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"Normal" but great food in Midtown West?

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My boss and a couple of coworkers are going to New York next week. These are people who like good ol'-fashioned American-type food. A fantastic steak and great potatoes would be the ideal meal. Asian restaurants need not apply (I know, can you imagine?)

"You used to live in New York. You'll feel guilty if we end up eating at Au Bon Pain!"

"So I did... but in the Village. Not in Midtown. I don't know s*** about Midtown."

Truth be told, I've never spent much time in Midtown. It involved waiting around for the "N"ever or the "R"are and there was so much better stuff on the UWS or right around home. But I have my reputation to uphold.

I know about Le Marais -- it's where the Jewish half of the family go when they want to feel like they are having a fancy French (but still glatt kosher) meal. I know about Little Italy Pizza on 45th. But the only other Midtown West restaurant I ever bothered with (besides tea with my grandmother at the Plaza) was a long-gone fondue place on 57th just off Fifth. I know New York's Koreatown is great. But they won't eat Korean food.

Any suggestions for great "meat and potatoes" within reasonable distance of 44th/5th? I know Midtown's not the great destination but I would really like for them to be within stumbling distance of where they're staying since drinking would ideally be part of the evening. Price is really irrelevant as they'll be on an expense account.

Thanks!

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  1. DB Bistro? That's in West Midtown and it's "normal" food. Esca is very popular for seafood. Someone might recommend Marseille here pretty soon for French brasserie food. ;)

    For something a little more trendy, you might try Eatery. Also, there are Gallaghers and The Palm steakhouses.

    What's your budget?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jakew8

      Let's say $100 a head exclusive of alcohol.

    2. Keens is my recommendation. It's been in its 36th St. location b/t 5th & 6th Avs., since 1885. So, in addition to delicious steaks, chops (famous for their signature mutton chop), potatoes, etc., there's incomparable old NY ambiance, i.e., walls filled with American memorabilia and row-upon-row of old clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings, as well as pipes belonging to famous people in display cases in the vestibule. In short, the perfect destination for your boss and co-workers.

      http://www.keens.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR

        Amen! I second Keen's...what a NY experience!

        www.thelunchbelle.com

      2. del friscos, db bistro & keens are all good. esca is suppposed to be good but sound slike you are looking more for a mans meal of meat not fish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fein

          Since it is 4-star chef Daniel Boulud's contemporary take on French bistro cuisine, dbBistro's food might be a little too "fussy" for these meat-and-potatoes folks. And I agree that they should forget about Esca.

        2. If they like seafood, I've always found Docks on 3rd Avenue at about 41st street to be a safe bet when family from the Midwest comes to visit.

          1. Check out the menu at Bond 45 - 154 W. 45, bet 6th & 7th Aves. It was a happy surprise when someone took me there before theater a few weeks ago. There's a Heartland Brewery at 127 W 43, bet B'way & 6th. It's a place that will feel very friendly/familiar to folks from "way outta town"! The Brooklyn Diner near Times Square is both very NY and not - although it's not a steak place. None of these are as expensive as some of the places mentioned, but they should feel "comfy" and that may be important. I don't know if you need recs for more than one night.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Jane A.

              Thanks. We live in Orange County, and my speciality is little tiny holes-in-the-wall, so that's what I go for (well, and pizza, and bagels, and Zabar's...) when I go "home". I just never go to Times Square now that it's the family-friendly destination with gaggles of idiots posed outside the television studio windows.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Das U,

                Here you go. This may be the ultimate hole in the wall that meets your criteria:

                http://midtownlunch.com/blog/2007/11/...

                Del Frisco's
                1221 Avenue of the Americas
                between 48th & 49th

                http://www.delfriscos.com/

                1. re: fourunder

                  if you're looking for steakhouses, there's also sparks, ben benson's...and just a little farther away than keen's you've got wolfgang's in murray hill.

                  -----
                  Sparks Steak House
                  210 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

                  Wolfgang's
                  4 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016

                  Ben Benson's
                  123 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

              2. re: Jane A.

                I ate at the Brooklyn Diner near Times Square recently and thought it was beyond awful. I think it's basically a tourist trap.

                1. re: Jane A.

                  I second Bond 45. Good food, good service, never TOO crowded and loud.

                2. quality meats 57 w 58th. meat and potatoes kinda place. ask for ryan at the front. he's from la. he'll take care of you

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: eder

                    For steak and potatoes think Keens.
                    For Italian upscale think Vice Versa
                    For seafood think Esca
                    For Mediterranean think Marseille
                    (let's see -- I think that about covers it!) [g]

                    1. re: idia

                      Though I've not managed to get to ViceVersa yet, I disagree with your putting it in the upscale category. Lovely as the place may be, price-wise, with mains in the $20's, by NYC standards, that's moderate.

                      Italians in midtown where the upscale tag definitely fits are Insieme, L'Impero, and Alto. You have only to look at main course costs at those to see what I mean.

                      http://www.viceversarestaurant.com
                      http://www.restaurantinsieme.com
                      http://www.limpero.com
                      http://www.altorestaurant.com