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Good Pre-Opera Eats

j
James Flannery Nov 16, 2000 11:37 AM

My wife and I will be attending the opera and we want a good pre-opera restaurant. I have read many reviews, but all of them say that the restaurants are noisy and busy before the opera. Any suggestions on a quiet/romantic pre-opera restaurant would be appreciated. Preferably French.

  1. g
    Gene Nov 17, 2000 06:53 AM

    Cafe des Artistes

    1. p
      Pam Nov 16, 2000 03:42 PM

      I LOVE Picholine, but it might be a bit noisy pre-Opera. Please do consider going there after opera for a cheese course though - the cheese selection is the best in the city, hands down, and the Maitre de Fromage, Max, makes a wonderfully theatrical presentation of the choices.

      Two other ideas pre-theater:
      -La Boite en Bois, W. 68th between Columbus and CPW.
      cute, small, country-style French food. Cash only, if I recall.
      -Two Two Two, haven't been but have heard great things, it's a bit more uptown (W. 79th street), but is in a private townhouse, supposed to be very romantic, and not a noisy scene kind of place. Got a very good review a while back in New York Magazine(I think), and they offer a $29.95 pre-fixe pre-theater menu.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Pam
        b
        Brad Nov 17, 2000 08:16 AM

        If you do decide to go to Picholine (a very wise move), and you do happen to be there on Saturday night, try their new Saturday special, Cassoulet. Had it last week - was wonderful, as good as any I've ever had in France. And the cheese, well, superb as usual.

        1. re: Brad
          p
          Pepper Nov 17, 2000 09:24 AM

          Maybe it's just me, but I'm never happy when I eat a major, highly spiced meal right before the opera--especially when augmented by half a pound of cheese. (And Lord...cassoulet? Before, say, four hours of Fidelio?)

          Eating elsewhere in the Lincoln Center area tends to be deadly.

          A meal at Pearl Oyster Bar, on the other hand, is always the right weight, and the nearby 1-9 whisks you from the Village right into the basement of Lincoln Center. An unorthodox suggestion, to be sure, but a pleasant one.

        2. re: Pam
          a
          Aaron Nov 17, 2000 10:27 AM

          Can you really go to Picholine just for the cheese course or must you eat a whole meal there?

          1. re: Aaron
            e
            Elaine Nov 17, 2000 10:59 AM

            Can definitely do cheese and wine at the bar - I've done it! Fun post-opera treat - but no reason why it couldn't be pre also.

            1. re: Aaron
              p
              Pam Nov 17, 2000 01:53 PM

              I've had several cheese-only meals pre-opera, and if they have tables available, Picholine's staff are usually very accomodating. (I've always had my cheese at the table, never at the bar.)
              Do take advantage of their great wines by the glass program...Cheese Maestro Max will steer you toward some great matches with his cheese choices.

          2. b
            Banks Nov 16, 2000 02:26 PM

            For a great fairly quiet French restaurant within a block of Lincoln Center, I'd suggest Picholine.

            The food is great and leave enough time and room to take part in the cheese cart for dessert. They have one of the best cheese selections in Manhattan (for a restaurant). I'd also recommend the squid appetizer if it is on the menu.

            Make reservations in advance.

            1. h
              Hank Nov 16, 2000 01:38 PM

              I cannot recommend any French but we do go to and like very much Gabriel's (Italian) at 11 West 60th st., between Broadway and Columbus. Service and management are excellent.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Hank
                d
                Dave Feldman Nov 16, 2000 09:56 PM

                I like Gabriel's, too, but I'm not sure it fits James's desire for a quiet/romantic restaurant.

              2. r
                R Washburn Nov 16, 2000 11:55 AM

                Hi James,
                I would recomend the Nougatine, the casual restaurant at Jeans-George (one Central Park west ?). They have a prix fixe dinner for $45 (I think). I don't think it will be too loud or over crowded. Picholine is a possibility, but rather pricey for dinner.

                Robert

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