Saturday is always my day for catching up on food media, and this morning I read Frank Bruni's spot-on piece in last Sunday's New York Times Week in Review section on the inexplicable popularity of al fresco dining in New York. Invariably, curbside (not garden or terrace) dining in New York is an unpleasant inexperience, unless you like your meal accompanied by sirens, bus exhaust and noise, and bad smells of every variety imaginable. There are just a few places in New York I look forward to eating outside:
Adrienne's Pizza Bar
Stone Street's eateries (Ulysee's, Financier Patisserie) really do feel European. It's the cobblestone streets and the lack of vehicular traffic. The excellent thin-crust rectangular pies at Adrienne's are even a bigger draw. 54 Stone Street, New York NY 10004 (b/n Coenties Alley and William Street); 212-248-3838; adriennespizzabar.com; reviewed on Slice
The outdoor tables at Daniel Boulud's "casual" spot are on a side street in a fancy neighborhood, and that makes all the difference in the world. The loudest sounds you'll hear are the animated cell phone conversations of the limousine drivers. 20 East 76th Street; New York NY 10021 (b/n Fifth and Madison); 212-772-2600; cafeboulud.com
I haven't eaten there in years, but I used to love sitting outside on Cornelia Street eating gnocchi and drinking a glass of wine. 31 Cornelia Street New York NY 10014 (b/n Bleecker and West 4th streets); 212-645-2189; porestaurant.com
There must be other pleasant, comfortable, and quiet curbside places in eat in New York that I'm either not thinking of or don't know about, so if you know of one, do tell.