Went to NYC this past weekend...a few notes.
Balthazar - Always fun and good. Service is surprisingly friendly (from management on down) and good. Solid Bistro Fare. Wish they had something like this in LA
Lupa- Had lunch here on a cold, rainy day. Nice vibe/atmosphere. Food was solid, but not inspiring. A good local place - if you didn't know Batali owned it, you would probably wonder what the fuss was all about.
DB Bistro Moderne - Had late dinner, after WS Wine Tasting...really friendly, effieient service. Had DB Burger - very tasty. Other dishes all good.
Moss Wine Bar - Don't know the exact name, but it's the wine bar next to Moss on Houston. Really liked the elegant, sophisticated design. Managed to be warm. Also, seemed like mostly locals. Wine and salumi were delicious, pastas very average. Would return for a glass of wine, but not dinner.
Otto - Went @ 4:00pm on Saturday. Restaurant 1/4 full, maybe. Didn't like our two-top, asked to be seated elsewhere (there were maybe 5 emty four tops)...cold hostess said they were reserved for three or more. Meanwhile, three (this in the front room) four tops occupied by couples! Could have asked to talk to manager, but just didn't care. It's weird - at Babbo/Lupa have had great service. Osteria Mozza/Pizzeria Mozza/Otto - they act like they are doing you a favor. Anyway, we walked out and I had a slice at Ben's on the way home.
Katz's Deli - Hadn't had one in ages, and wanted to compare to Langers in LA. It was terrific Pastrami, certainly among the best. Much more meat than Langer's as well (double, maybe?). However, it wasn't as flakey/tender and I missed the contrast of the crunchy crust and softness of the inside of the bread that only Langer's has.
One weird thing...I was looking for a dinner for thursday night, around 8.00pm for four people on open table...this was day of, btw. Amazingly, PerSe had an 8:00pm and 9:45pm time!