The pretty good: Bettolona in “the hinterlands,” as one stressed friend coming from Midtown described it, where my consort and I met her and a new friend for too little food and just enough wine (BYO) after he had tried it for lunch on advice from my Columbia e-correspondent. Last time we were in that space it was nouveau Latino, but it’s been transformed and now turns out slightly soggy mushroom pizza, decent whole wheat pasta with vegetables, above-average spinach lasagne with meat sauce and good grilled squid. Baked asparagus with Fontina, though, arrived as three soggy spears and not even the promised “hint” of truffle oil. Neither tiramisu nor the crespelle with bananas and Nutella could be faulted, and either could the tab, a little over $20 a person thanks to the reportedly nervous-making wine shop two doors south. WIGB? Sure. It wasn’t loud, either. 3143 Broadway near LaSalle Street, 212 749 1125.
The surprisingly respectable: RedFarm Stand at FoodParc, where we stopped after the Saturday Greenmarket for a quick, egg-free lunch and where all of $20.95 bought four carefully prepared items. We shared the duck bun, which turned out to be slabs of tender, fatty roast duck on a soft roll with pickled vegetables, and the wild Katz’s pastrami egg roll, a fat, crispy cylinder with maybe one layer too many of dough and a creamy mustard dunking sauce, as well as a mesclun salad loaded with good vegetables cut small and topped with rice noodles. The best things were the black pepper pork potstickers with chile-soy dipping sauce, which were filled right and fried perfectly — they put Canteen 82’s to shame, I’ll have my uptown friends know. Because it was the holiday weekend, the place was pretty deserted, so we had two tables to ourselves to sit side-by-side with a nice view of the patio and the huge screen outside showing a creepy art video with baby. And maybe the cooking was more careful because it was so slow, but the potstickers on another table looked just as good. WIGB? Absolutely. Sixth Avenue at 29th Street.