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A recent revisit to New York City, once again combining business and pleasure, yielded, as at the first sojourn, several new gastronomic delights – and also a major, and I do mean MAJOR, disappointment. So while my wife was slaving away at Pfizer’s midtown Manhattan office, continuing to support me in the manner to which I have become accustomed, my day was free to check out the culture & culinary flora & fauna.

After taking in an exhibition at the Pierpont Morgan Library, I made my way several blocks north to Madison & Vine, a bustling but exceedingly charming restaurant/wine bar tucked away in the boutique Library Hotel at 299 Madison Avenue (Madison & 41st Street).

This was my second luncheon here; and each was a distinct pleasure. During my first visit I ordered the restaurant’s signature dish, the extraordinary macaroni & cheese au gratin. Rich, creamy, and incredibly decadent, this is one entrée that is definitely worth the price of admission. During my second visit, I enjoyed M&V’s delicious rendition of the classic club sandwich replete with seasoned fries. No problem about portion sizes here; they are more than generous.

But the thing that sets this restaurant apart is its excellent wine list, with quite a number of interesting vintages available by the glass. Especially recommended is a first-rate Piesporter Riesling from Germany’s Mosel region. Crisp, clean, and exhibiting a remarkably refreshing acidity, it is the perfect contrasting palate-cleansing companion to that deliriously luscious mac ‘n’ cheese.

If you happen to be visiting Manhattan, and find yourself anywhere in this restaurant’s vicinity around the noon hour, Madison & Vine is definitely worth a visit.

But on to dinner… “From the sublime to the ridiculous,” which, as Napoleon once sagely noted, “is but a step…” Or, at most, a few blocks.

March 2012

January 2012

Should you be planning a sojourn to the Big Apple in the near future, here are two restaurants that are guaranteed to satisfy your sybaritic culinary soul without breaking the bank…


The Artful Diner is an independent, freelance food writer.  His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.

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