New York minute/End of February 2012

The good again: Loi on the Upper West Side, where my consort and I headed after passing up the great vittles at OSF at a showing of his short film on forced sterilization in Namibia and where everything combined to create the perfect reconnection point after his five days’ shooting on the road in Middle Earth. The hostesses gave us a great table for three where we could sit side by side, the usual plethora of freebies landed right away (stuffed grape leaves, yogurt/olive oil spread and three types of excellent warm bread) and the waiter was unperturbed when we only ordered wine by the glass and three small plates rather than any of the main courses running high-$20s into the $30s. Stuffed eggplant was exquisite, compensating for the calamari ribbons with pistachios that seemed a bit old and chewy. And the Greek salad by a fancier name was as satisfying as always despite the anemic rock-hard tomatoes — composition is good for the soul. Bonus points for a low din level and an exuberant Ms. Loi stopping by to compliment me on my scarf and talk up the menu. Who cared that we were surrounded by olds? I suspect we looked the same to them. WIGB? Absolutely, and not least because they packed up the last couple of slices of cucumber and the feta plus half the squid in a kittybag: omelet filling made to order. 208 West 70th Street.