Feasting in the City

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O the culinary delights of a huge city where everyone eats out (a bit like Tokyo, actually). We ate well and I took notes. Here are the standout places that are not to be missed.

Catch de Fish
3rd Ave @ 15th
***** (5)

This was so good, we ate here twice. Thai fusion with an emphasis on seafood. Choose your fish or seafood from a list and then pick a sauce or salad to go with it. The green curry sauce and the grilled eggplant salad were superb, and the ginger sauce excellent. Don't pass up the Avocado and Mandarin Orange Salad; it's complex and delightful. The soups were great , the appetisers appetising and everything was ideal. I wish they had a branch in Tokyo.

30th between 5th Ave & Broadway
**** (4)

Indian vegetarian prix fixe dinner. $25 gets you over 20 dishes (two thalis' worth), including some stunningly hot appetisers, a range of sinfully good curries, fabulous rices and breads plus dessert and chai. If you like something, you can ask for more. There is no way to walk away hungry and I dare anyone to notice that there is not meat on the menu.

Di Fara Pizza
1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn
**** (4)

Mr. DeMarco makes classic, authentic Italian pizza by hand. He doesn't skimp, he takes his time, and every pie is a work of art. He's been in business for 40-odd years and plans to hand over the reigns to his kids, but they don't make the pizza - only he does. So get there before he retires! This was some of the best pizza I've ever enjoyed - crispy bottomed, thin crusted, with sauce that supported the flavors of the three Italian cheeses and fresh basil. Honestly, you must try it. Take the Q line to the Avenue J stop in Brooklyn.

222 Waverly Place
**** (4)

Taim serves falafel that doesn't sit like a rock in your stomach - the kind we can't get in Tokyo. We read about it in the New Yorker and made a beeline to the West Village to try it. It's a tiny take away place, virtually no seating but a half dozen stools in great demand, but that makes no matter. Go here, and order the falafel (green, red or harissa). Enjoy the subtle flavor of zarat, an ancient Israeli seasoning complementing the lemon in the salad that comes on the sandwich. Lick the hummus from your fingers as it escapes the pita. Be happy.

Louie and Ernie's
1300 Crosby Ave, Bronx
**** (4)

This was the quintessence of the NY pizza I grew up with. It has a thin, chewy (but not soggy) crust with a layer of cheese that equaled the depth of the crust. The sauce is tangy and the pizza drips orange grease down your arm if you tilt it the wrong way. It's nothing like the Di Farra pizza, but they are equally wonderful. I grinned like a little kid and wolfed down two slices - one plain, one with mushrooms. There's probably equally good NY-style pizza in Manhattan, but the adventure of getting to the middle of the Bronx was an interesting one.

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