New York minutes/Mid-April 2010

The pretty good: Pearl Oyster Bar, where my consort and I headed after the slowly transporting “Mid-August Lunch” at Film Forum and where we were obviously too mellow and willing to wait half an hour for seats at the bar and then a short eternity for our food from a slammed kitchen. Bob’s whole roasted pompano qualified as superb, and beyond generous with roasted shiitakes, red peppers, haricots vert, fennel and tomatoes plus a huge handful of fresh herbs. And of course the bartender/waitress was outstanding, accommodating us through various glasses of white wine (big points for a list where five glasses cost the same as one bottle so we didn’t have to beat ourselves up about not being forward-thinking). But I chose the place because I had that “baby lettuce” salad with Fourme d’Ambert on my brain after a large popcorn, and it was a major fail. I think there were two leaves of green on the plate; all the others were red or worse (not my favorite, to say the least), and they were the size of Paul Bunyan’s hands. WIGB? Undoubtedly. It is quintessential New York. 18 Cornelia Street, 212 691 8211.

The not bad: Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market, where I made a special trip after the Union Square Greenmarket to try the chili after spotting it too late the week before. And it was vaut le voyage. I’m not much on chili, but great meat makes a serious difference, and this was topped with homemade crema (my new obsession). A hefty cup for $7 came with a buttery roll that The Cat thoroughly enjoyed when I brought a cup home for Bob. WIGB? Absolutely, but next time I might spring for the miso sausage with kimchi or some other special. The new wall of condiments is also tempting. 75 Ninth Avenue, 212 242 2630.