Quick highlights of my trip last week, after soliciting plenty of thoughts from CH.
Pearl Oyster Bar: Ended up seated at the bar with a friend Monday night, place was empty but that was fine. Have to say that the bartender had zero personality and was almost robotic in her effort to appear professional...just seemed unwarranted and quite frankly unwelcoming. Anyway, the oysters were delicious, but I can't say I got into the salted shrimp. Bartender insisted that we eat the whole shrimp, shell and all - maybe I just didn't enjoy that part. We had the lobster roll and I have to say it was to die for. Overall, good food but won't be back.
Marc Forgione (or is it The Forge?) - Have to say this place was really fantastic! First off, the decor - simply warm and gorgeous. Loved the lighting and beadboard. The music and the vibe were wonderful too. Okay, okay the food. We started with the sliders au jus and they were delicious. Thought the jalapeno on top gave it a great zip that pork often lacks. My favorite was next - the cavatelli with lamb and ricotta...delicious! Can't say enough. Dining partner got the snapper and really enjoyed it, while I was craving a burger. Really juicy and the bacon was perfectly smoky. The chocolate cake was decadent and smooth. Loved the service from our sommelier who helped us choose a great Pinot Noir (Whetstone - seriously, try it!).
Spotted Pig - second time here, and still love the scene. We had a drink beforehand so we got there hungry...lesson learned as our wait was an hour. Friend had the burger, but since I had one the night prior I got the deviled eggs and the skirt steak. Really did NOT like the eggs, but very much enjoyed the steak. That's about it - fun place if you don't mind waiting...which my friend and I didn't at all (helped that we had seats upstairs while we waited).
The Dutch - So I suppose I enjoyed it. The oysters were fresh and tasty, they were BC but I forget what kind. My wife got the Korean Hanger Steak which we both thought was unreal. Loved the use of sriracha and how they weren't afraid to lay it on there. The flavors (kimchi!!) all came together and I have to say it's the best steak I've tasted in a while. I ended up with the steamed snapper...which I felt could have used a little more flavor. But maybe that's the joy of that type of dish - light and simple. It was good, just not excellent or anything. It's a scene, and there's plenty to see. But I didn't love it.
Babbo - Not much more to add that hasn't already been said. This place is worthy of all the hype it receives, and then some. We started with the octopus, which may be one of my favorite dishes that I've ever had. Never knew it could be so tender and delicious, and...delicious. Next was the chianti stained pappardelle with boar ragu...altogether delicious even if I usually prefer my pasta more al dente. I really wanted to goose liver ravioli but we settled on the mint love letters - no disappointment there. What a surprising taste and how it all comes together...fresh and savory. Yum. My wife went with striped bass special which was great, and I had the pork chop. Never ever would I normally order a pork chop, and I'm so glad I did. Between the balsamic drizzle and those peppers, I was seriously in love. Love how diners face out into dining room (we were downstairs), and the decor is lovely. Just a fantastic evening.
Rubirosa - Quick note just to say we stopped in for some pizza on Saturday. Loved the thin slice, and thought the cheese and sauce were wonderful. Looking around at everyone ordering the parm hero's (or wedges??) I was envious and will be back to try some other time.
That's all for now....just wanted to share my thoughts and give a thanks to those who helped me in my decision making.