There are so many restaurants in NYC but when someone says where should I go, I admit that I sometimes find myself lost. Yesterday I was going through a variety of places trying to decide where to go and just kept nixing one after another off the list. In the end, I generally fall back on my favorites. Here they are.
Aquagrill is located on the outskirts of Soho and have been there countless times with Fred where we generally sit at the bar. Last night the place was empty at 730. Never seen it that way but by 9 it was almost packed. They have some of the best oysters in the city. I was not blown away by anything else last night. The calamari dish was so laden with garlic that I am still hurting this morning. The uni seemed like it had come out a freezer earlier. Will return. Sometimes there are off nights. I will say they make a helluva martini there. I realize this sounds like a thumbs down but one bad night out of countless just was a disappointment.
Gramercy Tavern is still one of my all time favorites. The bar area is where I go. The food is always good, the service is over the top and there is just a really nice vibe there. Always packed. It would literally be impossible for me to count how many times I have eaten there. Maybe over 70…swear.
Spotted Pig is slowly becoming a NY institution. People complain about the wait, the service and the attitude but for me, it is my local haunt. The food is delicious and always pushing the envelope. I do agree that the wait thing is nuts and the service is lame but I generally go at lunch and early dinner. It is like driving to the Hamptons…if you go at the off hours it really does take only a few hours or so to get to your destination.
John Dory is now impossible to get into but I do like the food and the vibe. The best part is the wines are fantastic there. It is worth the trip.
Market Table and Little Owl. Getting into Little Owl is basically impossible unless you are extremely organized and also if there are only 2 of you. Bigger tables are tough. Market Table still fills up but at least there are more tables. I have never been disappointed. The menu is always changing but only a bit at a time and the food is always delicious.
I Sodi is our new favorite. Too bad for us, I Sodi has been written up everywhere these days. Nice vibe, delicious food, great service. Particularly love sitting at the bar.
Blue Ribbon Sushi. Always good and particularly a favorite for lunch. Have been to all the Blue Ribbons down town and they are all delicious. I have been an active patron as the brothers have slowly grown an empire. The original Blue Ribbon Brassiere has awesome fried chicken.
Although NYC is a big town, returning to these restaurants time and time again make the town small. Familiar faces happy to see you return. It is also a reason I return to the same stores, service and familiarity. As for the restaurants, the food continues to hit the spot.