The pursuit of the best NYC meal

March 30, 2010

Sarah Copeland, my first real foodie friend, and I would treat ourselves once year to a really fancy New York City meal. We'd doll up and saunter into various places (usually French) where the waitstaff to customers was 100 to 1 and drink things like Sancerre or Port.  Like characters in a movie, we'd really go all out.  Sarah went to culinary school and knew her way around a kitchen and I was around to catch a piece of the action.  We were a perfect culinary pair.  Despite our bills which came dangerously close to a month's rent, we ate with the ghosts of R.W. Apple Jr., Julia Childs and James Bearden in our presence.  

As amazing as those annual trips to epicurean heaven are, that's not actually the way I love to eat. To me, the perfect meal is the holy grail in NYC.  Is it Jean George or Daniel or Per Se or Le Bernandin?  Is it French or Italian or Chinese or Indian... oye! So many choices.  Asking me what's my favorite restaurant is like asking which of your kids do you love the best... But I have a few front runners. None of which are fancy or expensive or have things that I can't pronounce on the menu or that I have to ask the waiter to explain.  They are the places that I will return to should I ever leave this city.  They are sturdy standbys like James Stewart. Not sexy but awfully attractive and steadfast.  They're as great on Sat night as they are on Monday night.  Here are two of my all time favorite-one old and one new.  

No. 1:  Pearl River Oyster Bar
If I could order for you, I'd get you a Caesar (the best one in the city so says Mario Batalia and I heartedly agree), fried oysters which are as perfect as they come and a overfilled lobster roll garnished with The Best Fries. The genius is the simple food done really really really well.  And I love the laid back vibe where real New York locals come to dine.  Coupled with a fabulous white wine and a good friend, it just doesn't get better than this... 

No. 2   Motorino 
This pizza temple orginated in Brooklyn but thank goodness, has crossed the river.  Located in the East Village in cheap food central, I wasn't so sure what the hoopla was all about. I mean, pizza? Really?? What's the fuss.. I thought pizzas are all the same.....NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Truly, this is something beyond anything I have ever had. Unreal.  While you could get two Domino pizzas for the cost of one of these bad boys, it's still a meal under $20 and you won't forget it.  

Bon Appetite!

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