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I'm admittedly a creature of habit. Each time I'm in New York, I tend to hit a few places from my list of "regulars" - though I try to squeeze in one or two new ones when I'm there. So it's with that context that I say that I've been to La Pecora Bianca in NoMad the last 4 times I've been to the city. LPB isn't the best italian restaurant in New York. And it isn't the best restaurant in NoMad (which, in my opinion, is the NoMad Restaurant inside the NoMad Hotel). But it fills a gap left by the closing of Craftbar (which wasn't technically in NoMad but close enough). It is a restaurant that serves good food that isn't super high priced where we can meet friends for dinner without a reservation 4 weeks in advance. It's always the place chosen on the dreaded text message chain the day before when someone asks "where should we meet for dinner." From the appetizers, I recommend Whipped Ricotta with truffle honey and country toast ($14) and the Meatballs ($14). Roasted Cauliflower with raisins, pine nuts and mascarpone ($15) is also good, but I'm not a big cauliflower person in general. From the pasta menu, Gramigna with house made sausage, broccolini and pepper flakes ($24) is a favorite, as is the Tagliatelle with bolognese ($24). And the Tiramisu for two ($15) is worth the caloric splurge. Fair warning, they are strict about the wine pours, which can change the glass vs. bottle mathematics.
I have been to this Boulud outpost maybe 4 or 5 times dating back to I think 2003 or so. It was quite nice back then. Then, I went there for lunch a couple of times with a vendor for the overly wrought burger for fun. It was all good. Then, last fall, went again pre-theater of all things and WOW. They'd updated the dining room a bit it seemed, and the menu was great. Really great. Good wine list if a bit overpriced. GREAT service/staff. My only regret was not taking proper tme to give the place a lingering meal for justice. Next time. I've been luck enough to go to db, Cafe Boulud, Bar Boulud, Danie; and I think another instance, this db experience was near the top of the heap. Honestly, Daniel was kind of a let down (aside from the over the top service, which was a hoot). My wife and I were walking quite a few blocks after the meal as we are wont to do, and we both came to the realization 'Palena is better.' (sad in retrospect now, but true!). And Daniel itself was no slouch by any means whatsoever. It was quite fine.
Habesha Market & Carry Out 1919 9th Street NW If you're looking for cheap and pretty tasty takeout Ethiopian food this is a place to consider. I've ordered from here 4-5 times now and haven't had a bad meal. But, I've never had a meal at the level of Queen Makeda or Etete either. There can be a language issue but they are very friendly and I've never had a problem ordering what I wanted. There can be difficulty finding out what something is though with some of the descriptions being a bit less comprehensive than I'd prefer. But I've never had any nasty surprises. You can get a four item meat combo from the steam table for $7.50 or a four item veggie combo for $7.00. This is usually enough food to easily make two meals. If you go during the dinner or lunch rush the steam table items turn over fairly fast. But, I've never had trouble getting them to refresh something from the back if something looks tired. In particular I really like their spicy tripe and spicy beef from the steam table and the lentils and greens are always good. Their Kitfo is made to order and is a fairly large order for $7.50. The 50/50 is also worth trying. It is a large order of raw cubed beef and cooked beef tibs. There are quite a few tables for eating there but I've always gotten takeout. You can also get large packages of injera and bulk spices to go.