Where You Least
To that age-old question "Where can
I get a good, cheap takeout lunch in midtown?" we have
a surprising answer: Cipriani Le Specialità,
the four-month-old café from those high-livin',
Bellini-swillin' Cipriani boys. A sunny, two-table spot
with brightly painted yellow-and-green walls, right across
the street from Grand Central, the shop specializes in
cakes and pastries and stocks Cipriani-label pastas and
sauces, but the kitchen really excels with a terrific
variety of Italian sandwiches like sliced turkey slathered
with rich tonnato sauce on a "Cipriani roll," the soft,
swirly house bun that looks like a misguided croissant
($3.95); dainty little tramezzini ($2); and daily pasta
specials like gnocchi alla romana ($8): five toothsome
dumplings shaped like large scallops in a tasty tomato
sauce (pictured). Great espresso, too.
110 East 42nd Street
It's everything you ever wanted to
know about coastal Indian cooking, in seven easy lessons
-- or, rather, tasting menus, offered over four months
at Café Spice. After a vegetarian Gujarati
warmup, the kitchen has segued into coconut-and-seafood-laden
Maharashtran specialties like Bombay masala pomfret,
spicy bell peppers, and chili shrimp. To sample a little
of everything, order a thali -- a round tray filled
with various aromatic bowls and breads (pictured), available
for vegetarians and carnivores alike. Next up, starting
October 29: the multi-ethnic, Portuguese-influenced
flavors of Goa.
72 University Place
Best of the Week
in Tribute to Brooklyn's Bravest on October 29.
Twenty-five of Brooklyn's best restaurants
join forces at Borough Hall to commemorate the 95 Brooklyn
firemen who died on September 11. Participants include
the River Café, Gargiulo's, and Henry's
End. All proceeds go to Brooklyn firehouses. To
reserve, call 646-562-0550, ext. 28.
Tom Colicchio can't catch a break.
When he opened Craft, the Gramercy restaurant
whose anxiety-inducing single-sheet bill of fare requires
befuddled diners to cudgel their brains and go to the
trouble of actually choosing their own side dishes,
he apparently was asking too much of even the most progressive
foodies. He's since jiggered and rejiggered his menu,
paring down choices and spelling things out to the point
where even a small child can now successfully order.
But now that "almost no one is confused about the menu
anymore," according to Colicchio, a new problem has
presented itself. As it turns out, there's more than
one Craft in this town, and although the other one spells
its name with a "K," looks exactly like the Greek diner
it is, and doesn't take reservations, that hasn't stopped
fashionable types from showing up for their tables,
or calling and trying to score eight o'clock bookings.
When they do, they're usually told they've got the wrong
place, but sometimes, a man answers the phone and barks,
"We don't take reservations anymore . . . click."
"We're too busy," says Kraft's owner, Dennis Krauss.
"We get between 30 and 40 calls for Craft during the
dinner rush alone." Colicchio's been getting calls,
too -- angry ones. "You don't know who I am," said one
woman who, he surmises, got her Cs and Ks crossed, "but
you have really rude people on your phone there. I'm
going to tell all my friends." For his trouble, Colicchio
blames Kraft's brusque telephone manner, spelling-challenged
411 operators, and even New York, which ran the
wrong information in a promotional guide. (Oops.) So
what's the solution? Krauss says that one of Colicchio's
managers proposed he come down and "have dinner and
see the place." If that doesn't work, maybe Colicchio
will take Krauss up on his suggestion and change the
name to Tom Colicchio's Craft Restaurant. Well, maybe.
But how many people can spell Kolicchio?
43 E. 19th St.
460 W. 42nd St.