thanks to all for suggestions re: italian (and dressing up my l'il sister for drinks ;).
scored a reservation at PO for wed next week. before i posted my first message, i had read jim's thirsty report and what messages i could find (using batali or something, since the search enginge couldn't run a two letter search). i hope i won't find it so oily/salty...i suspect i'll enjoy the meal. a friend of mine had dinner there a couple of months ago and raved about it.
does anyone ever check out cuisinenet.com? many (dated) posts there re: rude service at po. has that been y'alls experience? i think i'm mentally preparing for that, esp considering we'll be obviously young folks (23 and 20 yrs) and will order a glass or two of wine at the most (maybe not for l'il sis!). i have found that some waiters seem to turn off the charm when i'm not ordering wine...or when we're a young group at a restaurant.
re: thai restaurants -- my sister and i love thai food, so i want to find a great place...but i don't think i've ever had GREAT thai in manhattan. let's see...i've been to HOLY BASIL, LITTLE BASIL, JAI-YA on third, CAN'T-REMEMBER-THE-NAME on bayard and baxter, and a counter-type spot by the office called YUM THAI...and two spots in park slope. i think the best has been holy basil...very good, but maybe not get-excited good... for those in the nabe, yum thai is pretty good for a quick workday lunch. it's on 44th b/w 6th ave and broadway.
so...i'm thinking about hiking out to queens. has anyone been to any (including the aforementioned...for a more recent review) manhattan thai spots that really impressed? if not, i'm thinking SRIPRA PHAI (sp?) or KWAY TIOW THAI is the way to go. i've read posts on these, though nothing recent. would you recommend these over anything else? train stops? zero familiarity with queens!