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Oct 21, 2013 12:07 PM

Lucky Me - I get to come back and eat in NYC next week!

An impromptu business event is taking me back to NYC early next week (midweek) - happy dance! I'm tacking on an extra day and a half to spend time with a dear family friend - she's a little older so can't choose any place where the noise level is notably high. We're looking for warm and gracious service in an inviting space with, above all, great food. Price-wise, some flexibility but we tend to gravitate to mid-range (apps in the lower teens, entrees in the 20's). Oh, and my friend is a pescatarian. I eat everything (though we tend to share most of our dishes to enjoy the greatest variety). Looking for downtown - Greenwich Village, Noho, Chelsea, etc. Think I'll have time for 1 breakfast, 1 dinner and 2 lunches (possibly one of them as a late lunch so good if restaurant is open through the afternoon).

Having ogled through the windows of a few Gabe Stulman restos on past visits, I'm thinking this may finally be my chance - Fedora or Montmartre maybe? Other spots I'm thinking of - Il Buco (original or Alimentari), Louro, The Marrow. Maybe Acme or Pearl and Ash?

Any of these sound especially like what I am, or am not, looking for? As always, I thank you in advance for your wonderful input.

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  1. I don't believe that Fedora, Louro, Acme, or Pearl & Ash serve lunch.

    Dependent upon the weather, would you consider an outside table at Montmartre? It can get pretty loud inside, at least for dinner. We've not done lunch/brunch there so can't comment on the noise level. Maybe lunch in the garden? The outdoor seating is in a backyard garden area. Not sure if it's heated, but they do have awnings to protect from the rain. Gabe Stulman restaurants can get loud as they are on the smaller/crowded side, sometimes play hip-hop.

    Pearl & Ash is really loud. I wouldn't bring someone hard of hearing there. The service & food are quite good, though.

    Louro, I think the noise level depends where you are sitting, maybe call and ask. I didn't think it was too bad when we went last.

    10 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks Kathryn (as always) - you read my mind on Montmartre. Saw the garden pics on the website and thought it looked like a perfect spot for lunch. So maybe Montmartre for lunch, Il Buco Alimentari for a light breakfast and either Perla or Louro or Fedora for our one dinner? Never been to the bar at Babbo either - could try that for a nearly walk-in? Ugh, promised myself I wouldn't obsess too much this time (but if there are alternate recs, I'm all ears...).

      Re:noise level, we've been to l'artusi and dell'anima together before so maybe I shouldn't even specify that as an issue (guess my speaking voice can rise to the occasion).

      1. re: peppermint pate

        Do you find L'Artusi and L'Apicio to be loud? I'm at L'Artusi every week and have never found it noisy, and L'Apicio is even more manageable as the dining room is larger...

        But I'm also at Fedora every week, so perhaps I have a natural inclination towards higher decibels. That said, given the choice between Perla, Fedora and Louro - I would definitely walk into Perla or Fedora and dine at the bar. Maybe go with Fedora since you're already having Italian that day (Il Buco), don't skip out on the egg in a hole, mushrooms & poached egg with brown butter, ricotta gnocchi with smoked chicken meatballs, and black squirrel old fashioned.

        1. re: zeeEats

          Thanks so much for the recs. I haven't actually tried L'Apicio yet - had a later dinner at L'Artusi a couple of years ago and a dinner at dell'anima this past summer - I recall that both restaurants had a fairly noticeable conversational din, though we were certainly able to keep our conversation going.

          But now that you've mentioned L'Apicio, and having liked the sister restaurants, I've now got it on my short-list with Louro, Fedora and Perla. For lunches, I'm thinking two of Montmartre, Eataly or The Marrow. I do like the idea of having one French meal in there so maybe Montmartre if the current chef-shuffle isn't too disruptive (I'll be there next week). Your Fedora recs sound lovely.

          Also, for my last meal en route to the airport (lunchtime, midweek), I'll be starting from midtown - would Don Antonio pack up a pizza for me to eat in the taxi?

            1. re: kathryn

              Don Antonio does in fact deliver and offer pizza to go.

              I live in their delivery zone - in the past I've noticed that the thin crust in the center tends to get pretty soggy in transit as the closed box essentially "steams" the pie... May not be so bad if you're just packing it up to consume in the cab, but I wouldn't suggest leaving it in the box for more than 10 minutes.

              1. re: kathryn

                Thank you both - sort of a regular thing of mine that I try and cram in one more last experience en route to the airport or on the plane...

            2. re: zeeEats

              That chanterelles and shiitake dish has set up camp in my brain - I've booked a table at Fedora for our one dinner. Think I'll dub this trip the "mushroom tour" as we're also going to NoMad for a white truffle pasta lunch the other day. Looking forward. Thanks again.

              1. re: peppermint pate

                Ah, that sounds like a great "tour."

                I visited The NoMad for brunch recently and really loved the atrium room during the day. Perhaps you may consider the chicken sandwich (with black truffle and foie gras) and roasted mushrooms on the side then?

                1. re: zeeEats

                  Yum!! Is that the roast chicken for 2...for $79? That and a dish of the tagliatelle with fresh truffles? Holy expensive but delicious mushroom bliss. Thanks for the rec.

                  1. re: peppermint pate

                    Oh sorry! I was referring to the sandwich which is only served at brunch. I've had the $79 roasted chicken during dinner in the past and enjoyed it very much, though I'm not sure I'd order it again for another 6 months at the least. The $26 chicken sandwich during brunch is in the same vein and price tag much easier to swallow... So perhaps you might consider The NoMad for weekend brunch?

        2. As always, I enjoyed my time in your great city immensely.

          The food highlight was our lunch at NoMad, featuring buttered tagliatelle with shaved white truffles - the beautiful fireplace room, the gracious and friendly service and our perfectly fresh and delicious meal made for a very memorable lunch, the perfect way to start my trip. More details here:

          Enjoyed some meandering through Eataly - picked up one of the fresh mozzarella, a very crusty bread, a few other cheeses, some tomatoes and radishes, and a jar of olives in evoo, all of which formed a delicious picnic lunch the next day.

          Enjoyed a nice breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, which didn't succeed in Toronto but hit the spot for us on our way to Central Park one morning. We sat at the communal table, in a handsome/cozy room, and shared some soft-boiled eggs with toast, coffee, hot apple cider and their very delicious "crunola" - raw granola with coconut, cashew butter and fresh preserves.

          Our Fedora dinner was good, but not great - we enjoyed the friendly service and thought the wild mushroom dish was superb (thanks zeeEats!). The other dishes were perfectly fine but not particularly memorable - I liked the gnocchi but wasn't crazy about the flavour of the smoked chicken meatballs served with them. The salmon tartare appetizer was fine, the shoestring fries were good (but what a huge portion) and we had one other dish that I can't remember right now. So we liked it but I don't think I'd rush back.

          And then of course, my old friend Abraco, for their lovely americanos and deliciously moist olive oil cake. Yum.

          Thanks again for the input!

          1 Reply
          1. re: peppermint pate

            Thank you for reporting back and I'm glad to see you enjoyed your trip to the city!

            Sorry that you didn't love your dinner at Fedora. Even though it's one of my standbys, I can see how the food may not be mindblowing or extraordinary (such as with NoMad) but it is satisfying and consistent when you're popping in every week. Glad you liked the wild mushroom dish though!