I can’t prove it, but it feels like we have walked every one of Manhattan’s 22 square miles this trip. Sometimes en route to cultural enlightenment but – let’s just be honest here -mostly in search of food. The way we see it is this: if your kitchen is the size of a broom closet, the only thing you’re making there are reservations.
And somehow we convince ourselves that the calorie math somehow works to virtuous advantage since we walk almost everywhere. It’s lies, all lies, but if a great famine is on the dystopian horizon, or we are reduced to eating insects and synthetic lab-grown meat, we are going to cherish some great food memories from these good old days.
Since we are, above all, creatures of habit, there are the trusted “neighborhood” favorites, meaning anyplace we can walk to in under half an hour. In fine weather, you can walk to Rockefeller Center and sit outside at Brasserie Ruhlmann. They do a middle-Eastern accented branzino that I order every single time:
Or you can walk up to 70th and Amsterdam to our beloved Café Luxembourg for steak frites and my new fave, the shaved Brussels sprout salad:
We discovered that in addition to good neighborhood Italian on the UWS, Pomodoro Rosso on Columbus Avenue serves a tasty sundae:
Going to Lincoln Center? The Smith Lincoln Square has an excellent lobster roll:
And if you aren’t in the mood for pizza or hanging-over-the-plate lasagna, you can just order from the vegetable menu at Cafe Fiorello. My new fave there is fava beans with ricotta salata, heirloom carrots with yogurt and sausage and peppers:
No trip to NYC is complete without lunch at Bergdorf-Goodman’s BG Restaurant. I did, however, forget that hard, fast NYC rule: never, ever let the waiter talk you into the Gnocchi special with Black Truffles without first asking the price. Oops.
Café Boulud on the UES is a bit further afield, but their prix fixe lunch is well worth a stroll across the Park:
We always try to discover a new restaurant or two each trip. This time, my friend Judy introduced us to Sandro’s on the UES. Homey neighborhood place where they ply you with complimentary bruschetta at the beginning and a glass of grappa at the end of the meal. In between, we sampled pasta with a ragout of wild boar and the peach melba for dessert:
But above all on this trip, we discovered that Greek island known as Manhattan. If I’m headed to Bloomingdales, Anassa Taverna is a good bet for lunch:Avra Estiatorio on 48th several times for lunch so I decided to check out their newer outpost on Madison at 60th where Rouge Tomate used to be. Lovely but oh so pricey. Good thing that you can almost make a meal from the pita and spreads they bring to the table. I ordered a tomato salad and their absolutely divine baklava, but their entrée menu is better suited to patrons with expense accounts.
Speaking of pricey, Eater NY recently published a very critical review of the new Estiatorio Milos at Hudson Yards . The gist of it is that Eater NY took a very, very dim view of the Milos menu tradition of ordering your seafood by the pound.
It’s true that you can spend someone’s college tuition at Milos – we are still recovering from a dinner at their Las Vegas location a few years back that was tantamount to a financial crisis. But please don’t write off Milos at Hudson Yards – the space is absolutely, exquisitely gorgeous, with a sweeping view of the Hudson River and of the landmark Vessel. And what Eater NY failed to notice is that if you go mid-day and order the $32 prix fixe Business Lunch, you can enjoy the restaurant’s gracious hospitality without applying for a loan. I should know – I’ve had lunch there so many times this trip that a very kind and exceedingly generous manager showed my friend Lori and I to a spectacular view table and comped us dessert when we dined there yesterday. It’s my favorite new restaurant in the city and, oh, by the way, an excuse to breeze through the sale racks at the adjacent new Neiman Marcus after lunch. The Eater NY reviewer gave the restaurant one star; I give it five – maybe I can invite that young man to lunch next time I’m in the city and change his mind.
But for now, the trip comes to a close. A few more walks, a few more meals and then home for puppy wrangling! Magnificent time in the city and, as always, can’t wait to return.