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Visiting Manhattan-- how do these places sound?

Hey all,

I'm visiting Manhattan next week w/ a girlfriend

We've already made reservation at ...
Tao, Striphouse and City Lobster and Crab Company.

Does anyone have reviews/opinions on those places? Should we reconsider and go somewhere else? Let me know! Thanks a ton!

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  1. Tao is okay, but Megu and Buddha Bar are far better food and atmosphere wise....Craftsteak is better than Striphouse too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bac528

      i have to disagree about craftsteak and strip house. i think they are on a par with one another. neither discernably better than the other, but both very good. craftsteak does have a huge space and a huge beef selection with alot of bells and whistles type desriptions of cows, feeding, quality of meat etc...

      1. re: bac528

        Yeah, skip Tao, go to Megu, Budha Bar, Budakhan or my fave, Bond Street. I would avoid City Lobster as well (kind of touristy). Usually love Strip House, but the past few times, they've been off the mark. Go to Lugers if you can get into Brooklyn or STK if you need to stay in the city.

      2. Craftsteak is better than Striphouse and actually, Palm is far better than both!!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: bac528

          blech. i've always thought the palm's steaks were the worst of all the upscale chain steakhouses... give me a ruth's chris butter bomb first.

          1. re: MBShapiro

            You mean better than Flemings??????

          2. I've always liked Tao. City Lobster and Crab Company, only was there once and thought it was nothing memorable.

            1. I'd strike City Crab off the list. Try Aquagrill instead.

              5 Replies
              1. re: KTinNYC

                Agreed. Do not waste a meal at City Crab.

                1. re: valerie

                  Definitely cross off City Lobster (so sad - I use to manage there eons ago). I don't love Tao but if I were to choose asian fusion, I'd pick Spice Market (slightly better food and a much hipper scene and decor) or Annissa - great service and lovely orchestrated meals. Instead of Strip house, I'd pick Spotted Pig - a gastropub heavy on the meats and offals - where the food is damn good and satisfying.

                  1. re: kayonyc

                    Someone on this board really ripped in to Strip House lately... I'm not sure how seriously to take that commentary but I'd definitely make sure the recs are from more current visits than "i used to go there years ago."

                    Spotted Pig is a good rec, but be prepared to wait at the bar. And be prepared to feel a bit claustrophobic... it's a very small space and there are always a lot of people waiting/drinking. It's good, but be prepared to be cramped at the bar.

                    City crab: yeah... I wouldn't recommend. If you're looking for seafood, specifiy your budget. There's no lack of really great options at all price ranges (Le Bernardin, anyone?)

                    1. re: egit

                      I was at Spotted Pig this past fri - as a party of 6 and our wait was not long at 7:30. roughly half hour to 40 mins. Enough for one drink.

                      1. re: kayonyc

                        Good info kayonyc. Will keep that in mind. Last time there was back in Dec, where the wait for a 2 top at 6PM was over an hour--midweek.

                        Maybe the buzz died down a bit. Or maybe there was some sort of xmas event or whatever. I've avoided spotted pig for that reason.

              2. Strip House is the best of that bunch. For seafood, I agree w/the rec for Aquagrill.

                1. Not a fan of Tao. They have that giant buddha. Went for a busienss dinner. Noisy, big. Not my kind of scene.

                  1. If you are staying in Mid Town (50s) you might want to go to the Red Eye Grill. 56th and 7th. Live jazz on weekends. Steaks and seafood (big on shrimp). It's close to Carnegy Hall so it can be a zoo until 8:00.
                    I also like Rothman's 54th and 5th. Old school steak house. Not cheap but worth it.

                    1. Food at Tao is mediocre at best (though the place is gorgeous). You can get better food and better decor at Buddakan, which is also Asian Fusion (but more focused on Chinese fusion). Their dim sum and appetizers are excellent and better than the entrees / rice / noodle dishes.

                      City Lobster and Crab is really not worth a trip. There are many good causal seafood places in Manhattan at a similar price range, like Pearl Oyster Bar or Shaffer City.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kobetobiko

                        I've been to Striphouse a few times now and have become quite a big fan of it. My first time, the service was quite poor, but the food made up for it. I recently ate there on Saturday night and both food and service were great. I would strongly recommend the chateaubriand for two, rare. Delicious!

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          I also think the appetizers at buddakan are much better than the entrees - personally i was a little underwhelmed with the decor when i went. call me crazy but i thought the materials looked cheap.

                        2. As has already been mentioned by several Hounds, you'd be wasting a meal at City Crab. Instead, my recommendation would be Tides, the fish/seafood "shack" on the Lower East Side. Food's delicious, and the teensy space has appealing minimalist decor and a most unique ceiling.


                          In the steakhouse category, Keens is our favorite. Excellent food, good service, and unmatchable old NY ambiance.


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: RGR

                            Hey RGR! I'm going to Keen's on Friday. I am glad to hear it's one of your favorites as your reccomendations are right on. I won a friendly bet with a coworker. Dinner at Keen's, Not a bad prize. Any specific items on the menu you might reccomend?

                            1. re: angelo04

                              Hey, angelo04, Lucky you!!

                              My husband likes the signature mutton chop which, as everyone now knows, is not really mutton but is, nevertheless, very tasty. I favor the lamb chops, which are some of the best I've had anywhere! (Yes, I know it's a considered a steakhouse, but its original name was Keens Chophouse, and that name still adorns the canopy. So....lol) We've learned from experience that certain main courses -- not the steaks -- come with a vegetable side. For example, with the mutton, it's a romaine salad, and with the lamb, it's haricots verts. So be sure to check with your waiter before you order additional sides. At various times, we've had hash browns, carrots, spinach and asparagus, all of which are excellent.

                              The meal comes with an old-fashioned touch, a dish of crudites -- carrot and celery sticks, radishes and olives -- along with a dipping sauce. That'll keep you going while you make up your mind what to order. We usually like to start with a shrimp cocktail, and we traditionally share the Coffee Cantata, which is a light, delicious way to end a fairly heavy meal.

                              You might want to start the evening with a drink in the bar room where you can view the portrait above the bar of Miss Keens in her all glory. Also, have a look at the pipes of famous people displayed in cases in the vestibule.

                              Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                              Btw, just to be accurate, there is no apostrophe in the name. Just "Keens." :-)

                          2. Maybe try A Voce or Five Points instead? Really reliable good food. Or try Little Giant or Knife and Fork? They have a $45 tasting menu.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: kam0424

                              Tried booking Dylan Prime for Memorial Day but closed! Does anyone know if Aquagrill is open?

                              1. re: Kevin S

                                For steak I like Gallaghers. The steaks are huge, but the best thing about this place is the old school vibe, the (irish) waiters in tux and the decor of the place. It is a little touristy but I have had some really great nights in here!

                            2. For seafood I would go to Blue Ribbon! For steak I always enjoy Les Halles or Sparks, but especially Luger's if you can make it out there.

                              1. Wolgang's in Tribeca is another good option for steak. I'm not sure where you are coming from, but you might want to add an italian restaurant to your list (if you like italian, of course) because NYC has some of the best italian food outside of Italy. Some good options: Beppe, Lupa, Il Buco, Cacio e Pepe, Giorgio's of Gramercy, Otto (pizza, cheese, & pasta) . . .