135 E. 62 St., 212-752-6000
The new Upper East Side home of the talented young chef Josh DeChellis is that rare restaurant that combines the scale and comfort of a neighborhood joint with first-class cooking. Where else can you enjoy coddled duck eggs, bowls of risotto folded with oysters, or delicate terrines of potted suckling pig, all while sitting at the bar, watching a ball game on TV?
- Bar Americain
152 W. 52nd St., 212-265-9700
I escape the dizzying schlock of the new, so common among so many chefs these days, at Bar Americain, where Bobby Flay calmly perks up American classics with sane sophistication. Clam-and-sweet-potato chowder. Gulf shrimp and grits. Hot potato chips in blue-cheese sauce. Smoked-red-pepper mayo for great American fries. A deeply rich fisherman’s cioppino. And finally, whiskey cream éclairs, the irresistible crescendo.
156 Tenth Ave., 212-924-4440
Whether you’ve just dropped a bundle at Prada or dropped off a bundle at the neighborhood laundry, Cookshop can get you to pull up a chair (a hardwood one, at that) and relax. Simple but deftly prepared pleasures like crunchy spiced hominy; duck livers in buttermilk; bluefish in an irresistible brine of molasses, cinnamon, coriander, and cardamom; and rabbit roasted on a vertical spit in a whirl of sage and garlic reveal Marc Meyer as an astonishingly confident chef who knows how to impress without fuss or foreign accents.
- Blaue Gans
139 Duane St., 212-571-8880
I’m a fool for the schnitzel. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about spaetzle. And, truth be told, I’ve developed a burning passion for schupfnudeln. Nearly everything else on the hearty but refined Austro-German wirtshaus menu is equally distracting—and who knew you could tuck into a blutwurstgröstl without immediately following up with a Pepcid-AC chaser?
228 W. 10th St., 212-645-0200
With dish names like “Earn Your Spurs” and “Sloppy Giuseppe,” Cesare Casella’s Tuscan cowboy concept rubbed some urban sophisticates the wrong way. But stripped of the whimsical wordplay, the same dishes—tender short ribs with grits (a.k.a. polenta), pulled oxtail over fettunta—earn my vote for some of the most immensely satisfying food in town. Friendly service, a comfortable setting, and a hyperregional wine list add to the singular appeal.