it's very important to have a neighborhood spot. it is also important to have the staff there get to know you, and say things like "having the usual?" i have experience with forging a neighborhood spot, but have never gotten as far as having them know me. my addiction to to the anonymity of nyc has somehow prevented it, i suppose.
in my old neighborhood, my spot was supper. and i really did eat the same darn thing every time i went. in lieu of the waiter doing so, i would sit down and turn to my dining companion and say "having the usual?" which meant panzanella and grilled vegetables and cacio e pepe.
only two and a half months into my brooklyn life, i have declared my neighborhood spot to be cafe luluc on smith street. have had several brunches there, and will say those are the best french fries i can remember in a while. last night i added dinner to the repertoire. our table had beet salad, mussels, pork chop, steak frite, moroccan lamb, creme brulee, chocolate cake, and hot damn! every single thing was delicious. and not very expensive. and did i mention they made me a really good vodka martini?