One of our favorite authors, Linda Fairstein, writes crime novels based in NYC. Her lead character and friends frequent a number of restaurants in the City and Primola is one of them. She made the Clams Oreganta and the Chicken Parmesan sound so delicious, we had to try it.

Known for its celebrity, politician and mob clientele….and its great food, this iconic upper East Side Italian is always packed and most people appear to be regulars. It is a wonderful clubby atmosphere and very comfortable.

In fact, when we got our menus, there was no Clams Oreganata or Chicken Parmesan on it. Turns out these are items for “regulars” off the menu. When I ordered them, the bartender said, “sure, welcome back”. On another occasion when I ordered the same thing, the owner came over and bought us a drink. Guess it pays to be “in the know”.

This was the best Chicken Parm I have ever had. Perfectly round on the plate, about a 1/2″ think and a little crispy. I dream about it…. Other great items on the menu that we have tried: Filetto Di Vitello Harris, thinly sliced veal with mustard sauce and radicchio;  Costoletta Di Vitello Piemontese, veal chop with black truffles and puric of wild mushrooms; Petto Di Pollo Alba, breast of chicken with truffles and fontina cheese. Prices are surprisingly modest for a NYC restaurant.

Somewhat limited wine list and a little pricey, but we always seem to get some kind of special on a wine.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Not so much, but it is fun.

No stranger to “Page Six” mentions, this “clubby” Italian satisfies its “moneyed UES” clientele with “dependable” pastas at “steep prices”; count on service “with a smile” if you’re a regular, a “celebrity” or “wearing dark glasses”, though first-timers may find the “attitude” “intimidating.” ZAGAT