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This year"s dining itinerary...would welcome your comments!

Here are the restaurants I have been looking at for our annual spring getaway to NYC

Thursday lunch ... Gottino- I chose this because last year we went to Inoteca and loved it
or
Gotham Bar and Grill for the prix fixe lunch
Thurday dinner......Pipa or Fig and Olive

Friday lunch..........Bistro les Amis or Cafe Cluny. Really liked Balthazar, will these choices be a letdown

Friday dinner.... Mermaid Inn. We have already been to Lure, Aquagrill and Blue Water Grll

Saturday lunch..... Nougatine

saturday dinner.....Otto

Sunday I am looking at DBGB or Gramercy Tavern for lunch and either Locanda Verde or Maialino for dinner.

Any neighbourhood is fine as are all cuisines,
Thanks

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Gramercy Tavern
42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

Mermaid Inn
96 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Aquagrill
210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

Gotham Bar and Grill
12 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

Cafe Cluny
284 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

Gottino
52 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

DBGB
299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

Nougatine
1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Maialino
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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  1. I have not been to Maialino, and have gotten mixed reports about it. Locanda Verde is very good. Aquagrill and even Blue Water which I think has gone downhill over the years are both far superior to Mermaid. Not sure why you are choosing Otto. I thought the pizzas were bland, and there are no real main courses, but if what you have in mind is pasta and charcuterie, it should be fine. I would do Perry St. for Sunday lunch rather than Gramercy Tavern. Haven't been to DBGB.

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    Gramercy Tavern
    42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

    Aquagrill
    210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    DBGB
    299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    4 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      thanks rrems. I chose Mermaid Inn because I wanted a seafood place i had not yet tried. Can you give me any other suggestions.
      Have already done Perry Street and liked it but want to try somwhere different.
      I will definitely book Locanda Verde.
      Still looking for good place for Sunday night.

      -----
      Perry Street
      176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

      Mermaid Inn
      96 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

      Locanda Verde
      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

      1. re: trishottawa

        I thought of Perry St. because it is one of the few places where I feel the Sunday brunch is worthwhile.

        Some more ideas for dinner:

        Convivio
        Perilla
        Dovetail
        SD26
        Scarpetta

        I tend to avoid restaurants that specialize in seafood as they are often disappointing. Harbour was an exception, but unfortunately it did not survive the recession.

        -----
        Perilla
        9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

        Scarpetta
        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

        Convivio
        45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

        SD26
        19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

        1. re: trishottawa

          i've had brilliant food at mermaid.

          1. re: trishottawa

            I have had some awesome seafood at MARY'S FISH CAMP!!!

            The place is small, but WOW what a great dinner and evening in general we had there!

        2. We have not been to Locanda Verde, But we have now been to Maialino four times: twice for lunch, once for brunch, and just the other night for dinner. The food we've had has been uniformly delicious! Service is friendly and attentive (as befits a Danny Meyer restaurant), the decor is attractive, and the overall ambiance is very pleasant.

          Here are the sets of Maialino photos:
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          I presume you are aware that the formal dining room at Gramercy Tavern is not open for lunch on Sunday? Afaic, just as well because I've found the food there to be very disappointing. Conversely, I've been very pleased with the food in the Tavern Room. But keep in mind that they do not accept reservations.

          Tavern Room photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          http://www.veritas-nyc.com

          We've been to DBGB for a late lunch midweek when it was *very* quiet. I presume that lunch on a Sunday would be much busier. They take reservations. Imo, the thing to have there would be the excellent sausages.

          DBGB photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          With regard to other options for Sunday dinner, if you are willing to go more upscale, I highly recommend Veritas. The cuisine is sensational (Chef Grégory Pugin is a James Beard finalist for "Best Rising Chef"), the wine list is one of the most extraordinary in the city (and they are offering a 10th anniversary 25% discount on bottles), service is excellent, seating is very comfortable, and the space has attractive contemporary decor. Casual dress is entirely acceptable.

          Veritas photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          http://www.veritas-nyc.com

          13 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            Thanks, RGR, I am looking at the tavern side and there will only be 2 of us left by Sunday so hoping the wait wont be too long.
            As wonderful as the menu looks at Veritas it is too expensive.
            Sausages would not be on my have to have list so might need to rethink DBGB.
            Any thoughts on Degustation...according to their website they now serve dinner on Sundays.

            -----
            Veritas
            43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

            DBGB
            299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: trishottawa

              We've never been to Degustation, and I have no desire to go. I generally avoid restaurants where I can't know in advance what will be on the menu.

              Another place we like a lot is Seasonal. Superb Austrian-influenced cuisine and nice atmospherics.

              Seasonal photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

              and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

              http://www.seasonalnyc.com

              If you like Indian food, you might want to consider Tabla. The entire restaurant now goes under that name (no more Bread Bar), and instead of two different menus, the same menu is served in both the downstairs (formerly the Bread Bar) and the upstairs dining rooms. Some dishes are more authentically Indian while others are Indian-accented Contemporary American. When the weather is conducive, dining on the outdoor terrace across from Madison Square Park is delightful.

              Tabla photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

              http://www.tablanyc.com

              1. re: RGR

                "We've never been to Degustation, and I have no desire to go. I generally avoid restaurants where I can't know in advance what will be on the menu."

                obviously it is your call - but you are missing out on a great place - and you can order ala carte there - not just the tasting menu

                1. re: thew

                  I see that their "website" consists of a front page and the information that they are now open on Sunday. That's it. Not helpful.

                  MenuPages has an a la carte menu. There were hardly any dishes described there that held any appeal to me. Presuming that menu is representative of what is being served there, I hardly think I'm missing out on anything. Obviously, a case of chacun à son goût.

                  1. re: RGR

                    of course. i'm not trying to convince you of your taste - just to me i found the dishes transcend the descriptions.

                    1. re: thew

                      i agree degustation dishes do transcend description.
                      i think its a must try!
                      i had the 10 course menu 2 nights ago i dont remember all the items that i had but they are willingly to replace a course on the menu with the 10 course tasting if u dont like something on it. and btw i wouldnt change anything the 10 course tasting menu is off the charts. i hope my crappy descriptions will change your mind, i think degustation is the best dining experience ive had in my life.
                      1st course: croquetes, tortilla and a crudo of mackerel i believe. all of them were great but the croquette was ridiculous, my god it was like a falafel ball with a crack cheese sauce in it.
                      2nd course: hamachi with potato crisps and some awesome sauce and cavair kind of thing
                      3rd: a tasty monkfish liver salad
                      4th: a delicious duck confit
                      5th. delicious sunchoke soup
                      6th: a cracked egg shell with egg yolk, lamb bacon and a seriously delicious mousse inside
                      7th: tripe and i believe fried pork belly and greens with a delicious sauce that was a kind of a mix of bbq sauce and an asian oyster sauce.
                      8th: wagyu cheesesteak-the chef was nice enough to give me an extra because i wanted it bloody rare. he was right it was better the way he cooked it but it was still delicious bloody rare.
                      9th: granola yogurt dessert: there was other stuff in it, imagine the most delicious vanilla yogurt and some kind of granola that tasted like captain crunch yet doesnt cut up the roof of your mouth.
                      10: brioche soaked in heavy cream and sugar and bruleed on the side. there was a grape fruit in there too, not sure why but the brioche was off the charts good.
                      jeez was i sad when the 10 courses were over. i could have gone to 100 easily.

                      1. re: daffyduck

                        I'm always suspicious when someone says a particular meal is "the best dining experience of my life." That hyperbole says to me that the person hasn't traveled much and/or eaten in very many fine dining establishments.

                        I've been exceedingly fortune to have been able to experience so many fabulous meals during my lifetime that it would be totally impossible for me to pick out just one and describe it as "the best meal I've ever had."

                        That said, I appreciate your efforts and enthusiasm, but I'm still not persuaded that Degustation's food would appeal to me, much less be the meal of a lifetime.

                        1. re: RGR

                          That seems a tad condescending, especially from a self-proclaimed "picky eater."

                          1. re: RGR

                            i cant agree with this -

                            i've been to many a great place and had many a great meal and traveled the world. while i couldnt say what was the single nest meal ive ever had, i can certainly point to a few that are in the top 5 or 10 meals ive had

                            wd-50
                            march (now defunct)
                            august in nola
                            gary danko

                            jump to mind as some of them

                          2. re: daffyduck

                            Thank you, daffyduck, for your review. Yes, I'm quite a fan of Degustation as well. Bonus points that you get to see them cook from your seat.

                            To the OP -- if you're already going to Aldea, you may not want to go to Degustation as I find the the food kind of similar.

                            -----
                            Aldea
                            31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                        2. re: RGR

                          RGR, just curious -- do you know what will be on Gourmand at EMP in advance? Don't mean to be a snark, just wondering if EMP is an exception or you find out in advance somehow.

                          1. re: uwsister

                            uwsister,

                            No, despite being regulars, we are not given any advance info as to what will be on the new Gourmand or, for that matter, any of the other new menus, which is fine with us since we enjoy being surprised.

                            That said, the last time the Gourmand changed, we were not going to have it until my husband's birthday at the end of January. (Since our birthdays and anniversary are in three different seasons of the year, we save the Gourmands for those special occasions.) However, earlier in the month, we were having a 3-course dinner. and it happened that the couple at the table adjacent to ours was having the Gourmand. Thus, we had an untended preview of what was on it. Still, by the time we had it, there were a few changes. Plus, we had already had the veal cheeks at lunch, so we requested the substitution of a dish we hadn't had, the sweetbreads.

                            1. re: RGR

                              I only asked because you wrote you avoid restaurants where you don't know what will be on the menu in advance. So EMP Gourmand is an exception, and I can understand that.

                2. I was not aware that Degustation is now open on Sundays, but if so I would highly recommend it, especially for the 10-course tasting. It includes many dishes that are not on the menu, and the amount of food is very generous. As thew mentioned, the menu descriptions do not do justice to the dishes, which are interesting and complex. The atmosphere and service, and a very good list of Spanish wines, plus the fun of watching the kitchen preparing your food make it a special experience.

                  I also second RGR's rec for Tabla. Since the menu and price changes, it has become one of our favorite restaurants. The food is unusual, beautifully presented and absolutely delicious.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rrems

                    and they are open to converse while they cook and are very playful. wesley genovart is funny and personable and enjoys the intimate setting where he can interact with the people he's cooking for. Once i was there and i saw he was peeling some baby artichoke which was not on the menu anywhere - so i asked him what it was for - he said he was trying out a new dish to see if it was going ont he menu - he was making it for a friend or regular, i don;t know which, to check out - and as soon as he saw our interest he sent us a plate

                  2. For Japanese Ramen, Minca is second to none.
                    But a great American Breakfast can be found in Bubby's.
                    And the mussels at Ponty Bistro will blow you away.

                    www.inbundles.com

                    -----
                    Minca
                    536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

                    Ponty Bistro
                    218 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: CantStopEating

                      I have made some changes
                      Thursday lunch....Gottino or somewhere like it but better!
                      Thursday dinner.....Aldea
                      Friday lunch.....Gotham Bar and Grill
                      Friday dinner....Mermaid Inn...or somewhere with better food but similar price point
                      Saturday lunch....Nougatine....ned to be near thaeater district for a matinee
                      Saturday dinner....Otto
                      Sunday.....still making choices between Gramercy Tavern (worried about the wait time at lunch), Degudtation, Locanda Verde,Maialino,or maybe Balthazar

                      -----
                      Gramercy Tavern
                      42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: trishottawa

                        The wait time for dinner in the Tavern Room can be an hour or more unless you go late, i.e. after 10 p.m.

                        1. re: RGR

                          can you have a drink while you are waiting or can you put in your name and go for a walk and come back

                          1. re: trishottawa

                            I suppose you could have a drink while you wait though the space around the bar (which has seats and where food is also served) can be quite crowded. Of course, you can put your name on the wait list and come back later.

                            Frankly, we generally do not eat at restaurants that won't take reservations. Thus, the couple of times we've gone to the Tavern, it's purposely been late in the evening after we've called ahead to ask and been assured that we can be seated immediately.

                        2. re: trishottawa

                          I might suggest you solict more thoughts on the board about Otto......nothing wrong with it, just (surprisingly) really average. We love Babbo, et al but Otto was indeed a let down. Certainly not a "Saturday night" place.

                          -----
                          Babbo
                          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                            1. re: LeahBaila

                              thanks....do you have some suggestions for Italian with an Otto price point. Would prefer something a bit creative, not interested in old school red sauce. Any neighbourhood is fine.

                              1. re: trishottawa

                                I went to a newer spot (1 yr old) called Lusso recently, and really enjoyed myself. The space is lovely, and the Italian food was delicious and creative. The price points don't perfectly match Otto's, but this is the type of place where you can linger and enjoy yourself. There was definitely something on the menu for everyone. Check it out: http://www.lussonyc.com/.

                                www.thelunchbelle.com

                                -----
                                Lusso
                                331 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                                1. re: LeahBaila

                                  Adding:
                                  Emporio

                                  www.thelunchbelle.com

                                  -----
                                  Emporio
                                  231 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012

                                  1. re: LeahBaila

                                    o.k. So I will drop Otto. How about SD26 or Dell Anima

                                    -----
                                    SD26
                                    19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

                                    1. re: trishottawa

                                      Haven't been to either, but I have been to Dell Anima's sister, L'Artusi, which I really enjoyed.

                                      www.thelunchbelle.com

                                      -----
                                      L'Artusi
                                      228 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                      1. re: trishottawa

                                        Haven't been to Dell'Amina, but we went to SD26 right after it opened in September. The food was delicious. There were some small service glitches, which we attributed to the newness. My biggest problem was the music. It was of the thumpity type which I don't care for, and it was much too loud.

                                        SD26 photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                        -----
                                        SD26
                                        19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

                                        1. re: RGR

                                          great SD26 photos. I am headed for my usual dilemna.....choosing too many Italian restaurants

                                          -----
                                          SD26
                                          19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

                                          1. re: trishottawa

                                            It's a dilemma for me, too, Trish...and I live here! :) Let us know which spot you end up choosing.

                                            www.thelunchbelle.com

                                            1. re: trishottawa

                                              Thanks for the compliment, trish! :)

                                          2. re: trishottawa

                                            trish,

                                            Yes, yes, yes. SD26 is the perfect choice. Worlds apart from Otto, and since every dish is available as a small plate (and they are not all that small) you don't have to spend a fortune and can try a number of dishes.

                                            -----
                                            SD26
                                            19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

                                            1. re: rrems

                                              I have now booked SD26 for the Sat. night and Maialino for Sun. brunch. Still need a restaurant for Friday night and a backup for Sunday in case Degustation falls through

                                              -----
                                              Maialino
                                              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                                              SD26
                                              19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

                                              1. re: trishottawa

                                                I'm too lazy to look back upthread. What kind of restaurant are you looking for, and in what price range, for Friday evening and as a back-up for Degustation? Considering that you've got SD26 and Maialino, I presume not Italian?