Upland

At first glance, Upland confused the ever-loving shit out of me.  What the fuck is a California inspired Italian menu? Does the food take its time to hit your table and carry a medical marijuana card? New York inspired Italian food falls into the group of old school red sauce, or so I, understand. Upland had me intrigued, not only because of a combination of food I never knew about but more so for the Chef Justin Smillie, formerly of II Buco Alimentari a.k.a the panty dropper. 
Upland is located in the Flat Iron district, tucked into a building off the corner of Park Avenue South. The restaurant has a nice comfortable vibe to it, I kind of felt like I was at home, except I was wearing pants. We were ushered over to the bar, where I had a hard time trying to get a bartenders attention. I think I had a better chance of losing to Floyd Mayweather in a spelling bee. After what felt like forever, I finally got to order a drink, but of course two seconds after I did, our table was ready. 
I wasn't really happy with the service at the bar, but I forgot all about it, after they sat us down in a booth. I love booths! It's like a vacation for your ass. Another way upland impressed me is through their complimentary breadbasket. We now live in an era where bread is extra, I can understand why, but even prisoners get bread and water for free. A few glances through the menu and this is what we got: 

Burrata ($19) Trout caviar, crispy leeks, arbequina olive oil. I'd give a hand job to Guy Fieri to be eating this right now. The trout roe gave the creamy burrata this nice natural taste of saltiness, along with crispiness from the leeks. I wasn't getting much of the olive oil, but either way this dish is a winner. 

Beef Tartar ($16) Black trumpet mushrooms, puffed faro, anchovy, egg yolk. The puffed faro and egg yolk was a nice touch, but I think the flavor notes from what I believe was mustard seeds, was just a little too much for me. The dish is good, but the single flavor profile of mustard seed or whatever the fuck it was, didn't do it for me 

Pear Pizza ($18) Stracciatella, pecan pesto, arugula, balsamic. I take my pizza seriously. I'm not one of those assholes who say "pizza is good, even when it's bad". Those people should be shot beaten with a rusty rake and then throw into a bathtub full of lemon juice. Upland's pizza though, is good. Well, the dough was good. The pear-pesto-balsamic wasn't doing it for me. 

Pappardelle ($22) Spicy sausage ragu, kale, Parmigiano. This dish is why I fucks  with Chef Smillie. The pappardelle was ridiculously fresh and super tender. The spicy sausage ragu had a fuckton of flavor with a nice little heat that danced on your tongue like a Brazilian stripper on a Saturday night. Order this dish, fuck it, and order two at the same time. 

Okay, so now I get California Inspired Italian food is. It's rustic italian but a lot lighter, and less cursing. Justin Smillie is completely killing it in the kitchen but not killing your wallet. Our bill came to $160 with a few drinks plus the tip. If you're looking for good food, a place that will get you laid on the first night or just an inexpensive night out in Manhattan, hit up Upland, A.S.A.P 

Upland 
345 Park Avenue South, New York 

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