Aix — This brasserie on the upper West Side serves a fusion of French-Moroccan-Mediterranean cuisine. For dinner, the osso bucco I had was a winner, and my dinner companion had an excellent burger with gruyere. The brie-and-lardon pissaladiere appetizer was superb. On the other hand, the bananas foster-walnut crepe was very disappointing. The texture resembled an empanada more than a crepe, and the bananas were not caramelized.
Ben's Kosher Delicatessen — This deli on 38th Street, between 8th and 7th Avenues, serves one hell of a hot pastrami sandwich. The matzo ball soup is very good too.
Osteria del Circo — The decor of this restaurant on 55th Street is colorful, filled with trapeze bars and other circus paraphernalia. It's one of two restaurants by this name that are operated by the sons of Sirio Maccioni (the other location is in Vegas). The seafood and beef carpaccio were excellent, and both of us had the duck ragu with housemade pasta, which was delightful. The wine list had a Vino Nobile by Avignonesi at $45, easily the best value on this list. The vanilla gelato was lovely, but the homemade pistachio and caffe latte gelati were bland.
Rickshaw Dumpling Bar — This restaurant on W. 23rd Street (@ 6th Ave.) was opened by someone whose proposal won a competition sponsored by NYU's business school. Diners can choose from various dumplings (steamed or fried) and then choose to eat those dumplings with or without an Asian-style soup or salad. My Thai peanut soup — pictured above — was very good. If you like your Asian food hot and spicy, you'll want to add seasonings. Prices are very reasonable.