Sunday, February 14, 2010

The R&A Guide to New York, Pt. 2

In the next few weeks, we’ll be hitting you with some great digs within a variety of price ranges, culinary styles, and scenes. Be warned, NYC is an expensive city, but we’ll show you how to span the gamut from tasty food and a great value to the crème de la crème of ethnic cuisine, hot celebrity hangouts, and eateries that will take you to heavan and back.Here’s the breakdown of how we rate prices.

0 = free / jail time <--- if you leave without paying the check (not recommended)
$ = $15 - $30 <--- quick bites, snacks, coffee, many bars
$$ = $30 - $50 <--- great value, good food, light meal
$$$ = $50 - $75 <--- most solid NYC restaurants are around here in price
$$$$ = $75 - $100 <--- upscale and expensive, you’re paying for food AND the scene
$$$$$ = $100 - $250 <--- for a special occasion, a splurge, or if you’re loaded
%&#:($ = $500+ <--- the most expensive restaurant in the city, Masa
*Note: Individual pricing for meals may vary.



Greek Food

Beginning out series on ethnic cuisine, Greek food:

Location: 48th St. between Lexington and Third Avenue.
Cuisine: Greek, Seafood
Dress: Casual
Food: 5/5
Decor: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Price: $$$
Not since dining in Santori have I had fish so fresh and tasty -- Avra is my personal favorite Greek restaurant in the city. There’s both outdoor and indoor seating in its airy digs, and the food matches the decor. If you’re adventurous, try the octopi -- grilled octopus with onions and red wine vinegar. The souvlaki -- the Greek equivalent of a hamburger -- is excellent, the spanakopita (baked filo stuffed with spinach and feta) is too die for, and pan fried saganaki (cheese) is simply delicious. Whatever you order for a main course, be sure to get a side of kolokithi -- crispy zucchini chips with a sour-sweet yogurt that are beat french fries any day.

Location: Second Ave. between 70th and 71st Sts.
Cuisine: Greek, Seafood
Dress: Casual
Food: 4/5
Decor: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Price: $$ - $$$
There’s not a huge difference in the food offerings or quality between Avra and Trata. Both produce excellent Greek cuisine. The big difference? Location and decor. While Avra tries to recreate a more traditional Greek restaurant, Trata cultivates a modern setting and an Upper East Side location. Sure it’s not SOHO, but Trata pleasantly opens up onto Second Avenue, giving its patrons both good food and fine decor, but also an opportunity for people watching. Trata’s kolokithi is even better than Avra’s, and I’ve learned that for a light meal and meze plates, Trata’s the place to go.

Coming up next: Look forward to celebrity hang outs, Mexican food, the best pubs in NYC, and where to splurge.



Lan Café
Food: 4.5/5
Decor: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Dress: Casual
Price: $
Website: n/a
A friend of mine recommends this East Village establishment for people looking for a cozy place to grab lunch or dinner. “I’d commute an hour or two to have their lemongrass curry,” he said. “It’s amazing.” It’s also one of the few vegan Vietnamese restaurants around. The seitan and tofu are expertly cooked, and the entrees will please even the most demanding omnivores. After your meal, feel free to poke around the East Village—the IFC, the Museum of Sex, and practically all of New York are at your fingertips.

Shareen Vintage
Selection: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Price: $$-$$$
Hours: Wed-Thurs 5 pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 12 pm-6 pm
For the fashion-saavy, L.A.-import Shareen offers a fantastic selection of dresses and other vintage clothes. It’s all hand-picked by owner Shareen Mitchell. Prices start around $30 and go pretty high—but most of the selection is affordable, and the high-end pieces are invariably great. Watch out for the weird hours, and be forewarned: the shop is in an unmarked apartment building off of Union Square, and you have to buzz to get in. Look for the red ball gown hanging off the fire escape.

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