Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Locanda Verde in the new De Niro hotel, NYC

In my 20s, I never went to nightclubs partially because I couldn't get my head around a plan for the evening that involved Maybe Not Getting In. In hindsight, it seems like it should have been pretty simple to try it and then move on, but especially in NYC the club would be somewhere inconvenient on the West Side and you'd be trying to meet friends and my prime potential-clubgoing years were pre-cell-phone.... Anyway, I never set foot in any of those places, the Tunnel, the Limelight, the Roxy (? was that even the name?) unless some better-connected friend had put me on the list.

I bring this up because nowadays I have a similar attitude about getting a table at a hot restaurant. I can almost never get excited about showing up at a place that might make you wait for an hour--and even then might not seat you, when, you know, you're hungry and it's loud and crowded by the bar, if there is even a bar to wait at, etc. This, is, however, I guess how the zillions of people without restaurant-world-pull try these places. Also not that into dining at 5:30 or 10:30. Last night, however, I did manage to dine at Locanda Verde, which is the new restaurant from the chef Andrew Carmellini in Robert De Niro's Greenwich Hotel, and it was both delicious and seemed not-that-impossible to get in. I called same-day got a table for two at 8:30 (it was a monday, but still). We showed up at 7:30, hoping that the table might free up earlier, and they told us that the wait for walk-ins was about an hour. There was a big bar there to wait at/ by and two cute places across the street where one could also drink and wait. Probably should be talking more about the food than the logistics but, what do you want, a place like this with such great buzz and such a wonderful chef is going to be, and was, delicious. We had a great time--celebrating a big professional milestone for Ivan--and thought it was a perfect New York evening.

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