The good: Land Thai Kitchen again, where $8 at lunch bought a bright and lively green papaya salad and a perfectly balanced pad see ew, a hearty mix of rice noodles, egg, cauliflower, broccoli and superfluous beef. My consort was underwhelmed by the special menu that day, mostly by comparison, but the service as always was enthusiastic and the room has such a sleek look and cheerful feel. WIGB? Yes, it’s worth the walk beyond Charm and Asiakan for sure. 450 Amsterdam Avenue near 81st Street, 212 501 8121.
The lame: PicNic for dinner, where we sat outside to avoid the nursing home crowd and were rewarded with overpriced, uninspired food. I just had the salad with goat cheese croutons, and the lettuce was supermarkety; Bob had sauteed trout that tasted mealy to me (you are what you eat even if you’re a fish). Add the AWOL waiter (Bob had to go track him down to order our second glasses of wine) and I wondered where our $83 went. WIGB? For breakfast only. No place for blocks is as appealing in the morning.
The clubby: Payard, where the duck terrine made me ridiculously happy, enough to ignore the snotty service. It was a hefty slab, studded with pistachios and very flavorful, and came with an oniony jam and a little pile of purslane to cut the richness. I treated it like a DIY tartine, and it was like eating in France. The $11 gruner-veltliner I ordered didn’t have much to say to it, though, and the bartender clearly couldn’t wait till I got out of the way of her regulars. WIGB? Probably, but I’d sit at a table next time, like the other lunching ladies, much as I prefer eavesdropping at the bar. 1032 Lexington Avenue near 73d Street, 212 717 5252.