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Feel good splurge meal for ex-NYer

I'm back in the city for a few days in february and i'm looking for a place for a splurge dinner on saturday night. I don't care too much about price either way, but I want it to be excellent food, good service, and relaxed - nothing too too. i also desperately want to avoid italian food since it's all i ever get to eat! it's my last meal before i fly out that night, so it has to be a place that we can eat early too. Any suggestions??? so far we are looking at one if by land and the bread bar at tabla...

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  1. I really like the Bread Bar at Tabla, though there are others here who don't. I'd skip One of By Land, though I've read that they have a new chef.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      l'impero
      Le Bernardin
      david burke and donatella

      i am sure that it is too late to get a reservation, but Per Se is a must

      1. re: cdog

        L'Impero is Italian though, I think. Aquavit might be another option.

        1. re: MMRuth

          true, but it is not your typical italian joint and might be worth taking a look.

      2. re: MMRuth

        I went this week to One of By Land because I heard they had a new chef and I really love the history of the location and all. The food was BORING, bland, and blah. Lots of B's. I had scallops that were seared and then left around until they were cold on a bed of tasteless barley and mushroom.

        The bread bar at Table is fun and casual , but not a MUST see.

        1. re: tracyw19

          Did you have that as part of the restaurant week menu? Can you expand a little on what you ate at One if by Land? Thanks.

          1. re: tracyw19

            Thanks for that OIBL update - I kind of hate dissing the place when I've not been for years, but since the reviews generally are so negative, I tend to feel compelled to chime in with a "don't go there" if no one else does. Agree w/ your categorization of Tabla.

        2. If you want a more subtle dining experience than said venues, still with excellent food, check Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar in the East Village. It's the second project of the owners of Jewel Bako (the Michelin Star sushi place). JLOB, however, is mostly French technique, a lot of seafood and provencale cuisine.

          11 Replies
          1. re: josheubank

            okay...i'm sorry! i forgot to specify no seafood. i mean on the menu is fine, but not the focus.

            and per se would be incredible, but maybe outside my budget. i could swing $100 easy if its worth it, but $300 beats me.

            1. re: drblock

              How about someplace cozy and delicious, like Hearth, Savoy, or Periyali?

              1. re: Jel212

                i've heard good things about hearth. what about the tasting room???

                1. re: drblock

                  I love Picholine - you can linger over your after-dinner cheese with some port.

                  1. re: bronwen

                    Hearth is good but i had a feeling that they were looking for something one tier above.

                    may i also suggest gramercy tavern and 11 madison park. both have recently added new chefs and both are getting rave reviews. some say gramercy is better today than with Top Chef celeb ran the kitchen.

                    1. re: cdog

                      Bread Bar at Tabla didn't seem that high-end to me, hence the Hearth recommend

                      1. re: Jel212

                        I agree w/ you about Bread Bar actually - should have said that it doesn't seem high end - it is pricey, but the room is casual in a certain way.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Aquavit

                          1. re: idia

                            these tips are great - i'm happy with casual or not. actually, would choose a relatively casual feel where we can be relaxed over fancy. the most important factors are that the food is excellent and that they won't rush us out for others

                            1. re: drblock

                              I think the Dining Room at Aquavit has quite a formal feel to it - most men in jackets, etc., though the Cafe is much more casual.

                2. re: Jel212

                  We had dinner at Savoy on Monday and it was terrific. Great food and wine, plus a cozy fire. It made for a relaxing and enjoyable meal. Our server was also very good.

            2. The food at Bread Bar is fine. But if you want knock-your-socks-off Indian cuisine, the place to find it is at Devi. The large space has unique, elegant decor; the vibe is relaxed; and you can dress casually. There are several menu options, so I'm sure there will be one suitable to your budget.

              http://www.devinyc.com

              1. How about Eleven Madison Park?

                www.thelunchbelle.com

                1. Dovetail. It's elegant but casual, not ridiculously expensive, and perhaps the best or at least most interesting food in Manhattan right now.

                  1. Thanks everyone for all the great tips - i'm going to try to fit some of the others in during the week, but the winner is daniel with a 5:30pm reservation on saturday. we're happy as clams.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: drblock

                      drblock,

                      Interesting that you've chosen Daniel since you said you wanted something that was not "too too," and Daniel is *very* too too, i.e., extremely oppulent. Nevertheless, the cuisine is superb.

                      One caution. When you have an early reservation, the service staff may attempt to rush you in insidious ways since they like to turn tables as quickly as possible, especially on a Saturday night. That's what happened to us in October. We made it clear with our reactions to several service maneurvers/faux pas that we would not be rushed. One example: My husband and our daughter's fiance asked that their tea be brought *after* dessert, but the tea arrived just as dessert was being served. Mr. R. sent the tea server away and told him to come back later. So, be on your guard!

                      Enjoy and Bon Appetit!
                      '