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Oct 29, 2013 02:57 PM

4 Days in December: great food at somewhat casual places?

spending 4 day in NYC in december. Have been to marea , per se, EMP. Looking for great food but more casual then the above. Thinking about ABC, Mailino, ( have been to both) , maybe betony/juni. Any thoughts about Quality Italian, Harlow, Crostata? Any other suggestions?

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  1. I like Costata, as I do QI but less than Costata. Maybe I'm just White biased.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Osteria Morini is also great, if you're looking for a Roman trattoria in the same vein as Maialino.

      Would also suggest ABC Cocina (assuming you've been to Kitchen), Perla, Momofuku Ssam, Piora, The NoMad. Betony is fine but NoMad and Piora are better, IMO.

      1. re: zeeEats

        Betony is fine but NoMad and Piora are better, IMO.

        That's interesting. I've been to both Betony (once) and NoMad (several times) but never Piora.

        Would you mind telling me a bit more about Piora? Thanks.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          The reason why I say that is because I feel like all three restaurants sort of fit the "New American" genre carried by EMP. Seasonal, innovative and utilizing French technique but global flavors. Betony and NoMad are probably even more similar in style and ambition - I just prefer the execution of the food, ambiance and service at NoMad over Betony.

          As for Piora, I think that it's the most interesting and possibly "out there" of the three in terms of food. The seasonal menu exhibits notes of French/Italian/Korean influences and ingredients, all prepared with a rather classical touch. For instance, the barbecued octopus starter featured gochujang with basil and pine nuts, a surprising combination that worked as the Italian ingredients tempered the fermented gochujang. It kind of reminded me of the fantastic octopus at Jungsik - only a little less Korean and charred.

          Other starters that I loved were the scallops with sweet corn, chanterelle and chicken skin and poached egg with chicken wing, potato and artichoke barigoule. Combining corn with chanterelle has been done before, but this was one of the best scallop dishes I've ever had simply in the fact that it was so perfected cooked and balanced in flavors, with the crispy bits of chicken skin making each bite that much more fun. The poached egg is also on menus everywhere (including NoMad and Betony) but the one at Piora includes that extra textural contrast from the little deboned chicken wing that catches you by surprise. Piora also does pastas and mains that are perhaps a little more Italian upon first glance, however they also incorporate more international ingredients such as figs in the duck sausage rigatoni and jujube in the rohan duck. The duck is fantastic btw - a little reminiscent of peking duck, with just the right amount of fat rendered and cooked to a perfect mid rare.

          I think the only difficulty with Piora is that the dining room is extremely narrow and small, so that tables are placed very close together. The ambiance is still quite classy and very cozy though, just a heads up if you're going to go with a party larger than 4.

          1. re: zeeEats

            Thank you for that, zee.

            I also just read your previous review of Piora.

            (and definitely not going with a party larger than 2)

    2. Perla
      Ma Peche
      Modern Bar Room

      1. Gramery Tavern (the front room).
        The marrow

        1. thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like Piora or NoMad will do the trick.