Hi chowhounds -
Just returned a week ago from our 5th trip to NYC. This time we were with three other couples which made it a bit of a challenge to plan - we each took care of one day.
Dining highlights include:
Lupa - my husband and I selected this place as one of our choices because we've been twice before and loved it. This time not so much. There's always a bit of pressure when you've brought along friends. Six of us that night. Terrible table in the corner (even though we'd reserved 3 weeks before) and worst was the service - we were ignored and then the waiter had an attitude as well! So disappointing! The pasta was wonderful as always, but our meats were overcooked. Other people would bring the food out and the waiter never came back to check on how it was. He was too busy talking with friends over at the bar. Annoying as hell! I don't think our friends cared for it at all.
Hundred Acres - I read an article about this in NY Times right before we left on our trip. We took the group there one evening and had a simply lovely time! On MacDougal street (have to hunt for it) in a corner of Greewich Village - cute interior, they open up the front on nice days, pleasant wait staff and bartender, casual but great food. Small menu - but carefully prepared and yummy, fresh organic food. The chicken was great! (Fries too!) I would recommend it! If I lived in this neighborhood, I would be there regularly.
Centro Vinoteca - Greenwich Village. This new place had just been open a few weeks - we happened upon it and I recognized it from a photo in the NY Times. Really cool refurbished brick triangle-shaped building. The hub and I went in for a glass of wine in the middle of the afternoon. We really liked the interior - pretty and sophisticated. The staff was friendly and helpful. We liked the little carafes that came with the generous glasses of wine. We ordered a couple of small plates too and the presentation was very nice. We would have liked to come back to try for dinner but were already booked up for the rest of our time there with our friends. Really nice Italian wine list. A lovely space to take a break from the crowds of Greenwich Village. And best surprise - the chef, Anne Burrell (Mario Batali's right-hand sous chef for years, came down the stairs and took a photo with us! Try it out - very nice!
Clinton St. Baking Co. - a hole in the wall, but the food is great. I wish they had more space so that you can...move your arm to eat! Six of us went in and had to split up to be seated. Some of us ordered breakfast and some lunch (me!). I spotted the lobster BLT on the menu and really loved it! Fun menu with lots of comfort foods - they need to knock out a wall and make space to breathe!
David Burke & Donatella - one couple selected this for the nice dinner out. Upper eastside. Totally hyped up and totally a dining scene. Lots of locals (we may have been the only tourists in the place). When we arrived, I was very UNimpressed with the front door and concerned with the cleanliness (people - tidy up your front door and wall would you? - It's messy and needs painting!). But we were ushered in to the tiny space in front, then past the bar, and into the back room which was huge, tall-ceilings and lovely! All ivory and red colors - and large bouquets. When we were seated early there was only one other table, but the room quickly filled up (and became noisy) by the time we left it was packed! The service is very attentive - the menu interesting, upscale, a bit trendy. they do offer a reasonably-priced prix fix menu. I loved the lobster lemongrass bisque which was thin and quite light, but hated my short ribs - very fatty (almost couldn't eat them). I ordered the wrong thing for my entre. The rest of our group thought it was all wonderful and good, though pricey. We were dressed nicely, but not "dressy" and I felt under-dressed as everyone else in the room (ALL the men had on suits and ties!) were in business attire. An intresting experience, but I probably won't go back.