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Jan 13, 2008 08:04 AM

Celebrity restaurant for out-of-towners

My buddy's girlfriend wanted to go to Babbo when they are in town in Feb. However, no reservations available. Last time they came in town, we went to Les Halles because she likes Anthony Bourdain. I like Les Halles, but it's nothing special. (I didn't mention that in her presence, of course.) I was thinking about Lupa. I wanted to avoid Del Posto (I had 3 great meals there, and two that were okay, all on business clients' dime) since I can't guarantee an incredible meal, but I can guarantee a steep bill. I also didn't want to get stuck in the lines at Otto. Has anyone been to Lupa recently? any good or bad things to say about it?

Also, I was considering one of Bobby Flay's places- Bar Americain or Mesa Grill. I had one good meal at BA, and two fair meals there right after it opened a couple years ago (again on business). I actually never went to Mesa Grill. If anyone has any comments on these two it would certainly be appreciated.


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  1. I really enjoyed Lupa. I wish it were easier to get a reservation. Tried Mesa Grill a few times some years ago and thought it overpriced for the quality. A lot of people like Mesa Grill so it may just be a matter of personal taste, but Lupa is certainly a much better value. Crispo is also a good choice and easy to reserve. I don't think much of Otto.

    1. For places with outrageously hard-to-get-in-to reservations, there's a great website called: where you pay a small fee for one of those reservations. Worked for me! I went to Babbo last night. Fantastic!

      1 Reply
      1. re: LeahBaila

        Is this Karine Bakhoum's (?spelling) husband's venture?

      2. I recently ate at BA and while it was ok, I expected it to be better then it was. My cocktail "the Hemingway" was my favorite part of the meal. Also liked the blue cheese potato chips. Went to Lupa last week, it was good too. If I had to decide right now while I haven't been there in a number of years, I'm in the mood to go back to Mesa Grill. There was always a good vibe, the drinks were good, and the food if memory serves correctly was better then BA's (although one meal was too salty). Also, I haven't been there in awhile either, but my friends say Esca is still very good.

        1. Lupa is quite good but I dont think it measures up to Babbo.

          Does your friend only want to go to Iron Chefs' restaurants? Because there are many other celebrity chef restaurants in town, such as chefs and judges from Top Chef, the French iconic chefs, etc.

          Don't forget, Morimoto also has a restaurant in Meatpacking district

          1. What about Perilla? It certainly has great buzz as the restaurant of the first "Top Chef," Harold Dieterle, and everyone I know, and everything I've read about it sounds delicious and inviting.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

              I second Perilla. Great suggestion. I don't give much thought to whether the chef is a "celebrity" but I have had a number of faultless meals at Perilla. It's delicious, interesting food, and the ambience and service are just right.

              1. re: ChefJune

                Same with the two Anne Burrell (Iron Chef sous chef) places.