Late dinner for an out of towner?
I'm going to be in New York with my parents for the weekend and my flight is arriving on Friday evening. I have a reservation for Lupa at 10pm, but that's pretty close to my arrival time, so I'd like to have a backup in case I don't make it. I've been doing a lot of research and here's my list of restaurants that seemed interesting and good:
La Bonne Soupe
Which one of these would you choose for a late dinner? First priority is food quality, of course, but this is my first trip to New York in many years and I'd like to go somewhere that will make a good first impression (i.e. it would be nice if it's a place that's still populated and pleasant, but not rowdy or deafening, at 11pm).
I like both Cafe d'Alsace and Balthazar, and would just choose the one closer to you, though I suspect Balthazar is more likely to be bustling than Cafe d'Alsace. But then, I'm not usually up that late! I do find Cafe d'Alsace noisy, and sometimes it's difficult to have a conversation there. Haven't been to Gascogne in years, nor have I been to any of the others.
I would pick Marseille or Orso. They get a lot of after-theater diners, so going late is fine. You would not need to reserve at Marseilles, but probably would at Orso. That said, I think you would probably be okay going late to Lupa, though they may not hold your reservation. I would let them know when you confirm that you may be late, and ask if they can be flexible, but I think they remain busy until very late, as I once called and asked how long the wait was at 10:30 without a res, and they said it could be up to an hour.
Of those on your list, we've been to the first four. Obviously, all French -- our favorite cuisine -- so on the basis of food quality alone, I'd choose Gascogne though Marseille would be a close second. When it comes to ambiance, they couldn't be more different. Gascogne is a small, charming, romantic bistro, while Marseille is a fairly large, lively (though never deafening) brasserie with eye-catching decor.
Of those listed here, I think Balthazar is a great choice at that hour. I suggest you call them and make a 10:30 reservation as a plan B.
Marseille is nice, but nothing special, IMO. I have been there a couple of times for pre-theater dinners (they are one of the best b'way area options), but I wouldn't go there if I didn't need to be in the neighborhood.
Crispo is fun and has very good food. I go there quite often. In my experience, the bar area is very loud, but volume has always died down by 10 PM. If you are getting there after 10 PM, there shouldn't be an issue (you'll need a res on a Friday, though). If you miss out on Lupa and are really in the mood for Italian, go for it.
La Bonne Soupe is lovely if you are in the neighborhood, but I don't know if I would actually go out of my way for them, either.
I've never been to the rest. though I can't imagine any of them would be rowdy at 11 PM. In fact, I would check to make certain they will still seat you if you do get there at that time.
Have a great weekend :)