In the second part on New York, Robin Athey, Deloitte Research, provides her picks for the Upper West Side. See yesterday’s post for mid-town and downtown, as well as general tips.
Rosa Mexicano (the one near Lincoln Center) [creative, nice atmosphere – great margaritas and guacamole made tableside]. It has is own site which describes the David Rockwell-designed space. It “features a 30-foot blue-tiled cascading waterwall that spans both levels of the restaurant, complete with 200 miniature cliff divers. Like the First Avenue location, an exposition grill is located on the first level while floor-to-ceiling windows look out over Lincoln Center and Columbus Avenue.” Roberto Santibañez is the Culinary Director. He was born in Mexico City, where he was encouraged in cooking by his grandmother, who traveled extensively and loved sharing her passion for recipes gathered abroad. He studied at several well known restaurant sin Paris, was the head chef at Henbury Estate in Cheshire, England and then returned to Mexico City. There he became the chef-owner of El Sax, La Circunstancia, and Restobar Salamandra, which helped revitalize downtown Mexico City. He went form there to Austin before coming to Rosa Mexicano. It is located at 61 Columbus Avenue at 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023 (212) 977-7700
Saigon Grill – Perhaps the best Vietnamese in the city. Fresh, well-prepared, inexpensive and excellent service. Favorites are the Goi Cuon (summer rolls), the Canh Chua (hot and sour soup), the curries and the sautéed eggplant. If you’re within about 15 blocks, they deliver for free – it’s a lifeline on the Upper West Side. 620 Amsterdam (on corner of 90th). 212-875-9072
Josie’s – great organic fare, including yummy martinis made with fresh juices. A favorite among locals. Its site says, “Louis Lanza is the owner and executive chef of Josie's East & West and owner of popular New York eateries Citrus Bar & Grill and Josephina. Each brings its own unique flavor to the dining experience. Josie's revels in innovative healthier New American cuisine.” The NY Times says, “Much of the food is billed as organically raised…The surprise is that so much of the food is so good, with highlights like light potato dumplings served in a lively tomato coulis spiked with chipotle pepper, ravioli stuffed with sweet potato puree, superb grilled tuna with a wasabi glaze and wonderful gazpacho.” It is located at 300 Amsterdam Avenue at 74th Street NYC 10023 Phone: 212 769-1212
Gennaro – if you’re going for an early meal, Gennaro offers outstanding Tuscan for the price. They don’t accept reservations, though – and they only take cash. New York Magazine says, “Gennaro offers honest Italian food—a rarity in New York—and his prices are impeccably fair.” And recommends the antipasto and the lamb shank with cous cous. 665 Amsterdam Av, betw 92nd and 93rd. 212-665-5318
Nice Matin – great, moderately priced French bistro – very popular among locals. New York Magazine offers this: “Veteran chef Andy (Sign of the Dove) D'Amico reemerges on the Upper West Side with a concept and menu well-priced for the neighborhood and the times, featuring a multitude of Riviera-inspired hors d'oeuvre like pissaladiere and panisses. He continues the bold, garlic-imbued theme with soupe au pistou, fennel-cured mackerel, and roast cod with ratatouille nicoise and anchoiade, and, in true Upper West and French Riviera fashion, warm-weather sidewalk seating abounds.” It is located at 201 West 79th Street (Amsterdam); 212-873-6423
Aix – new, very creative French by Didier Virot, receiving rave reviews. French interior designer Etienne Coffinier created the space to portray a sense of Provence. Didier Virot worked at several Michelin rated restaurants in France, rising to the position of sous chef at the Michelin three-star restaurant Michel Bras in Laguiole. His creations include sheep's milk yogurt horseradish sauce and quince-beet Streüdl and many dishes from Provence. 2398 Broadway and 88th. 212-874-7400
Robin sent me a post script today. "Found a Thai place, Pam Real Thai, that’s worth adding if possible - it’s the best tasting and most authentic I’ve had in Manhattan – right in midtown! (wish I had known about it 3 years ago when it opened!) Sumptuous food, very simple décor, very inexpensive (our bill came to $13 a piece – with tip.) (note: cash only, gets crowded - best to go early or late if you want to be seated immediately)." It is located at 404 W 49th St, New York 10019 Phone: 212-333-7500