13 January 2010

A Lick of the Apple

The perfect macchiato at The Modern

London may have played catch-up in recent years but, when it comes to restaurants, there is still nowhere that gets the juices flowing, in terms of what’s on the menu and who you might see, like the prospect of a visit to New York.

The frustrating thing is that there are always so many new restaurants to try – not to mention the legendary ones you’ve always been meaning to go to. On my latest trip, I must admit, I only managed one newie: Maialino, Danny Meyer’s recently opened hotspot at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Luckily it didn’t disappoint. From the perfect glass of spicy Bricco Manzoni to the lightly fritti-ed baby artichokes, and my torn pasta with its creamy, lemony suckling pig and rocket ragu to the tiramisu with just the right hit of espresso.

Oh Pastis, I so wanted you to be terrific but, even though both Hugh Jackman and Alan Rickman were on hand to gawp at, the icy blast we felt from under our booth was only trumped by the fish in our fish and chips being almost entirely raw.

Lunch at Pastis

The Modern at Moma was frightfully grown-up, with hints of American Psycho about the place, but exemplary service and a starched white tablecloth is a lovely thing from time to time. Favourite dish: the butternut squash pannacotta amuse bouche with a zingy pomegranate dressing.

I'm still in the midst of an enduring affair with Balthazar and love eavesdropping on the conversations at the next table – this time it was a Bergdorf Blonde talking dirty with her Latino personal trainer – but it was my first time sampling their duck shepherd’s pie which was rich, meaty and delicious.

Cheeseburgers at Viand

A new discovery was Jack’s Stir Brew, a friendly gem of a coffee shop in the West Village, and for cheeseburgers we rarely veer from Viand opposite Barney's on Madison. The mix of mink-clad heiresses and taxi drivers is always intoxicating.

Next trip I need to try Momofuku, Locanda Verde, Peter Luger, The Breslin, The Donut Plant...... Sigh.

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