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May 10, 2007 08:10 AM

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.



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  1. You might want to look into Table d'Hote - 92nd just east of Madison. Can't say that it is cool, but it's a cozy little place with quite interesting food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      We had dinner once many years ago at Table d'Hote and, while I liked the food, because it is so teensy, I found the seating to be uncomfortably cramped.

    2. Try David Burke & Donatella, although it might be outside of walking distance. Another idea is Etats-Unis, which has gotten great reviews from others (although I have not been).

      1 Reply
      1. re: kiworan79

        Etats-Unis Bar across the street from the main restaurant does have a downtown feel to it. I would have suggested it myself but they take no reservations. Scoring a table for five will not be easy there.

      2. 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.

        1. I just made a note of Sandro's, 81 and 2nd, based on the following article:

          Might be a good fit.

          1. 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.