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Trip Report: Four Days in Manhattan

aching Apr 12, 2011 12:36 PM

I just returned to LA after a quick but fabulous trip to New York and wanted to (briefly) share my experiences. We were based in Soho at the spectacular James Hotel (but that's a review for a different site!) and mostly walked.

- Locanda Verde - We went to this restaurant for breakfast after a punishing red-eye flight. I had the fresh ricotta with orange toast, and all I can say is WOW. I don't normally use the word orgasmic to describe food, but I might have to make an exception for this dish. The cheese was very fresh, light and fluffy, with a dollop of honey in the middle, sprinkled liberally with sea salt, cracked black pepper, and thyme. Spread on the crusty toast, it really was to die for.

- Anissa - This is a beautiful restaurant with lovely service, but I have to say, I found the menu oddly unappealing (that was actually my initial impression when researching it online, but I overrode my instinct based on a glowing review of the place from a trusted source - next time, I won't!). The fish dishes sounded best to us, so we had the tuna "hot and cold" appetizer, the monkfish for me, and another fish I'm forgetting for my husband. It was all very nicely prepared, but again, just not that appealing. What was incredible, though, was the dessert - butterscotch and pecan beignets with bourbon ice cream. The beignets were perfect - light but rich, with a perfectly crisp exterior, and literally dripping with butterscotch. The very boozy and not too sweet bourbon ice cream was an excellent counterpoint to the sweetness of the beignets.

- Joe the Art of Coffee - I'm a cappuccino drinker, and the one I had here was very good - but I think I preferred La Colombe (below) by just a hair.

- 'Ino - I was looking for a light lunch, so I stopped here for the Truffled Egg Toast. It was as amazing as advertised - I loved every little bite. Eggs, truffles, cheese, bread, asparagus - how could you go wrong?

- Hakata TonTon - We went here for a late dinner on a very chilly evening, and it was perfect. I'm not a huge shabu-shabu fan, as I often find it to be somewhat unsatisfying - but this place's specialty (which is not shabu-shabu, but rather a different kind of Japanese hot pot), was extremely satisfying and delicious. We shared the Hakata Tonton Hot Pot and were particularly impressed by their "collagen broth". We basically licked the hot pot clean. I wish we had been a little hungrier, because it would have been really amazing with the optional add-ins or ramen or rice. Next time...

- La Colombe - My cappuccino was one of the smoothest I've had, deeply flavored but not at all bitter. Excellent.

- Tartine - We had brunch here on our way to the High Line - Eggs Benedict for me, Croque Monsieur for my husband. While tasty, these dishes were nothing special - but when you're trying to have Saturday brunch in the West Village without a reservation, you kind of have to take what you can get.

- Spumaggi - We had the brussels sprouts pizza here, which is highly recommended on Yelp. I LOVE brussels sprouts, but I have to admit, this pizza didn't blow me away. As my husband pointed out afterwards, each of the components was very good, but it didn't taste like one coherent dish.

- Salume - We had one prosciutto and one salami panini here - fabulous. Unlike a lot of panini, these sandwiches were warm but not pressed. The ingredients were top-notch and the flavors (including truffle oil on one and horseradish on the other) clear and lovely. We had picked this place primarily because it was around the corner from our hotel, but it is worth seeking out even if you're not staying in Soho.

Thanks, New York - love your chow!

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Joe the Art of Coffee
141 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

'ino
21 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

Hakata TonTon
61 Grove Street, New York, NY 10014

Tartine
253 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Saluggi's
325 Church St, New York, NY 10013

La Colombe
270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

Salume
330 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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  1. m
    michelleats RE: aching Apr 12, 2011 02:57 PM

    Nice report, aching. I always appreciate hearing how visitors like the restaurants they tried. I agree with you about Tartine... I never could quite figure out its appeal. Re: Annisa, I loved the first five or so meals I had there, after it reopened, but the last two have been missing the initial brilliance in my opinion, as well. I'm not sure what's changed. It's likely that Anita Lo is no longer in the kitchen every night, as she was for a very long time.

    And you've given me a new place to try: La Colombe.

    Thanks for reporting back.

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    Annisa
    13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

    Tartine
    253 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

    La Colombe
    270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

    2 Replies
    1. re: michelleats
      k
      kathryn RE: michelleats Apr 12, 2011 05:06 PM

      Don't miss the olive oil cake at La Colombe!

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      La Colombe
      270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      1. re: kathryn
        m
        michelleats RE: kathryn Apr 12, 2011 05:49 PM

        Thanks, Kathryn! I'm not a big olive oil cake person, but I know my husband will love it, so I'll vicariously enjoy (while sucking down some coffees of my own).

    2. aching RE: aching Apr 12, 2011 05:15 PM

      Um, a few corrections - Annisa, not Anissa, and Saluggi's, not Spumaggi - sorry! That's what I get for trying to go off of memory alone.

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      Annisa
      13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

      Saluggi's
      325 Church St, New York, NY 10013

      1 Reply
      1. re: aching
        p
        peter j RE: aching Apr 12, 2011 05:53 PM

        Saluggi's is great. Glad you enjoyed it.

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        Saluggi's
        325 Church St, New York, NY 10013

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