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Jun 15, 2008 10:58 AM

Help Please with dress code in Manhattan

My DH and I are visiting April 17-22. We have reservations for dinners at Lupa, Gramercy Tavern dining room (9:30pm after Letterman taping) West Bank Cafe (pre-theater Wicked), Red Cat, Cafe Boulud (Sun brunch). We live in Raleigh NC which is a business casual kind of place. We are planning on dress and coat for DH at GT. Is it acceptable to wear nice capri pants and silk tops at the other places? Or only long pants or dresses? Do the NYC residents wear dress jeans and nice tops out to dinner at more casual places? We are mid 40's age. Just not sure if the definition of business casual/casual in NYC is the same as here.

I have read this board and studied the travel books. Planning a dinner/dessert at Momofuku and Chickalicious walk ins if not a long wait. It seems Mesa Grill gets mixed reviews but would love to try it since we like that type of food. We are staying at Sofitel on 44th. Any nearby rec's for dessert, grab and go breakfast or pizza? We will probably find lunches along the way of sightseeing.

Thank you

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  1. Hey, fcb,

    I presume, in your first sentence, you meant to write *June*?

    With the exception of Lupa, we have been to all the restaurants you are going to. A jacket is not required at any, including Gramercy Tavern's formal dining room. But if you want to get a bit dressed up for G.T., i.e., dress for you and jacket for Mr. fcb, you will not feel out of place since there will be a mix of dress. Long pants or a casual skirt would be your best option for pre-theater dinner at West Bank. Dress jeans will be fine for Red Cat and brunch at Cafe Boulud.

    We haven't been to Mesa Grill is ages, so I can't comment on the current status of the food.

    I adore ChikaLicious, but the wait can be seriously long because it's a tiny place with only 4 tables and 10 seats at the counter (which is where I prefer to sit so that I can watch Chika in action).

    For continental-style breakfast a short walk from the Sofitel (which is on 44th, b/t 5th & 6th), Amy's Bread is on 9th Av., b/t 46th & 47th Sts. There are a few tables in the back of the shop.

    For pizza, there's John's Pizzeria, on 44th, b/t B'way & 8th.

    For dessert:

    Junior's, on 45th St., b/t B'way & 8th, is known for their famous cheesecake.

    Marseille, on the corner of 9th Av. & 44th St., is a bright, bustling brasserie. Love the beignets and the sorbets.

    Benoit, on 55th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs., is Alain Ducasse's new bistro. Profiteroles for two and the Baba au Rhum. Yum!

    You've got lots of great eating in store. Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      I strongly recommend not going to John's in Times Square for pizza. One of the worst dining experiences in the city and also really just not very good pizza. You'd honestly be better off with Lazzarra's or Naples 45.

    2. Yes NYC is very tolerant of dress. That said, you will get better service and feel less like a tourist if you dress the part. Black pants and something nice on top is always safe. (No plaid or lime green jackets). Capris okay for day. No flip flops.
      Mesa Grill is casual, but they will stick you in the back if you look touristy (depends on the mood of the hostess). Food is very good, but noisy. Make sure you have reservations. They also serve lunch which is a bit cheaper.
      We thought ChikaLicious was overhyped and overpriced. No way the dessert for 3 people with no liquor is worth $67 dollars. Go to Payard (Lex and 73rd) sit in the front, have fabulous French pastry and coffee. Pretend you are in Paris.

      2 Replies
      1. re: meinNYC

        What's ChikaLicious' current price? The web site menu (and other online menus) still give the old price: $12 per person for dessert without wine pairings. It was $12 for quite a while, as I recall; but that dates from long before prices of flour and other ingredients went through the roof.

        203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: meinNYC

          I believe you may be confused here. My Parents and I visited ChikaLicious this past weekend and ordered the three-course prix fixe dessert ($12 ea.), $39 w/tax. Consistently, among the most reasonable deals in the city.

        2. Regarding Manhattan dress codes, I think you'll do fine if you just remember our golden commandments:

          (1) No crocs. Ever. Don't even wear then in your hotel room. We'll find out.

          (2) Velour track suits are suitable only at Raos and if you've been invited to sit at Al Sharpton's table.

          (3) No logos or clothing showing your allegiance to any sports team, college, or Nascar driver.

          (4) Pop that collar on that polo shirt under a blazer and we'll know immediately which suburb of Raleigh you're from.

          (5) Capris are cool. As long as they're black. Long pants and dresses are also cool. As long as they're black. Silk tops are acceptable. As long as they're black...or white. Colored clothing generally not welcome here.

          All kidding aside, most of the restaurants that you're going to won't care what you're wearing. You seem like great foodies so I'm sure the restaurateurs will pick up on your passion and you'll feel comfortable. You can get away with jeans and casual wear at all those restaurants. At a few of the places, you might even be able to get away with shorts (though I wouldn't recommend it.) I would dress nicest for Grammercy. Don't worry about the rest.

          By the way, get the short ribs ravioli or the chicken at GT. Two of my favorite dishes in the city. Enjoy.

          1. Dining in NYC is generally more casual these days, even at the high end. Jeans are almost always acceptable except at some 3 and all 4 star joints.

            2 Replies
            1. re: psawce

              Just rember that the jeans in NY that are okay for restaurants are dark, clean, pressed and new looking and worn with high heels. Jeans aren't the same thing everywhere.

              1. re: psawce

                I love the jeans/heels/fab top look. They must be very expensive jeans though!

              2. When i was at Mesa Grill I felt like i was eating at some middle america food court

                1 Reply