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Nov 27, 2000 07:14 AM

Scenario: If you could only go to four-five restaurants in NYC...which would you choose?

  • m

I am going to NYC for several days around New Year's
and am trying to compile my restaurant list and make reservations as necessary.

Ideally, I'd like to try four-five places, at which I would be willing to make a reservation and spend a bit as necessary, for lunch or dinner.

My criteria are: 1) food quality 2) wine list 3) service 4) ambiance, in that order. I'm not averse to eating in the 'cafe', 'bar' or other 'annex' of a main restaurant if it's basically the same food, same chef scenario. They don't all have to meet all four criteria but they should meet at one of the first three! And if it's a total, cheap dive in a with fantastic food - then that's fine too.

I'd like to try: 1 French; 1 Italian; 1 "eclectic" or creative; 1 "American"; and 1 other

I'm saving the 'rooms with a view' for drinks only unless someone advises that there's a place where great food can be had while gazing over city lights.

Howler seems to the be the only one who really dissed Tabla in a big way...his anti-fusion argument is interesting but I'm willing to overlook the philosophy if the food is superb. Question is whether I'd be just as happy (and get away more cheaply!) by eating at the bar, and therefore I wouldn't 'use up' my 'eclectic/creative' allocation.

Lupa seems a good bet on the Italian...French & American & other wild cards. I'm thinking USC or Gramercy Tavern? Can anyone comment on American Place?
Has anyone been to the Russian Tea Room lately?

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  1. Forgot to mention a steak house.

    1 Reply
    1. re: magnolia
      Michael Shriro

      Peter Lugar's in Brooklyn.

    2. 1. Italian: Lupa
      2. American: Gramercy Tavern
      3. Scandanavian (eclectic, given the chef): Aquavit
      4. Danube (E. European -- hungarian?!)
      5. Union Pacific (haven't been, hear it's perfect)

      1. 1)Tabla (Upstairs but also downstairs if you do not have a reservation as it is open seating).

        2)Gramercy Tavern


        4) Veritas Fabulous wine list at exceptional prices with very good food.

        5) Peter Luger or Sparks for steak

        6)Tocqueville,(East 15th St.) not yet very well known with wonderful food, service and ambiance. Small, quiet and romantic. To me, a must try for the whole forum.

        1. If I only had four or five meals in New York, I would be tempted to eat them all at Pearl Oyster House. That would be just enough time to work your way through the rather small menu, with seconds on the fried oysters, the perfect lobster roll and the salted shrimp.

          Anyway, bearing in mind that you probably aren't looking for experiences you can easily replicate in London:

          American restaurant: the Lobster Club, on the Upper East Side, which has extremely good seafood, a wonderful list of American whites and a swell neighborhood feel. (I also like An American Place quite a lot, but it has something of the feel of a grand museum display to it.) Other possibilities include Gotham Bar & Grill (magnificent squab) and the often-overlooked Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn, which has the most beautiful old dining room in New York--still gaslit. Or Veritas, of the astonishing wine list.

          Italian: Esca. Amazing sea urchin risotto and raw-seafood dishes.

          Steak: Peter Luger.

          French: Lespinasse, especially for a suckling pig lunch. The most refined of the big-ticket places. Or Bourdain's surly-yet-wonderful bistro Les Halles for confit and blood sausage.

          Eclectic: Sono. Japanese cooking as reinvented by a Japanese chef with impeccable French technique. Leagues above the dreadful chinoiserie of Tabla, AZ or...Chinoiserie.

          1. Daniel