RESTAURANT­S: GO, CON­SIDER , STOP

Forbes - - FACT & COMMENT -

Edible en­light­en­ment from our eatery ex­perts and col­leagues Richard Nal­ley, Monie Be­g­ley and Ran­dall Lane, as well as brothers Bob, Kip and Tim.

Caviar Russe

538 Madi­son Av­enue, be­tween 54th & 55th Streets (212-980-5908)

This small sec­ond-floor restau­rant is a civ­i­lized oa­sis where you can en­joy a con­ver­sa­tion on com­fort­able ban­quettes sur­rounded by lovely mu­rals and hushed and help­ful ser­vice. Such plea­sure does not come with­out cost: 50 grams of os­e­tra logs in at $190 but ar­rives with crème fraîche, chopped chives and your choice of tiny warm bli­nis, sliv­ers of toast and sliced pota­toes upon which to spread it all. While the rich smoked salmon is plen­ti­ful, the dry-aged rib­eye with cel­ery-root puree and small pota­toes leaves one hun­gry for more. The bas­ket of minia­ture madeleines is so good you can skip dessert.

Knicker­bocker Bar & Grill 33 Uni­ver­sity Place, at 9th Street (212-228-8490)

Clas­sic, com­fort­able neigh­bor­hood fix­ture serving hearty Amer­i­can fare. To start, try the crab cakes, which are star-wor­thy, or the shrimp cock­tail, which is straight out of the 1950s. The chicken pot pie, which could feed four, is as tasty as it is plen­ti­ful. Ditto the bar­be­cue ribs. Bread pud­ding or a slice of car­rot cake—enough to feed an en­tire bridal party—will put you over the top. It’s all good and all rea­son­ably priced. And you can still con­verse when the mu­si­cians are play­ing.

Land of Plenty

204 East 58th Street (212-308-8788)

Great spot (a short walk from Bloom­ing­dale’s) for a de­lec­ta­ble Chi­nese meal for two—with wine—for un­der $80, in­clud­ing tip. When the word amaz­ing is in front of a chicken or shrimp dish, ex­pect your taste buds to be warmed by a very hot and spicy sweet sauce. The crispy shred­ded se­same beef crack­les, and there are braised fresh mushrooms with bok choy for those look­ing for “health­ier” fare. Plenty to like and plenty to eat in the land thereof.

TAK Room

20 Hud­son Yards (929-450-4050)

This is the an­chor restau­rant in an over-thetop mall, and it’s clear who will be pay­ing for all this “luxe.” Though good, the food lacks the flour­ish of chef Thomas Keller’s usual cre­ations. The menu is fairly clas­sic Con­ti­nen­tal cui­sine, but the prices are colos­sal (and the ser­vice is never at­ten­tive). Many plates are of­fered for “two”—Dover sole for two for $110; New York strip steak for one or two for $160, with a va­ri­ety of sauces at an ad­di­tional $7 to $12. There are less ex­pen­sive of­fer­ings, but not by much; a lone crab cake is $27. Desserts are quite good—try the co­conut or cho­co­late cake.

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