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the NEW UWS dining scene???

I have been living on the UWS for 4 years and I am in the industry and just recently I feel like the restaurant scene has exploded up here!!! anyway, I have not had a chance to get to any of these new places and was wondering on any feedback from anyone who has? madeleine mae, dovetail, 81, blossom etc. etc. (and of course any I did not mention) im kind of excited to not have to leave my hood for good food!

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  1. I'm not sure if we're ready to actually classify it as a scene - just some improvement.

    i would remove madeleine mae - i've heard awful reports and bruni just confirmed on his blog.

    for something casual, add pinch/s'mac. and of course, shake shack is coming soon!

    1 Reply
    1. re: harrison

      Don't forget the pioneer Ouest, probably the best on the Upper Westside!

    2. Dovetail is terrific -- the sunday supper is a nice deal. They basically take out the fanciest ingredients (e.g. no truffle in the celery root quenelle that comes with the duck), but reduce the prices significantly. 81 is even a bit more expensive and formal, but is pretty good, with a lot of service (pours at the table, etc.). I agree with Hondo, Ouest is probably still the most satisfying place in the area. So, in conclusion: check out Ouest and Dovetail, and 81 if budget permits.

      Oh, and I would add Grandaisy Bakery to the general list of food improvements.

      1. I echo the Dovetail recommendation--went for Sunday supper a few weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely. You have a wide range of choices (can pay a bit more for some of the more $$ main courses/apps). Have only sat in the comfy bar area at 81--they have absolutely fantastic crispy cheesy breadsticks to munch on for free while you enjoy a cocktail.

        1. I loved both of my meals at Cafe Frida and Dovetail...your hood's turning out some winners!!


          1 Reply
          1. re: LeahBaila

            Because I am not an experimental diner I find myself returning to Ouest and Compass more often in my neighborhood.
            Eighty-One and Dovetail sound wonderful for those with more ambitious palates.

          2. If you do a search on this board, you will find many posts describing Dovetail and 81 in detail. Opinions on Dovetail are mostly very favorable with a few exceptions, and those on 81 tend to be less so. I am a big fan of Dovetail but feel that 81 is overpriced and needs work and I am not rushing back until I hear of improvement.

            1. We just had a very good dinner at 81 last week. The food and service were very good. Have not been to Dovetail. Have been to Ouest many times and have always had very good, steady meals there

              1. Been living in UWS for 5 years and agree a change is afoot. Dovetail is greatly appreciated. (Haven't tried 81 - YET!)
                Madeliene Mae is not in that class, and I'm not sure that they aim to be. However, as a neighborhood restaurant it is a huge improvement over previous tennant TGO'Brien's .
                Blossom seems pretty average to me - a veggie burger? really?!?
                Don't forget Gari - one of the best sushi places in the city.
                As for pizza places, I'm not sure how many more can fit in between Columbus at 82nd and 83rd!!
                Anyone heard anything about where the Salumeria from Cesare Casella is going up?
                When can we expect Shake Shack and Fatty Crab?

                4 Replies
                1. re: stormy

                  i heard, from a recent post, that shake shack is slated for a late 2008 opening.
                  i hope this doesn't wind up being a mid-2009 opening, instead as everything is typically delayed.

                  1. re: nativeNYer

                    It won't be delayed I think as Shake Shack and Fatty Crab will be in the UWS food fest. I too am from the area and am getting excited as well.


                    1. re: h0wie201

                      saw that ad in a local paper and noticed the fatty crab and shake shack appearances on the list. i'm surprised grandaisy bakery isn't involved.

                  2. re: stormy

                    Stormy - the Cesare Casella joint is, I believe, on Amsterdam between 73/74 next to the Jacque Torres.

                  3. My wish for the UWS is a kick-ass Chinese restaurant instead of all the mediocre ones that we have.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: gloriousfood

                      the uptick in restaurant quality is appreciated, when I moved to the UWS in 94 it seemed like a wasteland compared to downtown.

                      am I alone in wishing there were MORE middle ground choices between the new wave of truffles/foie gras enhanced menues and inexpensive old school treats like whitefish salad at Barney Greengrass or pizza at Sal & Carmines?

                      for my money the style of cooking at compass, and now at dovetail and 81 is overly fussy and precious, too many ingredients crowding the plate & palate.

                      1. re: gloriousfood

                        yes, and don't forgot thai and vietnamese, both kick - #$%!

                        1. re: nativeNYer

                          nativeNYer, Thai is starting to get some love with the launching of Thai Market and Charm Thai. I'm so with you on the Vietnamese! And not that I have taken an official survey, but it seems like our neck of the wood has one of the most mediocre, forgettable Chinese restaurant scene in Manhattan. I'm cool with going to Chinatown or Flushing for Chinese, but once in a while, you just want to stay local and don't feel like traveling more than 30 mins. for good food, you know what I mean?

                          1. re: gloriousfood

                            Yup. I know what you mean, for sure. Thanks to the suggestions on this board, I recently did a Szechuan food tour a couple of weeks ago: Wu Liang Ye (W48), Grand Sichaun Internation (Chelsea on 9th Avenue), and Szechuan Gourmet (W30). Haven't had time to report back (I will soon) but I'd love to be able to roll out my door and head on over to a Wu Liang Ye or, at least, be within the delivery zone.

                            True, Thai Market and Charm Thai are the best in the nabe (by far!) and I am grateful, but they are both a bit further north than I would like. With the warmer weather this will be a non-issue except when I want to order delivery as neither will deliver to my nabe.

                            So they heard our burger plea (or so I would like to think). Now hear our pleas for Thai and authentic Chinese.

                        2. re: gloriousfood

                          I hear you on this. Oddly enough though, my family and I went to Ivy's on 72nd this weekend. i've always disliked the food. But my dad ended up chatting the owner, who's taiwanese, for about 15 minutes and we ended up with some pretty good dishes. We all walked away pleasantly surprised, which I'd never expected.

                          It's still not on a par with anything i'd ultimately like to have, but it'll do until then. What i'd love to see if a nice shanghainese place show up, similar to yeah's or shanghai cuisine.

                        3. I can confirm that Madalaine Mae is wretched. Just went to a birthday dinner there, and it was absolutely mediocre food, with aggressive service and high, high prices. I had the pecan crusted redfish, and it was leaden. To start, we ordered two salads to share (for 4 people) and they came split into two plates of each. Very strange, and people ended up just picking one and eating it, spoiling the whole "share" concept. The ribs special was pallid, sides were OK, but I never, ever want to go back.

                          1. My boyfriend and I went to Blossom Cafe for lunch on a weekend about a month or so ago. It's definitely more casual than Blossom in Chelsea, but the food was fantastic! I think they've changed the menu since that visit, because I just checked the website and the sandwich my boyfriend had wasn't listed. I had the tofu BLT, The "southern fried tofu" had a crisp (not hard) outer crust, and a silky interior. The tempeh bacon had nice crunch but a mildly artificial bacon flavor... but then again, what would you expect from vegetable-based "meat"? That fake bacon taste was easy to overlook because the tomato and lettuce were fresh and the bread itself had a good, chewy texture that rounded out just a really well-put-together sandwich. It was a little expensive ($12 for a sandwich at lunch), but the portions were huge and the quality of the ingredients was well worth it.

                            Anyone else been there more recently than I have?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ZerlinaVania

                              Had dinner there tonight with a friend, my second visit. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a vegetarian, but sometimes a meal of veggies (esp. when as well done as at Blossom) hits the spot. We had the black-eyed pea and potato cakes and mixed tapas appetizers, and the risotto cakes with peas and a spiced seitan sandwich with spicy sweet potato fries for entrees. All without exception were wonderful, lovely combination of fresh flavors, large portions, great service. With drinks and tea we paid about $40 apiece. I realized tonight how much I do like this place, and it'll become a regular part of my rotation when I'm in the nabe!!

                            2. 1. Kefi - on W 79th, off Broadway. Where Onera used to be. Outstanding fish entrees, at great prices. The seabass was so fresh, as were the sides it came with. Delish. The desserts don't do the place justice, but the entrees are enough to keep me coming back. They need to expand. Outstanding food, amazing prices, and policy of no rezzies make for a long line!

                              2. Mermaid Inn - on Amsterdam, btwn W 87th and W 88th. haven't been yet. always packed.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: esung

                                kefi will soon be moving to columbus ave and the W80s.

                                1. re: nativeNYer

                                  and they will be expanding, taking reservations and doing delivery apparently.