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Mar 20, 2008 11:05 AM

Rethinking dinner before the Met (opera) - help!

My parents are going to be here for 5 days in May, and I'm planning to hit a bunch of great restaurants, including Jean Georges, Daniel and Del Posto. Due to our schedule of other events, we have to do Jean Georges for lunch on Thursday, Daniel on Saturday night, Del Posto on Sunday night, and somewhere on the UWS on Friday night, before the opera. Having read all the great reviews about Dovetail on this board, I was planning to take them there. However, I'm thinking that Jean Georges-Dovetail-Daniel all in a row like that might be French food overkill.

So, where else could we go near the Met that is interesting? We're probably going to have lunch that day on Arthur Ave., so I don't think we'd want anything Italian. That does away with most of what I can think of (Boite en Bois, Fiorello's, etc). Right now I'm looking at Kefi as a likely contender, since it's very reasonably priced and decidedly NOT French (or Italian)! I considered Compass and Telepan, but even though I don't necessarily consider them to be FRENCH restaurants, their menus are quite similar in style to Dovetail. I've been to Telepan and enjoyed it, but I think it might just pale too much in comparison to JG and Daniel. We've been to Picholine. They probably wouldn't be interested in Rosa Mexicano, Ollie's, Empire Szechuan or even Shun Lee.

So Hounds, where to?

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  1. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill

    1 Reply
    1. re: thalthewall

      Oops - forgot to mention that my mother will not eat sushi or much fish in general. Thanks though!

    2. Frankly, I think just about everything will pale in comparison to JG and Daniel...
      I'm not sure if it fits your needs, but what about Cafe Gray?
      Or if you want something more informal-Casellula, for wine and cheese-oriented food.
      Kefi would work for me, as well-as long as you get there around the time they open-they tend to fill up quickly.
      I haven't been, but I've been thinking of trying Taboon at some point-certainly meets your "different" criteria.

      3 Replies
      1. re: David W

        Hm, Taboon looks interesting - it's definitely different! Might be a little far from the Met for my dad's knees, but we could take a cab. Casellula looks good too although I'm not sure they'll want wine-cheese type stuff, since we'll probably have a good bit of that on Arthur Ave that day. Cafe Gray is something to keep in mind as well, although their menu looks pretty much French-esqe/New American too. Thanks!

        1. re: biondanonima

          Just a note-Kefi is a longer walk than Taboon.
          There's another place I've eaten at a few times--it's not great, but it's decent-
          Epices Du Traiteur, on's a North African place (you'll need a reservation)-

          1. re: David W

            Just checked the menu - that sounds really interesting! It gets great reviews on menupages, too. I'll definitely run all of these ideas by my dad, since he's the one who will b*tch if he has to walk too far but also the one who would probably enjoy Dovetail the most. Thanks for the note on the walking distance too - we'll probably end up cabbing if we try anyplace more than 5-6 blocks away.

      2. For me, there's no such thing as French overkill! lol While the cuisine at Daniel and Jean Georges is French, they are quite dissimilar in style. I haven't been to Dovetail, but the menu is New American, and though it may use French techniques, still, it's not French.

        But if you definitely want to go in an entirely different direction, how about Asiate? I've not been, so I can't comment on the quality of the cuisine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR

          RGR, I think what I mean by "French" when I'm talking about restaurants like Dovetail, Compass, Telepan, etc is just that - "New American" cuisine with French technique. It seems like another one of this type of restaurant (same cuisine, same price range, etc) opens up every day, and they're mostly very good, but nothing that will blow anyone away (at least I've not yet been blown away!). I'd rather just eat at a truly French place and be done with it!

          Asiate looks interesting and different for sure - maybe a little fish heavy for mom's taste but if she found something to eat at Le Bernardin, she'd be fine here. Might be a good way to work in an Asian twist without taking them to an actual sushi restaurant. I'm seeing some mixed reviews, though - dunno if I want to commit to an $85 prix-fixe. I'll run this one by my dad for sure, though.

        2. Pasha (Turkish) is good, though not in the same ballpark as Jean Georges, Daniel, etc...

          Neither is Kefi, though it is also very good for a more casual meal.

          If you want something more upscale in the area, you'll end up at TWC.

          If you have time to cab it or walk, look into Aquavit, Milos, Anthos, and Maze.

          5 Replies
          1. re: cimui

            We don't necessarily need anything as upscale as Jean Georges or Daniel, in fact, something a little less upscale might be welcome. We won't have time to go much farther away than Hell's Kitchen, I don't think. Pasha might work, although we live in Sunnyside and have several excellent Turkish places right nearby. Definitely an option, though!

            1. re: biondanonima

              Why not opt for convenience and also complete the "Met Experience" and eat at the Grand Tier? You can even have desert between acts. No need to worry about hurrying out of a restaurant, trying to find a cab, etc.

              1. re: Jane A.

                Thanks for the suggestion, but as an opera singer myself I don't care for the thought of eating in the opera house. I also prefer to use intermission time to talk to friends and colleagues. Has anyone ever eaten there? How was the food?

                1. re: biondanonima

                  The food is fine, but pricey. I'm often at the Met, and my preference is to eat as close by as possible so as not to worry about getting there quickly from a distance or trudging a long way in soggy weather. Josephina's across the street is our standard pre-Met place. Nothing exceptional, but well priced and reliable and they're used to getting people out on time. A major meal pre-opera leaves me sleeping through the first act though espresso usually counteracts the snooze impulse.

              2. re: biondanonima

                Milos and Maze are close enough for you, I think. They're on 55th and 54th, respectively, both between 6th and 7th. Maze might be more "French" than you want, but Milos does authentic Greek.