Robin Athey leads Deloitte Research thought leadership efforts on issues related to organizational effectiveness. Her studies investigate the links between organizational knowledge, learning, leadership, and performance. Here she provides her favorite places to eat in her home town, New York City. As she says there are many great restaurants in the city – every neighborhood has its gem. Today’s post features her picks for mid-town and downtown, including the village. Tomorrow’s post will provide her picks for the Upper West Side.
Robin adds, “For those that want to menu-compare before they choose, I would highly recommend menupages.com where one can find menus and peer reviews. They may also want to check out newyork.citysearch.com for ideas. For those that really want to live like a New Yorker, Zagat Review, the little red book that aligns all our shelves, offers a great search engine online: zagat.com (caveat is that it requires a subscription – worth it.”
Esca – serves outstanding fish – part of Batali brothers’ culinary fiefdom – others include Babbo and Lupa, in Village / SoHo. New York Magazine says: “At Esca, the overachiever in the orange clogs, partner Joe Bastianich, and chef David Pasternack do for Southern Italian seafood what Le Bernardin has done for French: The poured concrete bar with a built-in conduit for ice and oysters is an inspired take on raw-shellfish service; crudo (think Italian sashimi) is incredibly fresh and of the highest quality; pastas like spaghetti with fresh chiles, mint, and a one-pound lobster are irresistible. And the whole fish for two, roasted in a sea-salt crust that's cracked tableside, is a riveting performance worthy of the theater-district locale.” I have also eaten here on another New Yorker’s recommendation and found it great. It is located at 402 W. 43rd St. (Midtown West) at Ninth Ave. 212-564-7272
Meskerem – Ethiopian (and not to be confused with the Eriteran opposition movement by the same name) – not for the fair of heart, as there are no utensils. As a DC Ethiopian restaurant by the same name says, “Dining in Ethiopia is characterized by the ritual of breaking injera and eating from the same plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty and friendship. The quintessence of those bonds are often demonstrated in the form of gursha-that is, the placing of food in the mouth of another diner from one’s own “hand.” It gets good reviews and is located at 468 W 47th St between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. (212)664-0520.
Norma’s – renowned for its breakfast – in the Parker Meridien Hotel. Its site claims it offers breakfast like never before and provides it all day. Specialties listed include: The specialties include: Light and Lemony Griddle Cakes with Devonshire Cream, Red Berry Risotto Oatmeal, Lox and Lox of Bagel piled high and topped with Caper Berries, Crunchy Cucumber Salad, Egg White Frittata of Shrimp, or Omelette of Cape Cod Lobster and Artichoke. It is located at 118 West 57th St. Tel: 212.245.5000.
VILLAGE AND DOWNTOWN
Lupa – like Esca, also owned by Batali brothers. Lupa is Esca’s “earthy” cousin. It is designed to be a casual restaurant specializing in Roman trattoria fare of the highest quality at a moderate price. Lupa has received positive reviews by all the food press outlets. It also has a salumeria that serves Italian artisan meats and cheeses, house-made products such as canned tuna and guanciale. Lupa is located at 170 Thompson Street between Houston St. and Bleecker St. (212) 982-5089
Pearl Oyster Bar [inexpensive, but always packed] New York City Search says, “Seafood lovers will have a hard time ordering the wrong thing--it's all done just right. Start with fried oysters, served atop a spot of homemade tartar sauce inside the oyster shells. Offered as an entree, perfectly caramelized seared scallops make a fine starter as well. The bouillabaise is fine, though it's a bit too mussel-filled; a bowl of steamed clams in butter-clam-wine broth is better. And you know you've gotta order the lobster roll--chef and owner Rebecca Charles still makes the best one in town.” It is located at 18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014-4138 near Fourth Street (212) 691-8211.
Gramercy Tavern - consistently ranked at top – warm, wonderful comfort food created by Tom Colicchio – esp. great in winter – in Gramercy Park, one of my favorite neighborhoods). Its site was under construction so I went to Gourmet’s review which stated, “A rediscovery of the classic American Tavern offering extraordinary New American Cuisine and hospitality in a historic landmark building between Broadway & Park Ave. S., New York, NY.” It added, “Chef Tom Colicchio's contemporary American cooking relies heavily on seasonal ingredients and is presented in simple refinement in three comfortable, elegant dining rooms. Both an a al carte and a 3-course fixed price menu ($33) are available at lunch, and a 3-course fixed price menu for dinner ($56), as well as three special chef's tasting menus.” Gramercy Tavern is located at 42 E. 20th St. (Flatiron/Gramercy/Union Square) between Broadway and Park Ave. So. 212-477-0777