food 03.23.09

Neighborhood Faves

WEST 70s
Cafe Luxembourg, 200 W. 70th [Amst/WEA] 212.873.7411
Cuisine: French brasserie
Average entree: $27
After a quarter-century, Cafe Luxembourg continues to purvey its country salad, roasted chicken, primo burger and its solid, agreeable ilk to the neighborhood's gentry. It is no bargain in a neighborhood that loves one, yet it thrives by a consistency that these days may be more comforting than the food itself.

La Caridad, 2199 Bway [78th] 212.874.2780
Cuisine: Cuban/Chinese
Average entree: $8
With the loss of the P & G from its iconic corner on Amsterdam (it will reopen, uneasily, on Columbus) and the All State Cafe on 72nd (joining, no doubt, the late Cherry Restaurant in some better place), most of the neighborhood's scrappier joints have departed. Praise, then to La Caridad which has never had great food, but has filled many a hungry belly over the years with rice and beans or pork chops for pennies.

Earthen Oven, 53 W. 72nd [Col] 212.579.8888
Cuisine: Indian
Average entree: $16
Having been in a mysterious slump, Earthen Oven seems to be back in form, albeit inconsistently. On good nights, easily the best Indian food on the UWS.

EAST 70s
Sette Mezzo, 969 Lex [70th/71st] 212.472.0400
Cuisine: Italian
Average entree: $30
Sette Mezzo has become the low-key hangout for the 10021 crowd, making it the UES experience in concentrate form. Forthright food, expensive, cash only.

Candle 79, 154 E. 79th [Lex/3rd] 212.537.7179
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Average entree: $18
A schmancier offshoot of the Candle Cafe, where seitan and veggies are given place of honor. Even committed cow worshippers can enjoy a full-flavored meal here – they won't think of their beloved Elsie even once.

Nectar Coffee Shop, 1022 Mad [79th] 212.535.4115
Cuisine: Diner
Average entree: $12
In this area, you can swerve into oncoming E.A.T. and sustain injuries to your nest egg, or glide into the Nectar for a club sandwich and a bowl of soup. The Nectar is, bless its heart, part of a vanishing breed. Let's hope it's with us a while longer.

The Harrison, 355 Greenwich St. [Harrison] 212.274.9310
Cuisine: American
Average entree: $26
Even if we can't i.d. exactly what the ingredients are, The Harrison always feels essentially New York to us. It's no longer the new kid on the block, though Amanda Freitag has invigorated the kitchen so you'd never know.

Walker's, 16 N. Moore [Varick] 212.941.0142
Cuisine: American bar
Average entree: $15
And speaking of quintessentially NY, Walker's has a very good burger, a better pour, buffalo wings, chili – like that. A much-loved tavern, rightly so.

Previous Neighborhood Faves:

Lower East Side, West 100s, Corona

East 40s, Chelsea, Brooklyn Heights

More on Meds
We don't pay a lot of attention to the big-box stores, but in the case of our article on Meds last week, that's a mistake. As one reader points out, "Kmart and Walgreen pharmacies have prescription clubs that you join for a nominal $20 or so per year and you can get many generic drugs for $10 or $12 for a 3 month supply of medication." And Target has a similar program – $4/month generics, no enrollment necessary.

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