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Indulgent lunch for one?

I'll be in NYC later this week, accompanying my husband on a business trip. While he works, I'll be visiting museums and enjoying a well-deserved break from the real world. Our one dinner together (after several business dinners which I will attend) is Friday at Eleven Madison Park. But I'd like to schedule a solo special lunch for myself to celebrate a personal milestone (graduating from a master's program at Harvard in early June). Are there suggestions for a lunch spot, relatively near MOMA or the Morgan Library, where a solo middle-aged woman can enjoy a superb meal and wine without feeling out of place? TIA.

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  1. Redbird:

    I think I have the place for you.

    I found myself alone in NYC last year, in a good mood and ready to celebrate over lunch alone. So, I took myself to lunch at L'Atelier Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th. I sat at the bar (a sushi-like bar rather than a bar-bar), ordered the 4 course set menu while seeking the advice of the hostess and bartender as to the best choice for each course. Wonderful advice, comfortable environment and excellent food. Fun and delicious.

    Go for it!

    1. There are so many places that fit your description near the MoMA (and in the MoMA, itself) that you might have to narrow it down by cuisine. A short list:

      * the Modern Dining Room (the Bar Room has more interesting sounding options, but the Dining Room has much better execution and the service could not be more gracious)
      * Aquavit (or the less formal Aquavit dining room) for Swedish
      * Yasuda or Kuruma Zushi for sushi
      * Gordon Ramsay or Maze
      * Milos or Anthos for Greek
      * Insieme for Italian
      * Bar Americain for the raw bar, steak, KY hot browns, and other Americana
      * Le Bernardin
      * Town

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      Aquavit
      65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

      Sushi Yasuda
      204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

      Insieme
      777 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019

      The Modern
      9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

      Bar Americain
      152 W. 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

      Anthos
      36 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

      Milos
      125 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019

      Maze
      151 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019

      Kurumazushi
      7 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

      Gordon Ramsay at the London
      151 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019

      3 Replies
      1. re: cimui

        Hey, cimui,

        How did Bar Americain make it onto what is otherwise a very good list? Imo, there is absolutely nothing special about it!

        1. re: RGR

          I included it mostly because I like it. :)

          It's not highbrow cuisine in the same way that, say, Aquavit or EMP are highbrow--but that's partly the point. The hot potato chips are great. The raw bar, steaks, and Kentucky hot brown are pretty good. I don't know if it's still on the menu right now, but when they are, the stuffed squash blossoms are very nice, as well.

          The decor is very civilized, even cozy, if you eat upstairs. And I've always had very capable, friendly service (though I know you had a bad experience on your visit).

          I take clients, friends, and other guests here when I don't want them to be intimidated by a 'nice' NYC restaurant or when they want a taste of what 'American' food is like. I take myself there when I feel like junking out in class.

          Correction, btw: I mean to say "the less formal Aquavit Cafe", not "the less formal Aquavit Dining Room".

          1. re: cimui

            I second Bar Americain. We had brunch there on a Sunday,with my younger daughter and her beau, two or three weeks ago, and by God, it was fun! Having had dinner at Le Bernardin just the night before, it was somewhat of a study in contrasts, but not negatively so, just different. My daughter and her SO are big fans of it, and as a matter of fact, I probably plan on having dinner there the next time the four of us get together. Not everything has to be haute cuisine to be enjoyable. The mimosas were fantastic, and the Cajun Eggs Benedict I had was really great. I'd go back tomorrow, even though it would be on my dime (yeah, the kids treated us, and that pretty much capped a Manhattan weekend very, very nicely). BTW, the hot potato chips with the blue cheese dip was a favorite for all.

        1. Lots of great recommendations, and La Grenouille might fit the bill as well.

          -----
          La Grenouille
          3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

          3 Replies
          1. re: MMRuth

            Gramercy Tavern is a good place to dine alone as well.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I've only had lunch here once, a long time ago, MMRuth. I trust your tastebuds better than my memory: is this a restaurant you would go out of your way for, if you weren't already in the area?

              1. re: cimui

                Hmm - good question - I did post a review of my last visit, which wasn't over the top - but I still have such warm fuzzy feelings for the place b/c of the decor, the fact that it's really the last of its kind, the service ... and being able to get dishes like dover sole, etc. I guess I was also thinking that the little bar in the front now is so pretty, and might be a nice place for a woman to have a luxurious lunch alone.

                I think the "indulgent" in the OP's title influenced me! But it does put me in the frame of mind to wend my way down from 92nd Street to take myself out to lunch.

            2. On Thursday or Friday, they serve lunch at Gordon Ramsay's at the London, which is near MOMA. The prix fix is $45, which is a bargain, and is an excellent meal. It was not crowded when we were there, and the staff is lovely, so I am sure that you will feel very comfortable, and pampered.

              1. Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'm having a hard time deciding but am leaning towards Gordon Ramsay, Aquavit, or Jean Georges. Also thinking about Bar Boulud based on other posts on the board (although I may save that one for lunch on Saturday with the husband). I really envy the choices you have!