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Need Recs for Saturday Lunch Midtown East Near Bergdorf's

In a couple of weeks I'll be in town for a perfume event called Sniffapalooza. They always have an interminably long, overpriced, luncheon with too many guest speakers at an area restaurant and it's gotten so I refuse to attend. This means I'll have about 2 hours of free time to get lunch on my own. While I'd be happy at most Asian restaurants in the area, I don't want to go back to sniffing perfume while I'm reeking of garlic, so I'm looking for something less fragrant to eat. I'll be near Bergdorf's and don't want to walk too far.

So tell me - are Nobu and Le Cirque overrated? How about the Modern? Can anyone give me other suggestions? TIA!

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Nobu
105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

Le Cirque
151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

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  1. Modern Bar Room (will probably be a long wait on a Saturday - they do not take reservations)
    Seasonal (love Austrian bistro)
    Ma Peche (good food, don't love the room)

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    The Modern
    9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

    Seasonal
    132 West 58th Street, New York, NY 10019

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      The Modern Bar Room is a great choice and takes reservations on OpenTable. The Modern Dining Room is closed on Saturdays.

      Another non-asian option would be Benoit on 55th Street between 5th and 6th Ave., which is quite good though, strangely, rarely mentioned on this board. The chef, Philippe Bertineau, used to be the chef at Payard in its old location on Lexington Ave. and 74th Street, and continues to serve traditional brasserie fare.

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      Benoit
      60 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019

      1. re: H Manning

        I agree that the Bar Room at The Modern is an excellent choice. We reseved for our lunch a couple of Sundays ago on the phone. The food was stellar!

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

        ETA: The Modern Dining Room is closed for lunch on Saturday but is open for dinner.

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        1. re: RGR

          Although I drooled at the Seasonal menu, I think I might just end up at the Modern. Thanks for the food pron, RGR! Everything looks terrific!

          1. re: theminx

            You're welcome, theminx!

            Actually, I like Seasonal a lot! We've been there twice for dinner. Although the lunch menu does not have all the dishes that are on the dinner menu, there are some that are the same.

            Here's food porn from Seasonal to drool over: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            http://the wizardofroz.wordpress.com

      2. re: gutsofsteel

        +1 for Ma Peche. I had two great lunches at Ma Peche this week. Sliced pork chop was the best pork chop anywhere. Also loved the broccoli salad. $25 for the lunch prix fixe; I can't find better value for the quality of food in the neighborhood. Service is very friendly. The music volume has been turned down.

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

        1. re: ellenost

          I think I'm going to do Ma Peche on Friday.

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

      3. I had a great Saturday lunch recently at Aquavit. We all enjoyed our dishes and the aquavit was a fun addition to the food. If you plan to order dessert, definitely consider the Arctic Circle (may not be listed on the menu but they'll make it for you).

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        Aquavit
        65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

        1. Thanks for all of your suggestions. I ended up at Ma Peche on Friday, sharing a table with a couple of very generous folks who, when I told them I was a food blogger from Baltimore, shared tastes of their entrees AND a slice of their whole Milk Bar banana layer cake (it was a birthday for one of them). On Saturday I had lunch at the Bar Room at The Modern. Service was amazing, the food was pretty great but ended up costing about 2x what I wanted to pay (3 courses, 1 glass beer, tip = $90).

          I'm already contemplating another trip to NY (for the McQueen show at the Met) and am thinking of hitting a Thai restaurant - either Lotus of Siam, or Kin Shop.

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

          Lotus of Siam
          24 5th Ave, New York, NY 10003

          1 Reply
          1. re: theminx

            Definitely skip Lotus of Siam. I had dinner there after they opened (thinking it would be similar to LOS in Las Vegas). Big mistake. Food was "okay", but the portion sizes were tiny and very expensive.