I picked a nutty weekend to come in, this last weekend, with the Halloween parade on Friday and the Marathon on Sunday. But, I trooped down to Katz's and up to Zabar's and over to down to Paul's and over to Ben's and was unimpressed with them all. That is to say, I've had better at each. Katz's was downright disappointing as the slics of the pastrami were grossly overthick. And Ben's pizza was too tomatoe-y even for Ben's. (But the pizza at Pie's, while not pizza, was good.)
But I had two wonderful experiences. One was The Burger jJint in the Parker Meridian. (Remember your college student union late at night when your friends were serving the food? This is it, man.) Everything there at this restaurant, no matter what you ordered, was 5 bucks. Hamburger - 5 bucks, Cheeseburger and pop (sorry, soda) and french fries? 5 bucks. What a hoot. And a damn good burger. Medium rare, falling apart, just right.
But the best find was ChikaLicious, the dessrt bar on 10th street. I went into this place (After getting over the shock of how my old neighborhood has gone upscale)where I was the only customer (but it was just 7 PM). I had a wonderful converstation with the staff and Chef Chika about the differences between NY and Chicago restarants. And I ate one of the best things that has ever gone into my mouth - a (green) grape sorbet that just sang "HELLO!"
And so the Big Apple redeems itself once again. Thanks to Chika and the boys in the hidden burger joint.