tender palate, light appetite
I'm a week away from my first visit to New York (for 8 days).
I'll be staying in West Greenwich Village (near 8th Ave & 14th St) and am looking for recommendations on
a) places in the neighbourhood (I'm a good walker)
b) places worth travelling to
I like French, Italian, Japanese & other oriental; I'm not fond of Indian, African or spicy foods. I eat meat. I eat fish. I am slightly squeamish. And I love soup! Delicate, tender soups, sans chunky bits. Soups that are liquid, not gelatinous.
I like small portions and delicate flavours (my favourite restaurant where i live in Vancouver, is the excellent Lumiere--which I suppose you would classify as nouvelle French. They have adopted the prix fixe "tasting" menu, which suits my short attention span so well, and never fails to astound me with its array of unearthly morsels). I have a sweet tooth, but again prefer things on the light side.
I'd prefer to keep the costs down most evenings: in the $20-$40 range (1 person), but a couple of nights I can splurge for $100. (I drink very little).
So, I've been perusing the board and I think I'll try to get into Babbo one night, but the rest -- so many names! So many choices!
May I enlist your help in narrowing it down?
For when and if you end up in the theatre district, I think you'd enjoy the (spelling is probably totally off here) zhakushka at Firebird (czarist Russian cuisine). It's a tasting plate with small portions of several different items. And, it's on their pre-theatre prix fixe menu.
Although I've yet to visit Vancouver, in my experiences eating sushi on both coasts, I don't think I'd go for sushi here in New York if you have eight days of eating. From what I understand about the sushi in Vancouver, my hunch is that you'll be disappointed here.
I would second Frank's vote for Esca, but I'd just go for a crudo tasting menu. ("Crudos" are what they call small raw or slightly marinated fish appetizers.) I think they're spectacular, though I wasn't wild about the pastas there (one was so spicy I could hardly eat it). Cooked fish are good, but not as striking as the crudos. If your appetite is light, the crudo tasting would be perfect--and you can get a crisp glass of erbaluce (a white from Piedmont, if I'm not mistaken) with it--heavenly!
You will find very good French here. I'm fond of the casual and unpretentious Le Jardin Bistro, though you might find the portions too large. The food is very good (love the herring with steamed potatoes, the hanger steak, and the cassoulet), and the place feels so Franco-Gotham. That's an easy walk from the West Village. I also like Bar Pitti--on 6th Ave right next door to the tonier Da Silvano.
For a splurge night downtown, my vote would be a tasting menu at Danube--Tribeca is a nice walk from the West Village.
Have a fantastic trip and please report back!
re: Leslie Brenner
Thanks for the suggestions! I have dutifully written them all down, and I'll report back in a couple of weeks. Re the sushi, yes generally I'm skeptical of sushi anywhere other than here or Japan (and our salmon sushi far surpasses any I've had in Tokyo). However, I'll be meeting a friend who is joining me from Saskatchewan, and her sushi longing may overwhelm my doubts, so Taka may come in handy after all.
BTW, when you find yourself in Vancouver, I highly recommend KOKO for sushi. Very little-known, but excellent and relatively inexpensive. It's out on Hastings Street, past Commercial.
I live right at 7th and 14th and Vancouver happens to be my second favorite city in the world so we have something in common to begin with. For Japanese in the area I prefer Taka at 7th Avenue South and Grove(I'm pretty sure). I's small cozy and has a female sushi chef. It's moderately priced and the fish is the freshest in the neighborhood. For upscale French/Asian/American food that seems to be subtle try EQ in the west village I haven't been but from the reviews I've read it seems alot like La Lumiere. For Breakfast/Brunch try the Grange Hall which has alot of oldfashioned sophisticated American style, I think it's on Commerce St. but I'm probably wrong. Finally on Barrow St. there is a superb Greek restaurant, very authentic and far better than anything Greek in Vancouver called Ithaka. It's on Barrow St. off 7th Avenue and is quite cozy with a glassed in back room thats really nice, yet not fancy in the least. I don't really go out to restaurants of Lumiere's level here as I can't afford them but I've had an amazing meal at Babbo, and Mario Batali's other restaurants as well Esca for Italian fish, and Lupa for pastas and more casual Southern Italian fare. Also traveling down Sixth Avenue towards Soho there is the excellent Aquagrill(at Spring St. I think) for an eclectic menu of Seafood based items(Not quite as overthe top as C in Vancouver but extremely reliable,and also Da Silvano on Sixth Ave. for a fine higher end Italian meal.
Hope this helps some,