WIll be hosting visiting parents for five days in march, but have only lived in NYC for a few months ourselves. Need to show them great city, the skyline and cuisines. Have read about the River Cafe in Brooklyn but would love to take them somewhere in the city with a view too.
Also looking for somewhere good for pastrami.
Budget for the four of us is around $400 for one big-spend evening, and perhaps around $300 for the other nights. Also bars with great views and drinks would be of interest!
The roof of the Gaansevort (sp?) Hotel has great views from the West Village. And if they're like my parents, and think that The Olive Garden is just peachy, then they'll be plenty happy with the waterside restaurants at the South Street Seaport or the marina around the Winter Garden.
Check out Water's Edge in Queens- right on the East River- great views of Manhattan, opposite the United Nations. We had our daughter's wedding there and were really pleased. The dining room is lovely. During dinner hours they run a ferry from the east 30's - don't know if they still do, but it makes an enjoyable outing, as long as the weather is in your favor. You can check out reviews of the food on menupages, or zagat, or chowhound.
Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental has spectacular views - not of the skyline, but of Central Park. Lunch is reasonable-ish (still no bargain), and probably the best time to go because the view ain't so hot in the dark. I went for the lunch prix-fixe and liked it fine.
Here's a menu with prices: