“So what did you do in NYC”?
“Well, let’s see. We went to lunch. We went to dinner…”
Of course, that’s not all we did. There might have been a breakfast in there somewhere. Just kidding! Oh, we went to a play, to a cabaret performance, we went to a Yankees game, we went to our beloved Met, we walked the High Line, we walked Central Park, we walked and we walked and we walked.
(To and from a lot of restaurants, actually.)
In ten years of part-time New York-ing, we have assembled a list of “must-go” restaurants. We are unapologetic creatures of habit. Each trip, our official first lunch must be at Bergdorf-Goodman’s BG Restaurant and this one was especially sweet since Angie and Randy left us a Bergdorf gift card after their recent stay at the apartment. Thanks, guys!
This visit, I sampled their Slow-Cooked Duck Dumplings with a side of Snap Peas, Haricots Verts and Roasted Toy Box Tomatoes:
If it’s Sunday, we have brunch at Jean-Georges’ Nougatine. It’s a better value for lunch Monday-Friday because of the terrific three-course prix fixe but the CE cannot be swayed from his Sunday routine: church at Redeemer UWS, walk home from 83rd Street, and then brunch. Oh well, may as well enjoy it. I had the Veal Milanese:
My non-negotiable is Balthazar. Maybe it’s not the best steak frites in town (we’ll get to that next week…) but it’s just my favorite restaurant in the city. We always have a great time there. Maybe because of the Pavlova:
Call us crazy, but we routinely walk two miles across Central Park for our Beyoglu fix. Yes, there are other Turkish restaurants nearby, but to us, the unassuming (and affordable!) Beyoglu is in a class by itself. Grub Street agrees; they include it along with restaurant Daniel and Vaucluse in their list of the Absolute Best Restaurants on the Upper East Side. Favorite secret menu item: the Mixed Grill:
Another “affordable” (always a relative term in NYC…) mainstay is The Smith at Lincoln Square. It’s really, really loud inside, but when the weather is nice, you can dine on the patio and watch the people (and buses) go by on Broadway. My new favorite is the Salmon Tartare:
Not usually on the “affordable” list is Café Boulud, but they turned July’s restaurant week into restaurant month and were serving a ridiculously reasonable lunch prix fixe at $26 for two courses and $32 for three. The restaurant was understandably packed the day we went and while we missed the usual sedate ambiance, we couldn’t argue with Tomato Gazpacho, Roasted Pork Loin and Watermelon Vacherin all for the price you’d pay for a decent hamburger in other UES restaurants.
An easy cab ride down Fifth Avenue after a morning at The Met is La Goulue. It wasn’t very crowded the day we went, maybe because the cognoscenti were all in the Hamptons, or maybe because nearby Barney’s has filed for bankruptcy and the ladies who shop are shopping elsewhere. Or perhaps it was the construction din on 61st Street that kept diners away from the restaurant’s charming sidewalk tables. None of these factors kept me from enjoying the Linguini Façon Carbonara et Truffes d’été:
We couldn’t leave the city without a last lunch at Estiatorio Milos at Hudson Yards, with its spectacular view of The Vessel. Recognizing us from previous visits, the eminently hospitable manager had the “Milos Special” delivered to our table. Caution: this is addictive! Lightly fried zucchini, eggplant, tzatziki and kefalograviera cheese — in other words, it’s heaven on a plate:
So now you see why we must stay in the city for two weeks – otherwise there’s no opportunity to try new restaurants. Next post: a trio of new finds!