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Exclusive | New York City: Where to Eat Part Two

Exclusive | New York City: Where to Eat Part Two

Widely hailed as the best French brasserie outside of Paris, Keith McNally's Balthazar (80 Spring St., btwn Broadway & Crosby St.; 212-965-1414, fax 212-343-1274; brunch $13-29) is truly a gem, serving the rich, the famous and the rest of us with the same lively panache. Perfect for loading up on carbs and prestige for a Sunday shopping stroll through SoHo and Nolita. Call as far in advance as possible, especially for coveted weekend reservations.

Another Keith McNally creation, Pastis (9 Ninth Ave., at Little W. 12th St.; 212-929-4844; $12-24) is equally lively, equally French brasserie, and equally as hard to get a seat at. Long known as a celeb and fashionista fave, it's the place to brunch in the trendy Meatpacking 'hood.

Owned and run by top lesbian chef Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune (54 E. 1st St., btwn First and Second Aves.; 212-677-6221, fax 212-677-6982; brunch $11-19) is upscale East Village bohemia at its finest: fantastic food, understated art-hipster clientele, and enough bloody mary variations to turn the already magical weekend brunch into a serious party.

Lower East Side hipsters may form its base crowd, but Clinton Street Baking Company (4 Clinton St., btwn Stanton & Houston Sts.; 646-602-6263) was recently voted by TimeOut NY readers as the city's best brunch spot. Basically a glorified diner, the vibe is very friendly, and the food is scrumptious comfort incarnate. It's just the wait that could suck.

For over 20 years and counting, Restaurant Florent (69 Gansevoort St., btwn Greenwich & Washington Sts.; 212-989-5779) has served as a priceless slice of what's great about New York City: Extremely diverse humans coming together in total harmony. Maybe it's the excellent French-leaning comfort food. Maybe it's the shockingly cheap prices. Maybe it's the cool vibe instilled by owner and neighborhood champion Florent Morellet. Whatever it is, it works, and it does so 24 hours a day.

A 70-year-old Midtown institution, Carnegie Deli (854 Seventh Ave., at 55th St.; 212-757-2245; $12-22) is the city's most famous and star-studded. Cranky waiters serve mile-high corned beef sandwiches. One of the few mainstream "true New York experience" tips that lives up to its hype.

What better way to soak up that Meatpacking booze than with a plate of Disco Fries from Tour (102 8th Ave., at 15th St.; 212-242-7773; late night menu $8-12)? Did we mention the brie and truffle sauce? Tuesdays to Saturdays Tour's open until 6 a.m., rendering it a clubgoer's late-night nirvana.

Don't let the name fool you: Schiller's Liquor Bar (131 Rivington St., at Norfolk St; 212-260-4555; late night supper $12-21) caters to more than merely the "scotch for breakfast" set. Another Keith McNally brainchild, Schiller's offers high end eclectic wee hour comfort to hungry Lower East Side hipsters. Open till 1 a.m. Sunday to Wednesday, 2 a.m. Thursday, and 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Downstairs from the popular West Village bar Rubyfruit, Rita Mae's (531 Hudson St., at Charles St.; 212-929-3343; $12-20) is the lesbian date restaurant, with a cozy, candle-lit atmosphere. Sapphic stars such as Martina, Melissa and even Rita Mae herself have been observed here.

Just a block away, Cowgirl (519 Hudson Ave., at W. 10th St.; 212-633-1133; $13-18) is another West Village fave for lesbians and the gay men who love them, serving up comfort-ish Southwestern fare in a fun and lively setting.

Not really a women's restaurant per se, Deborah's (Life Love Food) (43 Carmine St., btwn Bedford & Bleecker Sts.; 212-242-2606; $16-24) is where lesbian chef Deborah Stanton serves up three courses of life, love, and food to an appreciative and gay-heavy West Village clientele. Her energetic, modern American gems are served in generous portions.

Not really a women's restaurant either, but with a lady-friendly location and a proprietor, John Greco, who supports the community (and who's also the man behind Hell's Kitchen's Bamboo 52), Philip Marie (569 Hudson St., at W. 11th St.; 212-242-6200; $16-23) serves up innovative and hearty American fare.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

Related Articles:
New York City: Introduction
New York City: Where to Stay
New York City: Where to Play/Meet
New York City: What to See and Do
New York City: Where to Shop
New York City: Neighborhoods
New York City: Resources

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Joe Okonkwo