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Nov 5, 2008 08:43 AM

boston chefs in NYC in search of insane bar dining

we used to be new yorkers, but moved to boston 4 years ago and have had little time to return to the city to explore new and fun food. coming next weekend and want to eat well. we're not looking for fancy per se, but some impressive food w/equally impressive service. we like dining in a bar scene. while that does not purely denote bar stools, it should reflect our sentiment. would prefer to say within the manhattan confines, but east/west/lower/upper-- we are well versed w/the subway.

thanks in advance.

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  1. So you want casual, delicious food in a counter setting with a bustling crowd? Not too stuffy or formal?

    What about Degustation, Casa Mono or other tapas joint, the bar at Babbo, the bar at Otto, really any Batali spot, the bar at Gramercy Tavern, the bar at the Modern (many Danny Meyer places are conducive to having a meal at the bar), Momofuku Ssam Bar, Momofuku Ko, the bar at Allen & Delancey (maybe, their chef JUST left), is sushi in the cards? Sushi places are not exactly bustling but delicious nonetheless.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Blue Ribbon on is where all the chefs go after work.

      1. re: taboo

        we're very familiar w/blue ribbon. used to go there often when we lived in nyc. trying to hit up new/notable spots. thanks for the rec tho. definitely in that ilk.

        1. re: abattoir

          Irving Mill has recently gotten some buzz, their chef is ex-Resto and they definitely talk walk-ins at the bar. How about a gastropub like Spotted Pig or Jimmy's No. 43? Or a proper cocktail lounge like Pegu Club and Death & Co?

    2. This NYT article mentions a few restaurants that should fit your needs - report back if you (go)

      3 Replies
      1. re: harryharry

        Good choice, Terroir is definitely delicious and makes sense if you are doing a small plates/wine bar crawl.

        1. re: kathryn

          So, I've been getting emails from the owners almost every month on the going-ons at Terroir. We've been meaning to try it, but have not at this point. We've been to Hearth (many times) and Insieme (a couple of times). How are the dishes at Terroir?

          1. re: RCC

            Much more casual, bar snacky types of things. Delicious but not a full meal. I would maybe add it on as a prelude to a larger dinner if you are already going somewhere in the neighborhood.

      2. You might like Grayz. It's off the beaten path, but very good. It started off just doing 'bar nibbles', but the menu expanded to a full blow lunch and dinner and also became far better after Gray Kunz's departure. (I like Kunz, but this place really blossomed, post.) There's definitely seating at the bar or very near it. It still feels a little more like a bar than restaurant.

        If you want to small plates and haven't tried it, the downstairs bar at Tailor could be interesting. I'm frankly not a fan of the food, but the cocktails are interesting and mostly very good and the food worth trying once.

        Agree with Kathryn's Momofuku Ssam suggestion.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cimui

          I was at Tailor recently and tried some of the desserts (hadn't been there for real food since the opening) and was pleasantly surprised. I loved my manchego cheesecake, wrapped in a thin layer of blackberry, with graham cracker ice cream, and bits of shiso oil. My fiance also really enjoyed his soft chocolate with mole.

          For cocktails, the solids are worth a try (loved the "rice krispie" white russian in vodka milk) and the crumble was just as good as ever. Brown butter rum really hits the spot in this weather. We also tried the nutty monk (walnut infused cognac) which were also quite good, as well as was the green apple. They all seemed quite seasonal and appropriate for some brisk weather.

          They also gave us complimentary coriander cotton candy with micro cilantro and dehydrated pineapple. Seriously delicious!

        2. I highly recommend bar dining at I Sodi on Christopher St and Alta on W. 10th St. I Sodi is Italian in a sleek setting by a woman from Tuscany - great service & wines, not to mention fantastic dishes. Alta has killer creative small plates in a former meeting house. Beautiful and lively bar.

          1. Bar Room at the Modern is by far the closest to what you're looking for. Excellent food/ great service/ but best of all, a very lively bar-type atmosphere.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Spends Rent on Food

              I had a great, albeit very expensive, meal there about two weeks ago - need to post about it. But agree - nice and lively, excellent bartenders.