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NY Business Trip - Sunday Outing

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Hey NYC Chowhounds,

I could use some help here. I am meeting a group of Indian businessmen in NYC on a Sunday. I have the better part of the day to take them around NY before we all hop in a van and head out of town (it makes sense, I promise) that evening.

They are staying near the Museum of Modern Art, and I figure that's a good place to start. Is there a neat place to grab an early breakfast/brunch within walking distance? I figure we'll get start around 9 AM, and then make our way to the museum when it opens at 10:30.

Following that I'm thinking either Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, or Times Square to see the sights. I would really prefer not to end up paying $30 for a crappy hamburger at Ruby Tuesday's in Times Square, but I'm sure there are some decent places to eat within walking distance... so if you know of any place good to grab a late lunch of early dinner in any of those areas, please let me know!

Also - as they are from India, I think we can safely skip Indian food. Other than that - no food-type requirements. Though any restaurant needs to be able to seat 7 people, so I'm afraid that may leave out some of the good hole-in-the-wall brunch joints...

Thank you all for your help!

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  1. I'm not familiar with the museum you speak of...where is it? Upper East Side? Do you mean the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts? The only MFA I know of is in Boston!

    For early Saturday breakfast, I know that Sarabeth's at 92nd/Madison and Cafe Sabarsky both open early. For most NYers, though, the weekend is for brunch, and that is typically served 10am to mid-afternoon.

    More UES options:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/358883

    For late lunch/early dinner near Times Square, you'll need to take care of running into the pre-theater crowds. Lots of people will be dining post-matinee or pre-theatre. Walking distance also kind of depends on where you are and how far you are willing to walk.

    ToTC, ESB, and Times Square is a BIG piece of land if you combine the three. Also a party of 7 may have some trouble sans reservations. Can you be a little more specific as to where you think you'll be, when you'll be dining, if you will make reservations, and your budget, etc? Keep in mind that sales tax is 8.375% here, tipping is usually 15-20%, and also factor in any wine/beer/alcohol.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Oops! I definitely meant the Museum of Modern Art! I have edited it so everyone else sees that. As you can tell, I'm from Boston :) I was just at the MFA last weekend and have it on the brain...

      So yes - I know about the brunch culture... I was just hoping we'd be able to start at 9 so we can get in as much as we can. If all else fails, we can grab early breakfast at the hotel, hit the museum, and then grab the later half of brunch afterwards...

      So let's see - to be more specific. I will want to avoid the dining crowds at Times Square, so we can rule that out. Top of the Rock seems to be near MOMA, so we can lump those two together as the morning potion of the day. So let's say I'm looking for the following:

      - If possible: Early breakfast near MOMA. If not, then brunch near MOMA between 12 -1 PM. Because of that time and size of my party, I'll need a place that takes reservations. I'm expecting to spend between $20-35 a head - so I can't take anyone to the Rainbow Room :)

      - Following Brunch head to Times Square to poke around. No meals necessary.

      - Head around 3-4 PM to Empire State Building. Take a run up to the top. Find dinner near there. Looking at $30-50 a head. Preferably not Indian or East Asian style food, as they get plenty back home.

      Oh, and as for walking distance... figure a 15-20 minute walk max near any attraction. Otherwise we need to coordinate multiple cabs, and I'm not sure how my colleagues are going to do with the cold weather.

      Does that help?

      Thank you so much!

      1. re: Dioneo

        Where is your hotel located? There are some interesting upscale brunch options around Midtown that could probably handle a party of 7 quite well like db bistro moderne or the London Bar.

        Otherwise, Sarabeth's on Central Park South is VERY close to MOMA (5-6 blocks away as it is on 59th and MoMA is on 53rd) and the restaurant takes reservations. It's the only Sarabeth's that takes reservations! Weekend brunch starts at 8am.

        If you get hungry while you're at the museum, you will be lucky as the food there is quite good for museum food. A local entrepreneur/restaurateur, Danny Meyer, operates both the cafes inside MoMA and the restaurant next door.

        For the ESB, afterwards, I would head to Keens steakhouse, assuming your colleagues eat beef? It's very NY in terms of atmosphere, lots of Old New York touches, and you can probably keep to $30-50 a head in the pub room. It's probably the opposite of Indian or East Asian style food. Another option is BBQ. Perhaps Hill Country, which is a little further or a walk, but you could try some authentic American style BBQ (Texan to be exact).

        1. re: kathryn

          I'm pretty sure the hotel people are staying at is the Hilton at 6th and 54th - that looks like it is a few blocks away from MOMA, and hence my focus on sticking nearby. It looks like it would just be easier... I'm checking out Sarabeth's online and it looks perfect! Db Bistro and London Bar look nice as well... DB Bistro may be a bit far in the opposite direction, so I'm thinking London Bar or Sarabeth's...

          Keen's steakhouse also sounds like a good selection, but I'll have to check on whether or not they eat beef. We're heading down to Arlington, VA afterwards, and I have a feeling that our hosts down there may take us to BBQ... BUT. Hill Country sounds lovely as well. I'll start posing some questions to people on my end.

          Thank you SO much for your help!

          Also - for other reading this thread, I'm not set in stone on my choices here, so I'd love to hear other suggestions as well!

          1. re: Dioneo

            You're welcome! Also, I should note that the Hilton at 53rd and 6th is opposite a very famous halal cart that appears around 7pm each night. It is a very tasty lamb and chicken and rice snack but not too much money, should your guests be jetlagged and hungry the night before.

            Also in terms of BBQ, I'm guessing that the style will be quite different from what you find in Virginia. Hill Country is known for brisket, and specials like beer can chicken, and less so for pork.

            1. re: kathryn

              thanks for the tip! I don't know if I'll catch the Halal this time around, but I will keep it in mind for my own future NY trips. We unfortunately don't have food wagons like that in Boston. It makes me sad...

    2. If your business colleagues are from out of town, you must must must visit Asiate. It is on the 34th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Columbus circle, and features the best public view of the city (overlooking Central Park and Columbus circle). The food is very clean, fresh and inventive, and absolutely delicious. Reserve the corner table - I promise this is the best place to go, and even better to spend your money here on lunch than visiting Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building, as those lines are very long (2 hours during weekday lunch) and the view is crowded and anticlimactic.