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Boston hound seeking a little guidance for next weekend

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So....we're in town next weekend and I need a little help....We love Italian, maybe leaning more toward southern italian with some good homemade pastas..casual, just really good food served in an unpretentious environment --not interested in a big fancy meal by any means but of course it's NYC so we're just looking for a good experience....I've always enjoyed Union Sq Cafe but a) would like to try something new and b) not an option anyway at this late date. LOVED Lupa last time we were there but same thing a)hoping for something new b) they're booked. I did some research and i think my ideal spot would be Danny Meyer's Maiolino but of course they're "fully reserved" (that seems to be the new buzz expression vs fully 'committed').....Also Babbo looks great, but again, fully 'reserved..' Same goes for Del Posto. Found another spot that looked great for Sat night pre-theatre....."Esca.." Any thoughts on this? Again, fully "reserved" but she did tell me they except "day of" reservations starting at 10 so I could certainly try that next Saturday...(Sat night has to be an early dinner, we have an 8pm show to attend.)

So...long story short..I did manage to make two reservations. Friday we have more flexibility with time, and I booked Convivio at 8pm. Seems to get pretty good reviews though I will say there seemed to be a lot of Open Table availability. Sat night is Felidia at 6, which I don't feel that excited about given some of the 'hound reviews but...it's a back up (Of course I will cancel a reservation if we decide to go elsewhere.)

Thoughts about my existing reservations? Tips on how I might be able to get into the other places? I'll try and call next week in the hopes of a cancellation, but if that doesn't work, would it be crazy to try and grab a seat at the bar? Maybe pre-theatre Sat night, if we got to Maiolino early, right at 5:30ish? Or do lots of people have that idea? Or with more flexibillity on Friday night maybe there's a better strategy?

In addition, we're at the Parker Meridien....I am quite familar with the Burger Joint and we'll definitely make a visit there...but any other tips on good breakfast/brunch spots in the area? We've been to Norma's and though it was OK, I wouldn't head back. Any other spots near there we could check out for breakfast?

Any tips/ideas/advice for us? Appreciate it so much, thanks so much in advance.......

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Lupa
170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

Burger Joint
118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Del Posto
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

Felidia
243 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022

Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

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  1. I loved scarpetta - take a walk along the new highline late afternoon and end up at meatpacking - go to scarpetta and early dinner at the bar - if there are only two of you - the bar could be a great option.

    1. Both Babbo and Scarpetta have bars with stools & tables in the bar area that are reserved for patrons without reservations, as does Maialino. However, if my memory serves correctly, they don't serve the full dinner menu at the bar at Maialino. It's a lot more difficult to get a seat in the bar area at Babbo than Scarpetta, though, and Scarpetta's bar area is far more spacious and comfortable. BUT if you have an early show to attend, though, Esca is a safer bet location-wise. Many restaurants require that patrons confirm their reservations a day in advance, so you might luck out if you call on the morning of, because so many people can't make it but only find out at the last minute.

      Convivio is not really located in a buzzy neighborhood known for foot traffic (and it's well north of 14th Street), which is one of the reasons why it might have availability on a Friday night when others have been booked for weeks. Mario Batali places are perennially "fully committed" due to his popularity; the same could be said for any Danny Meyer restaurant.

      For breakfast/brunch in that area, you're pretty close to Sarabeth's on Central Park South, Landmarc in the Time Warner Center, Nougatine (casual room of Jean Georges), Bouchon Bakery (Time Warner Center), Bar Boulud, A Voce (Time Warner Center).

      This thread might be of use:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624560

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      Bouchon Bakery
      10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      Jean Georges
      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

      A Voce
      41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

      Esca
      402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

      Landmarc
      179 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      Bar Boulud
      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

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

      Convivio
      45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

      Nougatine
      1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        At Maialino, the full dinner menu is now available in the bar room, except for the eponymous maialino which is only served in the trattoria. In addition to seating at the bar, there are about 8 tables.

        Photos of Maialino's interior and, of course, the food we had at that meal, can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        1. re: RGR

          Ah, excellent news! So glad they finally started doing that.

      2. Highly recommend Scarpetta, Maialino, and Convivio. I've had incredible meals at each.

        Babbo is of course amazing, but unfortunately it is equally as hard to get a reservation. They do though have a few tables in the front that are not for reservations. If you arrive there early perhaps you can snag one of those tables if you are prepared to wait for a little bit.

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        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

        Convivio
        45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

        Maialino
        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        1. Two places that might fit the bill for more casual places (one italian, the other not) are Dell Anima, and Perilla.
          Have been to both in the past few days after a month or two reprieve, and both were as good, if not better than I remember.
          Perilla had an app of hand rolled farfalle with shrimp that I could eat multiple bowls off, it was one of the best things I've ever eaten there.
          As for Dell Anima, had another great meal there, and I have found the pasta to be consistently well cooked, and flavors to be great. Had a tripe dish with tomato and mint that was outstanding, and the tortelonni and tajarin were standout past dishes.
          I usually walk into both places, and don't have an issue getting a table for two, or eating at the bar at either location.
          Convivio is also great for pasta, but I've had issues with service and other people dining there, so I'd rather go to Alta or Marea to sample chef White's cuisine.

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          Perilla
          9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

          Convivio
          45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

          1 Reply
          1. re: UWSEater

            UWS, A slight but significant correction. It's Alto.

            It's been over a year since we've been to Convivio, but we have recently been to Marea and revisited Alto, and of the two, Alto would be my preference.

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

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

          2. With Convivio already reserved (great choice) I would do something other than Italian the other night. I would suggest the following:

            Marseille
            Tabla
            La Petite Auberge
            Allegretti
            Cru

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            La Petite Auberge
            116 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            Convivio
            45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

            Allegretti
            46 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010