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Need Restaurants near Lincoln Center for early dinner

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I have ballet tickets to Lincoln Center and need to find a restaurant for 4 before the performance. I don't want anything as upscale as Picholine or Jean Georges and also don't want John's Pizza. One person has been to Trattoria and doesn't want to go there. Any suggestions, for a place not too far, preferably with a good pre-fixe, since we will be dining early. Thanks for any suggestions.

I looked at La Boite en Bois in Zagat's and that sounds like a possibility. Has anyone been? Any comments.

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  1. 61 Columbus Avenue

    It's not all that cheap, but the food is pretty good. Make sure to have the guacamole (but not too many pomegranate margaritas). I don't think there's a prix fixe though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Khaki

      Thumbs down on Rosa Mexicano near Lincoln Center. Disappointed on all accounts after having heard great reviews of the original East Side location.

      Pompous, sterile and overly corporate atmosphere (upstairs dining room) and food that was pretty bland. Outraged by made-to-order guacamole that was charged $12 per person. (we were four people, one was not there when we ordered the guacamole and the other did not even want it but apparently the waitstaff did not feel it necessary to clarify this)

      So unless you want to spend over $50 for less than a pint of guacamole that was not even that well seasoned- leave it to those on expense accounts.

    2. Haven't been to La Boite en Bois for several years now--but the three or four times I have eaten there, I've never been disappointed. The restaurant is small--can be cosy--and the staff were unfailingly polite. An upmarket environment with good food--and no pretentiousness. At least that was the case a few years ago.

      Do you like Indian cuisine? There's Sapphire on the west side of Broadway (somewhere between 61st and 63rd St.) There's a spectacular lunchtime buffet deal (good dishes!) but I don't know about dinner specials.

      There's also Fiorella's--crowded, but if you're early enough....

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lynn

        For pre-concert etc., the informal part of Shun Lee on 65th btwn Amsterdam and Columbus is hard to beat. The food is quite good, the menu is relatively light, featuring dim sum, noodles and the like and the service is pretty efficient and the location is a few minute walk from the theaters.. The entrance is to the east of the main restaurant.

      2. Gabriel's on 60th is great. Upscale Italian and a real "under the radar" winner.

        6 Replies
        1. re: df

          They passed delicious apps when we were at Gabriel for a corporate dinner last winter - but the mains were relatively huge and dull. "Avoid grilled tuna" will be my mantra from now on whenever I go out. Most places just wont cook it rare enough. My dinner companions seemed to like their pastas. However, there was no oil in my salad dressing, so the effect was rather too tart! Good breads on the table. There definitely is someone with bona fide Italian skills in the kitchen but our meals were hardly great.

          Perhaps you could recommend some dishes that this kitchen does well.

          1. re: jen kalb

            I agree the pastas are very good here. Recommend the half moons filled with ricotta,spinich and pine nuts. For the mains I liked their buttermilk baby chicken and sea bass with articoke hearts,sliced potatoes and thyme. Tried their roast kid out of curiousity one night,found out I didn't like baby goat.Good blood orange sorbet.Gennaro is also a very good UWS Italian but the line is too long on weekends.

            1. re: howard

              My husband had the baby goat - and we like goat - it was a huge mound of rather bland meat, quite surprising, not at all what we expected. NOT recommended.

            2. re: jen kalb

              Sorry to hear that. It's been a while, but the butternut squash ravioli in brown butter sage sauce was delicious. But, it's a pasta, so all the posts may be on to something.

            3. re: df

              Hope you consider Nick and Toni's on W 67, really have had two perfectly delightful meals there. It is small (although larger than La Boite), reservations pretty much requisite, but I did slide in there one evening and ate at one of two tall tables in the bar and could swing my feet while I watched the pedestrians. Picholine has been very good, despite one stinking, smirking, smarmy waiter (and one swell one), and I liked La Boite en Bois fine, but preferred N & T's to B en B, from price through food. Wood-fired ovens lend a particular saveur.

              1. re: df

                you should think about fiorello's -- good antipasto options and great deserts. also good fresh grilled fish choices.
                picholine if you want to splurge.
                tried gabriel's and Not worth it. for three of us, the bill came to $180--only two glasses of wine; entrees cost over $30. food was fine but have had just as good at gennaro's and better at picholine. also a bit stuffy, older crowd.

              2. La Boite en Bois has good food and service but it's cramped. The prix fixes there are a very good value.Gabriel's has very good Tuscan style dishes but it can be expensive. Cafe Luxembourg is also good,they have a prix fixe menu.Of the three I like Gabriel's the best.

                2 Replies
                1. re: howard

                  agree on gabriels-also good italian wine list there

                  1. re: sk

                    Had a good Whitehall Lane Merlot there once. For Italian Reds I usually drink Barbera or Dolcetto.Not much of a Chianti fan,instead I prefer Rosso di Montalcino or Rosso di Montepulciano which are tasty good values.Pieropan makes a very good Soave. For something unique try a Piedmont white grape,Arnise,anise scent,tastes a little like licorice,lemon and herbs.

                2. Epice du Traiteur upper 60's a block or so east of Bwy - French Moroccan - prices under $100 per couple incl. tip