Eating out

We’ve been out for drinks, dinner and lunches several times now and had some interesting experiences. Largely great but some odd moments too.

Whilst shopping down in the trendy meat packing area on a sunny day we stopped at this outdoor wine bar for a refresher. The waiter asked used us what we’d like and I asked for 2 glasses of Sauvignon blanc with ice. Oh we don’t sell Sauvignon he replied. Ok I said how about some Pinot Grigio? No we don’t have that either. Perhaps the wine list then? He came back 5 minutes later and I swear I didn’t recognise a single wine. We asked for something described as a dry crisp Italian and it arrived without ice. So I asked for some and he declined saying the glasses are too fragile. Eh? So I asked for a tumbler with ice and he flounced off to bring it another 5 minutes later and I poured the wine into the tumbler and had a slip. It was a bit sharp for my taste as was the price at $10 per glass. So crap wine and miserable service. He didn’t get a tip.

We’ve come across this pretentiousness/poor service quite a bit. But on the other hand some places have been surprisingly good. There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts down by Central Park which served up a great snack at super value, with friendly welcoming service and a spotlessly clean environment. No wonder it was busy. Son-in-law Ian also says their morning coffee deal is as good as any in the city. We also had some terrific service in two nearby coffee bars.

But eating out has been the most interesting experience especially here in Harlem. We’ve had meals in two French-cuisine style restaurants which were both good though had some issue with the late asparagus in one (inedible). We’ve found a really good Italian called Sottocasa (literally the under house – it’s set in a basement) which serves excellent pizzas quite reasonably priced…

The only negative and this is becoming a bit of a theme across this blog site was that the wine was really expensive. The range was good but a half carafe of house wine for example cost $34. Now I can get through half a carafe nibbling on the complimentary bread. So we resisted taking out an extra mortgage and just got a couple of Moretti beers. To be honest the pizzas were large and the beer was a better accompaniment.

Next up our favourite local eaterie, the famous Harlem Shakes. It’s brilliant – lively and always busy with great soul music playing day and night, top counter staff and the food is excellent. You can even get decent wine and a range of excellent bottled and draft beers. Here are a few shots to give you a flavour of the place…

And if you fancy checking out the menu…

We eat far too much – truffle fries, beef dogs, fabulous classic burgers etc. Here’s a shot or two of us tucking in…

Finally Carol and I had lunch in one of our favourite places yesterday, the Oyster Bar down in the depths of Grand Central Station…

The place is fabulous, always busy and tehre’s a fabulous horse shoe table arrangement if you fancy meeting lots of new folk plus a great bar/saloon. But we ate in the main room yesterday and whilst tempted by the oysters I chose jumbo shrimp which enormous whilst Carolhad some lovely calamari and baby squid. Absolutely delicious. We came out stuffed as you can see from the happy expression on my face. Fortunately Carol’s look was more reflective of how we felt..

Honestly if you’re ever here, you must check out the station and have a bite to eat in this place. It’s a proper NY experience and will put a smile on your face.

This posting was for LF.



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