Living in the fastest paced city in the world, coupled with the fact that New York has some of the BEST restaurants... who can keep up? It seems restaurants change almost daily, each being better than the last, so sometimes it's nice to take a deep-breath, slow down, and go back to basics.
I learned this upon redeeming a gift certificate that I got as an engagement present last year. It was to Asia de Cuba, and to be perfectly frank, I wasn't terribly excited. I had dined at the San Fransisco location years back, and although I was impressed, I couldn't imagine this oldie keeping strong through the changing dining trends. I was wrong. It was still packed full of people! The recipes were fresh and delightful... the contrasting Asian and Latin themes complimented eachother beautifully!
The Lobster pot-stickers were absolute heave, and the short ribs were the best I have tasted. Although the specialty cocktails were on the pricier side, they were definitely worth it.
Another older restaurant that most forget even exists is the wonderful cafe atop Bergdorf Goodman's. It's view of the park is spectacular and the appetizer portion of the scallops and a salad is the perfect size lunch! Not to mention, much more affordable than one would think. The drinks are usually served by the friendly Robyn at the bar, and the hostess Kate Bennett (an old friend from ballet school) will make sure you get a good seat. The food is phenomenal, the drinks well tended, but it is the atmosphere that really makes this old New York favorite special.
Another older restaurant that will take you back in time is a place we love to go to for the chocolate cake and tarts, but don't always remember to come pre-dessert for dinner... Payard. Francois Payard is known for his baking, but the chef's should still get some credit for their cooking. Not to mention, nothing concludes a perfect meal like a payard dessert!