GOTHAM BAR AND GRILL
12 E. 12th St.
At the age of 21, the Gotham Bar and Grill is better than ever, warm and welcoming, justly confident, informal but professional. A scattering of Asian notions chef Alfred Portale has fallen for while visiting Hawaii alternate with the masterworks of Gotham tradition. I often order the roast squab on a crisp of potatoes with its spinach and roast-garlic custard, knowing my guy will share the rack of matchless New Zealand lamb.
500 Sixth Ave.
242 Eighth Ave.
The New York bagel of yore—crusty and chewy enough to dislocate your jaw, flavorful enough to eat plain—is largely a thing of brunches past. But the aggressively old-school Murray’s honors tradition, using time-tested methods to achieve a glossy sheen, a resistant bite, and a flavor so good we’re willing to forgive minor transgressions like sun-dried-tomato bagels and maple-raisin-walnut cream cheese.
—Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld