4, 5, 6 at 59th St.; N, Q, R at Fifth Ave.-59th St.; F at Lexington Ave.-63rd St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
You might think that a restaurant where $27 buys you four slices of roasted beets and a dollop of baked goat cheese would be a gastronomic paradise, whose heavenly dishes demand sky-high prices. But if you thought that about Nello, a perennial redoubt of the Upper East Side's rich and occasionally famous, you would be wrong. While the food is excellent—not only those beets, perched delicately between sweet and savory, but also pastas like a penne rigate with brightly anise-flavored sausage—eating is not a particularly important activity. What counts at Nello is being seen at Nello: seen in your Chanel, your St. John's knits, your tailored Italian suit; seen canoodling on the banquette with your co-star; seen escorting your grandson to a lunch he'll ignore in favor of watching Spy Kids on his personal DVD player. Not that there's anything wrong with any of this. The culture of celebrity (and of money) is the culture of Manhattan, and if dropping upwards of $100 per person lets you experience for a few hours the life you desire, then a night at Nello can't be, well, beet.Recommended Dishes
Calamari fritti, $27; costolette d’agnello, $64