Times Square is not particularly known for its restaurant scene, most of the places there being average and betting more on one time customers rather than pleasing the crowd and having them to come back. There are exceptions, but they remain exceptions and I always suggest people to walk a little further, in Hell's Kitchen or the Theater Row, in search for a better place to eat. But this may change with Urbo, a 26,000 square feet giant that opened a month ago right on the corner of 42nd and 8th. Strange name for sure, Urbo is the contraction of urban and bohemian, the urban part being Times Square and the bohemian part the different world you step in as soon as you enter in the restaurant.
At first, you cannot not notice the open kitchen with its fire coming out of their grill.
On the left, overlooking that same kitchen is the bar, with a water tank in front of it (is it water or some alcoholic drink? I will never know, but I still doubt).
You will also notice the short wave radio that is used as a stand by the hostess.
The menu is New American with some staples like the burger, the short ribs or the pulled pork sandwich, as well as some interesting dishes as you will see in this post. They also serve sushi, sashimi and rolls.
The first time we went, Jodi ordered the mozzarella panino, a succulent vegetarian sandwich made with mozzarella, tomato, arugula and pesto.
It was definitely a good choice, with the right amount of pesto and a delicious crunchy bread that made this more than just a sandwich.
On my side, I ordered the Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwich:
That was a fantastic sandwich: often, you will get the pulled pork on the bun, with sauce on top and so, you can still taste if the meat is dry. At Urbo, the meat, perfectly shredded is mixed with a delicious sauce, before being put on the bun. I literally inhaled it!
The potato chips were good, but a bit too thin and a tad greasy. I in fact ate the ones on Jodi's plate rather than the ones served in a paper bag with my sandwich as they were a bit crushed...
The second time we went, they slightly changed the menu, that is not surprising considering that they are quite new and are probably fine tuning it. We started off with local nectarines and fresh ricotta:
First of all, the presentation was beautiful and a bit artisanal as they used a slate instead of a plate that let the color of the nectarine pop. It was a perfect combination, the fruit having a nice sweetness that paired perfectly with the slightly mild taste of the cheese.
Then, Jodi ordered the goat cheese ravioli:
The dish contained four large ravioli that were made on premises and were accompanied by portobello mushrooms, fennel and eggplant ragout. It was a successful appetizer: the ravioli had a little bite to it and, with the ragout, it was very hearty and comforting. I also appreciated the fact that they put lots of cheese in the ravioli. It was delicious, but not as much as the free range chicken that followed!
The thick slice of chicken breast was served with corn, chanterelles and a confit leg to die for! That chicken was so good: perfectly cooked, moist, with a slightly crispy skin that was deliciously salty.
This is definitely a dish I recommend if you like chicken.
Our meals at Urbo were fantastic: it is great to have such a place right there in Times Square, where not only prices are reasonable, but the food is divine. I will for sure go back there and already eyed their burger...I should also mention that the service was excellent.
Enjoy (I did)!
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