I agree with all the negative reviews (see Zagat reviews). Restaurant was tight. Waiters were hurried and rude. Hostess actually asked us to move tables after 2nd course was served. Food was way overpriced and mediocre at best. I am happy to pay top dollar for a good meal, wine and service, but we experienced none of these at Scalinatella. There are so many other amazing Italian restaurants in this city, DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER GOING TO THIS RESTAURANT!!!
Favorite Dish: N/A
Dean and Deluca is a chain of grocery stores in the area. It has some great food and kitchen items. The produce is fresh and very colorful, and they have a nice assortment of different types of prepared foods. One day, I grabbed some fresh green grapes, some Drunken goat cheese (imported from Spain, really great) and some prepared food and I had a great quick bite. There are counters where you can stand and eat your food, or you can buy ingredients for a great picnic.
The food is perhaps a little on the pricey side as far as grocery stores go, but definitely cheaper than eating at a traditional restaurant for lunch. Perfect to eat along the way while you explore the city's many wonderful sights.
Favorite Dish: For the size of the particular Dean and Deluca I was in, they had a really good selection of cheese, imported from all over the world. They earned major points for having Drunken Goat and Manchego, two of my favorite Spanish imports.
This here-forever Italian classic is reached by descending an relatively unappealing outdoor enclosed stairway to a basement level dining room. The room is dark,noisy, crowded, with a tiny bar with no standing room, and no wheelchair access. The bare brick walls are basically undecorated. Service is efficient but not hurried in any way - after giving your order you may never see the waiter again. The martinis were very good indeed and for this class of restaurant reasonably priced at $11 for standard and $12 for exotics including a superb apple martini. However, wine by the glass is brutally priced at $15 for the house red (at least the glass is pretty full). This is a very expensive restaurant but the food is uniformly superb with adequate portions. The servers do remember who gets what - no auctions here. Note - the menu has maybe 2 or 3 appetizers and entrees. Everyone orders from the seemingly endless list of special appetizers, pastas, entrees. Maybe the waiter couldn't return because it took so long to get thru the list at other tables. Since eveyone orders from the recited specials, exact costs are difficult to estimate but plan on spending with cocktails and no bottles of wine about $170-$200 per couple with split desserts. At coffee, complimentary biscotti are on the table so desserts are really not needed. We got just one for the six of us. The biscotti were among the best ever. Don't overdress in the summer - the airconditioning in this old building is quite limited.
Favorite Dish: The martinis were quite good. Standout opening dishes included pappardelle with veal sauce, stuffed mushroom appetizers with seafood, and good salads. A member of the group declared the veal milanese "the best in New York City". Not on the menu or on the special list - you have to know about it - is a chicken parmagiana dish which the members of our posse who live in New York City swear is the best they have ever eaten anywhere (and for $30 it damn well ought to be). Ordering the chicken parm is a subtle hint to the waiter that you are not ordinary one-time diners but have been there before or have local friends who have sent you. Other great dishes off the special list - whole roast baby chicken, tuna in a barolo sauce. This is a first class dining experience, and again not on the usual tourist map or frequented by the bridge and tunnel crowd.