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Nov 9, 2008 04:48 PM

Fiance's Birthday... Want to make it special for her...

I am coming to New York on Saturday November 22nd... EARLY!!! and I am leaving sometime in the early evening on Sunday November 23rd... I am just hoping I can get some help with some nice places to eat breafast, lunch, and get some snakes throughout the day... and of course dinner... I do not plan on being at the hotel much... So, there will be not eating there...

As for prices and things like that... I am up for any types of food.. she is up for anything... We both LOVE LOVE LOVE sushi... Nabu? Blue Ribbon?... I would rather keep down the price of lunch and things like that, not trying to be cheap... but I would rather save some money to have an AMAZING dinner... For lunch I heard the burgers at Peter Lugers (Spelling/Name???) are great... Also for dinner I was thinking about Gramercy Tavern or King Cole Bar... I would like something VERY VERY nice... price is not a problem for dinner... I would greatly appreciate your help... I would like someting class to Central Park, I am taking her for a carriage ride before dinner...

PS: I am staying on W. 49st... If anyone knows any good spas around there for her.. or anything like that.. please also let me know...

Again... Thank you sooo much for your help in advance...

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  1. Spa: Oasis Day spa is my favorite (it's in Murray Hill - East Side in the 30s), but I believe there are many other spas closer to your hotel.

    Grammercy Tavern and King Cole Bar aren't anywhere close to Central Park if you are doing the carriage ride before dinner and want proximity. Do you really need to do the carriage ride? I think there are far more romantic things to do in NYC that don't involve the smell of horses and would open up your location.

    Im thinking of Eleven Madison Park, Bouley, Degustation....

    6 Replies
    1. and then when you walk back you wouldn't be far from Bouley. But I prefer Chanterelle for romantic dining. AND it's in the same neighborhood.

      1. re: piegirl74

        The King Cole Bar isn't far though - just down Fifth at 54th or so. I don't know that I'd want to have a meal there, but it's a cozy place for a drink. That said, I think Jean Georges is a lovely suggestion for dinner.

        The Blue Ribbon on W. 58th is quite close to where you are staying, but I've found it increasingly expensive, though I think the quality of the sushi is decent. Yasuda, unfortunately, isn't open for lunch on the weekends. Though a little far afield -though not an expensive cab ride - is our latest favorite reasonably priced sushi place, which really has quite excellent fish, as well as cooked dishes. We've been back once since this report, and also had delivery once, and were pleased again on both occasions.

        Also, the champagne bar at the Plaza is open, and quite nice - you could have a drink there, then walk across Central Park South to Jean Georges. Cafe des Artistes is another nice and romantic place for a drink in the CPW vicinity, but I wouldn't eat there.

        1. re: MMRuth


          Thank for your reply... I am not worried about the price... It the price worth the sushi at Blue Ribbon in comparison the price/quality you would get a Yasuda? Also what about Nabu?

          1. re: FutureRestaurateur

            I've not been to Nobu, so I can't compare. I guess I'd say that I'd rather go to Yasuda any day - it's somewhat more expensive, but much better. These days we tend to end up at Blue Ribbon for lunch on the weekend, because they are open and many sushi places aren't at that time, though we recently found an excellent place in our neighborhood (UES) that is, and is very reasonable, so I suspect Blue Ribbon may fall by the wayside. Given your situation, I think I'd try one of the other non-sushi restaurants for your Saturday night dinner, and if it's convenient, you can check out Blue Ribbon for sushi. There is also one in Soho, by the way - I do prefer the room there, though the non-sushi menu is much more limited than that on 58th St. (excellent bone marrow dish) - and it can be fun to wander around there after lunch, and pop into Kee's Chocolates nearby for a truffle or too.

            By the way - I just saw that the Oak Room at the Plaza is reopening, and that might be a fun place to have a drink as well.

            1. re: MMRuth

              In terms of pure nigiri sushi, Blue Ribbon Sushi Soho (haven't been uptown) is not that great, especially in comparison to the nearby Ushiwakamaru.

              Actually if you want a special experience, you might consider Sushi Azabu, a tiny sushi restaurant hidden in the basement of a bar & grill, where a Japanese sushi chef will feed you sushi one piece at a time for a surprisingly reasonable price.

        2. re: piegirl74

          Hello Piegirl,

          Thank you for your reply, but since the site is asking that we keep it strictly food related would you mind contacting me about the spa and other things to do before dinner on my personal e-mail... I would greatly appreciate that more then you would ever know.. Thank you...

        3. Hi all--please keep your suggestions food-related. Thanks!

          1. If you want to dine close to Central Park, I would suggest Jean Georges. Superb cuisine and faultless service. To make it more romantic, request one of the two inset tables for two on either side of the dining room.


            I don't eat sushi, but my daughter and her husband love it. They're favorite is Yasuda, which most sushi fanatics agree is top-notch.


            Peter Luger (no "s") is in Brooklyn, so if you want to discuss it, best to post on the Outer Boroughs board.

            10 Replies
            1. re: RGR

              Thank you for the reply... I am not familiar with the NY area what-so-ever... How far is that Jean Georges restaurant from W. 49th? And what do you mean by inset tables for two? Also, I looked in the website and it has dinner tasting and dinner? which would you prefer? and the tasting prices are based on portions for two correct? Not that its an issue I am just curious...

              1. re: FutureRestaurateur

                In terms of distance - I'd say a cab ride to Jean Georges wouldn't be more than 10 minutes in some traffic, and, depending on where on W. 49th Street you are, it would probably be a 15 minute walk. I've not done the tasting menu at Jean Georges - just the prix fixe. The prices are per person, but note that even with the prix fixe, you'll get numerous 'extra' courses - amuse bouche, palate cleanser, mignardises.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  So what should I reasonally expect to spend on a dinner At Jean Georges? and what did you mean by the inset table?

                  1. re: FutureRestaurateur

                    I'm not sure about the inset table, but the prix fixe at Jean Georges is $98, which does include dessert. Then add in wine/drinks, tax (8.75%?) and tip - which I would certainly tip 20% there unless there were a problem, which I've never had.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      prix fixe is what exactly? and it is 98 a person? they had something on the menu that was a tasting for 148 or something like that.... is that the similar to what you are referring to? Also, the 148 is just for one person right?

                      1. re: FutureRestaurateur

                        The $98 prix fixe is three courses, plus dessert, plus the other 'complimentary' courses such as the amuse. It is $98 per person, as the $148 tasting menu is that price per person. If you click on 'dinner' under menus on the site, you'll see the prix fixe.

                    2. re: FutureRestaurateur

                      With regard to the inset tables, there are two small nooks on either side of the dining room. Each has just a single table for two where you sit side-by-side looking out toward the windows. The lighting in the nook is fairly dim which gives the space a cozy and romantic feel.

                      There are two tasting menus: the tasting of Jean-George's signature dishes and the seasonal tasting. The cost is the same for both.

                      1. re: RGR


                        is the tasting worth 149 per person? is the prix fixe worth 98? which is the better "deal"?

                        1. re: FutureRestaurateur


                          We've only been to Jean Georges once, and we had the tasting of his signatures. I think it's the best introduction to his style of cuisine.

                          As to whether something is "worth it," I suppose that depends to some degree on the capacity of one's wallet. We enjoyed that tasting dinner immensely, cost was not an issue, and it was also a special occasion. So, for us, it was totally worth it.

                          I should add that it was not only the superb cuisine but also the faultless service and lovely ambiance that made it a wondeful dining experience.

                2. re: RGR

                  Save your effort. I believe that Luger has burgers during the week only.

                3. Well, I have to say it. If you truly are a sushi lover, Masa. But to discuss Masa, you really have to examine your pay grid. Most posters don't like to suggest it b/c it is a true budget-buster (being the most expensive restaurant in the US). For slightly (arguably) lower quality, but a fraction of the cost, Yasuda. You would not be disappointed there at all.

                  New Yorkers take their sushi seriously and thus it is broadly ranging, so best to know the type of sushi you really like the best to get the experience you want. West Side Gari is great for more contemporary servings with sauces and unusual parings. Do not go to Nobu for sushi. Do go for fusion dishes like Miso black cod, hamachi yuzu, and tempura rock shrimp and the nightlife scene.

                  For the most comprehensive info on sushi in NY search the board for post by kobetobiko. He and a few others seam to be the most knowledgeable on this board.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: digsnola

                    Oh - and I do think that the WS Gari and the midtown one are open for lunch on Saturday. While I think Yasuda is better, I do like Gari too. To the OP - if you decide to try Gari, do let us know, as, IMO, all the interesting sushi is not on the menu.

                    1. re: digsnola


                      How is expensive is West Side Gari? What is your opinion on Blue ribbon?

                    2. I would deep-six the carriage ride. Those only look romantic in the movies. in reality, the horses smell! and unless you do dinner at Jean-Georges, which is certainly an option, not near anywhere you are thinking about dining.

                      I have been to recent birthday celebrations at Gramercy Tavern, Tocqueville and Beacon, and I have to say I would do any one of them again, gladly. Not only has the food always been better than excellent, the service is always spot on, not to mention all the "little birthday extras" that are lavished on the table.

                      So wherever you decide on, be sure to let them know, both when you make yore reservation AND when you arrive for dinner, that you are celebrating a special birthday.

                      If you're looking for a tasty burger lunch, you don't need to go as far as Peter Luger (Williiamsburg, Brooklyn). There are great burgers nearer by at the Parker Meridian. However, I would recommend doing the Lower East Side tour on Saturday, and having lunch at Katz's (split a pastrami sandwich). You can get hamburgers anywhere in USA!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: ChefJune

                        In your personal opinion... what is the better option... Jean Georges, Gramercy Taven, Tocqueville, or Beacon? I mean money is not an issue... but if I am going to spend 98-148 a person... I want to be satisfied... if that makes sense...

                        as for the carriage... well... it has been her "dream" to ride one... maybe save it for before ice skating the next day? I dunno... what is good to do before dinner then?

                        To Chowhound: I know I know... keep its food related... sorry, but havent you ever put on something special for someone... sorry again...

                        1. re: FutureRestaurateur

                          Hi FutureRestaurateur. The Manhattan board is for food tips in the Manhattan area. Pre-dinner activities are off topic. Thanks for understanding. Folks--please keep your tips focused on the dinner.

                          1. re: FutureRestaurateur

                            Just wanted to mention that you should try to move quickly for reservations if you are coming in November. Some places in NY (Babbo, Gramercy Tavern) open bookings 30 days prior to the date, and if you don't call on that first day you can't get a reservation unless it's at like 5:30 or 10:30. Try for reservations. In any case, you might need to have a few options if you're looking to eat at prime time....

                            Lastly: no one has mentioned Eleven Madison Park, which might be another good option for you.

                            1. re: JMJD

                              Great point. The top tier restaurants open their books 28, 30, or 31 days in advance and usually start taking reservations at 9am or 10am in the morning. If you forget, or miss the date, you might find that the restaurant is already fully committed!

                     is good for you if you want Gramercy Tavern and you're ready to pounce at midnight. IIRC, they put some tables online at exactly might. BUT restaurants that use OpenTable usually do not put ALL their availability online, saving some tables for those who phone the reservations line the next morning.

                              If I am going to celebrate a special occasion and have chosen a restaurant, I typically call that restaurant a few days ahead at a slow time (say, late afternoon) and ask what their booking policy is (how many days in advance, when the lines open, etc). Hope this helped.

                          2. re: ChefJune

                            «However, I would recommend doing the Lower East Side tour on Saturday» Just note that truly Kosher places such as Kossar's are closed on Saturday. although Katz's, Russ and Daughters and Yonah Schimmel's are open.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              My boyfriend took me to the Gramercy Tavern for my birthday and it was a really special experience. The location though is not close to central park if your idea is for a carriage ride pre or after dinner.

                              1. re: sally56

                                Note that the o.p. and his fiancee were coming here the weekend of Nov. 22nd, so if all went according to schedule, they've been and gone.

                              2. re: ChefJune

                                I agree on the Parker Meridien.