Sun-Thu, 5pm-9pm; Wed-Thu, 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat, 5pm-11pm
1 at 86th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Thomas Valenti's uptown outpost is appealing enough to shatter the misperception that there is a lack of worthy places to eat on the Upper West Side. Designer Peter Neimetz has created coves of intimacy in an unwieldy space by using dark-wood stain and spherical cherry leather booths. But despite Ouest's stunningly civilized decision to play soothing jazz, families continue to backslap and high-five across the table, while others bicker as a check for six is split four ways—a misplaced and dishonoring display of egalitarianism. A bit of behavior modification in the presence of real talent is not just a nice gesture; it's deserved, because the folks at Ouest are doing something special. Valenti has honed the menu to the point where almost every dish resonates with love-it-in-an-instant flavors that mask their degrees of difficulty. You can also delight in the gutsy finish seared tuna acquires with chickpea purée. With a sensational crème fraîche panna cotta with fresh passion fruit, the desserts exhibit a rare ability to satisfy both a pastry chef's urge for discovery and New Yorkers' lust for solid, third-act gratification.Prix-Fixe
Sun—Fri, dinner, two courses, $34, three courses, $38
Sun, 11am—2pm, $29 (not served July-Labor Day)
Double rib pork chops, $29