Thumbs Up for Upland

Thumbs Up for Upland

Considering that Upland was on virtually every list of "hot new restaurant openings" for 2014-15 (the restaurant opened this past fall), I felt it was my gastronomic duty as Editor of IN New York to pay a visit: that, and the fact that it was three blocks from the offices made it very appealing for a lunchtime stop. The restaurant, named after the San Bernadino, California town that chef Justin Smillie hails from, was impressive from the get-go: the spacious room had handsome touches: Walls lined with wine bottles and jars of Meyer lemons, high ceilings embellished with glossy wood beams, wood benches that acted as banquettes and friendly gingham table runners (that matched the full aprons the wait staff wore). A starter of fresh-as-can-be burrata, decorated with sunflower seeds, pancetta, micro-greens and sea salt was tasty enough to elicit murmurs of delight at my table. My guest and I followed that up with a light, lemon and vinegar-inflected hamachi; a large, simple green salad, subtly dressed; and main courses of a burger and fries (me) and a grilled chicken sandwich, also with fries (my friend). The grilled chicken was a surefire winner, sided with crispy frites and topped with Brussels sprouts petals, parmigiano and dijonaise dressing. The burgers, two slim patties, were the sole disappointment, bland and conventional. Nevertheless, I would go back to explore other menu options: the vibe was indeed, California-friendly, service to atmosphere. Overall, Upland gets a thumbs up in my book.

» Upland, 345 Park Ave. South, 212.212.686.1006

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