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Annual Meeting
Dining Delights Over the River And Through the Tunnel
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 6 page 35-82
Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpI don’t know about you, but I feel like going out to eat this evening in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Anything but a suit and tie. Not tonight. I want good food, good service, a low-key atmosphere, no pretension, and a place where I won’t feel out of place wearing something casual. OK, maybe jeans and a T-shirt won’t suffice at some of the suggestions below—but you get my drift. Comfort. And not the usual space. A place that I wouldn’t find elsewhere. In other words: unique.

So take off that suit and tie or that formal business dress, get yourself a Metrocard, and get thee to The Grocery!

No. I don’t mean Safeway, Vons, Dag’s, Ralph’s, Whole Foods, or any of the other names you might know when referring to "the grocery." Nope. The Grocery is a very small (one room, and a small one too) that serves up some of the best food in all of New York City and a place where casual dress, low-key surroundings, and no pretension rule. (Note to the Borough phobic: it’s in Brooklyn. Oh no!).

Ah, The Grocery. The room is spare. There’s nothing to "see." It’s not for those looking for a scene. It’s for eating. And eating well. Well beyond well. Sublime food. Outstanding service. And you know what? You can do it all in your most casual wear. OK, sure, you have to go to Brooklyn. Come on! It’s not Siberia! It’s Brooklyn! It’s one of the most sought-after destinations for dining these days in New York City. Especially Smith Street. It’s in Carroll Gardens, which is an old and still thriving Italian neighborhood. (You can still see your ancient grandmother peering out of her bedroom window and watching the street to make sure there’s nothing amiss.)

If The Grocery is full, then just walk around. There’s always Patois—the place that set up shop first in this neighborhood. Bistro-ish, warm, and friendly. An icon of the ’hood. Or maybe you feel like Mexican food. All right then. I’ve got you covered.

Walk on over to Alma and have a taste of Gary Jacobson’s superb fare. The main room is incredible. In good weather, the roof-top deck, with its stunning view of Manhattan, is open for dining. And if that isn’t enough, they have this great bar on the lower level called B61. It’s this crazy mix of locals and the adventurous. The bar is awesome, and the jukebox is incredible.

What? You’ve read about the infamous Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn? Then why not head on over? And when you do, it’s Al Di La you need to head toward. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so be warned that there might be lines. And it’s communal seating. So get over it, meet some locals, and eat! If you want authentic Venetian, there might not be a better choice than here.

But I think I heard you say you’re tired. You just want some pizza and a good beer. You can’t think anymore. You just want a place where you can deal with nothing more than saying, "Large. And some brew." You’ve come to Grimaldi’s, on Brooklyn’s famed waterfront. A legend in New York pizza. Thin crust and coal-oven baked. You’ll thank yourself that you had the foresight to eat here. Just come on in and settle back. Order a simple, classic New York pizza and a beer. Eat. You are now in heaven.

Brooklyn isn’t your gig? You want something a little closer to the midtown trains? What? You don’t want to take a train? Then how about taking a ferry? Yeah, a ferry! That would mean you’re having dinner at Water’s Edge. There’s free ferry service from the East Side of Manhattan over to Long Island City, Queens, and it’s direct to this wonderful seafood establishment with a view to match. Sit back and relax.

Another ferry you shouldn’t pass up is the world-famous Staten Island Ferry, which is, incidentally, the least expensive (it’s free) and thoroughly New York experience to partake of. You’ll enjoy some of the most stunning views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Governor’s Island, Staten Island, New Jersey, and the Verrazano Bridge while on your way to Carol’s Café. It’s a little bit of a trek but worth it. And hey: you’re adventurous, right? You’re a chowhound and willing to go anywhere for good food, right? Then Carol’s should be on your list. The chef, Carol Frazzetta, is obsessed with providing you with a fresh and international take on her superb cooking. She’s prepared one of the most eclectic menus, full of surprises for the intrepid diner. Who knew? One of New York City’s undiscovered gems.

And speaking of gems: ever been to the Bronx? Yeah. Da Bronx. It ain’t whattchathink anymore, especially at Le Refuge Inn on City Island. The Gallic cuisine in the mansion on the island is outstanding. And if you’re too tired to come into Manhattan after filling up here, you can spend the night in one of the inn’s rooms! And if you do, you’ll have time to enjoy another meal at Roberto’s. Get there early, though. There’s always a wait, and the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. Once you’re in, just say, "Bring me a taste of everything" because everything on the menu is worth eating. Seriously. And hey, if you have to wait for a table, just strike up a conversation with one of the regulars who didn’t make it earlier enough either. Guaranteed, you’ll be glad you did. A great neighborhood and a great experience.

Are you as stuffed as I am? I know, I know. But there’s so much more! I’ve just started to introduce you to all that New York City has to offer. In this article, I wanted to get you out of Manhattan for a bit. Next up: Really-out-there cuisine you can’t find anywhere else. That’s it for now. I’ll be baaaack. . . . ▪

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

Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpI don’t know about you, but I feel like going out to eat this evening in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Anything but a suit and tie. Not tonight. I want good food, good service, a low-key atmosphere, no pretension, and a place where I won’t feel out of place wearing something casual. OK, maybe jeans and a T-shirt won’t suffice at some of the suggestions below—but you get my drift. Comfort. And not the usual space. A place that I wouldn’t find elsewhere. In other words: unique.

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