Fifty Best New York Restaurants
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  Cuisine: Scandinavian  
  Location: Midtown  

AQUAVIT       Swedish/Scandinavian

The clean lines of Nordic design and cool furniture makes this venerable Scandinavian restaurant feel very modern, with dark wood tones lending warmth, and cherry blossoms in vases offering a minimalist touch. The restaurant's homemade aquavits are displayed along the wall, like pieces of art, in luminous square tankards. With an upscale business crowd in the dining room and more casual diners in the newly re-positioned cafe, Aquavit feels like the quintessential Euro restaurant in NYC.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson's excellent dishes nourish the palate with the delicate simplicity of the Scandinavian aesthetic. Foie gras ganache--cake with a gooey, duck liver center--combines wonderfully with octopus and smoked trout companions; hot smoked arctic char is enhanced by the sharpness of a green apple horseradish broth and the earthiness of black truffles and grilled asparagus; a "lobster roll" features shellfish neatly wrapped in a thin layer of tart green apple. For a closer, a goat cheese parfait with blueberry sorbet lends a light touch to the meal that never makes it feel weighty.

Samuelsson has stocked the café menu with traditional Swedish favorites such as Beef Rydberg (diced sirloin with sweet onions and raw egg), bites of herring flavored with vodka or curry and apples, and an eccentric, salty-sweet mound of egg salad and anchovies called "Gentleman's Delight." Of course, there are the aquavits. The oddest of the flavors is roasted-pumpkin-and-espresso.

65 East 55th Street      212-307-7311



  Cuisine: Greek, Seafood  
  Location: Midtown  


Greek cuisine offers a distinct and special experience for those with tastes that lean toward salt and sea. Though often overshadowed by the mainstays of Italian or French haute cuisine or such ethnic favorites as Chinese or Japanese, nobody makes more light, succulent seafood dishes than a Greek chef. And when it comes to discovering such cuisine in Manhattan, Milos is the perfect choice.

In a large airy space with tons of light and high curved ceilings, Milos offers the full range of classic Hellenic dishes with appetizers from the Milos Special-- thinly sliced, fried zucchini enhanced with a tangy dip of eggplant and fried saganaki cheese, to the main course of fresh fish, which varies daily.

Depending on the season, the weather, and the luck of the fishermen, Milos offers their fish either charcoal grilled or cooked in sea salt, with olive oil and lemon sauce, priced per pound. Besides whole fish, Milos offers another dish unique to Greek gastronomy: Lavraki and Petropsara soup-- A hearty traditional fish soup from the island of Cerigo. Take a quick voyage of Mediterranean flavors through a platter of spreads --Tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil), Tarama (fish roe, olive oil, lemon), Ktipiti (Holland peppers, feta cheese, olive oil), and Skordalia (almonds, garlic), served with eggplant croquettes and grape vine leaves.

The management prides itself on its special sources for ingredients-- from small family-owned fishing companies based in the Mediterranean, Morocco, Tunisia and Portugal to independent North American fishermen to organic farms that produce everything from their yogurt to honey (from bees fed on wild thyme flowers grown on Kythira, a small island in the Aegean Sea).

The ample wine list includes well-paired selections chosen to satisfy the oenophile.

125 West 55th Street      (212) 245-7400



  Cuisine: American, French  
  Location: Midtown  

THE MODERN     American Nouveau, French

Though situated inside the Museum of Modern Art, The Modern is no mere adjunct to the Museum--but a work of art in design and cuisine. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement of the '20s, this haute café from Restauranteur/proprietor Danny Meyer is adorned with furniture and tableware from the modernists, with a focus on the Danish style.

The Modern is actually two environments--the Bar Room and Dining Room. A little more casual and abuzz with energy, the bar offers an abbreviated version of the dining room menu with an array of over 30 savory dishes. While the bar suggests a lively, aesthetic debate, the dining area offers a more austere space ideal for reflection and conversation. The two spaces montage through a frosted glass partition. In the clean, stately dining room, patrons can admire the sculptures from the adjacent garden while enjoying the finely crafted menu.

Chef Gabriel Kreuther’s nouveau French-American cooking partly inspired by his Alsatian roots is as refined and aesthetic as the room itself. He applies a finely tuned palate that can devise unique dishes of familiar ingredients, as in the Hamachi Tuna with a tart Grapefruit sauce and spice crust, a Potato Escargot Gâteau, or a Cod graced with thin discs of Chorizo and Harissa oil. Kreuther transforms the generally prosaic Liverwurst or Roast Duck into something truly special. The restaurant offers three tasting options: three courses for $85, chef's seven-course tasting menu for $125, and a seven-course seasonal tasting menu for $138.

A meticulously chosen international wine list features more than 900 selections deep in Alsatian choices, including wines by-the-glass, and an innovative cocktail menu available both in the bar or dining space.

9 West 53rd Street      212-333-1220

The Modern


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