Dining

What are three things NYC is not known for? 1. downhill skiing, 2. desert storms, 3. barbecue. Geography and climate being what they are, the first two aren’t likely to change soon. But the third one—well, that’s a different story.

Sometimes you want a quaint, placid and serene dining experience, allowing you time to calmly and quietly re-nourish and recollect. Other times, you want some action. Sea, a flashy Thai restaurant off Williamsburg's bumping Bedford Ave., is for those latter moments.

“… there are few hours more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” ― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady. I have always been wholeheartedly in agreement with Mr. James on the subject of afternoon tea (the proper term for that three-course cornucopia of sandwiches, scones and pastries).

You know that feeling of euphoric surprise when you find a crisp $20 in a freshly laundered pair of pants? Discovering Antibes Bistro, a romantic French-Mediterranean eatery tucked away—almost completely hidden—on a small street in the LES, was just like that. The place is so discreet that one could easily pass right by without a second glance.

"Can’t repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby This month’s release of a film version of The Great Gatsby sets thoughts turning to the 1920s, an era that saw NYC emerge as a major metropolis. The city abounds in ways to drink, dress and cavort like a flapper or a sheik–some direct tie-ins to the Baz Luhrmann movie, some not.

Nobu Next Door, the smaller “sibling” restaurant right next to the world-famous Nobu on Hudson street, is kind of like Prince Harry: a royal, like his brother William, but a little more playful, a little more relaxed. The restaurant is designed with the same classy and modernist Asian accents as the original (which is, as the name implies, right next door): a large display of lit sake bottles decorate one wall: Japanese fishing nets hang from the ceiling, while a wall made of preserved Japanese sea wood enhances the entranceway.

For every celebrity I spy when I dine at Sardi’s after a show, I order a Bloody Mary. It’s a tradition. Needless to say, Sardi’s being celebrity central, I’ve enjoyed some very boozy nights there. The latest was Apr. 24, following a preview of Pippin. The show ran long (wonderfully long, I should add), so we didn’t arrive until near 11.

David Burke is not your run-of-the-mill chef. He’s not even your run-of-the-mill chef/entrepreneur. A recent visit to his Townhouse, the first of the restaurants in his now impressive gastronomic empire, revealed a fascinating man … one who never stops thinking, never stops exploring new opportunities, never stops creating.

Without question, one of the major perks of being the editor of IN New York are the restaurant invites to the “next cool restaurant.” The newly reopened Paramount Bar & Grill inside the newly reopened Paramount Hotel, most certainly lived up to the hip quotient. The evening started with my colleague and I enjoying a plateful of prosciutto, nuts, figs and assorted cheeses over a chilled chardonnay at the hotel’s café, Corso, which offers coffee drinks, pastries and mouth-watering sandwiches, all in a very bright, Euro-vibe café setting.

Bette Midler and Fiona Shaw: They couldn’t be more dissimilar as actresses and, one suspects, as women. On the one hand, there’s the earthy Miss M, a vaudevillian with the soul of a burlesque queen; on the other, the cerebral RADA-trained interpreter of Euripides and T.S. Eliot. In a Broadway season characterized by no shortage of solo plays, these two dames demand attention with two of the best. Midler plays Sue Mengers, real-life and larger-than-life Hollywood agent, in I’ll Eat You Last by John Logan.

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