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Two NYC foodies looking for a great meal next Saturday night

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Our NYC favorites include Babbo, Marea, Jean-Georges and Le Bernardin on the high end, The Harrison, Dinosaur BBQ, and The Spotted Pig on a more modest scale. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Might be a tough reservation this close, but try Amada. Spanish tapas by Iron Chef Jose Garces.

    1. My top picks for you would be Osteria, which matches up well against Babbo in cuisine and price (though the space is more casual), and Tinto, the most refined and elegant of Jose Garces' restaurants. But I also second the above recommendation of Amada, and I think I'll also add a vote for Zahav, a fun Jerusalem-inspired small-plates restaurant.

      Note that all of these recommendations would qualify as the "modest scale" you mention. They all have well-designed spaces and are very serious about food, but they are casual places (no real dress codes) and more moderately priced. Philly also has a few worthy high-end places (Vetri, the Fountain at the Four Seasons), but they may be hard reservations to score at this point. Finally, two other places I haven't visited but hear good things about: James and Fish. Would other hounds out there back these up as good bets for serious NYC foodies?

      5 Replies
      1. re: nwinkler

        Not James. If I were the OP I'd go to Zahav, I don't think there's anything like it in NYC.

        1. re: Buckethead

          I have heard good things about Zahav, but I have never been there myself. I would also recommend visiting Bistro La Minette and Meme for French-inspired cuisine. The foie gras burger at Meme is supposed to be superb.

          For lunch, it's also worth a stop at the Redding Market or Taqueria La Veracruzana, which has the best guacamole and homemade tortillas. Both are pretty casual and fast.

          -http://www.elleats.com

        2. re: nwinkler

          Never been to James but I would definitely second Fish. Also, I'd place Amis over Osteria.

          1. re: JanR

            I have only been to Amis once, and Osteria certainly more times. I found Amis to be exceedingly noisey and cramped. The quality of the food was as good as Osteria but I found the atmosphere to detract from the overall enjoyment of the meal.

            Both establishments set aside a certain amount of room for walk-ins, though I strongly suspect it will be easier to get into Osteria without a reservation than Amis.

            And I strongly second the James and Fish recommendations. Both are great restaurants, with creative chefs!

          2. re: nwinkler

            I would agree with both James, Fish and Zahav

          3. If you can't score a good table at some of the trendier places mentioned so far, consider checking out Meritage. Really excellent food since the new chef took over, plus you can then head up 20th Street for great drinks at Pub & Kitchen, Noble or Village Whiskey, or terrific gelato at Capogiro.

            1. If you can get a reservation go to Bibou BYOB. NYC has no BYOB and you'll not only eat excellent food, but you'll have that experience. If there are no seats ask if you may sit at the "bar."

              The NY Times liked it:

              http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/...

              1. A vote for Fish, if you can get a reservation. Strictly fish and seafood, but oh, done so beautifully. And their oysters are wonderful.

                Bibou, but I doubt that it's available.

                We thought Meritage was excellent. Very creative.

                6 Replies
                1. re: sylviag

                  Thanks all. Incredibly helpful. Hoping for a USA win followed by a great meal. Will report back later.....

                  1. re: jhggeyser

                    .....and Zahav it is. Thanks all. Now we just need to figure out where to get a Philly cheesesteak for lunch the following day.....

                    1. re: jhggeyser

                      I'd recommend you skip the cheesesteak entirely and get a roast pork with rabe and provolone, it's Philly's *good* sandwich specialty. My current favorite one is the Arista at Paesano's (9th and Christian in the Italian Market is the easiest location to get to), you can get very good ones at DiNics in the Reading Terminal Market and at John's Roast Pork, though I don't know if John's is open on Sunday.

                      1. re: Buckethead

                        no John's on Sunday. But I will second the Roast Pork sandwich recommendation!

                        1. re: Bigley9

                          Third the roast pork recommendation. Skip the cheesesteak. DiNic's is a solid bet. Just get the roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe.

                          And get the haloumi cheese at Zahav!

                        2. re: Buckethead

                          Yup - go to Paesano's. Get the Arista and the Gustaio.

                  2. Made reservations at Zahav but at the last second we canceled those and went to Fish instead. Pure bliss, from the bluefin crudo appetizer to the grouper to the sauteed spinach side dish. If I lived in Philadelphia I would eat there all the time. (For what it's worth, brunch the next morning at Farmicia was splendid, and unbelievably cheap. These two NYC foodies came away from your town very impressed.)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jhggeyser

                      Thanks for reporting back! Glad you enjoyed

                      1. re: jhggeyser

                        Now I know why the Raw section of Fish's menu is blank on their website. Hilarious that their menu says "*at fish our menu changes often due to the availability of fresh, sustainable seafood", while they are serving bluefin tuna.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          Kindai bluefin, per the server. Here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                          1. re: jhggeyser

                            Well, that's much better! I wonder why they don't publicize that.

                      2. Surprised nobody mentioned Fork, one of the really good restaurants that has endured the test of time in Philly. (I think it's well over 10 years)

                        Beautiful digs, open kitchen and an updated menu with a new chef on board as of last year. Modern American style, make a res early because they fill up especially on weekends. No sign on the door, just a large fork!

                        306 Market Street
                        Philadelphia, PA 19106-2709
                        (215) 625-9425