Take the Anti-Stuffiness Challenge!
So my aunt and uncle are coming to town from Texas and staying with friends on the Upper East Side (82nd and 5th Ave). Not my favorite neighborhood for dining out, but prove me wrong!
My aunt and uncle aren't country hicks by any means, but they're not the devoted foodies that my mom and dad are. I need a place for all of us, preferably in walking distance, that's casual, classy, relatively fresh and new and medium-upscale -- something a good notch or two mellower than Boulud, but a little bit more than a neighborhood bistro. Something that's of the moment, and is special enough that an out-of-towner couldn't find back home. Maybe something a little bit like a Telepan or Compass (though I like but don't love either of those).
Ideas? Make the case for the Upper East Side's coolest places, and prove it's not the stuffy, yuppies-and-socialites 'hood of its stereotype.
Cafe d'Alsace on 2nd Maybe Sfoglia if you can get a reservation. I can think of lots of places which are not stuffy, but they are not really more than a neighborhood bistro.
Have you tried the Cafe Boulud? It may be a little more upscale than you are wanting but it is fairly casual, laid back and busy with absolutely incredible food.