Wow, I’ve really been on an awesome uptown restaurant binge lately. Looking back on my posts I’ve been hitting up all the best places north of 59th Street for the past couple weeks. Fred’s Restaurant on the Upper West Side certainly falls into that category. The food is soo decadent, and the atmosphere is a mix of a classic, old-fashioned cocktail bar and a hilariously fun local restaurant.
Are you having trouble picturing a combination of the two? Let me help. First off, Fred’s is halfway underground so you walk down some stairs to enter first. Upon entering you see a shiny wooden bar and wooden tables and chairs, along with professional-looking staff. That’s the classic cocktail bar part.
After taking a look around, you notice that every inch of the walls are plastered in framed photographs of people’s dogs. I have no idea whose dogs they are and how this idea came into being, but it works so perfectly. You could easily sit for an hour and just look at the pictures of all the comical dog pictures surrounding your table. It’s actually really funny. And it creates a casual and fun environment.
Fred’s is located right near my boyfriend’s bar and so we go there frequently, either for a drink or to grab some dinner. Every time I feel about 5 pounds heavier but couldn’t care less. On this specific occasion Matt’s bar held their holiday dinner there, so I straight up binged on the millions of different appetizers along with my main dish. I think I can honestly say I tried every appetizer on their menu, so trust my judgement in saying it was all good. The food is classic American food, so among the appetizers there were calamari, wings, mozzarella wedges, mussels, nachos, and probably more that the cocktails have prohibited me from remembering.
As far as the entrees go there’s certainly a lot of pasta. And that’s a good thing. The star of the show is the lobster ravioli in mushroom sauce, which is what you constantly hear everyone talking about. There are also classic pasta options like linguini with clams, sausage orecchiette, penne with pesto, and chicken parmesan. And low and behold, there’s the mac and cheese. And not just any mac and cheese, they allow you to basically add a million things like ham, or buffalo chicken, or tomatoes, or meatballs, or jalapeños or anything else your heart desires to it. It’s certainly overwhelming; how could one possibly limit themselves?
On the menu there’s also a variety of sandwiches, salads, and fish and meat entrees. But of course my eye was drawn to the pasta. I ordered the mac and cheese with tomatoes and peas 🙂 Everyone made fun of me for ordering peas but who seriously doesn’t like peas? They’re such a pop of juiciness and flavor and I would put them in everything if I could. Matt predictably got the lobster ravioli (AND added shrimp to it), which I was okay with because that means I could sneak a couple bites.
One thing that I will say about the mac and cheese is that it’s very parmesan-y. I think I would have preferred a creamier cheese like gouda or cheddar instead of so much parmesan. But to each their own! I’m sure some would disagree with me. However the taste was very strong after a while.
But overall, the workers are just so fun and friendly and the food is just so good, it’s such a pleasurable experience every time I go. It’s a perfect spot when you’re in the mood for some tasty drinks and hearty, sinfully good grub. Definitely a 4/5 stars for me.