Chef friend visiting the NYC.
I have a very close friend (who happens to be a chef) coming to stay with me next week. I would like to take him out for a few great dinners - one that might be slightly expensive and one that's less so. Any ideas?
Per Se is outstanding and is VERY expensive. I'm not sure what "slightly expensive" and "less so" mean, so I'll give you recommendations that are between $150-$200 for two people with a reasonable (about $50) bottle of wine. My suggestions are Aquagrill (imo, the best seafood for the price in Manhattan) and Etats Unis (Great food and an unpretentious atmosphere). For restaurants that are more expensive but not Per Se level, I suggest Blue Hill (emphasis on fantastic ingredients because owners have a farm upstate) and Elveven Madison Park (Daniel Humm, the relatively new chef, has received a lot of buzz about his cooking).
As a chef, your friend will not want to miss an opportunity to visit the brand spanking new L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon over at the Four Seasons. It's just walk-in for now, first come first serve and he can sit at the counter to watch the action. Mr. Robuchon, the 3 Michelin star 'chef of the century', might even be on the premises during this first month. Here's an article from the NYT:
Not too expensive if prices are similar to the other locations. Tasting menu in Las Vegas is about $125 pp.
The other rec would be WD-50. Wylie Dufresne is in the forefront of the molecular gastronomy movement in this country, something your chef friend would be interested in, even if he isn't of that school. 9-course tasting menu $105.
For the less expensive dinner, Degustation might fit the bill. Once again, seats at a counter to watch the action. Spanish tapas/small plates, which is the hottest restaurant trend of the moment. Tasting menu $45 pp.
The chef friend might also enjoy a late night excursion to the hangouts NY chefs go to when they go off duty at the end of the night. Mas, for example, which is open until 4 am.
If he's interested in restaurant design, he might like to see an AvroKo interior. Stanton Social would be a great casual choice with a good nightlife vibe. Public or Quality Meats are also good AvroKo choices.
Check out the slide show.
Where is your chef friend from? That affects the recommendations because you probably want to take him somewhere with food he can't get easily where he's from. For instance, if he's from, say, L.A. or SF then we probably don't want to make Asian recs because many people say that Asian food options (particularly sushi and many Chinese regional cuisines) are waaaaay better over there than here.
If he's from a rural area or something, then I say take him for all kinds of ethnic food he might otherwise not have access to. But then, I'm an ethnic food junkie. Or do you think these expensive three- or four-star kinds of places that people are recommending are more his speed?
In no particular order:
Those would probably be on my short list of "must tries" in NYC.