In this week's Food & Drink
Mike Sula reviews Monti's
, a Lincoln Square barstaurant from Rockit vet and Philadelphia native son James Gottwald and his wife (and fellow Philly expat), Jennifer Monti. Gottwald brings in par-baked rolls from Philly’s famed Amoroso’s Baking Company, melts down his own aged Wisconsin cheddar cheese sauce, and pours it over his shaved and griddled rib eye, where it enhances rather than smothers a la Cheez Whiz. And in addition to variants on the standard, hoagies and grinders, and a few vegetarian consolations, there's outstanding fried calamari and unexpectedly successful pizzas, the latter customizable with upmarket toppings like lobster and wild mushrooms.
In Cocktail Challenge, Ronnie Higgins of Bangers & Lace and Bar DeVille, challenged by Vie's Mike Page with canned tuna, uses its "juice" in his Seaside Mule, a tropical-tinged drink made with white rum, mango, lime, and ginger beer. "I could drink it," said photographer Andrea Bauer of the cocktail. "Kinda tastes like . . . lunch." Next up is Manny Sofios of Gilt Bar, working with natto, mucilaginous fermented soybeans often used as breakfast food in Japan.