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Moderately priced tasting menu?

Ssam has a tasting -- I think it is either $70 or $75. It is basically a run through the big hits on the menu. When I went, it was absolutely a ton of food and a lot of it was, unsurprisingly, terrific (the hams were especially good that night I thought) -- but if you've been to the restaurant a few times, you've probably tried a lot of what they give you. They will also do a wine pairing that is a lot of fun, if not particularly inexpensive.

Jul 10, 2009
mdp82 in Manhattan

Future In-Laws Coming to Town: Dad wants seafood, Mom wants "somewhere famous"

Not really a fish restaurant, but I might recommend Ouest on the Upper West Side. It's a crowd pleaser, feels New York-y (even appeared on Law and Order recently), and is actually good.

Jul 08, 2008
mdp82 in Manhattan

Esca

I have only been to Esca once, but I would never go back. I went shortly after Bruni's reviews and it was a true disappointment. I admire the attempt at simplicity, but when you spend that kind of money you at least want the fish cooked properly, and not consistently overdone, if they are going to refuse to sauce it. For less than half the price I could have gone to Citarella and prepared several of the dishes at home (except the uni pasta) with better results.

Oh, and it was pretty off-putting to see the *much* better treatment received by the table of girls in skimpy tops who apparently knew one of the waiters.

May 17, 2008
mdp82 in Manhattan

Telepan

I've been a several times and have found that sometimes the food is really terrific, and other times the dishes just fall a bit short. I most recently went on the second night of passover and had their passover pre-fix, and it was truly great. Everything was perfectly cooked, nothing disappointed. They had a special of bay scallops in a sweet wine wine sauce (not on the passover menu obviously) that was very very good. The one negative thing is that the service is consistently slow.

May 16, 2008
mdp82 in Manhattan

W 114th St: good eats nearby?

In the neighborhood, I would second recommendations for:

Thai Market (Amsterdam around 107)
Community Food and Juice (lunch) (Broadway around 113 or 114)
Dinosaur BBQ (just north 125th street all the way by the river)
Kitchenette (go for breakfast, not worth it for dinner) (Amsterdam near 122 or 123)
Sal & Carmines (Broadway b/t 101 and 102)
Indus Valley (Broadway at 100 I think, though maybe the Indian food is better in London?)

In fact, with the possible exception of Dinosaur BBQ (where the BBQ is very good) these are all fine options for a decent meal, but none are exceptional. If you really want to try what New York has to offer foodwise, jump on the 1 train at 116th street and explore the city.

Avoid Deluxe (113 and Broadway) and Amir's (Broadway b/t 113 and 114; if you want falafel go to Jerusalem Falafel at Broadway around 102 or 103). Luckily Pertutti is gone, so you don't run any risk of that crazy nightmare.

General recommendations for your categories:

Jewish/Deli: I would take the trip down to Katz's, the neighborhood is fun to walk in anyway. If you don't want to go down there, you could go to Artie's (Broadway and 84 I think), but it's not as good. I would go look at the outside of Tom's to get the Seinfeld thrill, but the inside isn't the Seinfeld diner, and as other people have noted, the food is not good (despite the fact that my grandfather crazily ate roast beef there regularly for many years).

American: maybe this is a crazy idea (probably don't bring the baby unless you go for lunch), but you could go to Corner Bistro on west 4th. It's in the west village which is fun and it's a pretty great bar, burger place (not fancy at all).

Mexican: less sure about the best places for this, but I think someone already mentioned Taqueria y Fonda (Amsterdam around 107) which is pretty good

Oh yea, not sure if someone said this already, but the Farmer's Market at 114th and Broadway is Thursdays and Sundays. Good luck.

May 15, 2008
mdp82 in Manhattan

What Recent Meal "Blew You Away"?

Cafe Boulud. My group had 10 different cooked dishes in total (including desserts) and every single one was terrific. They shove a few too many tables into the room, but the service and the food are incredible.

May 06, 2008
mdp82 in Manhattan

the NEW UWS dining scene???

Dovetail is terrific -- the sunday supper is a nice deal. They basically take out the fanciest ingredients (e.g. no truffle in the celery root quenelle that comes with the duck), but reduce the prices significantly. 81 is even a bit more expensive and formal, but is pretty good, with a lot of service (pours at the table, etc.). I agree with Hondo, Ouest is probably still the most satisfying place in the area. So, in conclusion: check out Ouest and Dovetail, and 81 if budget permits.

Oh, and I would add Grandaisy Bakery to the general list of food improvements.

Apr 03, 2008
mdp82 in Manhattan