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Information on Host City and Meeting Highlights
Culinary Delights Will Tempt Every Palette and Pocketbook
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 4 page 24-33
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Diners enjoy their food alfresco on West Broadway in SoHo. (Copyright Jeff Greenberg/NYC & Company, Inc.)

There are more than 250 languages spoken in New York City and a cuisine to represent each of them—the only possible exception being Gnome. Multiply these cuisines by the various establishments that serve them, and you have thousands of dining options at your doorstep.

From the inexpensive street-corner okonomiyaki stand to the robber-baron prices and the PB&J appetizers served at Alain Ducasse’s Mix in New York, the city has something to offer for everyone. In this article, I’d like to focus on a couple of the little-known fine-dining establishments—with a dose of a couple of popular eateries—in the hope that you will venture out and experience the many cuisines, neighborhoods, and joys of eating in this phenomenal city. Future articles will take a bit more of a chowhound turn, and I hope to introduce you to some of the more exciting cuisines and the not-so-ordinary places to enjoy them that New York has to offer. And on that note, if anyone does happen to stumble upon that Gnome restaurant, please let me know.

The jewels of the city and certainly some of the more popular fine-dining establishments have had their share of publicity, and deservedly so: Le Bernar-din, Daniel, Nobu, Jean Georges, Chanterelle, and the Four Seasons, to name but a few, and are probably familiar names to many. These all have wonderful food, comfortable and lush surroundings, impeccable service, wine lists from heaven, and prices that also look skyward. These are, most definitely, great places to enjoy superb dining. There are, however, a few other places that offer a transcendent gastronomic experience and have either not been so well publicized (thankfully) or have received their share of accolades and attention and that are, in my opinion, worth mentioning again. Here, then, are our suggestions for a wonderful meal and a good time with friends and colleagues.

Annisa. In the West Village. It’s small. It’s spare. It’s casual. It’s refined. It’s focused on the food (eclectic) and not the scene. Everything a restaurant should be. From the beginning of the meal to its end, it is about the food. Oh, but wait. I forgot. There’s that wine list. And then you notice: the focus is on wines that are made by women! Yet another surprise from this superb establishment. Good for four people; best for two. If you’re more than four, then you might want to go to. . .

Babbo. Also in the West Village. Yeah, yeah, it’s Mario Batali. OK. You’ve seen the TV shows; you’ve heard about his orange clogs; you’re tired of it all. Except for one thing: his food. If there is one Italian restaurant in New York City that is a must, it’s Babbo. Traditional recipes and sublime new takes on the traditional. Not for the person who just wants some pasta. No. Not here. And here’s a little tidbit: if you can’t get a table, eat at the bar. It’s just as great. And do order one of the specials. But you’re not in the mood for Italian? Then how about. . .

Honmura An. You have died and gone to Soba heaven. You are completely relaxed. You are in the arms of tranquility and the Zen that is this second-floor space on a cobblestone street among the teaming throngs of SoHo. You’re not sure what you want. You just want to be taken care of. Your waiter obliges. You consent to everything because, yes, it’s that good. You don’t want to leave, but you have to because you are having another meal at. . .

Craft. So you head up to the Flatiron neighborhood. Open the menu. Columns. Pick one from A and then one from B. Pick two from A and three from C. How about one from B, two from A, and one from D? Doesn’t matter—they all work together. That’s the beauty here. And it’s all about the season. Nothing could be fresher or more refreshing. Dishes are based on the season and availability of ingredients. Local is better, and simple is best. But don’t let "simple" fool you. When you cook with ingredients that are grown locally and are in season, then even a dish with only two components becomes sublime. And speaking of sublime you can always head uptown to. . .

March. A townhouse on Sutton Place. Say luxurious. No, really, say it. Say it out loud! Because that’s what you’ll get here. On one of Manhattan’s most exclusive streets you’ll experience great cuisine in one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city—maybe the world. If you like an eclectic "American" menu then here’s what you do: Look at menu. Decide. Tell waiter. Sit back. Food arrives. It is beyond expectation. Waiter reads your mind and might bring you additional dishes to try. You leave all rosy.

Which is good because you’re exhausted and quite full, to say the least, and you haven’t even scratched the surface of eating in this city. You’ve got another long day of the annual meeting ahead of you. (I am on the program committee and know what a great meeting it is going to be!) But more importantly, you’ve got another evening of eating ahead of you. In my next article: "Take off that tie, get a Metrocard, and get thee to The Grocery"! ▪

David M. McDowell, M.D., is a member of APA’s Scientific Program Committee.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Diners enjoy their food alfresco on West Broadway in SoHo. (Copyright Jeff Greenberg/NYC & Company, Inc.)

There are more than 250 languages spoken in New York City and a cuisine to represent each of them—the only possible exception being Gnome. Multiply these cuisines by the various establishments that serve them, and you have thousands of dining options at your doorstep.

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