The pleasant: Trestle on Tenth in Chelsea, where I wound up with a friend up from Bethesda after waiting too long to reserve on a Saturday night and getting shut out of my first through tenth choices. We were warned a big wedding party was in the garden but took a table there and soon surmised they must have been Swiss, because they never got rowdy, so we could talk easily. And it really was a great setting, so I’m not going to feel too bad about my $22 dish, which smelled a little high — monkfish with calamari, tired clams and Swiss chard in smoked lobster broth. Gary was happier with his halibut with asparagus, mushrooms and ramps, very simply done, and with his pork shoulder crepinette as an appetizer. I did like the bread. And the ethereal waiter. And the way the busboy handled dropping a butter knife into my quarter-full wineglass: Not only did he not shatter it, he immediately offered to bring a fresh one, so after we finished the bottle the waiter split a glass for us. WIGB? Probably, mostly for the atmosphere — the food is beyond reasonable, but the wine list is kinda crazy; our $43 gruner might have been the cheapest bottle. 242 Tenth Avenue at 24th Street, 212 645 5659.
Archive for June, 2010
The sorta good: Tarallucci et Vino near Union Square, where a friend and I on our once-a-year coffee date retreated after getting a good look at the pastries on display at Joe the Art of Cart. We sat in the din outside, where it was apparently too easy for the staff to forget all about us; we saw the waiter twice in nearly two hours. (Which comes first? The crappy tip or the crappy treatment of women?) And while my cappuccino was Italy-class, the cornetto was mostly gloppy “cream.” WIGB? Probably. There really aren’t many great alternatives around there. 15 East 18th Street, 212 228 5400.
The excellent: Recipe, where I wound up with my consort just back from the Ukraine when neither of us could face either a long subway ride to Vinegar Hill House or $40 entrees on our own island. As before, the food, service, place outperformed, and not just for the neighborhood. The heirloom tomato salad was the weakest link, but we knew that on ordering it as a special because it’s too early even for regular tomatoes from close by. But my wintry-sounding, spring-tasting duck breast with wild rice, turnips and baby corn combined quality meat with precision cooking and a sublime sauce, while Bob’s sea bass special may have been better than anything we’ve eaten at Bouley Upstairs (it came with white and green asparagus, fingerling potatoes and a corn emulsion). We also split a chocolate-caramel tart topped with pine nuts and sea salt, plus a bottle of decent French chardonnay and got away for $112 before the tip. WIGB? Early and often. 452 Amsterdam Avenue near 82d Street, 212 501 7755.