Former NYer returns...brief report
Living in LA, returned for family visit last week...glorious weather, didn't really notice stock market turmoil affecting mood of city. Lots of foreign tourist - more than I can ever recall.
As for chow:
Scarpetta - Typical trendy, high end New York restaurant - not inexpensive ($450 for 4). Food was solid, if not destination worthy. Polenta appetizer with mushrooms was best dish. I had the way overhyped spagetti with tomato for $24!!!!! I make a lot of tomato sauce at home, and mine tastes virtually the same. Save your money and order something else (Orata was fine). Also, what is with pastas being priced the same as entrees? Wine list had many sub $60 options. Upon asking sommelier for some recommendations, she pointed out three wines -all in $120 range. When I told her I wanted to spend under $60, she bumped me to $65. Don't really care about the $5, but say at Babbo last year I made a similar request and they selected wines all 20-30% under my limit.
Sfoglia - Had read many good things, wanted to try and my Dad lives around the corner. Easy to get into at lunch, and a really cozy, warm enviornment - reminds me of West Village. Bread was spectacular, good comp olives, unique pappardelle bolognese (cream added) and Chicken Mattone was very tasty. Warm, efficient service. Don't know if I'd make trip to UES for this restaurant, but if you're at the Met/Guggenheim well worth couple block walk.
Balthazar - Been many times before. Great vibe and scene as usual - Friday night at 6:30 packed to rafters. Service was really great - warm and efficient. We had little kids, and they bent over backwards to take care of them. Steak Frites delicious, Boulebaisse really mediocre - does anyone make a good one in this country (Comme Ca in LA also weak).
Chinatown Brasserie - Mom insisted on going, saying they had best dumplings. Living in LA, I'm spoiled. Dumplings were average, Peking Duck pretty good (but they didn't assemble it - something that every other Chinese restaurant will do). Can't comment on decor or scene - I think it would look much better at night. Still, a decent Chinese place in neighboorhood.
Street food remains the same, though I can't figure out why a slice of pizza costs more than a Mamouns Falafel Sandwich? Had fantastic gelo at L'Arte del Gelato on 7th/Bleecker.