[NYC] Thoughts on the following restaurants?

My wife has an upcoming board meeting in NYC so I’m looking into booking a few dinner reservations for two and I like the look and menu of these places:

  • 4 Charles Prime Rib, West Village

  • Augustine, FiDi

  • Il Buco, NoHo

I’d appreciate any thoughts & feedback.

Also, do you have a favorite casual drop-in spot for classic New York style Chinese? Is Great N.Y. Noodletown still good? I’m coming from San Francisco so I’m not looking for anything I can get at home. I’m looking for some nostalgic New York Chinese food.


Noodletown is still great.


We visit Manhattan every year, and it would not occur to us to miss a visit to Gread NY Noodletown. That said, I don’t know what kind of food you have available in San Francisco. If you have good Cantonese barbecue, it may be redundant. One place that we like is Maialino in the Flatiron district. It is one of the best Italian places in New York, like an authentic Roman trattoria.

Also Wo Hop for old school, and well made NYC Cantonese food is even better than in the past. I hadn’t been there in years, and went a month or so ago. The food was really great.


We’ve been to Augustine once for lunch in June of last year. Delicious food, excellent service, very attractive décor, and comfortable atmospherics. In all these respects, Augustine is very much like his Cherche Midi which we’ve been to many times.

Augustine photo set

I would also highly recommend Temple Court, Tom Colicchio’s restaurant right next door to Augustine. We’ve been there twice, most recently in December. The contemporary American cuisine is superb, service is professional, seating in very comfortable (more room between tables than at Augustine), and the large space has pleasing décor.

Temple Court photo set

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Cherche Midi is on the south side of Houston.

Oops! Thanks for the correction!

Thanks bcc, we’ve been to most of the big Italian show spots over the years (Babbo, Maialino, Carbone, etc) but we’re really looking for something more neighborhoody and atmospheric like Il Buco this time around. Cantonese BBQ and Cantonese in general is definitely not a big thing in the Bay Area. I’m an old East Coaster so I’m looking forward to a little taste of nostalgia.

Thanks so much and great to hear!

We’re planning to have drinks at the bar in Templeton Court after dinner. I’ve always loved the building and I’m excited to see how the new Beekman Hotel has handled the renovations.

Speaking of Cherche Midi btw, what are your impressions? I take it that you must enjoy the restaurant if you’ve been many times. How does it compare to Balthazar, in your opinion? I was considering tacking on a brunch, if the menu wouldn’t feel too redundant after an evening at Augustine. I’d try to keep a day between reservations…

I love Wo Hop and it’s so great to hear that they’re doing better than ever… I’ve got a few solo dinners and I will probably make this one of them!

I’ve always enjoyed Il Vagagbondo. Indoor bocce ball and great food/service. I had read they closed for remodeling. Any one know if they reopened?

I have as well but Yelp reports that they’re still closed which is a worrying sign given the real estate situation in Manhattan

I’m probably the only curmudgeon who doesn’t like Cherche Midi and Balthazar, and that’s because of the noise. But I’ll be interested to read what your experience was.

We haven’t been to Babbo, and Carbone doesn’t interest us. But the Rome based food critic, Maureen Fant, has stated that Maialino, and the other place opened by its owners, were the only Italian places that she would go to when visiting Manhattan.

We’ve been to Balthazar twice back in 2009. The first time was a late lunch which we thoroughly enjoyed. (Here’s the blog post I wrote about that lunch.) The second was brunch with another couple. That experience was the total antithesis of the first, i.e., truly awful in every way – mediocre food, poor service, cramped, and so LOUD (the place was a zoo!) that having a conversation was impossible. It so turned us off that we never considered returning. (I never wrote about it but probably should have.)

We’ve had brunch at Cherche Midi only once. When we go out to brunch, we prefer lunch dishes rather than breakfast dishes. Since C.M.'s brunch menu leans heavily towards the latter, we went specifically to have the C.M. burger which, to be honest, I found disappointing. However, some time back, they added the Blue Label Burger to their lunch, dinner, and brunch menus. It used to be available only at Minetta Tavern which is where we tried it. I thought it was a superior burger.

With regard to old-style neighborhood Italian-American restaurants, I would recommend family-owned Paul & Jimmy’s. Even though it’s a short walk from our apartment, we hadn’t been there in quite a long time. However, within the past few months, we had dinner there twice and found the food to be well-prepared and delicious. A really nice, very different change from Maialino which we go to a lot.

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Carbone wasn’t my thing either, to be honest. It’s the only meal in New York City that I’ve ever walked away from feeling like a total sucker. That’s not to say the food wasn’t good, but it certainly wasn’t good enough to justify the beyond stupid prices for simple red sauce dishes. It was really no better than the Italian home cooking I’ve enjoyed at my friend’s nono’s when I’ve been invited over for family spreads. I would never consider going back unless it was on someone else’s dime.

As for Maialino, I’ve been a couple of times with friends and family, but I don’t think I’ve ever had anything other than their suckling pig dishes. Are the standard pastas and antipastis on their menu worth exploring?

I’ve spent a lot of time around NYC growing up (family and friends, incl. wife, have lived in and around the city at various times) so I’ve been to my fair share of Italian restaurants in Manhattan; the majority seem to have either closed up shop or fallen out of vogue for one reason or another.

I’ve always really enjoyed McNally’s restaurants though. My favorite by a long shot is Minetta Tavern, which I generally make a point of visiting whenever we’re in town. It’s not so much the food (though I’ve no complaints in that regard!) but the whole time warp experience; the dim lighting and intimate booths and that wonderful back-room atmosphere which conjures up the ghost of Franz Kline and Joe Gould, the original mayor of Macdougal St. It’s quite possibly my favorite dining room in the city.

I’ve been to Balthazar a handful of times as well, but not in recent years, and I have little recollection of much beyond the company I was with- typically family brunches in the late-90’s. I’ve also been to The Odeon once on a date night, and I remember having a great time, although as a native Montrealer, I guess I’ve been pretty jaded when it comes to French bistros. I think I had the steak-frites, which was probably fine as it’s straightforward enough. It was around holiday time, so the dining room was really festive and we drank a lot wine, which always helps. Browsing Yelp photos/reviews doesn’t really excite me much, but I would gladly return under similar circumstances to try it again.


Thank you so much! I’m a big fan of Minetta’s Blue Label Burger and since we won’t be visiting on this upcoming trip, C.M. sounds like it would serve as a great stand in. We should probably try it since we’ve both been to Balthazar many times before anyhow. Thanks for the neighborhood Italian tip as well - it looks very good.

Stopped by at Wo Hop today with a group of friends and kids. We had a great meal. I wish great Cantonese like that was available in Westchester County. And six dishes cost us $55 before tax, and tons of leftovers and we were stuffed.


I love i sodi and via carota in the w village for quaint italian neighborhood kind of place, i sodi takes reservations but via carota doesn’t (and is crazy popular)

Your selection just looks to me like you’re missing the “only in new york” part, i’m sure you can find good Italian, french and steakhouse menus in san francisco. (Not to discount the restaurants you have chosen) Take a look at Cote the new korean steakhouse, or consider somewhere like Nur or Agern, or Aquavit.

NY noodletown is perfect for what you want

We’ve been to I Sodi before and enjoyed it. Via Carota looks great!! Thanks!

By the way, Great NY Noodletown was closed yesterday, Sat. 1/13/2018. I think it may be an annual thing. Not sure for how long.