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Cru, L'Impero, Lupa, Jean Georges, EMP

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Will be in NYC Dec. 17-20 and have reservations at Jean Georges and EMP. We are on the waiting list for Per Se (which would take the place of JG). Basically, we want one really fancy and formal dinner (usually French), and one quintessential NYC restaurant (last time, Da Silvano was our answer for this--good food (but not amazing) and relaxing, fun atmosphere).

I would like some great italian food as well. I'm considering Cru, L'Imperio, and Lupa (and maybe Apizz?)--how do they compare (food quality, atmosphere (relaxed vs. formal, fun, etc), price) and what would you recommend? I would prefer to keep the tab to $250 (or so) for two. Thanking you in advance!

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  1. EMP and JG will both be great dining experiences. As for Italian, of those, I'd pick Lupa. But you might consider Peasant, A Voce, or Insieme. Cru isn't really Italian...is it?

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    1. re: dkstar1

      Yeah, I don't think Cru is Italian! If you're willing to drop the cash on a great bottle of wine, go to Cru. They have a huge list. If my memory is right, there are two bound volumes: Red, and White. But it is rather formal, a little stuffy, etc. However the service is excellent.

    2. I'm very high on L'Impero, especially since we just had another wonderful dinner there a few days ago, the second time since Chef Michael White took over the kitchen early this summer. I think his contemporary Italian cuisine is truly delicious. The food this time was heartier than what we had in August, as it should be. Plus, the one area that disappointed me a bit last time, dessert, has now been vastly improved with the change of pastry chefs. The wine list is excellent, and my husband was very pleased with the wine pairings suggested by our waitress in consultation with the sommelier. (I don't drink.) She also helped make the evening very pleasant by providing friendly and efficient service. The space has a subdued elegance about it, yet the ambiance is not in any way stuffy. In every way that counts, dining at L'Impero is an enjoyable experience.

      http://www.limpero.com

      1. Ditto L'Impero. It's right in your price range and really interesting and delicious. You would spend a lot more at Cru, JG or EMP.

        1. Thank you for your responses. I think I was a little unclear. Over three days, we plan to do one "over the top" dinner (right now it is JG, but we are on the waiting list at Per Se), one italian "fun" place, and the third is TBD (right now it is EMP). I know that Cru is not italian, but I thought it looked interesting anyway.

          I am now considering L'Impero, Lupa, A Voce, Insieme, and Alto. They all look so good!!!!