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Where can I take a Serious Foodie in UES/Yorkville?

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  • MECHD Apr 13, 2010 03:10 AM
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I'm very new to the hood and my friend wants to come uptown for dinner. She is a serious foodie, a great cook and I've never had a bad meal with her.

Good: she is a pretty adventurous eater and not snobish, if its good she can eat out a food cart.
Bad: She is half italian so I can't take her to any of the billion generic italian places around my apt... If I pick italian it has to be very, very good.
Area: 70th-95th, East End to Park.
Budget: max 35$ per entree.

I was thinking Cafe D'Alsace, UVA, JG Melon, Beyoglu, Cascabell or Libertador.
Any other ideas?

Many thanks!!!

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  1. Spigolo!!! Its great Italian-not red sauce place but fine dining-smallish plates-make reservation!!

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    Spigolo
    1561 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

    1. york grill
      naruto ramen
      cascabel taqueria
      cafe d'alsace
      flex mussels
      land NE thai
      wa jeal
      tatany 72

      1 Reply
      1. re: thew

        I'll second Flex Muscles. Cheesy name, but they have fantastic (you guessed it) mussels and they do a lot of very interesting preparations. A few pots of mussels, some oysters, some frites, and some beers...Any foodie would be happy with that.

      2. I second the Spigolo vote! if the weather is nice, you may be able to go without a reservation. Also Cascabel has fantastic tacos (the steak is my fave) though its tiny and packed. They are close to each other so you can check them both out and decide. JG Melon always reliable for a burger though waits can vary and be warned--house charge or cash only. Cafe d'alsace great too but more of a fall/winter place to me with food more on the hearty side but also a great option. good luck and let us know!

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        Spigolo
        1561 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

        4 Replies
        1. re: preppie foodie

          i had the worst salad ever at spigolo's, and their gnocchi primi course was tasty but ridiculously overpriced

          1. re: thew

            Did you say anything to the server? Spigolo is never hesistant to replace whatever you order if it is not up to your standards or perhaps not what you expected. They have amazing inventive salads-small plates of absolutely tasty morsels, ie, their caesar comes topped w a fried quail egg-divine! Perhaps you were expecting something massive like a chef salad from your local diner.

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            Spigolo
            1561 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

            1. re: UES Mayor

              i asked for a simple green salad. i got a plate of one kind of green (no problem there) drowned in vinegar, with almost no oil on it, no seasoning either (big problems there).

              that is just bad and lazy and has zip to do with my expectations. but i did learn what the olive oil they give you with the bread is for - fixing a salad thrown together by an incompetent.

              the gnocchi was delicious - but the plate had 6 gnocchi on it. for $15. I am not cheap by any means. i've happily paid for very expensive meals - dropped 5-6 bills for 2 people without complaint. But $2.50 per gnocchi - that's a bit much, don't you think?

              and then when i gave them a 3.5 star review (out of 5 on yelp), saying i wanted to go back and give them another chance, i got some rude assed messages - not the way to entice me back, especially when i gave a decent review, given that i was given a nearly inedible plate of lawn shavings, and a demitasse sized primi.

              1. re: thew

                I'm truly surprised because one of the most superb salads I've ever had in a restaurant was served to me at Spigolo. Everything else we had was not exactly too shabby, and portions were very generous.

                Spigolo photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

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                Spigolo
                1561 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

        2. Maybe not for this occasion, but add Rectangles to your neighborhood list (First bet. 74th & 75th)--excellent Israeli Yemenite food, formerly in the East Village, but at this location for some years already.

          http://petercherches.blogspot.com

          1. Thanks to all for your suggestions! We ended up at D'Alsace and she really liked it. She especially loved the beers.
            But please keep the recommendations coming, she realized it really isn't that hard to get up here so I'm sure we'll be doing "UES dinner" again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MECHD

              Welcome to the UES. People like to bag on the food here, but you can do well if you choose carefully and do your research.

              My go to Italian place is Sandro's on 81st. Run by a Roman chef, it's really good authentic Italian food. Cafe Sabarsky is a German/Viennese place (how many of those are there?) located in the Neue Galerie on 86th and 5th. Land on 2nd is a good option for Thai. Two Little Red Hens has great cupcakes and cookies.

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              Two Little Red Hens
              1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

              Cafe Sabarsky
              1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

            2. We did not like Libertador at all. My friend sent back her steak, my wife's mussels were stringy and it was very smokey. This happened about a month after it opened so all of the kinks should have been worked out by then.

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              Libertador
              1725 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

              1 Reply
              1. re: ajs42548

                Really? The only reason its on my list is because I went there a couple weeks back and enjoyed it.
                It wasn't excellent , that's why I listed it last, but we had a great argentinian wine and liked the steak. Maybe we were lucky, but none of us (4 total) had to send their food back.... sorry you had to.
                Any other good steakhouses around here? preferably on Libertador's $ range.

              2. etats- unis - very good spot, drinks across the street first at the bar side. they got a michelin star if you are looking for another's opinion

                1 Reply
                1. re: radical

                  Etats-Unis has been closed for some time now.

                2. Cascabel is so fantastic. I am rarely disappointed there. The only thing I would not recommend there is the fish tacos. I just don't like their hearts of palm concept. But I pretty much love everything else, especially the pork belly gorditas, the costillo, the lengua tacos, and the hot chocolate/churros!

                  Also, Cafe D'Alsace is great, but a bit loud.