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Dec 11, 2008 05:43 PM

Indulgent dinner the Monday before Xmas

I'm getting together with a friend who lives in Manhattan who I haven't seen in a couple of years. We're having dinner on the Monday before Xmas (so the restaurant would have to be open on Monday). I would prefer a comfortable, old School restaurant with professional waitstaff where we can hear ourselves talk while we catch up for an indulgent dinner. A couple of places that we've dined in the past include Craft when it first opened and City Hall Restaurant which looked beautiful on a snowy Winter's night. He liked them both.

Also, I'd like suggestions for places that takes reservations so that we're not waiting at the bar for 2 hours for our table (eliminating some upscale gastropubs, I believe).

I thought about Keen's. I've been to the pub but not the dining room. The old School atmosphere is great but I'd like to hear some other suggestions, as well.

Thank you!

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  1. Have you thought of Capsouto Freres? Have the souffle.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PaulineF

      Ah, Capsouto Freres! I went there once with 2 friends. We had a lovely time catching up and I have happy memories from that night. The service was excellent, the wine was very good but we were a little disappointed by our food. Do you think I might have just been there on an off night (in other words, have you found the food to be excellent when you've gone)?

      Thanks for your post!

      1. re: ToastMaster

        No. Besides the souffles, food is disappointing.

      2. You can't get more "old school" than Le Perigord on East 52nd. I think Scaletta on W. 77th has the right feel too - and a peppier menu.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jane A.

          I don’t understand the love for Scaletta. Was there maybe six months ago with two friends. The restaurant is underground, and feels like it. It’s old world only in the sense that it’s worn around the edges and the waiters are older than I am. The place was three-quarters empty. The other woman I was with and I were the only two women in the place. There was a big, round table with some soccer-team alums who were obviously having a great time. I was thankful they were there or the place would have been dead. I recall excellent service, but can’t remember a thing any of us ate and that’s not good, is it?

          What am I missing? Why do people seem to be so fond of this place?

        2. Thanks, ladies! Le Perigord sounds great. I'm not sure if I can get my friend to dress in a dinner jacket but will try. If not, are there other places you might suggest?

          1. 4 more questions:

            1. What do people think of Blue HIll? I've only had drinks there. Obviously, the food is supposed to be great. It seems a bit stiff, though.

            2. Le Perigord and La Grenouille look beautiful. However, both seem very formal. Is there a more comfortable (maybe that's not the right word) upscale restaurant where my friend doesn't have to wear a jacket?

            3. What is Il Mulino like for dinner? I've only been there for lunch. I would think it would be noisy and a bit claustrophic which doesn't sound too relaxing.

            4. Thoughts on Raoul's?

            2 Replies
            1. re: ToastMaster

              Now I'm confused. To me "old school" means somewhat dressed or formal. "Old school" was never casual, i.e., no jacket. So what do you mean by the phrase?

              1. re: Jane A.

                Old New York atmosphere with (usually) older professional waitstaff who know what they're doing - Keen's, Peter Luger's, etc. are not necessarily places where you have to wear a suit jacket (to my knowledge, anyway) but you can get a great meal and great service, nonetheless. Old school could also include some of the fancier restaurants people have mentioned. I would love to go to most of the places suggeted. However, I am just thinking that my friend may not want to go to such formal places.

                Thanks for your question. I hope this clarifies.

            2. i think Keens suits the occassional perfectly (it was what i was thinking of even before i read the last line of your post)

              i think the food at Raoul's is not that great and it can be loud/crowded depending on where you are sitting...

              a little out of the way, but cute and quiet is La Luncheonette...10th Ave, near 18th St.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Simon

                Thanks, Simon.

                I've only been to Raoul's once and had great food and a lovely time (and we were sat out back which was away from the loud crowd (maybe that's why I had such a nice time).

                I have never heard of La Luncheonette but may go there on a recon mission to check it out. ;-)

                1. re: ToastMaster

                  I must disagree with Simon about La Lunchonette. I would stay far away. We had one dinner there, and the food was mediocre at best. As evidence of how truly vile the food can be there, have a look at a photo taken recently by a patron. who actually fled from the place.


                  1. re: RGR

                    hi...i haven't been there in a long time (maybe two years?), so perhaps it's gone the past i remember having some rabbit stew served in a copper pot that was tasty...but if RGR says to stay away these days, i'll probably stay away...