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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Upper West Side Break the Bank Great

I love watching the Oscars. Well, actually, let me rephrase, I love watching the Red Carpet. I mean, the awards themselves can be okay if you get a good speech and a fun zinger from someone like Jon Stewart. (My favorite line this year was when he told the brief story of Diablo Cody, who wrote the screenplay for Juno. He explained that she had gone from being an exotic dancer to a screenwriter. After a pregnant pause, he asked how she was enjoying the pay cut.) But like most people, my favorite part of Oscars is the Red Carpet. I’m a total sucker for the dresses and the hair, and the glamour and the gossip and all that. But what amazes me every year is that these women who are blessed with not only natural beauty, slammin’ figures, but also gobs of money, and unlimited access to stylists, hair and makeup artists and more, can turn up looking like complete train wrecks. It’s something that’s always puzzled me. You’ve gotta try really hard to look bad when you have access to all that help.

Interestingly enough, it is this thought that occurred to me after my divine meal at Dovetail—a modern outpost for American food on the Upper West Side, just a dinosaur’s length from the Museum of Natural History. How in the world can you serve food this good, this inspired, in a room this plain ugly? I mean, here you have access to funds (there’s money in this project) and talent, and you come up with this? Forget how you do it, tell me why you do it. I mean this room is a disaster of Tilda Swinton proportions.

The room, designed by Richard Bloch (who also designed Masa), is dismal and depressing, padded with such an abundance of cloudy gray that I feared a clap of thunder might interrupt our dinner. There’s no levity, no light, no break from the dreariness of the oppressive gloomy décor. An archway of raw brick feels misplaced and gives the room an unfinished feel. The few windows are covered in bland beige sheers that look cheap, as though they came off a dusty rack at Bed, Bath & Beyond. There’s no way around it. This room needs life.

The setup of the space is also frustrating. You enter a small foyer with a choice to go up to a host desk or down to a windowless dining room and restrooms. You’ll find the bar is more of a service bar and it’s sort of this awkward way station reached before you get to the dining room and offers a few high top table ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Upper West Side :
+ 'Cesca   + Asiate   + Blue Hill Stone Barns   + Per Se   + The Neptune Room   + Spigolo   + Telepan   + Aix Brasserie   + 'Cesca   + Bar Boulud   + Dovetail   + BarBao   + Dinosaur Bar-be-Que   + Kefi   + Bar Luna   + Ed's Chowder House   + Red Rooster, by Rachel Barbarotta   + Loi by Dara Pollak   

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