We began our day with bagels at Zucker’s, a place I’d not known about, located on Chambers, with an outpost, I’m told, at Grand Central. Folks, five dollars and change and a freshly baked poppy with lox spread is yours. These are perfect examples of the NY bagels I grew up on when visiting grandma in Brooklyn. The spread is creamy, the fish simply minimal and not overwhelming in the least, and should you stay, the vibe pleasant and, well, tremendous.
I never pass up Rubirosa, on Mulberry, whether it’s for lunch or dinner, and this time it was lunch. Yes, there are numerous menu items to choose from, but what we’re really talking about here is epic pizza. Thin crust, almost paper thin, with a light spread of tomato sauce and, if you like, fresh mozzarella. We had a couple of pies, a white clam, and a half anchovy and half sausage, and, of course, ate too much. But honestly: This is one of the best pies in Manhattan. And, bonus: They take reservations.
Before dinner it was drinks at The Brandy Library, on North Moore, no sign, well hidden, a long, dark room where jazz plays, a Charlie Parker tune was on when we walked in, killer service, great drinks, easily my favorite bar this year in NYC.
And, finally, dinner at Batard, my third in two months. There’s a wonderful three course menu for $65, which beats places with nowhere near the skill but ten times the boast (not naming names), and with an Austrian in the kitchen, Marcus Glocker, who worked years with Gordon Ramsey, what you have are central European flavors deeply refined by French technique. Octopus “pastrami,” tafelspitz, sweetbreads “strudel,” cod, venison, etc. A boisterous room where you’ve found the party. The place is really the future of fine dining: Delicious and complex prepared food presented with soul and care on wooden tables without tablecloths. I’m in.