Best Lunch in Mid-town, Lincoln Center area
- Mike Egan
I live in the White Mountains of NH and my wife and I will be coming to the city for our "fantasy weekend" in March. We will be arriving on a Friday around noon and would like to have lunch at a first rate area restaurant. We are staying at the Empire Hotel and in searching the web for restaurants, have three in mind.
Please give your opinion on these three and any others you would recommend. Beacon, Judson Grill, Picholine.
I recently posted a similar question about lunch on the Upper West Side, which would include the Lincoln Center area. I haven't been to Beacon or Judson's, but Picholine is very nice. I've only been there twice, but both times were very satisfactory. The Upper West Side isn't full of great food, and Picholine's is a pleasant exception.
Enjoy your trip!
I have only been there for dinner, not lunch, but I find Judson Grill excellent. Beacon gets mixed, and sometimes quite negative, reviews, but I haven't been.
Picholine without a doubt. Do a search here on Picholine, and you will see RAVES about its extraordinary cheese cart, not to mention some pretty amazing cooking for other courses as well. Picholine is in a completely other league than the other two restaurants you name - the service, ambience, and food at Picholine all strive (and usually suceed) in being those of a truly top-flight restaurant.
JUdson Grill serves good honest nouveau American food, and lunch at the bar in particular can be a good working lunch option BUT the service can be chaotic or excruciatingly slow. They're not really aiming to please on an individual level in the same way as the very best restaurants do. Also, the room is cavernous to Picholine's cozy... For me, Picholine = intriguing warm meal with people I love; Judson Grill = reliably competent meal with people I work with.
Beacon for its part is gets incredibly expensive very fast and never seems quite worth it. It's a one trick wonder - they have this wood grilling thing going on, and so you get grilled veggies and soups from grilled veggies for apps, and grilled meat or fish for entrees. Unmemorable desserts. It's clean, simple food, but you are never going to say: How did he do that or think of that? Instead, it will remind you of your own best grilling experiences (maybe more of a treat for us backyard deprived NYers than a couple from NH!!) The crowd and the atmosphere are very midtown businessy... For an "fantasy weekend" lunch, I would never pass up Picholine for this place.