Saturday, April 15, 2006


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ama [48 MacDougal St. (bet. Prince and Houston Sts.) 212-358-1707]
If it's cute you want, it's cute you'll get at this adorable Italian restaurant. The prices are probably a little high, but the food is good and the atmosphere is great. It's a very nice date spot. Make sure to start out with some of the bread, because the bean dip is excellent. Then I would recommend trying the Crab Salad. It comes prepared as a sort of short cylinder of crab, avocado, and vegetables, and it is delicious. For main courses, I enjoyed the Capuntini Di Altamura (with sunday ragu), which felt like it had a meat sauce, without the meat. Tasty stuff. Top it off with a selection from the extensive wine list, or if you prefer beer, try the Menabrea Amber.

BondSt [6 Bond St. (bet. Broadway and Lafayette St.) 212-777-2500]
Upscale and trendy, BondSt offers excellent sushi, along with a variety of other tasty dishes with a Japanese flavor to them. Located in what appears to be a converted brownstone, the decor of this multi-floor restaurant (that also features a lounge downstairs) makes you acutely aware of the fact that you are in an expensive place. For those who don't like sushi, the Grilled Rack of Lamb is extremely succulent. For those who do like sushi, most of the rolls are delicious, but I would especially recommend ordering off the daily special menu. How many times will you get to eat Barracuda sushi? Be warned that you will probably need reservations and that your meal will not come cheap. Your food, however, will be delicious.

Cafe Habana [17 Prince St. (at Elizabeth St.) 212-625-2001]
This super-hip NoLita joint is always packed with trendy young people. The food is good and relatively cheap. Fish tacos, corn on the cob, and rice and beans are all pretty tasty.

Lombardi's [32 Spring St. (at Mott St.) 212-941-7994]
The oldest pizza joint in New York (and America), Lombardi's is an institution worth visiting for that fact alone. Luckily, they actually make very good pizza too. Apparently I missed out by not having the clam pie, but I did try two other excellent options. The first was a basic Margherita pizza, which featured a very flavorful tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. The second had toppings of pancetta, mushrooms, and roasted peppers, which was about as much as you should pack onto a pie. Each pizza I ate was cooked wonderfully, although I hear that sometimes they can get a little burnt, so watch out for that. Now as far as value goes, Lombardi's is a little overpriced and if you factor in the (usually long) waiting time, it's not somewhere that you would want to go on a regular basis (especially in a city like New York, with so much good pizza available). It is, however, somewhere that everyone should visit at least once, and it is definitely somewhere that I would go back to.

Parisi Bakery [198 Mott St. (bet. Spring and Kenmare Sts.) 212-226-6378]
Come around lunch time and the line might be out the door. But I would say that it's worth the wait for a real Italian sandwich. I went with a sandwich of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, oil, vinegar, and honey mustard on a hero. After the first bite I knew that I had something special and after the last bite, I knew that I was stuffed. Prices are what you'd expect for a New York sandwich ($7-$10), but the value is definitely there.

Peasant [194 Elizabeth St. (bet. Prince and Spring Sts.) 212-965-9611]
If you can look past the pretentiousness of having the menu in only Italian, you will see that food here is very good. I especially enjoyed the Risotto Nero di Seppia (pretentious, moi?) and the butter that came with bread. Very creamy. The waiter, although not Italian, spoke "excellent menu" and was very knowledgable about food and wine.

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