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Dec 11, 2008 11:09 AM

Last minute trip to NYC - lunch, dinner, breakfast recs

So, my husband and I have one night in NYC - our first trip alone since the kids were born! We're coming by train from DC.

We need a lunch spot between Grand Central Station and the UES; pre-theatre dinner in Soho; and casual Sunday breakfast in Soho.

These don't have to be splurge kind of places, but price is not really an issue. Reservations obviously might be a problem. We don't like places that are too hip, too loud, too much of a scene... Good, seasonal food is important.

Our ideal restaurant might be Zuni Cafe in SF (although it is of course, uniquely Californian).

All suggestions welcome!

Thanks very much!

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  1. scarpetta for dinner would be a very good choice. i think you would feel right at home. show up early for your reservation and sit at the bar (like i do at zuni) for a drink or two. the creamy polenta app with truffle mushrooms and the braised short rib app beg to be combined. the pastas are very good (try the agnolotti). wine list is very balanced.

    lunch near grand central could mean sushi yasuda. the best sushi in manhattan.

    i tend to shy away from breakfast.

    3 Replies
    1. re: steve h.

      Assuming OP is coming THIS weekend...

      Scarpetta (never been but it seems like a good choice) is not really that close to Soho. More like Meatpacking District/Chelsea border. I just looked for Saturday dinner for this weekend, on OpenTable, and Scarpetta has no availability. Since it is fairly new and popular, getting a reservation may be difficult.

      For casual Sunday breakfast in Soho, it looks like Balthazar may be too much for you (loud, crowded), so I would recommend Caffe Falai, Aquagrill, or Hundred Acres as worth checking out.

      1. re: kathryn

        Yes - it is THIS weekend, so very last minute. But, since pre-theater dinner is pretty early, that might help?

        1. re: lbelber

          scarpetta keeps the front room open for walk-ins. getting a reservation won't be an issue. soho to meatpacking district is trivial.

    2. We love Spring Street Natural for a very casual, organic brunch spot. It's where the locals go!

      1. Unfortunately, steve h.'s suggestion of Yasuda is a no go because they do not serve lunch on Saturday.

        I would suggest the Cafe at Aquavit, on 55th St., b/t Park & Madison.


        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR

          ah, but esca should be open.
          crudo, spaghetti neri, good wines...

          zuni's judy rodgers would be proud.

        2. i second caffe falai for a low-key breakfast. the baked eggs are delicious.
          i love prune for lunch or dinner.
          have fun!

          1. Well, we didn't do very well finding great dining spots, but we still had a great time and ate some amazing things! Particularly...

            - Chocolates from Kee's
            - Potato bread, orange cake, etc etc from Grandaisy (Who knew potato focaccia could be so luscious: moist and earthy? We had it for afternoon snack and breakfast!)
            - Mozzarella from Joe's dairy

            Thanks to everyone who provided suggestions!