Ken and I are in New York for a couple of weeks. We are food tourists. Here's some notes on places we've eaten.
Craft (Flatiron). Our first and, so far, best meal in NY. Perfectly cooked bits of delicious meat. My short ribs were excellent, as was my ballotine of suckling pig, a sort of charcuterie. All very simple, but also very solid. Good service, nice room. I may go back.
Le Gigot (West Village). A solid little French restaurant, of the sort you can find everywhere in Paris and almost nowhere in San Francisco. Nice salad, slightly odd cassoulet. The meats were all cooked perfectly but the broth was a bit weird, too dark and tasting of Kitchen Bouquet. Still, I liked the place.
Thalassa (Tribeca). Somewhat upscale Greek. It was OK, but not great. Very simple and spare cooking, which is appropriate: grilled fish with a bit of olive oil, grilled shrimp with a bit of olive oil. Interesting fish, good quality, but neither were cooked quite right. Execution is everything in this kind of place and it fell just a bit short.
Mercer Kitchen (SoHo). I have a fond spot in my heart for this American classic restaurant, one of the best cocktails I've ever had was a French 75 here some 10 years ago. Sunday brunch was uninteresting. Too crowded, boring menu, indifferent hamburgers (!) and omelettes. Resting on a reputation.
Soho Sushi (SoHo). Delivery sushi at a friend's. Pretty good, really, but with delivery it's hard to be sure what you're really getting. Some of the rolls were ill advised.
Pigalle (Times Square). A solid little French brasserie, of the sort you find everywhere in Paris but almost nowhere in San Francisco. Not quite as solid as Le Gigot. I've been three times now and it's reliable, spacious, and the cooking is adequate. Lunch was uninspired.
John's Pizzeria (West Village). Glad I got the NY pizza out of the way. Entirely adequate, uninteresting, I can get as good a pizza in San Francisco only delivered to my house with my wine and my television. (Or in Zürich, or in Paris, or.. pizza is a commodity.) The best thing about John's is it's near Grom; save room for gelato.
Where I really want to dine are 11 Madison, Le Bernardin, and Per Se. Sadly they are all very hot tables and three weeks was not advanced enough booking.