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My week in NYC

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Restaurants & Bars 2

My week in NYC

Debbie Puente | Feb 23, 1999 11:32 PM

(So happy to have found a foodie place to hang!)

Becco, (355 West 46th Street) serves Northern Italian
food in a lively, casual, farmhouse style. The portions
are huge and a great value. I ordered the two course,
fixed price ($21.95) grilled vegetables and seafood,
with unlimited servings of the three pastas of the day,
(penne, rigatoni, and ravioli). The menu is somewhat
confusing at first. You can order a la carte (with a
Caesar salad) or choose from "menu two" which is "menu
one plus a choice of three entrée courses." What this
means (I think) is for about eight dollars more, you
are served unlimited portions of three different pastas
with your dinner. My friend ordered the ossobuco served
with a barley risotto, ($20.95) also a very large
portion. Bring a big, enthusiastic appetite for this
one.

I'm not sure what was the best part of my weekend
brunch at Park Avenue Café (100 E. 63rd Street). The
food was delicious, innovative, and artistic. The décor
was calming, romantic and stylish. Huge, colorful fresh
flowers surrounded us, and the service was top notch.
(Thanks again to our waiter, Eric, for adding such a
special touch.) We started with pastrami salmon and
smoked salmon on a warm corn blini ($12.50). The
pastrami salmon is Chef David Burke's own invention
and, in fact, is trademarked. We were told it took him
10 years to develop. It was out-of-this-world
delicious. The open-faced omelet with yellowfoot
chanterelles, leeks, salsify and farmers cheese
($16.50) is the most beautiful egg dish ever invented.
We loved everything we ordered.

The Executive Pastry Chef, Richard Leach (winner of the
James Beard Foundation's "Pastry Chef or the Year"),
personally came over to meet us. Then he surprised us
with three of his original and imaginative desserts,
including the "Chocolate Cube"--a large bittersweet
chocolate box filled with espresso mousse and chocolate
sorbet. His desserts are not only delicious, but
they're also works of art. He also brought out his
version of crème brulee, which I politely took a few
bites of before passing it over to my friends to finish
for me. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I had
already baked, sampled, and served 400 crème brulees on
my trip.

Lunch at the relaxed, hip Metro Grill (45 W. 35th St.
in the Metro Hotel) is a treat for those of you who
enjoy innovative soups, appetizers, and pastas. Michael
Miele was on hand and very friendly. His wife, Karen
Fohrhaltz Miele, is the imaginative chef behind such
marvelous dishes as the pizzette; grilled flatbreads
filled with Italian sausage, tomato, mozzarella, and
parmesan cheese, or with roasted red peppers and garlic
with sweet gorgonzola and a sprinkling of truffle oil,
(small $6 and large $9). I asked for extra truffle oil
on the side, and used it as a dip. It's a nice change
from the traditional olive oil. The soup of the day was
an incredible tomato soup with parmesan cream, ($5).
The entrée that I sampled was Atlantic salmon with
potato pancakes, sautéed winter greens and a light
horseradish sauce, ($18).

At Meson Sevilla (344 W. 46th Street) a neighborhood
style Spanish and Italian restaurant, the emphasis is
on paella. My shrimp creole ($13.50) was scrumptious,
but the paella really was the star of the menu. I kept
sneaking bites from my friend's plate, even after I had
cleaned my own. The number one rule of dining out with
somebody who writes about food -- you should offer to
share. Otherwise, you make the food writer feel like
they're being rude. (Okay, so maybe that's not an
actual rule, but it's *my* rule.)

If you go to Meson Sevilla, you must order a pitcher of
sangria. It is fruity, with just the perfect blend of
sweetness. Heaven.

Although I didn't actually eat a meal at the Royalton,
(44 West 44th Street) the charm and atmosphere is worth
mentioning. This expensive, romantic bar, set up in an
unusual style as a series of "living rooms" is really
something to see. The chef sent out some wonderful
desserts (including crème brulee of course) for us to
sample.
I had just a bite or two of the orange crème brûlée
with candied orange peel, but I'd really recommend the
apple
tart.

Lunch at the Harley Davidson Café (1370 Avenue of
Americas) was an experience. From our table we
looked out over the busy shoppers on 5th Ave, a perfect
people watching spot. The food is basic Americana at
this fun, loud, motorcycle-themed eatery. It includes
such basics as meatloaf with mashed potatoes, chile,
hamburgers and old-fashioned desserts. Thank goodness
there was no crème brulee.

I know there's no shortage of good kosher delis in New
York. I wish I could have tried them all. However the
one I did try was Bernsteins, somewhere near the
Williams- Sonoma store on 69th & 2nd. Lunch was brought
in, so I didn't actually get to see the deli. Anyway, I
had a wonderful pastrami on rye.

My return to Los Angeles aboard American Airlines was
the consummate ending to this whirlwind, busy trip.
Before we even took off, I was served a glass of Moet &
Chandon Champagne. We took off and right away, I was
brought warm mixed nuts, and fresh vegetables with dip.
Next came the caviar cart with Sevruga Malossol cavier
with traditional garnishes and blini or toast
points. Also, there was a small serving of smoked
salmon with capers and a shot of Absolut Vodka. The
salad cart came next; seasonal mixed greens with creamy
peppercorn and herb dressing, with a few small,
succulent lobster tails. When my flight attendant saw
that I had eaten the lobster tails first, she brought
me more. My entrée was chateaubriand with an incredible
dish of goat cheese caramelized onion mashed potatos.
(I'll never make plain mashed potatoes again.) Next
came the desserts and cordials. A hot fudge sundae, a
bowl of Haagen-Dazs macadamia nut ice cream, another
(small) bowl of Haagen-Dazs vanilla-raspberry swirl,
and then the warm walnut chocolate chip cookies, fresh
from the oven.

And there is something magical about being in NYC,
because I didn't gain any weight!

Debbie

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