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NYC this weekend, no reservations!

s
shoneycu Jan 20, 2011 01:40 AM

I'm headed to NYC on a last minute trip this weekend and I have no reservations. I've not been in two years, and I need advice for where to go that I can either walk in or get a last minute reservation. Lunch, dinner, or brunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Looking for one blockbuster meal, and the others moderate or inexpensive. Especially interested in all Asian this weekend but open to anything. I'm still getting over all my southern holiday food. Staying in midtown. Thanks for your help!

  1. p
    Pan Jan 20, 2011 02:50 AM

    Not to ignore the obvious (for some of us): Did you check Open Table for availability?

    In terms of getting in, how long are you willing to wait?

    What kind of Asian food do you want? One person is too few for Korean barbecue or a Cantonese banquet. So what's a "blockbuster" meal? Do you mean a kaiseki, like Kyo Ya (if so, reserve NOW!)? High-end sushi/sashimi? Momofuku Ko? (Probably a lost cause at such short notice, but you can always try their website.) Inexpensive meals are no problem. You can walk into anyplace in Chinatown and have a meal, so just pick the places you want to go to.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Pan
      s
      shoneycu Jan 20, 2011 04:11 AM

      Thanks, Pan. I checked Open Table for several places, including Momofuku, for last minute dinner reservations with no luck. Anywhere that reserves some walk in tables would be good to know about. I do plan to go to Chinatown for lunch. Good to hear I can walk in -- any suggestions for the best? I've had Great New York Noodletown before so other specific suggestions for inexpensive in Chinatown would be great.

      -----
      Great New York Noodletown
      28 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

      1. re: shoneycu
        p
        peter j Jan 20, 2011 04:33 AM

        For the blockbuster meal, I took a quick look at Open Table and you can still get reservations this weekend at Corton, SHO Shaun Hergatt, Cafe Boulud, Alto, and Convivio, among others.

        For a late lunch at the bar, you can probably walk into Le Bernardin (jacket required), Marea, Lincoln, and Ai Fiori without a problem.

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

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

        Convivio
        45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

        Corton
        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        SHO Shaun Hergatt
        40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

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

        1. re: peter j
          s
          selenster Jan 20, 2011 11:57 AM

          ai fiori should not be a problem AT ALL - i went last week and has a reservation; there were plenty of available (ahem, almost said open tables, ha ha) tables. curious, really because the food is FANTASTIC!

        2. re: shoneycu
          k
          kathryn Jan 20, 2011 05:28 AM

          Red Egg for dim sum -- personally I think Chinatown Brasserie is better but it's pricier and also not actually in Chinatown
          Noodle Village -- for shrimp wonton soup and claypot rice aka hotpot rice
          Xian Famous Foods -- love the hand pulled cumin lamb noodles and the cumin lamb sandwich/burger

          Not sure where you're staying but Szechuan Gourmet is a very good Szechuan restaurant and convenient to many Midtown hotels. As is the 7 train which will take you to the best Thai in town in Queens as well as delicious Chinese in Flushing.

          -----
          Noodle Village
          13 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          Chinatown Brasserie
          380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

          Red Egg
          202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: kathryn
            k
            kathryn Jan 20, 2011 05:43 AM

            Best of Chinatown:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7174...

            1. re: kathryn
              p
              Pan Jan 20, 2011 09:55 AM

              I think Dim Sum Go Go is better than Red Egg, although Red Egg has more atmosphere and also has some good dishes DSGG doesn't have.

              -----
              Dim Sum Go Go
              5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

            2. re: shoneycu
              m
              mow mow Jan 21, 2011 02:57 AM

              Kyo Ya has a first come first serve bar. go early like 6pm and you'll probably be fine. call to check

              if you're staying midtown, try Ma Peche rather than momofuku. it's the same empire and easier to get reservations

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

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

              1. re: mow mow
                ellenost Jan 21, 2011 05:34 AM

                Just had another exquisite dinner at Ma Peche last night. The restaurant was very crowded by 6:30. Loved the ama ebi, the seared foie gras with huckleberries and chestnuts, the ricotta gnocchi with shaved black truffles, and the duck breast with duck sausage and spaetzel. The seared foie gras was more delicious than any that I've had at the four star restaurants. The foie gras is not always on the menu, so hurry in! Service, as ususal, was friendly and professional. My new favorite cocktail is the Seven Spice Sour.

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

                1. re: ellenost
                  r
                  RGR Jan 21, 2011 06:56 AM

                  ellenost, Those dishes hardly sound like what I would expect to come out of a Chang kitchen. After the one lunch we had there last year right after Ma Peche opened, though I thought the food was fine and despite your continuous enthusiasm, it hasn't been on my "return to" list But I may have to rethink that as these dishes sound very appealing to me -- especially, of course, the seared foie gras.

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  1. re: RGR
                    ellenost Jan 21, 2011 07:47 AM

                    RGR, as the "foie gras queen" you owe it to yourself to sample the luscious foie gras course. It is not offered every day, but if it is offered on the day you're there for dinner, I know you will love it!

                    1. re: RGR
                      k
                      kathryn Jan 21, 2011 07:54 AM

                      The kitchen there is run by Tien Ho who spent considerable time working at Cafe Boulud and Cafe Gray. Looks like his French roots may be coming back! :)

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

            3. k
              kathryn Jan 20, 2011 05:24 AM

              You'll have lots of options if you're OK eating at the bar. Nearly all of Mario Batali's restaurants have bar dining and walk in tables save for Del Posto. Does Babbo interest you? See also Scarpetta, Osteria Morini, Locanda Verde.

              For Asian, Momofuku Ssam Bar doesn't take reservations for small parties. You may also want to check out Ippudo, Kin Shop, and I second calling Kyo Ya ASAP if you're interested.

              April Bloomfield (Spotted Pig, Breslin, John Dory Oyster Bar), and Keith McNally (Minetta Tavern, Balthazar, Pulino's) restaurants would do you right. Bloomfield's spots don't take reservations for small parties and McNally's are typically walk in friendly.

              Danny Meyer's restaurants also are walk in friendly. Bar Room at the Modern, Maialino's front room, the bar and lounge area Eleven Madison Park (they don't serve the full menu though), Gramercy Tavern's front room would be my picks.

              For weekday breakfast, I'd do Clinton St Baking Co (no reservations but long lines on weekends) or make a reservation for Maialino, Locanda Verde. For weekend brunch, endure the wait at Prune or try to reserve at Minetta Tavern, or the others I mentioned. Also look up Shopsin's and see if the atmosphere and quirky nature appeals to you.

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

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

              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

              Momofuku Ssam Bar
              207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

              Minetta Tavern
              113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

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

              Ippudo
              65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

              Locanda Verde
              377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

              Pulino's
              282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

              Osteria Morini
              218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

              The John Dory Oyster Bar
              1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

              8 Replies
              1. re: kathryn
                m
                michelleats Jan 20, 2011 05:48 AM

                "Nearly all of Mario Batali's restaurants have bar dining and walk in tables save for Del Posto. "

                Del Posto has bar dining, too, actually. It's to the left when you walk in, and it's actually a pretty big area. There is an actual bar and then enoteca-style seating around the bar, too, with its own separate, abbreviated menu. It used to be very easy to find a seat as a walk-in, there, but that may have changed after the NYT and Michelin stars -- and Kathryn's lunch report. :)

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

                1. re: michelleats
                  k
                  kathryn Jan 20, 2011 06:06 AM

                  I thought they removed the Enoteca menu?
                  http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                  1. re: kathryn
                    m
                    michelleats Jan 20, 2011 06:36 AM

                    Kathryn, you're right: They no longer offer any food at all at the bar, only drinks. That's really too bad for those of us who can't get it together to make reservations.

                    1. re: michelleats
                      k
                      kathryn Jan 20, 2011 07:17 AM

                      And that bar/lounge area is huge! It's absurd to me that when we went for lunch, it seemed like half the first floor was just empty.

                      1. re: kathryn
                        m
                        michelleats Jan 20, 2011 11:38 AM

                        I wonder if the former lounge area is just regular restaurant seating, now. The reservationist I spoke with earlier kind of made it sound that way. I was there a few months ago for a private event and walked through the front area pretty quickly. But I seem to remember that the old dividing rail was still there, making it look like a separate area. If they don't use it for anything but drinks that would seem like an absurd waste of space.

                        1. re: michelleats
                          k
                          kathryn Jan 20, 2011 02:16 PM

                          During my lunch last month, it was very odd that the only people I saw there were some people sitting in the lounge area. No one at the tables on the left. No one at the tables upstairs. I'm assuming they use them for dinner but not lunch.

                2. re: kathryn
                  s
                  shoneycu Jan 21, 2011 02:48 AM

                  Thanks so much, kathryn. This was very helpful.

                  1. re: shoneycu
                    k
                    kathryn Jan 21, 2011 05:40 AM

                    You're welcome! Let us know where you end up!

                3. r
                  RCC Jan 20, 2011 05:31 AM

                  Eat some Peking Duck at Peking Duck House on 53rd Street.

                  -----
                  Peking Duck House
                  236 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

                  1. k
                    kathryn Jan 20, 2011 05:35 AM

                    Lots of solo dining recs here, too:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759698

                    1. loratliff Jan 20, 2011 06:49 AM

                      For your blockbuster, you could even try the salon at Per Se. No reservations, same perfect service as the regular dining room.

                      Also, Momofuku Ko isn't on OpenTable so you're not going to see availabilities there, even if there are any. Reservations are done through Momo's site.

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

                      1. ellenost Jan 20, 2011 07:49 AM

                        Surprisingly enough as of right now, there is availability for 1 or 2 at Momofuku Ko for tomorrow night at 6:50. Another Momofuku restaurant that I love is Ma Peche, that is primarily a walk in restaurant, but also takes reservations on the momofuku website.

                        -----
                        Momofuku Ko
                        163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ellenost
                          s
                          shoneycu Jan 20, 2011 03:11 PM

                          Wow, this is great. Thank you ALL for your suggestions. I wish I had longer to try more of them! I'm looking forward to a great weekend of good eats. If you're ever in Durham, NC, and feel like small plates/wine bar, come visit my wine bar, referenced here in the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/din....

                        2. s
                          shoneycu Jan 26, 2011 10:48 AM

                          Hi, Everyone -- I hope you guys have warmed up. I thought NC was cold before I left, but those temps. last weekend were painful. Otherwise I had a good trip with some good food.
                          Sat. lunch - I ended up eating at Shake Shack (I was having lunch with a friend, who loves it) for lunch one day. Good burger, cheap price, it was fine. John Oliver was in line behind us, which was fun.
                          Sat. dinner - La Mangeoire French bistro, the owner is a friend of a friend. It was the perfect choice for the frigid cold, as they had a cassoulet special which was just wonderful.
                          Sun. brunch - The Breslin at Ace Hotel. Really great bloody mary, very hip vibe (though I'm not a very hip person!). Fries were to die for. I had the three cheese and prosciutto grilled cheese.
                          Sunday dinner - Momofuku noodle bar. I had the pork buns, which were surprisingly too fatty for this southern girl who grew up on a hog farm, and the Momofuku ramen, which was excellent.

                          Thanks for the recommendations, I'm looking forward to trying more of them when I head back to NYC. Hopefully in warmer times.

                          -----
                          La Mangeoire
                          1008 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10022

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

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: shoneycu
                            r
                            RGR Jan 26, 2011 03:03 PM

                            Thanks for reporting back, shoneycu! Glad that you were pleased with your choices. I'm especially glad that you enjoyed La Mangeoire. As you may know, 4-star Chef Christian Delouvrier is in charge of the kitchen. We've been there twice and both meals were excellent. We'll be heading there again on Friday. We read that Chef Delouvrier is serving his cassoulet during the month of January, and my husband, the cassoulet addict, has to have it.

                            Warmer since you were here? Forgeddaboudit! Another snowstorm is about to hit. But, as you said, perfect weather for cassoulet!

                            La Mangeoire photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157624333748836/

                            and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157624769046152/

                            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                            1. re: RGR
                              s
                              shoneycu Jan 28, 2011 05:06 AM

                              Have a great dinner tonight! I did not mention that I also had the grilled octopus starter, which in retrospect was quite summery with a tomato and pesto presentation, but it was fantastic anyway. Unlike your husband, I've never been a cassoulet devotee, but I swear I think I became one at La Mangeoire. I've been looking for a place that serves it in the Triangle already. Happy eating!

                              -----
                              La Mangeoire
                              1008 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10022

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