food 04.3.03

Where to Take Them

Your rich uncle…
What's the point of having a having a rich uncle if he won't take you out on an expensive bender? Steer him (or her, if your rich uncle happens to be a rich aunt) to Veritas, 43 E. 20th [Bway/Park Ave. S.] 212.353.3700, where you'll eat well thanks to Scott Bryan's contemporary American cooking and drink superbly, given the choice of over 2700 wines. An '82 Le Pin would be nice.

Your old college roommate…
Even though the pan-Asian food served at Chow Bar, 230 W. 4th [10th] 212.633.2212, is about a thousand times better than your old college Buffalo wingery, it's just as loud and lively and you always leave feeling better than when you came in. In short, a perfect place to relive old times.

Who exactly qualifies for this designation will obviously vary wildly from reader to reader. Queen Noor? Joe Conason? Eddie Izzard? Your new love? If they're V.I. to you, you won't do better than Atelier, 50 CPS [5th/6th] 212.521.6125, where Gabriel Kreuther (ex-Jean Georges) is cooking simply exquisite food in quietly plush surroundings.

Your bargain-hunting friends…
The paint is just drying at Kitchen 82, 461 Columbus [82nd] 212.875.1619, chef Charlie Palmer's foray into the UWS. Even so, expect everyone in the neighborhood to be checking out this offshoot of Kitchen 22, since it has the same format: three courses for $25.

Foodie friends…
While everyone's waiting for Wylie Dufresne's new place to open on Clinton Street, rediscover one of the city's amazing, if undersung, chefs: Andrew Carmellini at Cafe Boulud, 20 E. 76th [5th/Mad] 212.772.2600.

Clients you like…
Formal enough for a business dinner, L'Impero, 45 Tudor City Pl. [42nd/43rd] 212.599.5045, is nevertheless warm and welcoming. Scott Conant's Italian food wins consistent praise deservedly.

Your trendiest friends…
Well, the tough ticket at the moment is Jean-George's 66, but given its somewhat rocky shakedown, we'd head to Tenement, 157 Ludlow [Stanton] 212.766.1270. It may still be a tad uneven, too, but we like the kitchen's tip of the hat to the old Lower East Side.
In March, 1996, we wrote about chef Gary Robins when he made his New York debut at the now-departed restaurant Aja: "Gary Robins, impossibly long and lanky, all jutting angles, fresh faced, looks to us like a John Held drawing sprung to life. As such, it's easy to imagine him working out a dish, adding tamarind here, (knees in), chili oil there, (heels out), exploring new combinations in a kind of giddy, Charleston-like abandon…He is one the city's most promising chefs." Since then, Mr. Robins has shown both serious talent and a serious case of wanderlust. We hope he stays for a while at his new venture Pacific West, 290 8th [24th] no phone yet, scheduled to open in the coming weeks.

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