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Friend from out of town, please help

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hi, a good friend from japan will be in town next weekend and i'm at a loss as to where to take her. she's specifically mentioned "not anything japanese" for obvious reasons, but i'm thinking that korean or chinese food may be out too as those would be better in japan than here (because of proximity and what not).

i'm looking for good food (obviously), clean environment (fairly important), not impossible to find parking a plus (times square would be out, for example, but not necessarily, if the food is good, any place is fine), some consideration for dietary restrictions a plus (meaning, if asked to take out some ingredient, the restaurant will oblige graciously). also, the ambience is fairly important too as she is an out-of-town visitor. and some place i can get a reservation or not have to wait too long.

people have recommended buddakan, otto and momofuku ssam-bar. as for my own taste, i dislike anything too rich or creamy, and prefer simple, clean fare.

i'd appreciate any and all recommendations!!

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  1. i suggest hearth in the east village.

    1. Another option: Raphael's in Grenich village

      1 Reply
      1. re: Yaela

        Do you mean Rafaella? That place closed. Only had brunch there once and it was very mediocre.

      2. I've noticed that, at lunch, Fleur de Sel gets a lot of Japanese visitors. I think they like the delicate food presentation... and the $25 lunch. For the same reason, Jean-Georges would be good too.

        1. i think hearth is a great option.

          1. I dont think Hearth is that amazing. You should go to Babbo for a great NYC dining experience, sit at the bar, get there early so you won't have to wait. It's comprable to hearth prices, but the food is more inventive & unbeatable.