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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Great restaurants and other travel tips for the 2006 U.S. Open

Most savvy New Yorkers are taking the train to the U.S. Open this week. Metro North runs from Grand Central Station every half hour to Mamaroneck all day and even into the night to get those who came into the city for dinner back to their hotels upstate. Likewise, trains run every half hour from Mamaroneck back to Grand Central. The train station is only one mile from the main entry gate of Winged Foot. Those driving to the tournament will park anywhere from nine to eighteen miles away. Shuttles run back and forth, but still the ride is much longer than the one endured by rail riders.

U.S. Open patrons can even catch the train into Manhattan for dinner and have ample time to get back for the last train back to Mamaroneck (11 PM) or other Metro North points. Here are some great dinner choices in Manhattan:


Don't want to pay $200 at Nobu or Sushi Yasuda? Koi (formerly Iso) has a broad menu, great shellfish specials, a terrific crab soup and low prices. Keith Haring art graces the walls. 175 Seecond Ave (at 11th St.) For a similarly diverse menu and flawless execution, try Sushi Zen on 44th and 6th Ave.


The great Manhattan trio of Greek Restaurants - Milos, Avra and Meltemi give the tavernas of Astoria more than they can handle. Milos is king with its tall ceilings and "fish so fresh it swims to your plate - but you pay for the laps." 55th tween 6 & 7. Avra (48th St and 3rd Ave has more Taverna-like digs than Meltemi (1st ave and 51st), but higher prices.


Bobby Flay rules the roost with Mesa Grill (5th Ave. tween 15 & 16) and Cafe Americain (54th tween 6 & 7), but Pompano a Mexican seafood restaurant has carved out a rabid following and definitely should be on your short list. 49th and 3rd ave, next to Smith & Wallensky's


Right on cue, my top three NYC steakhouses are 1) Peter Lugers (Brooklyn), 2 Smith & Wallensky's (even with the silly ads) and SURPRISE! Angelo & Maxies (I like the park ave south and 20th st location. Great, huge inexpensive steaks. Since La Jumelle closed, it's the best steak value in town.


Now for something completely different. Focusing more on seafood than pedestrian kabobs, Dalga Seafood is a competitively priced deliciously decadent Turkish delight. 1st ave and 61st st.

Writer's hangouts:

well of course most are at Chumleys (sorry...can't give you the locale), but I prefer the food at their sister writer's bar/tavern, the Blue Mill tavern, 50 Commerce Street...in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Bon Appetit and have a great week.
Pic of the day: The Winged Foot Clubhouse - homebase and command center for the week.


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