Under the Gun
Saturday night is my girlfriend's birthday and I would
like to take her to someplace special. I have now
called all the 3 stars listed in the Times and the
only one available before 11:00 PM is Park Bistro.
Naturally, when they said they had a table I had
Groucho's dubious reaction to the the country club
that would let him join. (Is it really any good?)
Question 1: Is Park Bistro anything to rave about?
Question 2: Anybody have any suggestions, rare finds
or otherwise special places that I might be able to
get a table at on such short notice?
Park Bistro's good, but I don't think it's special
enough to warrant 3 stars from the Times. My favorite
NY restaurant for any special occasion is Lutece. 2nd
choice is La Cote Basque. Chanterelle is also
marvelous. Have you tried any of these? Good luck!
Daniel is a perfect dinning experience, the food is
wonderful and the room is very old world elegance.
Other "special" occasion favorites are Jean Georges,
Lespinasse,le Cirque and the all time drop dead
gorgeous room, La Grenouille.
The Tonic, a lttle less pricey and not as formal, is
another favorite. I have always been pleased with the
food and service. Ask for a corner table, you will
not be disappointed.
Big mistake waiting until a week before the big event
for a table at one of the 3 star places.
My suggestion, call and put yourself on the waiting
list at Gotham Bar and Grill, Oceana and Union Square
Cafe....they're all good and cancellations do occur a
lot more frequently than you'd expect. In the
meantime, hold onto the reservation you have and don't
make the same mistake next year.
I'd add to Michael's list Gramercy Tavern (it's large
enough that there are usually no-shows and
cancellations, and you can wait at the bar, which is
lovely) and JUdson Grill (ditto). GT will run you about
$85 apiece (not including wine), and JUdson Grill will
be somewhat less. The cooking and setting are dazzling
Other alternatives: The current issue of TIME OUT/NY has
a featurette on high-quality restaurants that deliver,
often over a vast area--Balthazar and such. What could
be more romantic than your own home?
And don't forget Maestro Leff's book, THE ECLECTIC
GOURMET GUIDE TO NYC, which includes some romantic
places (depending, I guess, on your definition of
romantic), but plenty of great places that will have
plenty of room for you and your girlfriend on Saturday
That said, don't forget to cancel any reservations
you've made and don't intend to keep, including waiting
list placement. Remember--it's very likely that there
are people in your predicament who would be rescued by
Good luck and happy birthday!
Two places to think about are Aquagrill (great fish)
and The Place (decent food at decent prices, very
romantic restaurant on a cute Village block). One
other place to try is Bouley Bakery (though with the
Times review today, it will proably be hard to get in).
I have to disagree with the Tonic recommendation. I
was there on Friday night with a few friends and
thought the food was extremely average for the prices
they were charging. We spent about $80 a head for a
decent meal. For those prices, I expect a little more.
I like Park Bistro - its busy, and lively, though it
can be rather noisy as well. But the food is good and
the atmosphere is "French bistro". Good luck.