When you think of Mario Batali, chances are you don't think of Po, the tiny West Village joint that started his career. And yet Po still exists, and is better than a number of the great man's later efforts. It turns out that Po is not alone.
It's immense popularity (tops in Zagat, year in and year out) Union Square Cafe has tended not to change much over the last decade. The service is Danny Meyer hospitality at its best, and the food is never less that solid, if not especially edgy or interesting. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which is why so many people continue to go there. It's hard to get a reservation, but eating at the bar is a great way to enjoy the place without committing to a whole trip.
The days when Tribeca Grill was the cat's meow, the gathering place of the glitterati, are long gone; but that doesn't mean that Drew Nieporent's flagship isn't a very solid, very comfortable restaurant with a big wine list and first-class service. The food was never the point, but it's pretty goddamned good.
This is the bistro where Jean Georges Vongerichten's genius first emerged. While the chef has since then moved on to grander things the intimate, casual feel here suits his food better, and brings back memories of when this was THE place to eat in NYC.
The original pan-Asian comfort food restaurant, all good times and giant portions, hasn't changed a bit and it's still far and away the best of the genre. Forget P.F. Chang's! This is the real (fake) deal.
This tiny, eclectic, creative Italian restaurant in the West Village was the launching point for Mario Batali's empire -- and it's still good!
Who would have thought, when this humble ramen joint opened up a few years ago, that it would launch the career of the biggest mega-star in gastronomy? Not me. But it does serve good ramen, there's no denying that.
The ultimate "cork dork" wine bar, Terroir goes so far down founder Paul Grieco's Riesling-slicked rabbit hole that it comes out the other end as the coolest place on Earth to learn about wine.
Just a perfect restaurant. The food is superior, if not great; the room is sunny and electric, and the lunch, dinner, and dessert programs are all equally perfect. The ultimate Manhattan casual Italian restaurant.
Keith McNally's first restaurant was the epitome of downtown cool in the 80s, and guess what? It's still pretty damn cool, in an old-school, effortless way. The food is wonderful too.