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Where to Eat 2003

Barbequed ribs. Gourmet steaks. Pork bellies. The city's restaurants are filled with enough platters of sumptuous, mouthwatering meat to make even Dr. Atkins happy. And with Chinese home cooking, a spate of new gourmet pizza joints, and lethal margaritas popping up all over town, it's no wonder that one thing we're really excited about spending our time -- and our cash -- on these days is good food. A highly opinionated tour of the city's best culinary establishments, from high-end to down-home.

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Pie High: Apizz's wood-oven pizza.  

A woman I know of the most refined gourmet tastes looked downcast, even a little peevish, when I asked her the other day about her favorite meals of the year. “It’s just one big fancy hamburger after the next wherever you go,” she said with a tiny sigh. Or lamb shanks, she might have added, or pork bellies, or great truncheons of Texas brisket smothered with barbecue sauce imported from St. Louis. Which may not be such a bad thing, depending on your point of view. In this era of fiscal constraint, New York is awash, again, in simple gastronomic pleasures. Pork ribs are the hot new dish at Lespinasse, and all around town, destination dining has given way to the cult of the neighborhood restaurant. Mr. Waxman’s classic California cuisine is what passes, these days, for a gourmet event. Home cooking is the trendy phrase among members of the Chinese-food cognoscenti. And even the city’s grandest Italian chefs are focusing their considerable energies on the safest, most time-tested recipe of all: They’re opening new pizza joints.


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