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Recs for a single traveler (AZ Hound) in midtown for 4 days?

I'll be in town this week for work. Staying near Times Square. Our office is near 810 Seventh Ave but I'll be spending half the time near Grand Central. I'll be grabbing some meals with co-workers, but we'll all need a break from each other.

That said, are there any spots in that stomping area that are uniquely NY, but also are casual/conducive to the solo diner? Communal tables? Eateries with friendly bars where one has the elbow space to order a meal? I don't need fancy and it need not be the "best of" or trendy or toursity. I love all kinds of food, so that's not a factor. Rather, flying solo, I don't want to sit in a corner of a warmly lit romantic spot. Know what I mean? Good food. Good people.

Thanks in advance. I'm happy to suggest the same for you if coming out West.

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  1. Welcome, AZ Hound.

    First stop, the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. Go for lunch and have one of the two chowders. Tomato or cream, depending your taste. Sit at the bar, not in the restaurant. There are, in fact, two styles of bar. The high bar, with the guys shucking oysters and prepping chowders, and the low, horseshow bars, presided over by Irish women of a certain age.

    Either way, you'll have fun, and won't feel at all lonely. Chances are, the entire bar will be full of singletons like yourself.

    Other Hounds will expand on this rec, but start there, and I'll come up with some others before the weekend is out.

    - Sean

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sean Dell

      Thanks... when I originally posted, I was pondering things that are hard to find here in the desert. It's become such a melting pot of ex-pats that things escaped me. We've got a little bit of everything from all states, cuisines (including some NY institutions).

      That said, fresh seafood is a challenge. I'd be happy with a simple bisque soup or a nice crab cake... no need for 3 courses. I'm easy!

    2. try sapporo on 49th betwwen 6th and 7th great cheap japaenese noodle soup place...you can eat at the counter lots of singles try the tan tan men..noodles with sesame paste ground pork etc..addictive

      2 Replies
      1. re: reflections25

        Thanks to you as well. There's nothing better than a great Japanese noodle place. We'll figure it out in about 10 years.

        1. re: reflections25

          mmm, love Sapporo on 49th, lunch or dinner. eat at the counter.
          I always get "special miso ramen with extra vegetables" if it's cold and I'm hungry (thin slices of pork, two kinds of fish cakes sliced, extra veg is extra cabbage, spinach, corn, scallion and sprouts)
          their gyoza (pork) are very nice - "gyoza rice" gets you the dumplings, a bowl of rice and a bowl of miso soup.
          mapo tofu is also good there - mildly spicy ground pork, tofu, brown pickles, over rice

        2. Do you eat Sushi? If so, Shimizu is my favorite place to dine alone. You can talk to Shimzu (the owner and chef) or with the many other single diners who enjoy eating at the sushi bar. Also, I think you'll find most restaurants are comfortable for solo diners. There are a lot of them here in NYC. Also, you may want to consider a quick cab ride to a nearby neighborhoof just to change it up a little. Enjoy your visit!

          1 Reply
          1. re: JeremyEG

            Where's it at? Thanks. Not just for me - but anynone.

          2. If your looking for seafood, you might want to check out Redeye Grill. They have a dish with crab cake, served with 3 seared shrimp and sauteed spinach which is really amazing. Everything I have tried there has been very good and fresh. Dining at the bar is not a problen unless you go too late, then it can get very loud.

            http://www.redeyegrill.com/

            1. The bar at Bolo is great for solo diners. Also, the place is very neighborhood-y and in Gramercy on 22nd. Cute place and good, normal crowd.

              Momofuku Ssam is another great option.

              1. For one of the best Italians in town, slightly under the radar, Beppe, on 21st, just off Park. THere's a cool bar. The fries are amazing. The ribollita, if they have it on, is sublime. You won't be alone for long at that bar!

                - Sean