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Dec 1, 2010 06:29 PM

Seek NYE dining ideas...

Staying at the Setai @ 5th Ave on 37th Street over the NYE weekend. Seek dining ideas for the evening of 31 Dec. Prefer to find dinner for two at $250 + drinks, or less. Figuring it's best to head south/east of our hotel to avoid the Time Square scene. Looked at tons of reviews for various establishments, and leaning towards Serra Mediteranian Bistro for the moment. Any other places I should be considering before making reservations? (open to any & all cuisines, so long as it's good eats!)

Thanks in advance,

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  1. I've never read anything or even heard of Serra.....anyone?

    Did you read reviews of Serra here on CH?

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      I've never heard of it, either. For what it's worth, it averages 4 stars in 9 reviews on Yelp, though with two 1-star reviews:

    2. I've never heard of it. But, for $250, you have a few good choices depending on: the kind of atmosphere you like, music, service, cuisine, area, etc. Places I like are:

      Degustation: located downtown in the East Village, spanish inspired tapas but on the upscale and more inventive side. A ten course tasking will not exceed $75 per person, so you should be fine. I had 10 courses and was stuffed by the end, plus they give you a few pieces to start with on the house. It's open kitchen so you can see how they prepare your meal.

      A Voce: I like the one at the Time Warner Center because it's classier. You can't go wrong with any of the pasta dishes.

      L'Artusi: I think this place is near Jane Street. I love sitting at the bar facing the open kitchen, but I've also sat at a large table upstairs. Their pastas are amazing. If you go, try to get a pasta dish that is a special that day. Also, their wine list is HUGE and you can find a fabulous bottle at any price range.

      Pylos: Great Greek food. Also on the Lower East Side.

      WD-50: This place is WORTH EVERY PENNY. Hidden on Clinton Street but let me tell you that the trip was worth it. My husband went to this place after reading an article about the chef and it was amazing. The food is kind of like the molecular gastronomy you would find in Spain, very inventive and yet simple. The tasting is huge because you get dishes in between dishes, something the chef will make for you to cleanse your palette in between courses, but can also do a la carte I think. Try it if you can get a reservation.

      DBGB - very industrial looking French restaurant on Bowery that I think is owned by Daniel Boulud. They have everything from oysters to charcuterie to bone marrow to steak there and everything is great. I also liked their beers last time i went, they had a special dark belgian beer
      that was really smooth.

      Bar Boulud- another great restaurant. I think this is slightly more expensive that DBGB.

      Marea- great seafood. You can do a la carte or a tasting but I think New York Magazine voted this place as the best tasting for the money.

      Atlantic Grill- casual place on the Upper East Side and damn good seafood. If you're willing to come up to 76th Street, try this place. I've had the lobster, oysters, halibut, and their hand rolls, and everything was tasty. It's busy with locals almost every night.

      I can go on but it all depends on what kind of mood you're in and what kind of food you like to eat. Frankly, I saw some pictures of Serra Mediterranean online and I think that for $250 you can do better. Way better.

      Best of luck!

      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

      A Voce
      41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

      128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

      Bar Boulud
      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

      228 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014

      240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

      Atlantic Grill
      49 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023

      2 Replies
      1. re: citykid426

        I loved my meal at Degustation, but the 10-course tasting menu is now $80, and that's before drinks, tax, and tip. $250/2 is still possible there, though. Of course, I have no idea whether they might change their pricing or menu just for New Year's Eve.

        I'm not so high on DBGB. I had a couple of good meals there, but the last time I went, I felt that maybe the best thing about the restaurant was the quotes and various cuisine-related stuff on the walls, and that there is no particular reason to go back. No, not everything is great there. Some things are just OK.

        1. re: citykid426

          I have never heard of Serra, but as far as price goes I would not compare based on what the restaurants you recommend normally charge. New Year's Eve is a whole different ball game. I am planning to go to Perilla, which has a 4-course prix-fixe for $95, much more than what it normally costs, but seems like a reasonable enough deal to me for that night.

        2. Yeah that's true. It would depend on if you're going to have dinner and plan on staying there to celebrate all night. I thought we were just talking about a 6:00 or 7:00 dinner and then you'd be heading somewhere else to party. But in either case, you may want to call the restaurant and check their pre-fixe options for the night.

          1. Thanks so much for all of your time and advice - particularly 'citykid'. Guess I neglected to add one key component, in that I was hoping to find something with reasonable walking distance. We're fairly fit and enjoy an after-dinner stroll, but having spent very little time in Manhattan it's difficult to gauge what is a realistic walking distance in nicer attire and potential winter weather? My leaning towards Serra was largely due to it's close proximity to our hotel. As our trips to NY border on rare, perhaps that shouldn't be such a large part of the decision...

            Citykid, I took a peek at your recommendations and suspect we would be quite pleased with any of them. A Voce looks walkable and will look into that one a little deeper. Couple others that I've run across that appear walkable are The Modern and Gilt. Looks like the Modern Bar offers full fare in a less formal atmosphere, which perhaps better suites our mid-western up-bringing. Anything anyone would care to offer on these?


            A Voce
            41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

            4 Replies
            1. re: ecolnago

              Answered my own question on The Modern. They are offering only a 7-course prix-fixe for their second seating at $375/head. We do enjoy the experience of a good meal, but that'll be a bit hard to swallow (poor pun, but intended), well...that, and the divorce that would likely ensue.

              Looks like they are not taking reservations through Open-Table for the Bar area. Oh well.

              Gilt is apparently doing something similar, as they are not using O-T for that evening, either.

              I'll take a look at A Voce's schedule.


              A Voce
              41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: ecolnago

                Walking distance is a particular concern on New Years eve as cabs can be difficult to find that night... really difficult

                1. re: ecolnago

                  I have been to The Modern! It was great. From what I can remember, there were two distinct sitting areas: one that was very open and closer to the bar and one that was set off by itself, more romantic. My husband made the reservations, and we ended up on the nicer side. Let me tell you that it is WAYYY more quiet than the bar/open area. I think it's because maybe that's first come-first served and younger people sit there. The side my husband and I sat on was definitely more romantic, but you may not care about that depending on how many people are in your party. In terms of the food and service, it was great. Just be careful about ordering the wine, it can get pricey (I mean a good Sav. Blanc from Australia can be anywhere from 70-120 USD), so maybe just get by the glass. Also, I noticed that this restaurant, on the night that we went, had more than its fair share of alternative couples than other restaurants I've been to. I loved that. The atmosphere was not stuffy. Of course, I happened to go there during the summer when there were lots of visitors, so maybe it was just a one time thing. In any case, it was a great place.

                  About your concern with the pre-fixe menu: is this no matter where you sit? I thought they had a la carte, especially in the open area... Don't remember now...

                  1. re: citykid426

                    The "open area" is the Bar Room at the Modern. It does take reservations and has a bar, lounge seating, banquette seating, and table seating. The OP said it didn't look like they were taking reservations for the Bar Room. It's possible it will be closed during NYE.

                    The formal Dining Room has a view of the sculpture garden and is where you ate. Typically they offer the option of a prix fixe or tasting menu at dinner. Lunch offers both ã la carte and prix-fixe options. For New Year's Eve it looks like they are only doing the longer menu at the time he requested.

                2. Also, have you considered Artisanal on East 33rd Street? It's a pretty good French place. I went there for lunch before and had a great experience. Les Halles is also another option within walking distance. You may know it from Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" show, which is where he used to be a chef. I would pick dinner over lunch (better food and service) if you go there, and make a reservation on (easier than dealing with them on the phone).

                  Les Halles
                  15 John Street, New York, NY 10038