Best Restaurant in NYC
Spending Labor Day weekend in the Big Apple. Have
only been there onces and ate at the following
restaurants: Smith and Wolenskys Steak House, Cafe de
Artiste (French-upper west side), The Post House
(Steak, East 63rd St), Giovinnias (Italian of course),
and Vongs (didn't care for this one). Loved them all
(except Vongs) but want to try someplace different but
do not want "ethnic" cuisine. Must have non smoking
area and good wine list. Tempted to try Lugers but
description sounds dark, dull, and outdated. What to
First, the vibe on the board is definitely to avoid the special turkey dinners available at many restaurants on Thanksgiving Day. I've never dined out for Thanksgiving, so I don't know, but the word is that these are not great deals.
Second, here are recommendations for American food at various price points. Since you're off Central Park I recommended all over Manhattan -- it's not that tough to get anywhere.
1. Expensive: Eleven Madison Park, on Madison Ave. at E. 24th St. Recent addition to Danny Meyer's empire. Fabulous turn-of-the-century bank-style interior (I usually hate these conversions but this one works), wonderful inventive comfort food, tending toward the exotic sometimes, but the simple dishes like skate grenobloise or rabbit are excellent too. Great desserts, reasonable, excellent wine list.
2. Expensive: Babbo, on Waverley Pl. between Washington Square Park and Sixth Avenue. Another super-nice interior (it was James Beard's fave restaurant, the duplex Coach House), fabulous, unusual wines (like Giuseppe, a northern Italian series of Barbarescos that you have to try), fabulous unusual Italian-influenced dishes emphasizing pungent sauces and ingredient combinations that pique your interest and work. You might see celebs, if you care about that sort of thing.
3. Moderate: Home, on Cornelia St. between Bleecker and W. 4th St. Tiny, warm restaurant with great home cooking. I love the cumin-encrusted pork chop and onion rings with Home's own ketchup. They specialize in the superb wines from the North Fork of Long Island -- try their own bottling.
Third, do you really want the best restaurant in NYC? There's no single best restaurant as far as I'm concerned -- best for each cuisine, perhaps, and I'm not the hugest fan of New American cooking in general. If you want to go out and have a splendid time (and splurge), though, you could try the following:
Continental: The Four Seasons, E. 52nd St. between Park and Lex -- roast pepper duck for two, foie gras with figs, all in an interior designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson in 1962. Specify the Pool Room and request a table near the pool. Unbelievably pricy.
French: Le Perigord, E. 52nd between First Ave. and the river. You don't get more old-style French than this, and the owner and waiters will baby you. Great wines, actually stored and served at cellar temperature (a necessity so far as I'm concerned). Expect to see diplomats and older people. Surprisingly reasonable for its style and location (but that doesn't mean cheap -- prix fixe starts at $52 each and rises rapidly with supplements).
Italian: So many choices it's bewildering. The best is undoubtedly Il Mulino, W. 3rd St. between Thompson and Sullivan, but it's impossible to get into, and even if you do have a reservation, you often have to wait for up to an hour at the bar. If you like to drink, this isn't much of a problem, though. Completely amazing and probably worth the wait. Expensive, though you can keep it down if you don't order too many appetizers ('cause you get vegetables, antipasto and pecorino the instant you sit down anyway).
With all these places, RESERVE, RESERVE, RESERVE!
Hope this helps. I'm sure you'll get lots of recommendations from other people too.
re: Patrick A.
Home is one of the few restaurants I return to with any regularity and, unless things have changed recently, the cumin-crusted pork chops are no longer on the menu. HOWEVER, there is always some kind of pork chop on the menu and when I ask the waitstaff about the cumin variation (I figure I should let them know that someone wants them to bring it back), invariably they come back and say that the chef doesn't know when it'll be on the menu again, but that he'll be happy to do it for me tonight. Nice, huh? I'm also partial to their bleu cheese fondue with rosemary oil as starter and the gingerbread with lemon cream for dessert.
If you are looking for the "Best," go to the newly
opened Daniel, the former location of Le Cirque. We
dined there the other night, the food and service were
sheer perfection, the decor is gorgeous. If price is
no object, 72.00 per person, spend it here. I would
urge you to make a reservation now, they are very busy.
Since you want "non-ethnic" food, and since it sounds
from the previous establishments you've been to that
price is no object, I recommend the following two
One If By Land, Two If By Sea - very classy place
(candle-lit, piano player, etc.), was once Aaron
Burr's carriage house (if you're into colonial
history), the Beef Wellington is their signature dish,
and it is outstanding! In the West Village, 17 Barrow
St (be careful, it's easy to miss).
Aureole - just as classy, decorated with bushels of
fresh flowers, formerly some famous person's townhouse
(can't remember who), ANYTHING on the menu will be
outstanding, they are constantly rated at or near the
top of Zagat's NYC restaurant guide. 34 East 61st St.
Hope you enjoy them, I know I always do!
Ahh..my favorite part of a trip - restaurant
planning! If you like steak, I urge you to
consider going to Spark's Steakhouse. They have
a superb wine list and great food. I just
tried to check and see if they won any Wine
Spectator awards but the site's temporarily
Also check the Gourmet restaurant reader survey (on
My husband and I both agree that we've always gotten mediocre steak at Smith and Wollensky. However, we have been to Peter Luger once and in terms of New York steakhouses, that's the only one we'll ever go back to. We both travel quite a bit for business and I've eaten at a lot of steakhouses in Texas and in Chicago. Peter Luger's porterhouse was the best piece of meat I have ever eaten- well marbled, incredibly tender, excellent flavor. The decor and atmosphere makes me think "testosterone filled beer hall" and I thought that was half of the charm!
If it's not too humid, you may want to take advantage of some of the restaurants that have gardens like Barolo in SoHo for Italian or Home in the West Village.
If money's no object, go to Jo Jo. Get reservations
early. Your meal, with wine, should run you around
$50-55 for dinner.
If you'd prefer something cheaper, go to one of the
really good Chinatown restaurants, like Evergreen
Shanghai (c. $15/person) on Mott St., or - even cheaper
- New York Noodle Town (corner of Bayard and Bowery),
Did you like Cafe des Artistes? I was very unhappy with
them a few years ago, but it's long enough ago that I'd
rather not make an issue of it.
Peter Luger serves, I think, the best steak anywhere.
I don't know if it even HAS a wine list.
I've been very unhappy at Cafe des Artistes the last
couple times I've been there.
Since the places you mentioned are all high end, and
you specifically said no "ethnic" cuisine, you might
try Alison on Dominick St., we had a really great meal
there, French/American food.