Ciano: A Night to Remember


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The idea had been to have dinner, plain and simple.

No thinking about writing about the dishes as we're eating. No scribbling of notes. No blogging. This was a celebration, after all. There should be no room at the table for work of any sort.

But the moment our food started arriving, the game plan changed. Ciano, the much-anticipated new restaurant by Shea Gallante (who greatly impressed critics and diners at the now-shuttered Cru, where he earned three stars from The New York Times' Frank Bruni), pretty much had me at shrimp balls.

From my first nibble of rock shrimp polpette ($8 for five), the deliciously warm one-inch balls stuffed with big chunks of shrimp, I was hooked. Out came the paper and pen and off we were …

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Bar Artisanal: A Big Brunch on a Budget


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Two things in life that I adore: A good brunch and a good deal.

And I like them all the better if I’m able to combine the two. 

Bar Artisanal in Tribeca? It delivers on both fronts.

The restaurant has gotten some mixed reviews since Terrance Brennan (of Artisanal and Picholine) opened the place in late April — Serious Eats raved about the lamb chops and lamb burger (“a flavor knockout punch”) while the New York Times’ Frank Bruni picked apart the “overpopulated” duck pissaladi√®re (a French pizza) featuring duck liver, gizzard, confit and a duck egg.

But when it comes to brunch, the verdict is a little clearer – the menu is simpler, the food is perfectly decent. And the prices, well, they just can’t be beat, considering what you’re getting.

At $21 for two courses (which could include two main courses) and dessert, you could make off with a $40 meal for about half the price.

Which, suffice to say, is a pretty darn good deal in Manhattan.

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