4 Out of 5: Toni Hinterstoisser on New York

Toni Hinterstoisser is general manager of Andaz Wall Street, which opened in February 2010. He has more than 15 years of experience in the international hospitality industry and lives in New York wit his wife and daughter. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Hundred Acres – "I was shopping in Soho for my daughter’s birthday and I stumbled up this spot for a rest. There are these beautiful French Doors that open onto MacDougal Street. The cocktails are delicious, the food is wonderful, and their bread pudding dessert is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. The service was friendly but very, very efficient. All in all, it’s become one of my go-to places."

Keens Steakhouse – "I was searching for a great spot to take my executive team to for a celebratory meal. I wanted something that was quintessential New York City. A member of our public relations team mentioned Keen’s as it is one of New York City’s oldest steakhouses, and there is a rich history of New Yorkers and celebrities that have dined there over the years. Learning about the members of the Pipe Club at Keen’s (including Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and Albert Einstein) was so interesting to me and taught me more about the history of NYC. And the steak is delicious."

Minas Shoe Repair – "The guy that owns it is an icon, and the shoe shine is world class. Best shoe repair in New York City. In fact, the best I’ve experienced in the many countries I’ve lived in. I would travel long distances to have him care for my shoes."

Raines Law Room – "This place feels like you’ve discovered a secret. You walk down the steps of an unmarked building and find a doorbell. You ring it and all of a sudden are lead into a room that can only be described as a piece of history. The cocktails are handcrafted and delicious, and all you need to do is ring one of the bells at your table to summon one of the lovely waitstaff. Service is impeccable, drinks are perfection, and the atmosphere transports you to another time. Great to take out-of-towners to …  it shocks them every time. I love the look of awe on their face. Makes me feel very cool."

NOT SO MUCH

Locande Verde – "I loved Locande Verde when it first opened, but I feel as if the service and product have lost a bit of their luster. The cocktails don’t feel or taste the same, and the food has lost much of the ‘wow’ factor I loved it for. I used to frequent quite a bit, but haven’t been back in quite some time."

New York: Top 10 Restaurant Recession Specials

imageIf there’s one upside to the tanking economy, it’s that transcendental culinary experiences are finally accessible to the foodie cheapskates. Here’s a rundown of 10 particular pleasures of the palate and wallet, offered for the moment at a discount. Of course, “discount” is a very relative term …

10. Two-pound Lobster at Strip House, $58. Replaces their $116 four-pounder with a critter that’s half the size and half the price.

9. 2005 Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio, Mastroberardino at Union Square Cafe, $25. Wedged between the four-figure bottles on their 30-plus-page wine list are 100 new selections under $75 — Why this particular Italian wine? Because when an eatery prices a Plain-Jane Belgium beer at $9, $25 for a bottle of wine is a steal.

8. Organic corn dogs at Hundred Acres, $2. For this price we’ll not only eat a corn dog, we’ll wash it down with their $3 ice cream float — offered 5-7 p.m.

7. Wok-seared filet mignon with mixed vegetables in peanut sauce at Ruby Foos, $10. At long last, a worthy excuse to be caught in one of the irritably kitschy Pan Asian tourist magnets.

6. Free Monday panini with glass of wine at Vero Wine Bar, around $10. Booze plus carbs equals happiness — especially if part of the equation is free.

5. Lunch entrée and a glass of wine Fridays at La Grenouille, $35. So you’ll have some extra cash to put towards that $20,000 panther ring from Cartier, conveniently located across the street from the posh eatery.

4. Chicken and rice at Republic, $8. Because dammit, when the going gets rough, that’s what you eat! Luckily this is Manhattan, so the chicken comes with tasty Vietnamese rice, shiitake and wood-ear mushrooms, Asian basil, and bean paste.

3. Three-course Sunday dinner at Apiary, $35. Groaning because it’s almost Monday isn’t attractive, so treat yourself to this new prix-fixe that includes a chocolate cashew brownie tart with cashew ice cream.

2. Two-course dinner menu at Eighty One, $42. We don’t know what foie gras royale is, but we had it, and it was not only good — it was worth the heartburn.

1. Three-course prix fixe at Le Cirque’s Wine Lounge, $48. Now the only question is: Do we pair our meal with the $50 glass of 1993 Barolo, or do we go for the more affordable $48 glass of 1996 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin “la Grande dame?”