Being asked, “If you could eat ANYWHERE in New York, where would you go?” is like asking me to plan a dream vacation. My mind slips into a state of bliss, a place superior to dreaming, and I begin to hopscotch my way across the city, touching off at the sweetest spots, for things as simple as cocoa and as complex as a twice baked upside-down Comté soufflé. So when a friend posed this question to a sea of Facebook friends, I felt it was my duty to step in and set things straight.
From her friends, she received the following recommendations:
“Lupa, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill, Lincoln, Peter Lugers.”
“Abc kitchen will not disappoint!!! Also, brown cafe on the lower east side- yummy!”
“Hotel griffou. My new best ever.”
“Luna Piena on the east side or Asia de Cuba”
“I’ll agree about Hotel Griffou and it’s nice to have a drink before or after in the bar area. Also Da Silvano, Morandi or Lupa for Italian, Old Homestead for Steaks.”
“Da Silvano is still my favorite! Bar Pitti, Il Buco, Little Owl, Blue Ribbon and Prune are all great too!”
Then another question popped into the conversation, revealing that the diner in question would be eating with his lawyers and wanted an “awesome restaurant he hasn’t been to.” And all I’m thinking is Shake Shack?! Look at the cow jump over the over-rated loon.
Here is where I elbowed my way into the conversation: Literally, this is what I wrote on facebook
I am a foodie. I know my shit. And these Facebook friends of yours, and this is said with love, have no idea what the concept of “anywhere” is. Gramercy Tavern is good for lunch, in the bar area. Sit at the bar, even better.
At Lupa you’ll basically get “country” Italian, like a lamb shank that kinda melts away in your mouth, but it’s nowhere I’d send someone.
Asia de Cuba is outdated; not even a consideration.
I haven’t been to Hotel Griffou.
Da Silvano is a no. Know why? It’s not special. It’s casual. It’s not memorable (sorry, but I’ve been several times and I can’t remember what we ordered, only that I sat beside Dr. Phil).
Also, sorry, but Little Owl and Prune are a poor man’s special. Little Owl is great for cocktails, though.
Blue Ribbon, however, is consistently good.
I would go to Balthazar for breakfast or brunch (goat cheese onion tart, or eggs with soldiers for breakfast).
The Meatball Shop for lunch (Thank you Carole for the tip about the homemade ice cream sandwiches), but it’s on Stanton Street, which is a hike and a half.
Where would I, personally, go if I could go anywhere when someone else is paying? Anything by Alain Ducasse. I’d try Benoit or Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis hotel. Also, you can never, ever go wrong with Gotham Bar & Grill. It’s an old standby.
Anything by Joel Robuchon, namely, L’Atelier at The Four Seasons.
Or if he wants chic, hip, people watching, Minetta Tavern. And if he’s jonesing for Italian, he should consider Danny M’s new Maialino at Gramercy Park Hotel or Sorella on Allan St.
And, if anyone suggests Má Pêche, they’re not insane, but they’re not on the mark, either. You don’t go there if you’re looking for an “anywhere meal.”
The restaurants I’d most like to go, personally, are Sho Shaun Hergatt and Aldea (I haven’t been to either yet). Stuck up rant over. Smooches.