Then I found Tenpenny.
As I stepped inside The Gotham Hotel on 46th Street, I was immediately immersed in warmth. The kind of warmth you can only get from tables reminiscent of cutting boards, bookshelves that belong in a basement library and red walls filled with knickknacks, bottles and exposed brick.
Served over a lemon aioli with hickory-smoked trout roe, the Crispy Artichokes have ruined me forever. Never again will I be satisfied with anything else. To my surprise, the inside of the artichoke was creamy and rich, while the roe added a playful pop when I chewed. The aioli was perfect for keeping the artichoke from tasting too dry.
Salvatore smoked ricotta, broccoli rabe, poached egg and crusty bread were a flavorgasm like I've never experienced. All of the different textures joined together in a sweet symphony of flavors, with a pleasing spicy aftertaste.
I can't wait to go back for lunch. The Truffled Steak Hoagie and Pork Belly 'Tots are calling my name.