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

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!!!

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

    1. 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?

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      Per Se
      10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: daimyo

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

      2. 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!!!

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        Per Se
        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

        10 Replies
        1. re: Hofman777

          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.

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

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            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?

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

            1. re: Hofman777

              Esca? Craft?

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

              1. re: kathryn

                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

                  Romantic room, bad food.

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

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

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

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    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?

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

                    1. re: Hofman777

                      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.

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

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        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.

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

                      2. re: Hofman777

                        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

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

          2. How about Marea?

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            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            1. 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 --

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              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

                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?

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

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

              2. 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

                  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

                    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

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

                    2. re: Hofman777

                      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

                        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

                          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. 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

                          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

                            How about Estiatorio Milos or Telepan?

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

                            1. re: Hofman777

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

                              1. re: Spiritchaser

                                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

                                  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

                                    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. 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?

                              -----
                              Ozu
                              566 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pauliface

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

                                -----
                                Ozu
                                566 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                              2. 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/restaurant...

                                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. 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. 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

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

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