Magazine article American Libraries

Tempting the Palate in Manhattan, from Modest Bistro to Haute Cuisine

Magazine article American Libraries

Tempting the Palate in Manhattan, from Modest Bistro to Haute Cuisine

Article excerpt


If you enjoy eating out and have never visited Manhattan before, you're about to embark on an adventure in worldwide styles of food preparation. On the other hand, great dining discoveries can always be made no matter how many times you have visited New York: another memorable restaurant for high or low cuisine; another great deli for slabs of pastrami, corned beef, or salami on freshly baked bread; or, best of all, another incredible "find" that becomes a personal dining benchmark. Though restaurants here suit every Annual Conference-goers' wallet, recommendations follow this key: inexpensive, under $15;moderate, $15-$30; expensive, $31 and up.

First of all, a few tips on saving money while still having a wonderful meal. New York has small groceries and delis everywhere where you can buy sandwiches, salads, fruit, and drinks. Of special note are the Ninth Avenue Cheese Market (615 Ninth Ave.), which offers an astonishing selection of cheeses of the world, and Amy's Bread (672 Ninth Ave.), New Yorkers' fave. You can also buy your lunch and find a nice spot to eat and watch the passing parade. One of the best locales, of course, is Bryant Park, which looks like a Parisian park, just behind New York Public Library on Avenue of the Americas between 40th and 42nd Streets. For dinner, look for restaurants that have prix fixe or pre-theatre specials, or try the many ethnic restaurants, where the food is often less expensive. To avoid disappointment, always make reservations.

Hell's Kitchen

Nestled between the theatre district and the Javits Center area is a neighborhood that goes by two names--Clinton and Hell's Kitchen. The spine of this neighborhood is Ninth Avenue, home to one of the most diverse collections of restaurants found anywhere. A walk along the Avenue from 42nd Street to 52nd Street will give you the opportunity to experience the cuisine of many different countries. From Afghan to Caribbean, from German to uniquely American cuisine--you will find something to tempt your palate at a reasonable price.

If you want to splurge, Chez Josephine (414 W. 42nd Street, between Ninth & 10th Avenues, 594-1925) is well worth a visit. This French bistro is run by Jean-Claude Baker, the adopted son of Josephine Baker, and pays homage to the legend with its "Paris of the 1920s" style. Mouth-watering and diverse offerings range from Elvira's fried chicken to a lobster cassoulet. An added value: nightly jazz entertainment. Expensive.

Across the street is Sukhothai West (411 W. 42nd St., 947-1930) with beautiful decor and authentic Thai specialties at moderate prices. Try the wonderful soups and noodle dishes. Zuni (598 Ninth Ave. at 43rd St., 765-7626) serves southwestern American cuisine and has food critics raving. With dishes like tuna tostadas and Portobelo "sundae," this food is unique. Moderate.

Across the Avenue is Revolution (611 Ninth Avenue., between 43rd and 44th Streets, 489-8451), a good place to go with a group of your weary colleagues. Couches and overstuffed chairs fill the front, where you can sip a drink and watch the passersby. The food is reasonable and diverse enough to accommodate everyone. The mushroom ravioli with porcini and truffle oil, or grilled chicken breast over warm pear and fig compote accompanied by spicy corn cakes are examples of the entrees at this wonderful grill.

Around the corner is a piece of the Caribbean, Island Spice (402 W. 44th Street, between Ninth & 10th Avenues, 765-1737), a cheerful, casual restaurant serving spicy Jamaican jerk dishes and other appetizing Caribbean fare such as curried goat and coconut creamed fish, all for under $15. Since this place is popular, you might have a wait. For a touch of the Middle East, try Turkish Cuisine (631 Ninth Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets, 397-9650). Sharing an assortment of appetizers--fried calamari, tarama, and baba gannouj are all excellent--is a good way to experience this unique style of cooking. …

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