticed that he whispered something in a waiters ear while trying not to look in my direction, but I saw it happen.
My waiter Vladimir, who the manager whispered to, promptly came over and asked if I wanted a drink, Chardonnay I said! (of course) and he quickly went to fetch it for me.
Lido is one of the few restaurants in Harlem that serve a decent Chardonnay, so I sipped upon it and enjoyed the bread while I perused the menu for what I would eat for dinner and critique for the evening. The Cannonball Chardonnay had a 2016 vintage (quite good I say) a California wine from Sonoma, that hints of Honeysuckle, Vanilla and Quince, and very full bodied. I loved it.
When my waiter Vladimir returned, I ordered the Center Cut Pork Chop, which was topped with sautéed Spinach with garlic cream, with Currants Agodolce.
The presentation was superb with the spinach on top the chop, and the other ingredients underneath the chop supporting it like mini table legs. It was a very unique presentation that was visually pleasing. Inspecting the “chop” I found that it was cooked very well, not too dry nor undercooked, and the garlic cream sauce was something noteworthy.
At this point I began to suspect that they were onto me, and knew who I was, so as I went outside for a smoke I introduced myself to the manager Patrick, and confessed that I just reviewed the food for the magazine. Patrick was delighted and the owner was standing nearby, and I could see by the look on her face that she was delighted too!
But as I stepped outside to smoke, I saw that a man had fallen in the middle of the street and holding up traffic, I rushed over to help him up, but he was obviously under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. I could get him to his feet, but he either refused, or could not walk to the safety of the sidewalk, even with the assistance of two other gentleman. I quickly called 911 for immediate medical assistance (and he was still in the middle of the street holding up traffic) exercising the “Good Samaritan Law”.
Several passerby’s walked up to me and gave me either nods or words of approval at my swift and effective action to rescue the gentleman (and resume traffic on the corner of 117th street and Fredrick Douglas Blvd). I returned inside of Lido to settle my bill, and was received like a hero for my actions outside to my amazement (I do this all the time, but, oh well) and returned to my table to sign my check. Since my cover was blown, and they knew I was a restaurant critic, I asked if I could take some photos of the interior of the restaurant for the article, which was met with a resounding yes!
I also took the opportunity to check out the bathroom, which was clean, and also possessed a bit of charm.
As I made my way back to my table to collect my things, I saw former New York City Mayor David Dinkins sitting at a discreet table in the back of the restaurant. As I tried to keep a respectful distance, he nodded towards me with approval, and I extended my hand to the former “Hissonor” he noted my “heroics” outside and inquired of my visit to Lido. I explained that I just finished a restaurant review of Lido, as I’m a Food Critic, aside from being a men’s fashion magazine and gave him, and his guests at his table my business card.
The former Mayor was very gracious and inviting, and also was so kind to take a photo for the article.
(Mike Strange, and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins)
The former New York City Mayor’s guests wanted to get in on the action as well, and all posed for a photo together!
When I finally returned to my table, I found that the Manager Patrick gave me another glass of Chardonnay on the house, as a reward for my “good deed” and for reviewing the restaurant!
(Mike Strange, and manager Patrick)
Lido is quite a fine Italian Restaurant in Harlem that I believe has stood the test of time, and will continue to do so, and will continue to be one of my favorite spots. The service, décor, and overall aesthetic I give 4 1/2 stars. The food is worthy of 4 1/2 stars as well. Lido is located at: 2168 Frederick Douglas Blvd on West 117th Street in Harlem.
Needless to say this has been the most eventful review that I have done so far (never a dull moment), with fabulous food, superior Chardonnay, rescuing a fellow Harlemite, and practically sitting on David Dinkins lap for a photo. I just simply love Harlem, and I love Lido Harlem.
So what are you waiting for? Get to Lido for dinner or drinks to mix and mingle with their fabulous pre/post gentrified clientele. Oh…did I mention that they have a great Chardonnay!!??