If you had to choose between the following restaurants...
What would you choose? I'm planning to "take" (by which I mean, he will end up paying) my dad for his birthday. The list is based on what's available on Tuesday around 8pm.
Menu suggestions welcome too.
I don't think you could go wrong w/Hearth, Apizz, The Orchard, or Crispo. I think that Hearth is the least casual/most special of the 4, but my last dinner there didn't live up to my previous experiences. At Apizz, the gnocchi is great, and I love the risottos I've had at both Apizz and The Orchard. Crispo's carbonara is very good, but my favorite so far is the pappardelle w/mushroom.
The only one on your list I haven't been to is Mercer Kitchen. I've only been to Falai once because I didn't enjoy my meal there. My one meal at Maremma was good, but not nearly as good as the others above.
I've been to this entire list except for Hearth and my vote is easily Apizz... Great atmosphere and great pizzas.. I loved this place..
Falai, Crispo, just OK.. Mercer Kitchen was terrible last time I was there, trendy, but the food was subpar.. And Maremma was overpriced Italian that you could get at any neigborhood pizzeria.. Didn't even like the decor there...
Can't go wrong with Apizz!
Though I agree that Mercer is not the place to go, I just read Bruni's review and am surprised and somewhat saddened. I went there for lunch many times several years ago and was never disappointed. Oh, I would have never put it on a list of New York's culinary highlights, but I thought it pretty much deserved its two stars. I havent been there in two years and I suppose it has gone way downhill. But the last time I went the current chef Christopher Beishcer was there, and it was as good as ever.
Hearth is fantastic. Upscale but relaxed, wonderful welcoming staff and professional service, and amazing produce-driven food that is 'warm' without being hokey and pretentiously rustic. A great choice for a family dinner. It has an interesting little wine list too. Not cheap, but definitely worth it.
Falai - innovative, consistent, interesting. Get one of the more unusual-sounding desserts.
Hearth - with a Dad, it's a "nicer" restaurant. Good wine list, great service, seasonal ingredients.
Apizz - because it's better than the Orchard
The Orchard - this will be dicey on a weekend night with crowds. I loved it in the beginning, but it has been a little downhill lately. Still a good choice though.
Have not been to: Maremma, Crispo (but wish I had)
Would not go to mercer kitchen. I went in 2003 and thought it was pretty mediocre then. See above post re: Bruni's review, which is hilarious.