Your comments on 4 restaurants
I'm coming to NYC for 3 days in March and want to try places totally new to me. Several friends have made several restaurant recommendations focusing on the following 4 places:
* Basta Pasta: Japan meets Italy in the Flatiron District
* Nougatine: Jean Georges' more casual place at the Trump Int'l Hotel, Columbus Circle
* Maze: less formal end of the London Hotel, midtown
* Casa Mono: Mario Batali's tapas bar at Irving Place.
Any chowhound thoughts and comments on these places?
Also, I've been waiting for the Standard Hotel to open in the Meatpacking District. Is it ready for a bar visit?
Thanks for your recommendations.
Stayed at The Standard on Friday night. Really cool hotel and loved the rooms. The bar is open. Had a drink at the bar downstairs before dinner...then drinks with friends after dinner. It's just cocktail service, so no physical bar to be seen. Service was great and the atmosphere is I guess what one would expect. Chic, international etc, maybe a little too L.A. All the tables were taken up and they were putting groups in the lobby to sit for drinks. It looks like there will be much more room once the weather gets better as there is significant outdoor space. The hotel itself is definitely worth a stay as well. Good times.
We thoroughly enjoyed our one dinner at Maze. The cuisine is superb, service is friendly and capable, the large space has pleasant decor, and there is a nice buzz without it being uncomfortably loud.
While the food at Casa Mono is very good, I abhor the exceedingly cramped seating when it's busy. If that would bother you, the best way to avoid it is to go off-hours, between 2 and 5 p.m.
I also love Nougatine for lunch and dinner. Note: no hour restrictions on the $24 lunch or $35 dinner. A quasi-permanent "Winter Promotion" as opposed to a limited Restaurant Week. One of the best deals in NYC given the attention to detail: lovely ambiance, service, and especially food.
I have only eaten lunch at Nougatine, but it has always been very good. This included one trip during restaurant week (which I generally hate, because I find that most restaurants do not really try to do a good job), which was possibly the best lunch I had there. Considering how casual the restaurant is, I thought the service has been consistently excellent.
Casa Mono's food is delicious, but I find the restaurant incredibly loud and claustrophobic. As long as you are not planning to catch up with an old friend and want to focus on food (and wine), you should have a good experience.
Basta Pasta is a favorite of mine. When I last went (about a month ago), they had an appetizer special that was a delicious set of seared beef cubes. I was a little worried that the presentation was a little fussy (it was very pretty, but almost too much so), but it was totally delicious. Here are some of my favorites from the regular menu: the baked mushroom appetizer, the duck and arugula salad, the uni and tobiko pastas and the crespelle. I have to admit that I have never ventured away from the pastas when I have eaten at Basta Pasta, so I leave it to someone else to recommend any non-pasta main dishes.
From my point of view, they are both excellent. I have only eaten at Greenwich Grill twice and had pasta on both occasions. In each case, the pasta was a perfect al dente. I think that Greenwich Grill has a more interesting menu on the whole than Basta Pasta. The space and service at Greenwich Grill is also more formal (I mean that as a compliment).