I have appreciated reading the posts and specific recommendations from all of you. I wanted to give you a report on our recent trip to New York before time gets away from me.
Estela: Great food at lunch but the music was too loud requiring people to shout to be heard. Highlights were Arroz negro with squid and romesco, and burrata with salsa verde and charred bread. What's with charred bread? It was served to the table as well. Not sure that it enhanced the meal. The chocolate cake is definitely for chocolate lovers.
Aldea: The cauliflower soup with sea urchin, apple, black truffle was fabulous. The sea urchin toast was also great with many lovely flavors. Both the arroz de pato and the diver sea scallops were superb. We thoroughly enjoyed the beignets that were served with a chocolate caramel sauce and a passionfruit custard.
The Breslin: At Sunday brunch, we found the service to be a bit slow although the room was not filled. The poached eggs with curried lentils was delicious with just enough heat. The harissa braised kale was yummy - oh, that lamb bacon.
Babbo: One of the best dishes of our stay was the goat cheese tortelloni with dried orange and wild fennel pollen. It was seasoned perfectly and the pasta was so so good - if I could only do that at home. I went for a second pasta with the beef cheek ravioli which was also tasty. My husband's gnocchi with ox tail and the lamb chops were both excellent. The olive oil cake was disappointing - too dry. The restaurant was quite busy but service was smooth.
Marea: I went for octopus at lunch. I loved the polipo that was perfectly grilled. The fusilli was great but a bit heavy. My husband had the leek and fennel soup with oysters and trout roe, a highlight of our eating adventures for him. He also loved the sea bass that was perfectly prepared. For dessert we had bomboloni - delicious ricotta doughnuts with lemon cream and apple butter.
We ate very well this trip. Even with lots of walking while we were in the city the scale was not kind when we returned.
Thanks for all of the good advice.