barbara, the west side is my side of town.
if you liked rue 57, continue west on 57th street, just past 8th ave to "le biarritz". lots of coworkers frequent the place, and i've never heard a bad review.
right next door is one of my old watering holes, "kennedy's". good pints of guinness and magners. and good craic. just up the block is d.j. reynolds; a somewhat rowdier place.
or go to the next light, chuck a left down 9th, and on the next block on left is "thai basil". it's a hole in the wall, but the food is deelish.
right across the street, corner 56th street is "puttanesca". dw's favourite italian place in all of the city. be sure to order the bufala mozzarella.
now, looking down 9th, for the next 25 blocks are restaurants of every description, from every corner of the globe.
if you want diner type quirky food, head uptown to 77th and broadway, past lincoln center and across from the beacon theatre, to "big nick's burger and pizza joints". another hole in the wall, but great food. a weird combination of greek, american, and health food.
if you're craving late night chinese or japanese ('till 2am), go to empire schzechuan kyoto on 69th and columbus.