Dish du Jour

Dish du Jour

Great dining experiences
Meatballs: Christian Huguenot, Interior: Courtesy of the DL

Goth Glamour

Adding to the burgeoning Lower East Side restaurant scene is a spot that makes for great one-stop shopping: a restaurant and dance club in one. Dinner on Ludlow marries comfort food with an innovative American spin in a dark, almost Gothic-like setting (tall brown leather banquettes and ornate chandeliers adorn the dining space, inset); and the menu, helmed by the young, talented Executive Chef John Keller, gets extra points for original pairings. Why not a fried green tomato with your steak tartare or chicken meatballs with green apples and cabbage slaw (left)? Additionally, a house cheesecake, served like swirls of marshmallow with berries, might be the creamiest cheesecake ever experienced. Dine late and you can enjoy the upstairs dance club to work off all those oh-so-worth-it calories. » Dinner on Ludlow, 95 Delancey St., 212.228.0909

© 2007 Richard Termine

Beguiling Carlyle

Somedays I long for the old New York City, the one my mother used to tell me about, where white-gloved women would lunch at the Colony, and men in jackets would escort their wives in swanky cocktail dresses to the bar at ‘21.’ Café Carlyle (left) maintains a piece of this glamorous heyday, a genuine restaurant/supper club. White tableclolths, dim lighting, shaded lamps at every table and exotic murals by Hungarian artist Marcel Vertès all point to the kind of evening George Gershwin would have loved. A dinner of a house salad with a piquant dressing and tender salmon with mixed vegetables was appropriately elegant, but the food is only part of the entertainment: On a recent night, the timeless Judy Collins sang such favorites as “Send in the Clowns” and “Both Sides Now.” The Carlyle is a slice of the city you just never want to see disappear. » Café Carlyle, The Carlyle, 35 E. 76th St., 212.744.1600

Atushi Tomioka

Theater Mangia

When you are having one of those where-do-I-eat-before-theater dilemmas, it’s worth it to cast your eye on Puttanesca. The Italian trattoria is warm and authentic: A white marble bar, multicolored tile floors and brick walls convey a cozy ambience that is a respite from the maddening world of the Theater District outside. The menu offers everything from traditional Italian fare (fettuccine Bolognese) to whole roasted Cornish hen (left). You can also choose your vino from a good-sized wine list, reasonably priced, and served by a friendly waitstaff. So, take note, before going to see something like Big Fish at the Neil Simon Theatre, you may want to start the evening with a big pasta. » Puttanesca, 859 Ninth Ave., 212.581.4177