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Guidance, please? Midtown West-ish, relaxed, comfortable, delicious...

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This is an embarrassment of riches situation--I read the threads and know the reps, but I don't eat out much myself often in this neighborhood, and want to be able to chill out and enjoy the food and the company.

Scenario--old friend coming to town, staying midtown west/Hells Kitchen. He's not against leaving the neighborhood, but I'd probably limit it to west side above 20th St. to the lower Upper West. I'm looking for dinner on a Sunday night, really good food in a low key atmosphere (e.g., price no object, but I don't want to go somewhere where I'm going to be thinking about my posture)--the trick is I probably want to have a longer meal to maximize chatting time, if that's possible. Any cuisine is fine (Thai is a particular favorite of my friend's, but I know better for my target area) except for sushi and anything too shellfish-centric (allergy).

So for those of you really familiar with that area--where do you go when you just want to have a hazy lazy lovely evening with a friend?

Thank you...

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  1. How about the Bar Room at The Modern? Delicious food, excellent service, pleasant ambiance. They will not rush you out or care if you slouch.

    Bar Room at The Modern photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    1. I highly recommend Ma Peche. Just took a friernd to dinner at Ma Peche as a farewell gift, and we were there over 2 1/2 hours. No one rushed us. Even though we were sitting next to the music speakers, we had no trouble talking at normal voice levels. Food was great. There's something for everyone on the menu. Great cocktail menu too.

      1. Thanks to you both--I had thought about Ma Peche, but got a little scared off by the menu, which seemed pretty marine-focused, but if there's something for everyone... I hadn't considered the Bar Room, which is probably perfect--I'll check both for availability.

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

        5 Replies
        1. re: planetjess

          Just to let you know, my friend and I each had an order of the ricotta gnocchi with black truffles, seared foie gras with chestnuts and huckleberries, duck breast with duck sausage and spaetzle; all were superb. Ma Peche also has a wonderful 12 oz. steak with rice fries. I've also read about a yummy pork chop that is for 2 that is served already sliced. Someone posted photos, and it looks great.

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

          1. re: ellenost

            Really happy to have this perspective, and Ma Peche it is--tried for the Bar Room at the Modern, but not available at the time I wanted, while Ma Peche had very flexible availability. I may very well go with exactly what you ordered.

            1. re: planetjess

              Hope so, I loved it all! Please report back.

              1. re: ellenost

                Bumping this, and sorry I didn't reply earlier, especially as I see you're involved in the more current Ma Peche discussions. I wanted to let you know I loved it. I loved it so much I took another friend there for the same type of dinner a few weeks later. That friend and I now go once a month or so and recommend it to anyone willing to go to that area. Next month, old chow-ish friends of mine who left NYC a few years ago are coming for a visit. I'll be taking them there.

                Given all the meals I've had there over the past nine months, I can't go into a ton of specifics, except to say that I've never had a bad dish. First impressions were that it was exactly the place I was looking for--flavorful, inventive food, with an exquisite amount of attention paid even to vegetable sides. Next, it was so calm, so relaxed, and the service so pleasant. Very interesting and reasonably priced wines by the glass.

                In the months following, I have supplemented my approach. Now I go for relaxed meals that I absolutely want to stretch out with wonderful company and wonderful food. The problem had been choosing what to get when everything looked amazing. Now I don't choose. I tell them upfront that we want to order everything that looks good to us, and to just bring it out at whatever pace they like. They're always happy to oblige--not trying to oversell on this point--I'm well aware that their comfort at having me occupy a two top for four hours even on a Friday or Saturday night is not divorced from the number of dishes I am wont to order, but still. They're so lovely, the food is so good, it's like having a private chef come and cater the best girls' night in ever, just without the pajamas but with cereal milk and crack pie to take home. I've also become addicted to their Dark & Stormy.

                Standouts from two Fridays ago: fried chicken salad, pork summer roll, coquillage, lamb corn dog, lamb large plate, corn side, pig's ear, shaved frozen cream cheese.

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

                1. re: planetjess

                  Delighted to read your report! You've found some of my current favorites too (fried chicken salad, coquillage, corn side). Looking forward to trying the lamb corn dog, lamb main course, and the new cream cheese dessert. I have always found the service to be very friendly and attentive. Love their cocktail program--especially the Seven Spice Sour. I'm really enjoying their "Sunday on the X" dinners. Last week was halibut, and all the dishes were great. The theme dinners are being offered every other Sunday for $75 ($25 additional for beverage pairings).