Great place to have relaxing dinner for one in midtown
Help! I will be in town by myself for one night for business and would love to enjoy a relaxing meal with great food and wine. I love all types of food and am looking for a fine dining experience. Price is not a problem. My hotel is in midtown, so anywhere within a short cab ride would be great. I don't mind eating at the bar, but not if the bar is overcrowded with people enjoying cocktails. Thanks in advance for your help!
My favorite fine dining restaurant in midtown right now is Aquavit on 55th between Park and Madison. http://www.aquavit.org/flash.html
The tasting menus are really wonderful (subtle, interesting flavors and flavor combinations) and accompanying wines are well paired. The restaurant probably requires a certain openness to fish, though, since so many of the best items on the menu involve it in some way -- so just know before you go. There's a slightly different menu in the lounge, which I haven't tried. I've seen a good number of solo diners, there.
Insieme on 51st and B'way or thereabouts is also not a bad bet for you if you want Italian. I've seen solo diners at the tables pretty frequently during dinner, here, as well.
Generally, midtown restaurants are good at accommodating solos since so many diners who pass through are in the area on business trips. You shouldn't feel uncomfortable anywhere.
If you can get into Nougatine (Columbus Circle @ Central Park West & 59th), we had a wonderful time with the tasting menu there the other night - prix fixe $68. 5 courses w/ a couple of intermediate amuses. You'll need reservations - it's always busy. You might even prefer Jean Georges - same address, fancier room.
Since it appears you have no problem dining solo at a table, I highly recommend Eleven Madison Park, which regulars know is my favorite NYC restaurant. A short cab ride from midtown, but well worth it to experience Chef Daniel Humm's exquisite French-inspired cuisine. In addition, the wine list is first-rate, service is very cordial and polished, the ambiance is relaxed, and the space is gorgeous!