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June Trip Report

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joavka Jun 22, 2010 10:52 PM

My husband and I just got back from an extended 1st anniversary weekend in New York. (we are from Toronto, and are 30 and 28, respectively).

I don't usually post, but I thought I should, as I got a lot of great tips from this board and wanted to report back. Here are some highlights:

We arrived around 12:30 on Saturday and had previously made brunch reservations at Locanda Verde for 1:30. We got in earlier than expected and were hungry, so we headed over to see if we could be seated early. They were able to seat us within about 5 minutes, which was great. After reading the reviews, we started with the ricotta/burnt orange toast appetizer. I don't think it's something I would have ordered had I not read about it here and I glad I did! The ricotta was super fresh and the truffle honey made the dish. Loved it. I then had the uova al forno, which I also really liked. It was a little different than most egg dishes I've had, with the corona beans and the kale, which I enjoyed (good to have something different than an omelet etc. for a change). My husband had the zucchini frittata, which he also thought was very good, but which I did not try.

On Saturday night, we had dinner at The Orchard on the LES, which I know gets mixed reviews here, but which I thought was pretty good, not excellent. Not a destination restaurant, which I already knew. However, the tuna tartare appetizer and the mushroom flatbread were tasty and my lamb main was solid. After dinner, we went for drinks at Cienfuegos and at Mayahuel, which were recommended here. The wait was too long for Death and Co, so we decided we'd come back another night. Both Cienfuegos and Mayahuel had excellent cocktails and we did not have to wait to get in, even though it was a Saturday night. Unfortunately, I cannot remember exactly which drinks we had. I think I liked Cienfuegos slightly better, but probably just because I like rum-based drinks better than tequila/mezcal and enjoyed the kitsch factor/"hidden" aspect of it, which my husband got a real kick out of. Thanks RGR for this suggestion.

On Sunday we had brunch at Jane. We had the vanilla bean french toast, which was good, but slightly dry/undercooked. We also had the scambled eggs and lox dish, which we enjoyed. Nothing mindblowing here, but a cute brunch place.
Sunday dinner was at Scarpetta, which was amazing....my favourite meal of the trip (with Craft a close second). The food was excellent and I thought the service was great. We had an 8 p.m. reservation and were seated right away. We wanted to share four dishes, and our server suggested that they split all of the portions and serve them like a 4 course mini tasting menu. This was a great idea and the pacing of the service was excellent. We had the tuna scusi, the polenta, the spagetti and the cod. All the dishes were really good and well executed, but the stand out for us was defintely the polenta... yum!. Bread basket was also great. Scott Conant is opening a Scarpetta in Toronto soon (it was supposed to already be open, but has been delayed) and I can't wait to try it out and see how it compares to the New York version.
After dinner we went for cocktails at Little Branch, which we had been to on our previous trip to NYC 2 years ago.

On Monday we went to the Guggenheim in the afternoon and had lunch at Sarabeth's beforehand. I've been to Sarabeth's on numerous trips to New York, and while nothing really special, it seems reliable and somehow I keep going back, which defintely says something. My husband and I split my faves, the lemon ricotta pancakes and the red omelet.
We went to Craft for our anniversary dinner on Monday, which was also an excellent experience. We shared a beet salad to start (ubiquitous these days, but somehow I never get tired of this kind of dish). It was very good, but also a little to salty for my liking. We had the halibut and shortribs as mains, which were both very well done. However, the standout dishes were the sides, and the hen of the woods mushrooms in particular...amazing...so simple, yet so good. We also had the roasted carrots, which were also great. The roasted bananas with caramel for dessert were a great way to end the meal and I loved the chocolate sauce that was served with the bananas (however, bananas and chocolate are one of my fave food combos, so I may be biased!) Made it to Death and Co for drinks after dinner and got in right away, being pretty late on a Monday night...great cocktails and atmosphere!

Today we met a friend at Isabella's, which was was perfectly fine, but nothing special. However, the company was great : ) We also stopped by Lombardi's for a pre-flight pizza, athough I know it does not seem to get a lot of love on this board (well, at least not in comparison to Di Fara etc.). We felt like NYC style pizza and this was by far the closest to our hotel and the only one we could fit in and still be able to catch our flight. We had one pie (half margherita and half mushroom) and while I was not blown away, we thought it was very good and that the ingredients were all fresh, especially the sauce. Although not the best pizza I've ever had, it still hit the spot and I am glad we tried it. Next time I am in NYC, I'm going to try to hit Di Fara and also one of the newer neopolitan places (Keste, Motorino etc.).

Thanks to the Manhattan board for the suggestions! We had a great and memorable trip.

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Little Branch
22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Mayahuel
304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

Cienfuegos
95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

Motorino
349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

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    syrahgirl RE: joavka Jun 23, 2010 09:02 AM

    Thanks so much for the report, it was fun to read! Dining in Manhattan is amazing! :)

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