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Heading Back to New York - Trying to Narrow the List.

Hello folks - heading back to New York for a concert, hockey, and galleries in mid-February. I have room for 4 dinners, 4 lunches, and 1 Sunday Brunch.

Having been to NYC 4 times in the last 3 years I've already been to all the Michelin 3* and NYT 4* spots except for MASA and many of the 1-2* restaurants as well. On my target list currently are the following:

Dinners: Corton, Osteria Morini, Gordon Ramsay at the London, WD-50, and Gilt.

Lunches: Lincoln, Del Posto, Aldea, Bouley, Cafe Boulud, EMP (I've been to EMP and was not 'wowed' as many are - it makes me want to go back to see what I missed)

Brunch: Dovetail vs. Locanda Verde

From the list, which are absolute MUSTS and which are hit-or-miss?

Anything not on my list that I should be paying more attention to?

Note, there is a day in there completely reserved for a pizza walking/subway tour, as well.

Cheers and thanks.

http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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WD-50
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

Cafe Boulud
20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

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

Corton
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

Osteria Morini
218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

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  1. Great list. Corton is a must. Aldea and Osteria Morini are very good. Lincoln, Cafe Boulud, and Bouley are also great for lunch.

    Although I also wasn't wowed with EMP in the past, this recent lunch thread had me intrigued.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7557...

    I would include Ma Peche and maybe Ai Fiori (I haven't been yet but plan to go soon). Have you been to Casa Mono? For brunch, The Breslin, Maialino, or DBGB.

    -----
    Casa Mono
    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

    Corton
    239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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

    DBGB
    299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

    The Breslin
    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    Ma Peche
    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    Osteria Morini
    218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

    Ai Fiori
    400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

    15 Replies
    1. re: peter j

      Been to Casa Mono and Maialino - the first impressed, the second did not.

      Ma Peche intrigues me as I like Chang's food (even if I did find Ko vastly overrated, I loved Noodle and Ssam.)

      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

      -----
      Casa Mono
      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      Ma Peche
      15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      1. re: uhockey

        Could you maybe post where you've gone already, since you've already accomplished so much?

        1. re: kathryn

          I don't know if I'd call it an "accomplishment," I just like good food.

          The blog has all the places listed but is admittedly difficult to navigate as it is not "sorted."

          Il Mulino, Nobu, Bouchon, Patsy's, Norma's, Otto, Gramercy Tavern, EMP, Momofuku Noodle, Babbo, Payard, The Modern, Alto, Jean-Georges, Ssam, LeBernardin, Scarpetta, Picholine, Marea, Per Se, Convivio, Maialino, A Voce, Casa Mono, Ko, Balthazar, Daniel.

          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

          -----
          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          Casa Mono
          52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

          Il Mulino
          86 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012

          A Voce
          41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

          Nobu
          105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

          Picholine
          35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

          Momofuku Noodle Bar
          171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

          Convivio
          45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

          Maialino
          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        2. re: uhockey

          You went to Maialino for breakfast, no? I'd say give it another shot for lunch or dinner.

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

        3. re: peter j

          Is the Ai Fiori menu listed yet? I've yet to dine at a Michael White spot that didn't wow.

          As a matter of fact, I generally avoid Italian on vacation as it often fails to live up to the hype, but when I visit NYC I generally go out of my way for it since the New York Italian scene is so very strong.

          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

          -----
          Ai Fiori
          400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

          1. re: uhockey

            Here's an Ai Fiori menu that I found online (click on the pdf at the end of the blurb). I'm not sure if it's current.

            http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/11...

            -----
            Ai Fiori
            400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

            1. re: peter j

              Thanks - looks good, but imo Morini's menu looks more appealing.

              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

              1. re: peter j

                Here are the current menus at Ai Fiori.

                http://aifiorinyc.com/

                -----
                Ai Fiori
                400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

                1. re: H Manning

                  Interesting menu to be sure - I actually really like their breakfast options and dinner moreso than the lunch.

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                  1. re: H Manning

                    For what it's worth, the menus seem incomplete, i.e. Ai Fiori usually serves a few pasta options for lunch and brunch, which are not listed online for some reason

              2. re: peter j

                Breslin's brunch is quite good. Also consider Minetta Tavern, Prune, Clinton St Baking Company.

                -----
                Minetta Tavern
                113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                The Breslin
                20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                1. re: kathryn

                  Breslin's brunch and breakfast look quite similar - I do believe they'll make the final cut for one or the other - thanks.

                  As much as I want to try Clinton St. pancakes, last time I went the wait was 2 hours! I'm sure its good, but that seems a tad much.

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                  -----
                  The Breslin
                  20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                  1. re: uhockey

                    Clinton St serves weekday breakfast and I've found the wait much less then. 2 hours sounds like a typical weekend wait there, unfortunately!

                    1. re: kathryn

                      ...and it appears February is National Pancake Month, as well - I'm sold. :-)

                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                    2. re: uhockey

                      I recommend Breslin for brunch simply because their cocktails are pretty good too. :)

                      -----
                      The Breslin
                      20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                2. I did not care for Corton, thought it was overpriced and not up to the level of other high-end places like Picholine, EMP, the Modern, etc. Have you considered SHO? I've had a number of great meals there. Aldea and Osteria Morini are great. Other places I've been impressed with recently are Nuela, Ciano and Kittichai.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rrems

                    SHO is a place that intrigues me, for sure. I considered slotting it in for Ramsay, but The London is very close to Radio City Music Hall where the concert is being held, so it seemed a logical fit.

                    http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                    1. re: uhockey

                      If you're willing to walk a little bit further, Ma Peche is on West 56th and 5th, a short walk from Radio City Music Hall. You could also do the Bar Room at the Modern, which is very different from the formal dining room.

                      -----
                      Ma Peche
                      15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                  2. Del Posto's lunch deal is great.

                    For Aldea, are you thinking the lunch prix fixe? Or is it lunch just because the others only offer dinner service? Ask to sit at the chef's counter regardless.

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

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

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kathryn

                      Re: Aldea - because the others are dinner only.

                      As always, your input is one of the most valued on this board.

                      Thanks.

                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

                      1. re: uhockey

                        just dined at the chef counter at Aldea and have to say the counter added a lot to the experience, even though Chef Mendes wasn't in. Thought all the food was at least very good (although was slightly disappointed by the small bites to begin the meal). But especially for the price, Aldea was great.

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

                    2. NYC is definitely known for its fine dining but I think where it truly shines is in the "ethnic" cuisine. There are immigrants from all over the world here so maybe you should try some other cuisines out.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: MVNYC

                        This gets suggested pretty much everywhere I go. For me, the "dining" experience is just as imporant as the food. If there were excellent ethnic experiences that also offered quality seating and service, I'd be all ears. Aldea seems to be that sort of place.

                        http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

                        1. re: uhockey

                          Upscale Japanese, maybe? Kyo Ya? 15 East?

                          -----
                          15 East
                          15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                          Kyo Ya
                          94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                          1. re: kathryn

                            Those are both excellent choices for what he is looking for.

                            I understand that you like fine dining but you can miss out on some fantastic food if you limit yourself to one style of dining. Especially in NYC.

                            1. re: MVNYC

                              I certainly agree - felt the same in San Francisco and Toronto - especially after the upscale Dim Sum in Toronto at Lai Wah Heen. I'll look into Kyo Ya and 15 East for sure - have also heard excellent reviews of Yasuda and Sushi of Gari from people I respect.

                              Any ethnic spots do small enough portions of a "signature" dish that I could wander a neighborhood and check out a few spots?

                              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                              -----
                              15 East
                              15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                              Gari
                              370 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

                              Kyo Ya
                              94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                              1. re: uhockey

                                Yasuda is excellent but I wouldn't call it a fine dining experience. You are there simply for the excellent quality and variety of fish. Yasuda himself is leaving soon btw.

                                Gari is also minimalist in decor. Their sushi is more modern with interesting sauces and preparations. I prefer more traditional sushi but I know many people who love Gari.

                                From reading your blog I think you would enjoy Kyo Ya and 15 East.

                                You could certainly do a Chinatown crawl eating signature dishes, sampling various dumplings, Bahn mi, roast meats, etc. Would you be interested in that?

                                1. re: MVNYC

                                  Potentially - bearing in mind that I don't fancy beef in most cases, but that I do take interest in less "steak tasting" offal like sweetbreads, heart, and oxtail (not so fond of marrow or tendon.) If there were places that did quality egg custards, duck dishes, fishes, etc I'd be interested.

                                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                      2. Re your dinner options: I think it depends on what you type of experience you're looking for. While I enjoyed my meal at Morini, the rest of the options you listed all are Michelin rated. That said, I'd suggest you consider WD 50 more, especially considering how much you loved Alinea.

                        As for lunches, since Jean-George and EMP's price increases, some consider Del Posto to be the best lunch option. Also, Bouley's 5-course lunch menu seems like a steal, though I've yet to try it myself. Despite Richman's glowing review of Lincoln, I've read mixed reactions. Also, its another Italian restaurant if you're already set on Morini.

                        I second kathryn's advice re Clinton St. weekday breakfast, but also really like the brunch at Locanda Verde, especially the Sheep's Milk Ricotta with Truffle Honey.

                        Btw, what pizza places were you thinking of going to?

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

                        Locanda Verde
                        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: TheDegustationAsian

                          WD50 is just below Corton on my list - while I think Wylie's food is interesting, my primary interest is Stupak's desserts. I'll probably go with the tasting menu in either case. With Alinea and Twist (Gagnaire's Vegas Spot) amongst my favorite meals all time I certainly have "mg" leanings.

                          As I said above, I tend to hit Italian hard when I visit NYC as aside from Philly (Vetri/Amis/Osteria/Modo Mio) I've not found many other cities doing "haute-Italian" to my liking. I experienced Benno's food for an extended tasting during his last month at Per Se and was wowed - I feel somewhat obligated to check out Lincoln and I've meant to do Del Posto on my previous 2 visits but missed out.......if any were to be skipped it'd be Morini, though I've yet to taste anything less than excellent at a White restaurant.

                          re Pizza - Was planning to meet up with a local hound or 2 and defer to their opinions - places that interest me most are Motorino and Keste, but if I had the means to get to Brooklyn I'd love to try some coal fired.

                          Could probably do Brunch at Locanda Verde on Sat, Dovetail on Sunday, and Clinton St. during the week.

                          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                          -----
                          Per Se
                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                          Corton
                          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                          Locanda Verde
                          377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                          Motorino
                          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                          1. re: uhockey

                            Ha, I actually have a Corton reservation in a few weeks. Not sure when your trip is, but in case you didn't know, Stupak has already announced he will soon be leaving WD 50 to open his own. I've had the pleasure of doing both, a tasting menu as well as the 5 course dessert tasting menu of Stupak just two weeks ago. The dessert tasting menu was very good, the "Rainbow Sherbet" in particular, especially if you like savory elements in your desserts. If you're feeling especially gluttonous, you could always make a reservation just for the dessert tasting menu. Also, their seasonal cocktails were nice.

                            I agree with your statements re White's food, but I'd call Morini his furthest venture from "haute-italian," especially compared to Marea and Ai Fiori, now that he and Cannon split.

                            Interesting to see that both Motorino and Keste, while good, are both Neapolitan style. If you want coal fired, I'd suggest skipping Lombardi's and trying Grimaldi's or Totonno's. Also, if you like square slices, you might want to try Di Fara's.

                            -----
                            Corton
                            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                            Marea
                            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                            Motorino
                            349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                            Ai Fiori
                            400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

                            1. re: TheDegustationAsian

                              February 16th I'll arrive.......and gluttony and I get along well on vacation.

                              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                              1. re: TheDegustationAsian

                                IIRC Stupak's taqueria doesn't open until March BTW.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Personally I would get the dessert tasting at wd-50. While I never got the savory tasting at wd-50, it's always been met with mixed results....it seems most have success picking and choosing the savory dishes at wd-50...just an idea.

                                  Looks like a great list of restaurants for your trip...I'm not sure how easy it is to get a reservation now...but maybe Brooklyn Fare?

                              2. re: uhockey

                                There's coal fired in Manhattan as well. Try a slice at Patsy's in East Harlem. You could easily do a slice there, take the 6 train down to a square slice at Artichoke, then go to Motorino for a pie, followed by a gas oven slice at Joe's. Or go to Joe's for a slice and end up at Keste for a pie.

                                I love Totonno's and Di Fara but both are hefty commitments in terms of travel and time. Not a huge fan of Grimaldi's and I'd say if you're gonna wait in line, do it at Di Fara instead. :)

                                -----
                                Totonno's
                                1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                Motorino
                                349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                                Grimaldi's
                                47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Agree with your suggestions, my comment was geared toward the OP since he mentioned he may want to try coal fired and he had reserved an entire day for it.

                                  1. re: TheDegustationAsian

                                    Coal fired in manhattan?
                                    Arturo's and ask for fresh mozz. I had a delicious pizza there in November. Not earth shattering, just very good.
                                    Totonno's also has locations in NYC, not sure if they are coal fired though.

                                    -----
                                    Totonno's
                                    1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                    1. re: AdamD

                                      I had a not great pie at Arturo's recently and for someone visiting and on a pizza quest I'm not sure I'd send them there. Of course pizza's a fickle beast and always prone to consistency problems.

                                      The other Totonno's locations are not good, sadly.

                                      -----
                                      Totonno's
                                      1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        I have heard arturo's suffers from consistency problems. But I liked my pie just fine.
                                        I thought the pies at Totonno's 26th were pretty good. Again not earth shattering, but a lot better than most run of the mill greasy cheese pizza available in NYC.

                                        I get your point, coming from out of town to seek the holy grail-better than average NYC pizza probably not the best suggestion.

                                        -----
                                        Totonno's
                                        1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          This is my experience as well. I would go to Motorino, since it's great and the location is so much more convenient compared to the long journey to DiFara's or Totonno's (and, the Manhattan branch is just does not deliver the same pizza -- only the name is the same). Also, after Motorino, you could pop into the small Chickalicious for an excellent cupcake or two (they're small).

                                          Regarding your original list, I'm afraid that you may be disappointed with Gordon Ramsey, and maybe Gilt. I agree with The Modern suggestion, either the Dining Room or the Bar Room. The egg in the jar (now with scallops) is one of my favorite dishes in New York. Also, if you have lunch at Cafe Boulud, I would suggest ordering from the a la carte menu and not the reduced price prix fixe. The latter is a bit disappointing, I think, compared to what's on offer on the main menu.

                                          -----
                                          Cafe Boulud
                                          20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                                          Totonno's
                                          1544 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                          Motorino
                                          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                                          1. re: Nancy S.

                                            Nancy - I don't believe anyone suggested The Modern....I've been there and rank the egg in a jar (lobster and uni on my visit) amongst my top 5 favorite savories of all time.

                                            I've also been to DCChickalicious, but never to Chickalicious itself.....I'm pretty sure it is Dessert Club Chickalicious that offers the cupcakes as I had 2. :-)

                                            What would you say is disappointing about Ramsay? What else would you recommend with knowledge that I'm attending a 8:00pm starting time concert at Radio City?

                                            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                            1. re: uhockey

                                              Have you been to Oceana? It's very close to Radio City, and the food is superb. Aside from the seafood, the side dishes are exceptional, and the desserts rival those at the top restaurants.

                                              -----
                                              Oceana
                                              120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

                                      1. re: uhockey

                                        I recommend Artisanal for lunch, especially if you love good cheese.