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Help with food itinerary - 3 day weekend needs to be memorable!

e
eh0619 Mar 31, 2011 07:28 PM

My wife and I are finally getting to celebrate our 10-year anniversary after several family situations delayed our travel plans for almost 6 months. We will be in town for 3 nights at the end of April, will skip the sightseeing, just want to enjoy good food and relaxation, and since our meals will be the focus of our travel budget, we are pretty wide open and aren't setting too many budgetary restraints. I know there are always wildly different opinions on top restaurants, but we would appreciate all the input we could get in narrowing down the following choices:
1. Friday night - will be going to the Met for the opera, thus debating between Picholine pre-theater and Lincoln.
2. Saturday lunch - something fun and relatively light, thinking about Eataly (not sure about the dining options there, but sounds like an interesting food destination).
3. Saturday dinner - EMP high on the list, thought about Per Se but not sure it would be worth the extra cash. We defintiely want a tasting menu with wine pairings, something special as this will be our "official" anniversary dinner.
4. Sunday luch - Momofuku Ko if reservations happen, if not, probably Italian. Marea vs Scarpetta vs Del Posto. Would entertain other thoughts.
5. Sunday dinner - If no Momofuku, would like something Asian. Wife is big original Iron Chef fan, thus was interested in Morimototo, but I haven't seen anything to suggest it would be worth the time. However, if anyone has had a good experience there I would love to know, as she is pretty high on this idea. Other Asian places to consider? We are both more into Japanese than other Asian cuisines, would like some decent sushi, but neither of us is a sushi connoisseur so doesn't have to be best or most exotic sushi. Would like good mix of sushi and warm dishes. Maybe 15 East?
6. Monday brunch - maybe, but could be too stuffed. Just in case, good brunch place in SOHO?

Thanks for any input, I really want to make this a special food adventure for the wife, she deserves it after the last 6 months we've had.

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

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

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

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

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

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Eataly
200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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  1. ellenost RE: eh0619 Mar 31, 2011 08:09 PM

    Picholine is an excellent choice for before the opera.

    EMP is one of my favorite restaurants. I highly recommend the Tasting Menu for a wonderful celebratory dinner.

    Unlike most people on this board, I've had two excellent dinners at Morimoto (the second visit I saw the Iron Chef himself visiting tables).

    I hope you get the Ko reservation; it's an excellent meal (it's all about the food). If you don't get the Ko reservation, I highly recommend Ma Peche for Sunday dinner (the newest of the David Chang restaurants, and tied with Ko for my favorite). Have a great time and Congratulations!

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

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

    Morimoto
    88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

    1. k
      kathryn RE: eh0619 Mar 31, 2011 10:50 PM

      2. Saturday lunch, I'd do maybe pizza at Keste or Motorino instead. Eataly will likely be a loud, crowded, noisy zoo.

      Or maybe a self guided noshing tour?
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728356
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750143
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711661
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754497

      4. Sunday lunch, Scarpetta doesn't serve lunch (at all) and Del Posto doesn't on Sundays. You could, however do Maialino or Locanda Verde. Check out the online menus. Maialino especially has a lot of dinner items available for brunch. If you do Locanda Verde, don't miss the sheep's milk ricotta, porchetta sandwich, or eggs Modenese.

      6. For Monday breakfast, how about a long leisurely one at Balthazar?

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

      Balthazar
      80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

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

      Keste Pizza & Vino
      271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      Locanda Verde
      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

      Eataly
      200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn
        n
        Nancy S. RE: kathryn Apr 1, 2011 05:51 AM

        For pre-opera, I would go to Lincoln, for its proximity as well as cuisine. I agree with EMP, but reserve immediately. I also think Motorino is excellent for a pizza lunch (I much prefer it over Keste). I love 15 East, but it's closed on Sundays

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

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

        Lincoln
        142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

      2. r
        RGR RE: eh0619 Mar 31, 2011 11:33 PM

        1. & 3. I agree with my good friend ellenost that you should choose Picholine for your pre-opera dinner and EMP for you "official" anniversary celebration. Tasting menus would be the way to go for both.

        Picholine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157622875676042/

        EMP: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625770445659/

        2. Eataly is an absolute zoo on weekends. The only venue with table service that accepts reservations is Manzo. You can also eat at the bar without reserving. The menu is the same at both. Manzo is located so that you don't have the crowds steaming through the aisles around your table.

        Manzo photos (dining room): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625847020198/

        and at the bar: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625895952376/

        Eataly: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625850933476/

        Le Verdure in Eataly: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625850933476/

        Il Pesce in Eataly: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625725436081/

        La Pizza in Eataly: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625940121158/

        4. If you cannot get a reservation at Ko.... I really like Scarpetta, but they do not serve lunch. Marea does serve lunch on Sunday, but we have had two disappointing experiences there despite the fact that I'm a fan of Michael White's cookiing. On the other hand, we have had two spectacular meals at Ai Fiori, White's newest upscale restaurant. Lunch is served on Sunday. I highly recommend it.

        Ai Fiori: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625940121158/

        5. Although my experience with Japanese cuisine is limited, we had a wonderful dinner at Kyo Ya. While we've not been to 15 East yet, I've heard only positive reports. No surprise since it is owned by the same couple who own one of our favorite NYC restaurants, Tocqueville.

        Kyo Ya: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulteriorepicure/sets/72157624005101964/

        6. Brunch is usually a weekend thing. But if you want to end your trip with a lovely lunch, I highly recommend the aforementioned Tocqueville. In addition to the a la carte menu, there's a 3-course lunch prix-fixe for $24.07. Chef/owner Marco Moreira never stints on quality, so that prix-fixe is a steal for cuisine of such high caliber. The wine list is excellent (there's a $15 wine pairing for the prix-fixe), service is pleasant and professional, and the elegant dining room is one of the most beautiful in the city.

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157622307667453/

        For something more casual, in Soho, there is Balthazar, the extremely popular French brasserie . Very good food and lively atmospherics.

        Balthazar: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157621977198042/

        Happy Anniversary!

        ETA: Posted before I saw kathry's post. Obviously, we had some of the same thoughts.

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR
          k
          kathryn RE: RGR Apr 1, 2011 06:29 AM

          I love Kyo Ya. It is kaiseki style cuisine though, not really sushi, although they do offer box pressed sushi as well as sashimi, just not nigiri or maki. Great service, lovely room, wonderful food. I enjoy sitting at the chef's counter in the back.

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

        2. e
          eh0619 RE: eh0619 Apr 1, 2011 05:44 PM

          Thanks so much for the input, you guys are awesome! Good to know about Eataly, sounds like a scene we would rather avoid. The pizza suggestions are great, this is really what we are looking for on Saturday for lunch. Also didn't realize so many places were not open for lunch on Sunday. Will look into Ai Fiori for lunch that day, also now have Ma Peche on the radar. So many of you rave about EMP that I am definitely going for this on Saturday night. Will let you know how things turn out, thanks again!

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

          Eataly
          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: eh0619
            c
            cubicles RE: eh0619 Apr 3, 2011 12:34 AM

            1. went to Picholine twice; it was good both times, but honestly not memorable. haven't been to Lincoln but another option, albeit very different would be Graffit. Very inventive molecular food; not on the same level price-wise or fanciness-wise, but the food is extremely interesting and very good.

            2. not sure where you're planning on being Sat (or if it matters), but I agree that Eataly is not the best idea. if you want to do a brunch in NYC i would suggest either Sat or Sun since very few places do a good weekday brunch. maybe try brunch on this day at somewhere like Balthazaar, Morandi, or Pastis (or a non Keith McNally joint)

            3. agree that EMP would be a great choice. another great pick would be SHO Shaun Hergatt down in the financial district. truly excellent, memorable food.

            4. again, could sub brunch in here if you wanted. in terms of an Italian lunch, Locande Verde was very very good but Ai Fiori was above and beyond. Definitely go there if Momofuku does not work out.

            5. If no Momofuku, Ma Peche would definitely be an option. For great/interesting sushi and really excellent cooked dishes look into Soto. It doesn't look like much in the West Village in a tiny unmarked storefront on 6th avenue, but the food is probably the best sudo-Japanese I've had in the city. Be forewarned though, the meal will not be cheap. I know you said price wasn't a real issue, but throw out all your usual Japanese food expectations and think more like normal 1-2 michelin star prices (which is fair, since Soto has 1). If you get Momfuku for lunch, I'm guessing you'll want something Italian based on your original post, so I'd say try for any of the places you'd mentioned for lunch. they're all really good.

            6. Like I said, finding a good brunch on the weekdays is tough; this might be a better lunch day. If you're not too full I would highly recommend trying Nougatine in Columbus Circle. It's right next to Jean-Georges' namesake restaurant and if I'm not mistaken shares a kitchen. In any event, I've been multiple times and their $28 3-course prix fix never disappoints.

            Hope this helps, happy anniversary, and hope the trip is great. write back when you're done and let us know how everything turned out.

            -----
            Soto
            357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

            Pastis
            9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

            Morandi
            211 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

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

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

            Nougatine
            1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

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

            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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

            Gastroarte
            141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

          2. r
            rkaene RE: eh0619 Apr 3, 2011 04:41 AM

            What about eataly Monday?

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