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SF hound in NYC for work

Hello...I'm going to be in NYC at the end of the week and have Sunday and Monday available for fabulous solo dinners.

I haven't been to Manhattan in about six years, but then I remember liking the following restaurants very much: Babbo, Lupa, Union Pacific, Bouley Bakery, Tabla, Union Square Cafe.

I'm somewhat looking for things I can't really get in SF, and for places that are solo-at-tje-bar dining friendly (which seems like a lot of NYC). Right now I'm thinking of Eleven Madison Park (I missed Humm in SF) and WD-50.

Also, I've never done the solo bar thing before--is it walk-in, or does one make a reservation?

Thanks for any and all tips!


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  1. I've solo lunched at Casa Mono (Mario Batali - tapas) and it was excellent. Its more busy at dinner, so not sure if you'd need (or can even make) a reservation to sit at the bar.

    I'm in the middle of booking expense acct type restaurants in SF for an October biz trip, and know you have quality Spanish there so not sure how unique it would be - but you may want to check out their menu online and see what you think. The razor clams and all the mushroom dishes are incredible! And, decent 1/4 bottle wine list.

    1 Reply
    1. re: evening

      Actually, there is a dearth of quality Spanish restaurants in San Francisco. Hence, imho, you are right on with your suggestion of Spanish tapas, specially Casa Mono.

      For another good Spanish tapas place, I would also suggest Tia Pol, where solo-at-the-bar dining is not uncommon. They have very good authentic tapas and specials, plus the all-Spanish wine list, by the glass or bottle, are always interesting and are in tune with the dishes.

      Another suggestion would be the bar at Balthazar. I find French bistro food in New York to be truer than the slight bias on Cal-French style that they do in the West Coast.

    2. The Food at Eleven Madison has improved quite a bit lately, and there's a decent size bar which is unlikely to require reservations.
      Tia Pol is excellent for Tapas. Blue Hill in the village has a cozy bar where they encourage dining, and would definitely be my first choice.

      1. Since you liked Union Pacific, perhaps you'd also like a different kind of fusion restaurant: A branch of a restaurant in Japan which fuses influences from other cuisines from a sort of Japanese viewpoint. The place is called Chanto; it's on 7th Av. between Charles and 10th Sts., and I went recently and had a fabulous meal there! Have a look at their website:


        When you go, I recommend that you get the $45 menu.

        1. i'm currently from NYC and in SF for work, so i figured i'd return the favors that others have left for me....

          keeping in mind the solo dining thing, here are some of my favorites:
          - definitely do wd50. while not the most inventive food in the country, it comes close.
          - wallse: haute austro-german. not fancy, not stuffy, but comfy and great food. sommelier is fantastic. on a nice corner in the west village
          - pearl oyster bar or mary's fish camp: great NE-style fish shacks. i personally prefer mary's, but this is a favorite NY hound thing to argue about. there's also Tides in the LES if you want a slightly hipper atmosphere
          - gramercy tavern is a good, classic NY place and always delicious (or you could do Hearth in the E.Village and try to sit at the counter by the kitchen)
          - pizza: una pizza napoletana. best pizza in manhattan. pricey but great. otto would work too.
          - i second Blue Hill


          1 Reply
          1. re: mas

            OH - and lunch at peter luger for the burger!

          2. If you're adventurous, try WD-50. You've never had the dishes this guy will serve you. Small place so reservations may be tough.

            1. Thank you so much for the responses, everyone--I really appreciate it. The Spanish angle never occured to me. And is Chanto the place with the chicken sashimi I read about?

              As for reservations, can they be made for the bar at most places?


              1 Reply
              1. re: Lisa Simpson

                Re: reservations: most restaurant bars are for walk-ins and don't take reservations.

              2. Please don't leave NY without trying Sushi Yasuda at the bar in front of Yasuda and Babbo or Lupa again. Have a pastrami sandwhich at Katz's. Then you can come back and rave about it all.

                1. I second that pastrami sandwich at KATZ post...why not kick it up a couple notches and make it a Rachel, (a Rueban sub the Cornbeef for Pastrami)?

                  YOU WILL NOT FIND THAT IN FRISCO!!! No where's near as good anyway...Oh, I forgot it's not PC to say Frisco in Frisco! Good thing this is the NY board!

                  How's Pluto's doing out there? Last I knew they were up to 5 stores. Now that's a place NYC could use. Viva Pluto!