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BBB's NYC dining report...

bigbadbuff

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Just got back late last night from a terrific yet exhausting 4 days. My take on our dining choices for the trip...

1) Babbo- I was expecting memorable and definitely got it. We had the pasta tasting menu with wine pairings for half of the courses. Sat upstairs (big, big plus) and almost had to be rolled out at the end... it's a ton of food. All were cooked perfectly... tastewise, 1 pasta was average, 2 excellent, and 2 perfect (black tagliatelle with parsnips and pancetta, and pappardelle bolognese). All the desserts were absolutely outstanding. Wine pairings were average IMO, but I am no oenophile. They acknowledged our anniversary with the final course, which was very nice. The service was very good overall, probably average for a higher end restaurant. Every plate that passed me looked terrific- the consistency they are famous for is still there. I will definitely be back.

2) Blue Smoke- we ate here the last time my wife visited with me and she's a bbq fiend, so we came back for lunch. Service was very blah (and not typical of a Meyer restaurant), and the food was very good but probably no better than most decent NYC bbq spots. It hit the spot at the time, but nothing special.

3) Strip House- This has got to be in the conversation for best steaks in the city. gdl203 recommended this place and my hat is off to you- I've had a lot of them, and this was probably the best steak I've had. I came with an appetite and put down a 20oz bone-in strip, half a serving of whipped potatoes, and half a serving of truffled cream spinach. The sides were good, but the steaks are the star. Perfectly seasoned, perfectly charred, perfectly cooked- I don't think it could have been improved. Service was good, atmosphere great. We chatted up a couple next to us who had a ton of great restaurant stories. Also sat next to a disgruntled Food Network employee bitching about several of their stars, catty fun. They, like Babbo, acknowledged our anniversary with a small dessert plate. The Bloody Mary they made me was awful, but I could have cared less. Highly recommended.

4) Cafe 2 at MoMA- due to short notice, crappy conference call timing (on vacation dammit) we had to grab a quick lunch here, but it was very good. To clarify, this is the cafe, not The Modern next door which is well known. Certainly acceptable if you're visiting the museum or nearby.

5) Buddakan- this is the one I expected to be ho-hum, and it was. The building is stunning, no question- but much of that is lost if you don't sit in the huge main room, which is by far the most interesting. Since we were a 2some, that didn't happen- we went all the way back to the last room. Food and service were average- not bad but certainly not special. There was also a big letdown with a favor I had asked the hostess regarding a surprise for my wife- they completely dropped the ball there. Cocktails were decent, and that's what I would recommend coming here for, having drinks in the lounge. My wife is a big Sex in the City fan so that is the main reason this made the cut.

6) Grimaldi's- the neverending time constraints meant I couldn't get to any of the pizzerias I really wanted to try. We managed to fit this one in yesterday, and I'm glad we did. I had read that it's fallen off and now inconsistent, but our 16" was excellent. It could have used another minute or two for a thoroughly crispy crust, that's my only real quibble. Ingredients were great, all fresh... crust had a great char on the outside. It's dumpy and the service was nonexistent but expected. I'm sure there are better, and maybe a few that are a lot better in the city, but this was damn good.
 

samblau

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I'd literally be in the gym for a week after that run down!

1. Never been to Babbo..now wasnt to go even more.

2. Blue Smoke - Good location, huge portion when I went, more than passable food, but still a commercial atmosphere, certainly not cheap...not my 1st choice, would prob send visitors with limited time elsewhere

3. Strip House was great when I went, had the porterhouse special, a lot more refined/less fatty than its NYC counterparts ...we told sommelier we weren't buying a bottle and he suggested 3 very nice glasses, albeit at above average prices, I was very pleaed.

4. I think the MOMA cafe offers unlimited coffee...a good place to study actually.

5. Never been to Buddakan, your review is nearly verbatim to all the others I have read.

6. Grimaldi's is great...Lombardis is the greatest
 

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