I have been reading the posts with interest these last few weeks and wanted to convey some thoughts in a rambling kinda way that I hope will be of interest to all you food lovers, such as myself (even though I was deleted for the HOT WAITRESSES post awhile ago-how vulgar of me)
1) MARY'S FISH CAMP(4th and Charles) is a perplexing place. The food is great. Some of the freshest and simplest seafood around. The fries are awe-inspiring. The hot fudge sundae is the best I have ever had, but what is with not seating anybody past 2:15 on a Saturday when they say they are open till 3:00? What is with the nasty service from the rough and tumble female staff? What is with the teeth- rattling music at night? and what is with the pushing of wine throughout the meal? I will still be seen there, however, because of the food and to try and figure out the place and how it relates to the universe.
2) DA SILVANO'S(Houston and 6th Ave) is truly a great restaurant. To be a truly great place , I think the owner has got to be around ALOT. Silvano Marchetti is always there. He has "it" . "It" being a something that attracts people and makes them feel alive and wanting to come back for more. Call it charisma. The place is alive! And you can't even understand him most of the time! If more places would have an owner that cared as much as he there would be more exceptional places. My first time there i walked in off the street and sat outside. I ordered a sandwich which must have been about $8 (hard to believe I know). He treated me like I was a regular. It made a great impression on me, and I have now become a regular. As much of one as I can on a limited budget. The food is very good because they keep it simple and fresh. It tastes like it should taste. Don't complain about the prices there. The place is special and worth it's weight in gold.
3) If you have friends in town make a food day of it on West 4th Street. Start off with an almond croissant and cafe laite at TARTINE (sit outside on that glorious corner-11th and 4th, maybe the best spot in NYC). Have lunch at MARY'S FISH CAMP(4th and Charles) -first timer's order the lobster roll . Get brutalized by the staff and call it a NYC experience. I would say to get the hot fudge sundae but skip it for now and go to MARY'S DAIRY(4th between 6th and 7th Ave and get the ice cream cake. Ask for a fork to eat it with and they will tell you they only have spoons that bend when you try to eat with. Wait till it melts a little and enjoy.
4) The corner of 21st and 9th Ave has the best coffee/dessert type places. Best cafe au laite- LE GAMIN CAFE(21st and 9th). Best croissants- LA BERGAMOTE(20th and 9th). Best desserts BILLY'S(21st and 9th). I know that Magnolia is great, but the same thing at BILLY's without the lines.
5)BRIGHT FOOD SHOP(21st and 8th) is sooo under-rated. The breakfast burrito with the sausage and potatoe mixed in is awesome. The srambled egg thing with cornbread, potatoes etc. is great. They now have a dark chocalote pudding dessert with a hard crust which is mouth-watering. Everything is good there. Go! I never see it crowded except for brunch on the weekends.
6) Are there any better waiters than at Danny Meyer's places. How does he find such nice people? Sit in the outside room at GRAMERCY TAVERN(42 East 20th). Order one of those cilantro martini's. Bring a hot date and you're half-way home.Forget the Indian places and go to TABLA(24th and Madison). Sit outside or in the front room and order a lot of the little plates. Superb!
7) MELAMPO(105 Sullivan)is a great sandwich spot. Allesandro is a tempermental artist, but so was Picasso. The Bombo Tricollore(sp) is truly awe-inspiring. It is only available in July/August when the tomatoe's are in season. So get it soon. I saw him once make two ladies cry when they were talking while waiting in line and when it was their turn could not pull the trigger on what sandwich to order. You gotta know what you want when it is your turn. And please don't ask for a corned beef on rye. Great place.
8) THE SPOTTED PIG(314 West 11th) is so over-rated. Was reading my New York Observer today and saw where it got two stars. How can that be? Other rags love it too. It is one step above pub food. Maybe since the English have such bad food people think this place is the greatest in comparison, but come on! One step above THE TRIPLE CROWN(even though that is Irish) that is my opinion.
These are some thoughts I hope you enjoy. I know my opinions might not be yours, but so be it.