We took our daughter to the Central Park Zoo this weekend, and walked to 2nd Ave. for lunch. We picked the first place we saw, which looked reasonable, and am I happy we did: This is a neighborhood Italian restaurant that I wish were in my neighborhood.
First of all, it's both comfortable and friendly. Plenty of room for a stroller and very accomodating for a 2 year old, to the point of bringing her a plate of olives gratis when she didn't want to eat anything else.
We started with crostini fiorentini (i.e. crostini with chicken liver paste), which were good. Not the best I've had, but nicely done. That was the low point of the meal. Our three main dishes were splendid: risotto with salmon and caviar; tagliatelli with duck ragu; and gnocchi with white truffle & cream sauce. These were perfect gnocchi: feather light and tasty.
For dessert, something they called Tartuffo Sorbet. A ball of gelato, chocolate on the inside, vanilla on the outside, rolled in cocoa powder and crushed hazelnuts. Nice coffee, too.
Not cheap: With three glasses of wine and a good tip, it came to $120 for three people. But worth it.