A table for one can be fun...but where?
I'm in the city for an interview all day Tuesday, and headed back home to Boston on the 7pm Acela (well, it could be later if it's worth the wait for a great meal).
I'm a very comfortable and very frequent lone diner- sometimes I even kinda prefer it, and am looking to treat myself to a fantastic dinner while I'm there.
My initial instincts would lead me to nose around the West Village somewhere, but I'm pretty open to suggestions, limited just to Manhattan this time. Brooklyn beacons soon...
In general, I'm happy to eat at the bar if that's a possibility, but a table is ok too.
I'm not particularly interested in trendy; I am interested in exceptionally delicious.
Exceptionally delicious definitely describes Chef Daniel Humm's French-inspired cuisine at Eleven Madison Park. You can eat at the bar or at a table, if one is available. The huge space is gorgeous!
Veritas is another excellent option for either bar or table dining. Chef Scott Bryan's New American cuisine doesn't have a lot of fireworks, but it is, nonetheless, superb. Also note that Veritas has one of the most extraordinary lists in the city. Way smaller and more intimate than Eleven Madison.
Enjoy and Bon Appetit!
A couple low-key options:
Caracas Arepa Bar
Bright Food Shop
If, you need to eat earlier than 5pm. The Spotted Pig (west 11th St. cor Greenwich Street)in the West Village has a limited bar menu from 2pm to 5pm serving the Pig burger with blue cheese and rosemary shoestring fries. It's a pretty chill time to hang-out there as it's probably the only time that it is not packed and you can actually enjoy the nice, laid back vibe of New York's version of a British Gastropub = pub serving gourmet food. The Gnudi, chicken liver toast and duck eggs with bottargo are also good. Interesting beers (Old Speckled Hen) on tap too. On your way to Penn Station via 1 train (by Sheridan Square) you can make a pit stop at Patisserie Claude (west 4th @ bet. 6th/7th Ave.) and grab some of his goodies to go, palmiers and coffee eclairs are very good. For a higher end, bar food experience, I'd go for the Babbo recommendation as well or attempt to try to walk in at Little Owl on Grove (they usually have space for walk-ins at the bar ) try to be there as close to 5pm as possible as it's a small space and very popular.
Thanks for the reccs. Veritas and Babbo have both been on my mind recently- good call.
As for the Pig and the Owl, I'm definitely interested, but their oozing trendiness can be kind of unappealing.
The Pig is bearable on the weekdays specially before primetime dinner time (6:30pm onwards)...it's actually the only time I would go there. It's a madhouse in the evening.
i lke these choices for 1 at the bar
jean georges (naugatine room)
belavitae(in the back with the chef)
spigolo(hard to get a rez, but easier at the bar)
as well, at the bar, Beacon 25 West 56th, and Tocqueville at 1 W. 15th.
Union Square Cafe also has great bar food and ambiance.
Look at the fantastic report for Bouley, from a lone diner on Valentine's Day.
I also support Babbo at 5.30. Kinda perfect.