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Need a restaurant to go after getting engaged. Any ideas?

h
Hofman777 Jan 4, 2011 07:02 PM

Hi...I'm getting engaged soon and need a restaurant to go to afterwards. It will just be the two of us. I'm willing to spend if it's worth it. I want somewhere that is romantic and would prefer to stay in Manhattan as opposed to the other boroughs. I would also like somewhere that will be really memorable. We eat any type of cuisine aside from the below caveat.

Here is the slight caveat. We are both kosher ALTHOUGH are willing to eat non-meat and non-shellfish products at any restaurant. For example, we will eat salmon, tuna, sea bass, etc. as long as it doesn't have crab, shrimp, lobster, scallops, etc. Any ideas of where we could go?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

  1. a
    AYSConsulting Jan 8, 2011 05:27 AM

    The night I got engaged we went to Union Square Cafe. Classic, classy, not over the top and obviously great food and service!

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    Union Square Cafe
    21 East 16th St., New York, NY 10003

    1. l
      lizcate Jan 7, 2011 09:08 AM

      I have the same dining restrictions and have had no problems at most high-end restaurants in the city. We went to Corton for my birthday and had one of the best meals of my life. They do an amazing vegetable plate which was so creative and delicious. For the rest of the courses, I asked for vegetarian/pescetarian versions and the chef sent out incredible food. The setting is not very intimate but the food far makes up for it.

      Other places where I've had special occaision meals: Craft (just order the fish, veggies, and gnocchi, and dessert - plenty of food and really really good), Scarpetta, Wallse (not too many options but I had a great meal here), Barbuto, Telepan, Dovetail (fabulous), Convivio, Commerce (romantic setting).

      If you are willing to travel, Blue Hill at Stone Barns was an amazing meal - went one weeknight around 6 - train and cab from Grand Central - and they are super-vegetarian friendly. You basically tell them all your dietary restrictions and the chef prepares unbelievable dishes based on what you tell the waiter. If you can go on a weekend day, it might be nicer to be there during the day.

      My all-time-favorite amazing romantic meal is Jean-Georges. I had absolutely no problems with pescetarian but no shellfish diet. I will remember that meal for the rest of my life.

      -----
      Blue Hill
      75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

      Wallse
      344 W. 11th St., New York, NY 10014

      Telepan
      72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

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

      Convivio
      45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

      Corton
      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      1 Reply
      1. re: lizcate
        l
        lizcate Jan 7, 2011 11:24 AM

        One more place that would be perfect: Mas, in the W. Village. Very intimate setting and amazing food. Much better choice than One if by Land...
        And congrats in advance!

      2. sgordon Jan 6, 2011 12:31 PM

        What everyone above said, and do consider that most high-end dining establishment will cater the meal to your liking - EMP, in fact, prides itself on doing customizations. They'd be my top choice, but the price might be a little higher than you wanted - it's more than Le Bernardin actually.

        High-end Italian is always a good option, and what I recommend to vegetarians. Scarpetta has a fully veg menu in addition to their regular one, so it'd be very easy to put together a meal there of veggie antipasti or crudo, a vegetarian pasta, and a fish main course. Of the Batali empire, Del Posto and Esca are probably your best options to do the same. Just looking at the DP menu now, there are three antipasti, five primi (pastas), and two secondi that would work. And probably more than that, really: again, don't judge by the menu on the website - call them, I'm sure they'll be happy to put together a meal for you, subbing things where they need to to meet your needs. And at Esca, probably a good half the existing menu would be fine.

        I actually wouldn't do Craft - it might be a bit too minimalist for a celebration / romantic dinner. I'm thinking you should lean towards a place with more fully composed dishes, rather than ordering ingredient-by-ingredient. Gramercy Tavern is good for that, certainly.

        As for the romantic atmosphere, yeah, what they said above about River Cafe. The food I think isn't quite up to the level of their price - but man, that view... hard to beat.

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

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

        Le Bernardin
        155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

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

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

        1. k
          kathryn Jan 6, 2011 10:59 AM

          What about Scarpetta? They have a number of signature dishes that are either vegetarian to begin with (like their famous spaghetti) or can be made vegetarian (like the polenta). They have gladly modified a dish for a friend before due to an allergy. There are four fish dishes on the regular dinner menu.

          http://www.scottconant.com/restaurants/scarpetta/new-york/menu/vegetariano

          Or Oceana? There are easily a dozen fish mains you could have.

          http://www.oceanarestaurant.com/menus...

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

          1. p
            pauliface Jan 6, 2011 09:46 AM

            Taking another approach, I see there is a web site koshertopia.com
            Don't know how much might be there to fit the bill.
            Searching there for 'fish' in manhattan, a restaurant called Ozu pops up:
            Never been but perhaps someone else can advise?

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            Ozu
            566 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            1 Reply
            1. re: pauliface
              g
              gutsofsteel Jan 6, 2011 09:48 AM

              Ozu is a neigborhood natural-type restaurant. Far far from a special occasion place.

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              Ozu
              566 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            2. Spiritchaser Jan 6, 2011 09:03 AM

              How about Picholine? Beautiful room, great service, and wonderful food. They have several fish (non-shellfish) dishes, several pasta/risotto dishes, and even several completely vegetarian dishes. Four course is $89 and they have excellent wine service.

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

              6 Replies
              1. re: Spiritchaser
                h
                Hofman777 Jan 6, 2011 09:15 AM

                The problem with Picholine is that most of their fish dishes are shellfish and their pasta dishes involve meat or shellfish.

                I'm sorry I'm so difficult :-(

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

                1. re: Hofman777
                  owlwoman Jan 6, 2011 09:27 AM

                  How about Estiatorio Milos or Telepan?

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                  Telepan
                  72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

                  1. re: Hofman777
                    Spiritchaser Jan 6, 2011 09:29 AM

                    That isn't even close to an accurate statement but whatever...

                    1. re: Spiritchaser
                      h
                      Hofman777 Jan 6, 2011 09:36 AM

                      It's actually completely true.

                      Out of the 4 pasta dishes only the agnolotti does not have meat or shellfish

                      For fish only the Sea Bass is fine because the Cod has escargot, I cannot eat skate and scallops is a shellfish.

                      1. re: Hofman777
                        LeahBaila Jan 6, 2011 09:42 AM

                        As other folks have stated above, nicer restaurants WILL gladly work with you. Pick up the phone and call some of these places after 2pm - you won't know unless you ask. Let them know that this will be a very special meal - about your dietary restrictions - and finally, ask if they can work with you.

                        1. re: Hofman777
                          j
                          jerseycity chef Jan 6, 2011 09:49 AM

                          I know it's very heavy shellfish, but Aqua Grille has other options.
                          I also loved Mercer Kitchen. Very cool, semi-hip romantic place

                          -----
                          Mercer Kitchen
                          99 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012

                  2. boredough Jan 6, 2011 08:45 AM

                    Since the various suggestions so far do not seem right to you, I'd like to throw out one for your consideration. It's $100/pp ( I don't know if that's "less pricey" enough from le Bernardin's $224 for 2) and it does not meet your Manhattan preference (but it's just a short hop across the Brooklyn Bridge - NO problem for a cab) - and that is the River Café. Most (but not all) tables for 2 are along the window, and my husband & I both think that the fabulous view of Manhattan is quite romantic in and of itself. Furthermore the food is quite good, the service wonderful, with enough food options to meet your needs.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: boredough
                      h
                      Hofman777 Jan 6, 2011 09:00 AM

                      I think that River Cafe is possible but it only contains one appetizer option for us (The rainbrow trout....the tuna would be fine except that it has a foie gras stuffing and italian bacon).

                      Bouley, 11 Madison, and Le Grenouille has similar issues as well. I would prefer something where we can have mostly fish as opposed to vegetarian since for the amount of money $100 per person, having vegetables doesn't really seem worth it.

                      Someone mentioned to me the possibility of "The Place". Has anyone gone there?

                      1. re: Hofman777
                        m
                        ml77 Jan 6, 2011 09:12 AM

                        Many if not most of the restaurants mentioned on this thread would be more than happy to tailor a menu that meets your needs. I wouldn't rule a place out strictly on the basis of their standard menu. Pick a few places that meet your other needs (room/budget/quality food with fish options) and then call and ask if they'd be willing to create a meal of fish courses that is worthy of your engagement celebration.

                        1. re: ml77
                          p
                          pauliface Jan 6, 2011 09:20 AM

                          Absolutely. All the restaurants you mention liking would be happy to tailor a menu, you just need to call ahead.

                        2. re: Hofman777
                          boredough Jan 6, 2011 09:19 AM

                          You could order the pear salad without the bacon (easy enough), or ask if something else can be done with the tuna (it's possible - the chef might be very willing if you explain why), so that the 2 of you are not stuck with the one choice. Just a suggestion.

                          1. re: Hofman777
                            g
                            gutsofsteel Jan 6, 2011 09:19 AM

                            I think you'd be very pleasantly surprised with the level of vegetarian tasting menu that you would get a La Grenoulle or Bouley or Craft. Ask them to add a few fish courses and you will have a delightful, well worth it meal.

                            Otherwise you will end up at a second tier restaurant that serves fish, but will not please you.

                            EMP is a wonderful restaurant and would certainly accomodate you and it's gorgeous and festive, but perhaps might exceed your budget. You could call and talk to them. In fact, you should call EMP, La Grenouille, and Bouley and Craft and talk to them about your desires.

                            Don't decide based on the menus you read on line. Fine restaurant will accomodate your needs.

                            -----
                            La Grenouille
                            3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                            1. re: Hofman777
                              j
                              jerseycity chef Jan 6, 2011 09:47 AM

                              I have been to The Place. Took my wife there for our anniversary. Very small, fantastic food. Very reasonable prices. It's a nice quiet tucked away place, but very casual.

                          2. p
                            pauliface Jan 6, 2011 08:34 AM

                            This should be a meal you will remember for the rest of your lives... I'm only listing here places where I ate that still give me a tingle of joy when I think back to them. I know that if *I* got engaged, I'd be happy to go to any of these afterwards...

                            La Grenouille. -- gorgeous room, romantic atmosphere, wonderful food.

                            Sugiyama -- japanese kaiseki. not as romantic atmosphere, but darker and metropolitan feeling nonetheless. a truly memorable meal. I'm sure you could arrange a no shellfish meal, but I would arrange it beforehand.

                            Eleven Madison Park -- I ate here once and did the tasting menu and it was phenomenal. The room here is bigger brighter and more grand, but classic new york in style.

                            Eleven Madison Park --

                            -----
                            Eleven Madison Park
                            11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

                            Sugiyama
                            251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                            La Grenouille
                            3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pauliface
                              g
                              gutsofsteel Jan 6, 2011 08:37 AM

                              Bouley is another one to consider...they will do a vegetarian tasting menu and I'm sure if you ask for some fish (not shellfish) to be included they'd be more than glad to do so.

                              La Grenouille would do the same.

                              I would not do Sugiyama or EMP for your purposes.

                              Or are you looking for multiple fish courses and no vegetarian courses?

                              -----
                              Sugiyama
                              251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                              La Grenouille
                              3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                            2. r
                              Riverman500 Jan 5, 2011 11:58 AM

                              How about Marea?

                              -----
                              Marea
                              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                              1. h
                                Hofman777 Jan 5, 2011 05:55 AM

                                I could go either way on a formal restaurant. I would like to avoid spending what a place like Per Se where it is 275 a person for food. I would say I would like to keep it under 250 but would go higher if it is worth it so I guess there isn't a real cap.

                                Also: we aren't really big drinkers. She is a big lightweight and I am not a big drinker. We would probably get a half bottle or something like that since we will be having champagne before we get to the restaurant.

                                By the way, if people know of a specific area of a restaurant that is a good place to sit that would be helpful as well (I am not talking about a private room since that is out of my price range but if its nicer to sit on a certain side or something like that).

                                THANKS!!!

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

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: Hofman777
                                  g
                                  gutsofsteel Jan 5, 2011 06:04 AM

                                  You might want to consider Le Bernardin, which is a high end French restaurant with an emphasis on seafood, and you can certainly avoid shellfish if you want to. Although I don't find the room very romantic.

                                  Another option is Cafe Boulud, the food is very good, it is a bit less formal, and again you can eat very good fish (and vegetables etc) and avoid shellfish. It's a lovely room.

                                  Bouley is also worth considering - very pretty room as well.

                                  You should look at the menus for these places on line and see what you think.

                                  -----
                                  Le Bernardin
                                  155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                                  1. re: gutsofsteel
                                    h
                                    Hofman777 Jan 5, 2011 11:36 AM

                                    Hi! So I looked at Bouley and there isn't enough for us to eat there. same thing with Cafe Boulud.

                                    Le Bernadin could work but it is a little bit more than I would like to spend since it is $224 before drinks, tax, tip, etc.

                                    Anywhere that might be a little less pricey?

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

                                    1. re: Hofman777
                                      k
                                      kathryn Jan 5, 2011 11:52 AM

                                      Esca? Craft?

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

                                      1. re: kathryn
                                        h
                                        Hofman777 Jan 5, 2011 12:14 PM

                                        I will definitely look at those. Has anyone ever been to One if By Land, Two if By Sea. I was looking online and it seems to be a really romantic place. How does that compare to the places above?

                                        Thanks!

                                        1. re: Hofman777
                                          g
                                          gutsofsteel Jan 5, 2011 01:48 PM

                                          Romantic room, bad food.

                                          Esca and Craft are worth looking to for you. Also Gramercy Tavern.

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

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

                                          1. re: gutsofsteel
                                            h
                                            Hofman777 Jan 6, 2011 08:24 AM

                                            Esca and Craft unfortunately are mostly shellfish and do not offer us many options.

                                            Gramercy tavern is an option but is it really romantic/memorable?

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

                                            1. re: Hofman777
                                              g
                                              gutsofsteel Jan 6, 2011 08:29 AM

                                              Craft has wonderful vegetarian options. And it's a lovely restaurant. So is Gramercy Tavern. Perhaps you could just have mostly vegetarian dishes and a couple of fish items. You would have a much wider range of choices that way. You can for example easily walk into Craft and tell them that you don't eat meat or shellfish, but that fish is fine, and you will have a wonderful dinner.

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

                                              1. re: gutsofsteel
                                                k
                                                kathryn Jan 6, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                For Esca, I see 8 crudo options, 9 altro options, 2 primi options (if you asked in advance I bet they could probably figure something else out too), and 7 different fishes they do as secondi.

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

                                              2. re: Hofman777
                                                k
                                                kathryn Jan 6, 2011 10:43 AM

                                                Craft has seven types of fish on their online menu - 2 raw and 5 cooked.

                                                Bigeye Tuna 18.
                                                Hamachi 18.
                                                Striped Bass 28.
                                                Daurade 29.
                                                Sturgeon 30.
                                                Red Snapper 30.
                                                Swordfish 29.

                                                All of the salads (except for the one with egg) look fine to me as well.

                                                Frisée & Hazelnut 12.
                                                Artichoke 18.
                                                Mixed Lettuces 10.
                                                Beets & Tarragon 13.
                                                Arugula & Lemon 12.

                                                They are also known for their vegetable dishes:

                                                Tokyo Turnips 12.
                                                Baby Carrots 12.
                                                Cippolini Onions 9.
                                                Cauliflower 10.
                                                Shishito Peppers 11.
                                                Brussels Sprouts 12.
                                                Swiss Chard 9.
                                                Bok Choy 9.
                                                Delicata Squash 9.
                                                Butternut Squash 9.

                                                They have a great mushroom selection too:

                                                Oyster 12.
                                                Hen of the Woods 15.
                                                Baby Shiitake 12.
                                                Trompette Royale 12.

                                                And potatoes:

                                                Fingerling 9.
                                                Purée 9.
                                                Gratin 11.
                                                Gnocchi 10.

                                                Craft are famous for their vegetable and mushroom and potato sides. If you go and don't order any of them, you're missing out.

                                                1. re: kathryn
                                                  g
                                                  gutsofsteel Jan 6, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                  Craft would be a perfect choice. And the room is so nice.

                                  2. d
                                    daimyo Jan 4, 2011 08:05 PM

                                    I actually have a similar request so I'll post on this thread. We'd actually have a group of 6 people in mid-February. We would be looking in the midtown area for about 9:00pm. I think we'd like something with a little more upbeat atmosphere to celebrate and obviously good food. We're actually staying in the Gramercy area so recommendations there would be good too. Per Se, Picholine, Boulud Cafe seem a bit too formal and expensive so I'm looking for something just a notch lower expense wise.

                                    Also, how long does it typically take go from Gramercy to South Central Park by taxi between 6pm and 9pm on a Thursday night?

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

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

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: daimyo
                                      k
                                      kathryn Jan 4, 2011 08:08 PM

                                      I would actually post your query in a separate thread since your parameters (group of 6, Midtown, upbeat atmosphere) are pretty different.

                                      1. re: kathryn
                                        d
                                        daimyo Jan 4, 2011 08:16 PM

                                        Will do...thanks for the tip.

                                    2. g
                                      gutsofsteel Jan 4, 2011 07:26 PM

                                      Do you want a formal restaurant? How much are you interested in spending, including tax, tip and wine?

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