Ah dinner …. this is but a small sampling of good spots, but I’ve tried to give some variety and listed my top 1-2 for a number of categories.
Farm to table:
1) Northern Spy The best news of the year so far is that these guys now take limited reservations. You can still walk in too, but either way the market driven menu, good price/value wine list and friendly atmosphere make this one of my go-to spots. Recent highlights when I was there last include butter glazed baby veggies and a succulent pork chop. Make sure you check out their beer pretzel caramels, too.
Location: 511 East 12th St between Avenue A and B
2) Hearth An old standby for me, Marco Canora whips up Italian-inspired seasonal American fare, and Paul Greico curates an extensive and somewhat quirky wine list. They also have a good bar program, and hold regular prix fixe wine dinners that showcase a region, varietal or vineyard and are led by Paul. Tip: they also have a great wine bar down the block called Terroir that does yummy small plates.
Location: 403 East 12th St at the corner of 1st Ave
The Meatball Shop Hands down winner. They serve up 5-6 kinds of balls on any given night, including one daily special (like chili-cheese or lamb with mint and pine nuts), as well as an array of side dishes – pasta, polenta, risotto, salads, roast veggies. The ice cream sandwiches are superb. Can be very busy so I usually get take out, and they are also open late night.
Locations: LES: 84 Stanton St between Allen and Orchard, West Village: 64 Greenwich Ave near 7th Ave and BK: 170 Bedford St
1) Los Feliz A fun spot for a group of friends – no reservations but it usually moves pretty fast. They have great tacos, obviously, guac, ceviche and margaritas – including pineapple or cilantro jalapeño. Favorite tacos include the beef barbacoa – beef braised in beer – and the pancita con pulpo – pork and octopus. Yes.
Location: 109 Ludlow St between Delancey and Rivington
2) Barrio Chino Another solid joint down the block from Los Feliz – great fish tacos and, again, margaritas. Can be something of a wait during prime time though, but a great vibe.
Location: 253 Broome St at Orchard
Honorable mention: Brooklyn Taco in Essex Street Market, great tacos, but not for dinner, they are only open til 7pm on weekdays.
The Palm About as old school as New York gets, my favorite Palm location is on 2nd Ave near 44th St where the walls are covered in cartoons of famous people who have eaten there. The waiters wear white dinner jackets, and the thing to do is start with a scotch at the bar, then move to a table for half a dozen oysters, an iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing, the Porterhouse for 2 (rare, please!) and a bottle of red. I don’t think I’ve ever had room for dessert.
Location: 837 2nd Avenue between 44th and 45th St
Coming Soon: My favorite ….. French, Fancy Schmancy, Asian, Spanish and that beloved category “Other”