Because of the comments on this board, especially from Joe H., I chose to celebrate a special occassion at Obelisk last weekend, and I'm very glad I did.
Obelisk does not have the flash or the drama of Citronelle, or Teatro Goldoni, for example. It's much more refined, sedate, and even casual in a way. The food is not over-produced, ill-conceived combinations. It's based on the perfectly simple and perfectly correct notion that quality ingredients that are prepared with care will stand on their own. Someone mentioned a few weeks ago that they don't hear Nora's mentioned very much. Well, I can't imagine choosing Nora's over Obelisk.
The menu is very small, and changes regularly. Four of us tasted everyone of the offerings. First courses were fresh grilled shrimp over white beans, a tuna pate/mousse in roasted peppers, and fresh sauteed porcini mushrooms over grilled bread. Primos were gnocci in butter sauce, beet ravioli, and saltcod stuffed pasta in a seafood broth. Main courses included roasted squab with spinach, lamb cooked with anchovy and brocolli rabe, fluke with artichokes, and sea bass with sage. Desserts were an artisan parmasean cheese, home-made fruit sorbet, and one I can't remember. All were accompanied by unusual Italian wines including a full-bodied white, a robust Amarone and grappa derived from Barbaresca(sp?).
Thanks again Chowhounds! Wish you all were there!