Saturday Wrap-Up

A quick hit today as I’ve got to start cleaning the house and generally getting ready for a busy couple of weeks. Details to follow …

Between seeing the Jane Austen exhibit and hearing Leslie play I looked around for a place to eat dinner. Most of what I saw on the cab ride from the Morgan to the West Village was one Burger King after another McDonald’s. I noted a restaurant called Spice, which I now realize is not the same as the Spice Market, which the NYTimes dining guide listed as super expensive. Otherwise my choices seemed to be a couple of delis that had minimal seating and didn’t look at all comfortable.

I guess I have to thank the cab driver even though he didn’t know east from west and left me at that famous intersection of Fourth (Avenue) and Thirteenth (Street). So I strolled a few blocks, just to make sure I knew where to find the Tenri Center where Leslie was performing. On the way I passed something called City Tavern. It doesn’t have an active web site, so no link. It looked like a bar but had a full menu posted outside. After I’d crossed Fifth Avenue and rejected another deli that seemed for takeout only, I went back to the east side of 13th.

A very nice man with a Spanish accent greeted me. I said I was there for dinner, and he led me upstairs to a smallish dining room, quite warm and comfortable. After I had placed my order one of the young waiters arrived with a basket containing a single piece of focaccia and a huge pile of bread sticks. Instead of butter or olive oil, there was a sort of tapenade. I heard the maitre d’ tell my neighbor, the only other diner when I arrived, that it was made from sundried tomatoes. It was delicious, but I detected a serious amount of garlic and so ate all the parsley on my dinner plate in hopes of combatting garlic breath. The guy sitting next to me apparently didn’t like it and asked for butter which arrived with alacrity.

Except for the appetizers, the menu appeared pretty limited with a couple of pasta dishes, a fish dish. I ordered the perch which came in a tasty sauce that had a bit too much salt. Accompaniments included buttered vegetables, a couple of slices of carrots, ditto zucchini, green beans (with the stems left on), and asparagus tips. A huge mound of potato, which I did not eat, rounded things out.

The place filled up as I was eating, but most people seemed to gobble and run. I had plenty of time so sat and enjoyed one of the six or NYTimes magazines that I had brought.

The maitre d’ seemed genuinely disappointed that I wasn’t ordering dessert – said I had a concert to go to – but that if I had time afterward I’d return. As I didn’t know how easy it would be to catch a cab or how long the ride would be, I didn’t return, though I would defintely eat there again.

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