I have been to Artisinal a handful of times over the years.  Once for fondue, one for a private party and once for dinner.  I had lunch there again this week.  I met someone for lunch who I had never met before.  Fred set me up on a date with someone he thought I'd really like.  He was right.  We gabbed from the minute we sat down. 

When Artisinal first opened, about 10 years ago (maybe less), I thought the location was strange.  It is located the corner of 32nd and Park.  A neighborhood that hums during the day with professionals but is pretty quiet at night.  A lot has changed, as has many areas of the city.  Madison Avenue has changed from 23rd and up as more apartment buildings have come in.  Fifth Avenue has changed in the same area and you can see those changes seeping over to Park Avenue and beyond.  Artisinal who has a steady clientele might find themselves busier than ever as the neighborhood continues to grow. 

Walking into Artisinal is like taking a stroll through a Paris bistro.  An entire section devoted to cheese.  Gotta love that.  Just simple well cooked classic food.  I admit, I am not a huge fondue fan.  It is one of those things where my eyes are bigger than my stomach.  After one or two pieces, I have had my fill.  It sounds better than it is. 

For lunch, I had a yellow fin tuna carpaccio with shaved fennel and a plate of asparagus topped with a simple vinaigrette.  Perhaps irrelevant but the green tea I had after the meal was delicious.  Not sure which leaves they use but it was rich and nutty…just like I like it.  The food came quick, the service was good and food was really good.

As I am always being asked where to go for dinner or trying to come up with something for myself, I might have to make my way back to Artisinal for dinner.  Lots of the latest and greatest restaurants are just latest but not greatest.  I have a feeling that this Fall I will find myself returning to places where I know the food is just really good.  There is a reason that Artisinal, although in a strange location originally, has survived for many years.