Pork chops at Forty2West
Kale Caesar salad at Forty2West
Oxtail foie gras at Forty2West
Ricotta cheesecake at Forty2West
Mario Batali protégé John Di Lemme—who's flexed his culinary muscles at Lupa, Del Posto and Vegas's Enoteca San Marco—retools the old-school New York chophouse with Italian flair. The wood-paneled, bi-level eatery—classically decked out with white tablecloths and round booths—features hearty steakhouse staples like bone-in rib eye, porterhouse and a pork chop paired with charred apple, radicchio and fried pork rind. Along with Italian-tinged fare like crudos and house-made pastas, there's a smattering of lighter eats available at the mahogany bar downstairs. Nosh on cured meats (wild-boar salumi, coppa), oxtail terrine and guanciale-flavored mussels in between sips of Italian craft beer (such as Baladin Nora) and cocktails, like a whiskey-based Paloma (Midleton, Cointreau, pear brandy, grapefruit and lime juice). 42 W 48th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-262-6200)
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
It may be sacrilege to say it, but it seems that the legendary 96 -year-old Grand Central Oyster Bar, located in the epic and gorgeous hub that shares its name, is running on fumes. The surly countermen at the mile-long bar (the best seat in the house) are part of the charm, but the fishy lobster roll, overly breaded fried clams and ketchup-tasting pan roast are not. Play it safe—and classic—with a reliably awe-inspiring platter of iced, just-shucked oysters (there can be a whopping three-dozen varieties to choose from at any given time, from Baja to Plymouth Rock) and enjoy the vaulted-ceiling view. As long as the station is abuzz and the oysters good—they are—the other food is really beside the point.
Venue says: “For over 100 years we have been serving the freshest oysters & seafood in NYC! Our Oyster Happy Hour features Bluepoint Oysters, $1.25/each”