Hello Single Gourmets!

I have not been well the past several weeks, which is the reason why there was no October newsletter. I have extended everyone’s membership by a month, am better now (I would prefer not to be asked about it), and am on track to get the December newsletter out by the end of the first week of November (believe it or not I already have the Christmas planned).

Speaking of Christmas, there will be TWO dinners on December 25th: a Chinese feast (including Peking duck) at a new (to The Single Gourmet) restaurant, Red Peony in midtown west for $95; and a traditional 3-course Christmas dinner at Marseille for $115 (limited to 25 people, please reserve early if you want to join us). Please feel free to call me now to RSVP for those dinners; the events will be posted online soon.

November for me is a month that seems to have a split personality – some days are beautiful and sunny and warm, and then other days remind you that winter is just around the corner (brrrrr!). Some interesting November notes:

  • Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 3rd. At 2 AM in each time zone, the official time in most of the US (Hawaii, Arizona, and most territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam do not observe DST) will change to 1 AM. If you are awake (hopefully not because you are suffering from insomnia!), you can adjust your clocks at that time. Otherwise, adjust them before you go to sleep, or after you wake up, and enjoy the extra hour that day. We have a dinner that evening (at Brasserie 8½) – hopefully you won’t arrive an hour early.
  • Election Day is on November 5th this year, and in New York, you can now vote early, from October 26th to November 3rd (although if you miss that deadline, then you must vote on November 5 at your designated polling station). You can also vote early by mail with an absentee ballot (even if you won’t be outside of NY). I strongly encourage everyone, regardless of political persuasion, to vote. For more information on how to vote early or by absentee ballot, call your local Board of Elections, or the statewide board at (518) 474-6220.
  • November 11th is Veterans Day, as it always is. For the veterans reading this newsletter, thank you for your service and sacrifice.
  • Thanksgiving falls on November 28th. This year our annual Thanksgiving dinner will be at Maria Pia (details at the end of this newsletter). Black Friday of course is the next day, and there was a time when I got up at 5 AM and participated in the madness. But those days are far behind me, and now I don’t even do the online Black Friday or “cyber Monday” sales.
  • For a long time, I thought that November had to be the most popular birth month in the US: Valentine’s Day is in February, and it’s also really cold! But I did some research, and it turns out that August is the most common birth month… which means that November is actually the most popular conception month. You learn something new every day.

There is one event in October – a Halloween party! See details below.

For the first dinner in November we head back to Brasserie 8½ in Midtown East, on Sunday, November 3 (limit 20 people, please RSVP early). Next we visit Villa Berulia, a favorite of the group, in Murray Hill on Sunday, November 10, which always serves us amazing Italian food with excellent service. For the third dinner in November we will go to nearby Gramercy for a lobster night at Sal Anthony’s, on Friday, November 15 (also limited to 20 people, please RSVP early). Next Friday the 22, we go to the Theater District for fine American cuisine at Frankie and Johnnie’s. For our last dinner of the month, on Thursday, November 28, we head to Hell’s Kitchen for a mouthwatering Thanksgiving feast at Maria Pia.


at the Law Offices of Lawrence Leonard, Esq.
347 5th Ave (between E 33rd and E 34th St,
directly across from the Empire State Building)
8th Floor, Suite 812

Thursday, October 31
5 PM until… late (with optional afterparty activities)
There is no set RSVP deadline
but please RSVP by earlier rather than later if you think you’ll go

Price: FREE, costume optional

Lawrence Leonard is a former member of The Single Gourmet and has graciously invited current and former members of The Single Gourmet to join him at the annual Halloween party he hosts at his office (you are also welcome to invite friends, just please let me know). The party will start at 5 PM and go as late as people would like. There will also be some afterparty activities in the neighborhood for those who might be interested. A variety of food will be provided: Italian, Chinese, Korean, fresh fruit, and of course Halloween candy; there will also be assorted beverages (soft drinks).

As part of the entertainment there will be a juggler (who also eats fire) who has appeared on the David Letterman show. There will also be games of chance, with gift certificates to Macy’s to be awarded to the winners. Additionally, numbered tickets will be given to everyone, there will be two random drawings, and the holder of those numbers will also win gift certificates to Macy’s.

Costumes are optional, but if you decide to wear one, there will be a costume contest. The winner will receive… you guessed it! A gift certificate to Macy’s.

Brasserie 8½ (French)
9 W 57 St (between 5th & 6th Ave)

Sunday, November 3
5:30 PM optional drinks
6:30 PM dinner

$94 prix fixe includes
3 courses, glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$104 for non-members, or if RSVP is made after Wed, Oct 30
limited to 19 guests


Zagat rated 22 for “how great it is to make an entrance down a sweeping stairway at this subterranean Midtown brasserie that provides delicious French fare and cordial service in charming environs with fine art on display; it’s a decorous nexus for conversational dining.” Winner of Trip Advisor’s 2015 certificate award of excellence and 4.5 stars on Open table review site, this is a can’t miss event at a famous and fabulous restaurant.

NOTE: this dinner is limited to 19 guests, please RSVP ASAP if you would like to attend.

Our menu starts with a choice of pate, cauliflower soup, or duck confit salad; for entrees we will choose from branzino, Long Island duck breast, or seared petit filet mignon; and we finish dessert with pear tart tatin with crème fraiche ice cream or grapefruit tartlet with coconut sorbet and pistachios.

Villa Berulia (Italian)
107 E 34 St (between Park and Lex)
Sunday, November 10
5:30 PM optional drinks
6:30 PM dinner
$84 prix fixe includes
3 courses, glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$94 for non-members, or if RSVP is made after Wed, Nov 6

Since 1981, Villa Berulia has been serving delicious Croatian & Italian food in this tuxedo service old-school restaurant tucked away right out in the open on 34th street. Zagat says, “exceptional hospitality is the strong suit of this Murray Hill family affair that follows through with excellent Italian fare.” The owners offer a warm atmosphere and often personally welcome and thank you. Recommended by many members of our group over the years, it has 4 stars on Yelp and 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor.

Our menu starts with a choice of crispy calamari, minestrone soup, or Caeser salad; our entrees include mushroom risotto (vegetarian), pollo francese, filet of sole al bianco, lamb shank, and NY strip steak ($15 supplement). We finish with chef’s selection of dessert and coffee or tea. Note: supplements will be paid directly to the restaurant.

Sal Anthony’s (Lobster night!)
226 3rd Ave (corner of E 19th St)

Friday, November 15
6:30 PM optional drinks
7:30 PM dinner

$86 prix fixe includes
3 courses, glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
$96 for non-members, or if RSVP is made after Mon, Nov 11 
limited to 20 guests


Ten years after Sal Anthony’s closed on Irving Place, the Italian restaurant is back, although owner Anthony Macagnone insisted he was never really gone. He reopened the Italian restaurant in 2016 with his son Anthony Jr. at its current location, but passed away in January 2019. His son continues his tradition of serving a range of tasty food and drink at reasonable prices that will have you thinking about seconds (or thirds).

Last time we went to Sal Anthony’s was just a few months ago with their classic Italian menu, but this time we will be feasting on lobster, starting with eggplant parmesan, mozzarella & peppers, clams oreganata, or Caesar salad; we will have a choice of lobster prepared 3 different ways: fra diavolo, steamed, or oreganata; followed by dessert choices of black & white chocolate cake, fresh melon, ricotta cheesecake, or cannoli.

NOTE: this dinner is limited to 20 guests, please RSVP ASAP if you would like to attend.

Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse
320 W 46th (between 8th and 9thAve)
Friday, November 22
6:30 PM optional drinks
7:30 PM dinner
$89 prix fixe includes
3 courses, 1 glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip

$99 for non-members, or if RSVP is made after Mon, Nov 18


In the heart of the Theater District this restaurant is a celebrated Broadway fixture. A New York institution, Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse is one of the city’s oldest continued dining establishments in NYC having first opened as a speakeasy in 1926. Listed in Zagat’s “8 Old-School Steakhouses to Try in NYC”.

Our menu starts with of Frankie & Johnnie’s classic salad, Caesar salad, soup of the day, or corn bisque; petit filet mignon, broiled salmon, French style chicken breast (with sides of garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli), or lobster ravioli; followed by dessert choices of apple strudel a la mode or New York cheesecake.


319 W 51 St (between 8th & 9th Ave)
Thursday, November 28
4:00 PM optional drinks
5:00 PM dinner
$105 prix fixe includes
3 courses, glass of wine, coffee, tax & tip

$105 for non-members (no supplement for Thanksgiving)
$115 for both members and non-members
if RSVP is made after Thu, Nov 21


For 20 years Maria Pia has been serving fine Italian food to the theater and local crowd in the west 50s. Owned by restaurateur Besim Kutjak who also owns Intermezzo, Lemon Jungle, Il Bastardo, Arte Café, Gallo Nero, Cara Mia, La Carbonara, Zucca, Bocca di Bacco, and Luna Piena (which we have been to), he must be doing something right. Zagat says, “Geared to the pre-theater crowd,” this “reliable Hell’s Kitchen red-sauce joint keeps ’em coming back” with top-notch service and a beautiful garden.

Our Thanksgiving feast starts with a choice of roasted pumpkin soup or zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta in Romana sauce, followed by entrée choices of pumpkin and baby scallops risotto (dried pumpkin, baby scallops & vialone nano risotto), tagliarinne con aragosta (homemade pasta with half lobster, shrimps, clams and mussels in a spicy tomato sauce), grilled rack of lamb with roasted potato and asparagus, or baked organic turkey stuffed with onions, apples and orange sauce.