Had a great week in NY and some memorable meals, but sadly, this wasn't one of them. Not that it wasn't very good - it was - but it wasn't the awesome experience I expected.
I didn't have a problem getting or confirming the reservation - actually, they were very nice about it. You call one month (to the DATE) in advance at 10 a.m. ET and you get a reservation, then you call a few days before to confirm. They give you a different number so you don't get a busy signal. I had requested a table upstairs, which I highly recommend - downstairs was even noisier than upstairs, and I don't like people bumping my table all night. We waited 35 minutes for our 7:30 reservation. They were nice, but no apology. Got a great table upstairs, and ordered wine and prosecco by the glasses. For appetizers, a fresh sardine dish was very good (I love sardines), Italian salumi selection - including tongue - also very good, two others which I forget. Mushroom pasta was very good, wild boar ragu was good but not exceptional, lamb and mint "love letters" ravioli was excellent - that was the best thing we ate all night.
For main course I had the barbecued skirt steak. Again, it was good but not a standout. Grilled pork chop was perfectly cooked and flavorful - one of the best dishes. Also, all the main courses were warm but not hot. It's never a good sign when the servers put the dishes down the second they pick up the previous course. It means the food was waiting for you to finish.
For dessert, saffron panna cotta was smooth and lovely, and one of the chocolate dishes extremely rich and delicious. As I said, it was VERY GOOD. But for $350 for four people(before tip)- and all the hype - I just expected greatness. To my mind, it wasn't better than every meal we had at every neighborhood place in Tuscany, and the atmosphere did nothing to make it a special experience. Our server was all smiles while she was at the table, but only came by once for the obligatory "how is everything", then disappeared. We had to ask for water, pour our own wine, etc., (they give you little carafes when you order by the glass, which was nice - two glasses per carafe for $18-25).
It was a Thursday night, and I doubt that Mario Batali was in the kitchen. BTW - it got warm in there even on a freezing night, so dress in layers.
I'd love to hear any other experiences. Did you think it was worth it?