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Can you recommend a restaurant in NYC/Manhattan?

Hi, my daughter and I are going to NYC and I am trying to find a great restaurant meal that we will always remember. In DC, we go to Morton's or Clydes for special occasions. We are fans of Top Chef and have been thinking about Tom Colicchio's restaurant, but there have been guest judges on the show with restaurants in NYC, but I don't remember the name. I was in NYC and had a great meal at a Spanish restaurant near the United Nations and we had some good Brazilian food. We love Little Italy. The problem is that sometimes, if you don't ask around, you can get to a restaurant that is not really that good. We are pretty casual and I was thinking in the $50 - $75 range, without alcohol, for a meal for the two of us. Great food and memorable is what I am looking for. Got any suggestions?

Thank you.

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  1. This is a hard one as you are very starry eyed about TV chefs, not necessarily a good thing. If you like "celebrity" chefs and are a fan of Little Italy why don't you go to one of Mario Batali's restaurants like Babbo. It will be more than $75 but it will incorporate your "great food and memorable" criteria.

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    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    1. grammercy tavern, maybe try for lunch.

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

      1. how about EATALY

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        Eataly
        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

        1 Reply
        1. re: tahb

          These are great!! I'm checkin' out their web sites. EATALY might just be crazy enough for us. Gramercy menu looks good, but may be a bit too classy for us. Thanks so much; I never would have thought of these places; though I have heard of them.

        2. I think your subject line and criteria are a little too broad to get a significant response here. From your post it seems that you want $50-75 and a TV chef, but if I were you I would scrap the Top Chefs and focus more on area (where will you be coming from or going to?) and/or type of food (ethnicity etc.), then repost or edit your title to reflect that (like "Great Japanese - not sushi - $50-75" or "Dinner near mid-town east $50-75"). I'm sure you'll get a lot more replies that way.
          That said, going on those two alone I would try Lupa (Mario Batali).

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          Lupa
          170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

          5 Replies
          1. re: snaporaz

            I think Lupa would be much too expensive. Keeping with the Mario Batali theme, they could always do Otto and stay well within their price range.

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            Lupa
            170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

            1. re: loratliff

              Thanks for the useful comments --- I am sorry that I'm being unclear and I realize I'm not giving you good information about my request (I originally posted it in DC and I mentioned the DC places we like, but my post got moved to Manhattan).

              I feel I must defend myself. The only food show we watch is Top Chef -- and they've had judges on who have NYC restaurants and I thought that I'd ask about those. Now that I think about it, I think they had the guy from Morimoto...I totally don't know the sections of the city -- and thus I tend to walk around aimlessly until we stumble on something -- which can be great or really bad....so I thought I'd ask for your favorites....Any place for a good paella...?

              1. re: Regymos

                I am an avid watcher of Top Chef and if you really want to experience a restaurant by Tom Colicchio or one of the guest judges (Eric Ripert, Wylie Dufresne, Daniel Boulud, Scott Conant, Mario Batali, David Chang, etc.) you'll need to be prepared to spend 2-3x more per person than the roughly $35pp you mentioned above. Especially if you have high expectations coming in. I've had very good meals at Craft, Le Bernardin, Scarpetta, etc. BUT for a much higher price.

                Some of them do have cheaper restaurants, but I think you you try to stay in your price range and your only exposure to them is via TV, you'll be disappointed.

                The only one I can think of that is roughly in your price range is Momofuku Noodle Bar and/or Ssam Bar.

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

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

                Craft
                43 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003

                Momofuku Noodle Bar
                171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

                1. re: kathryn

                  Kathryn made a very good point. People watch the chefs on Top Chef but have no idea of how expensive their restaurants are, it's a bit unfair on the TV watchers!!

                  1. re: bronwen

                    If the OP wants to expand beyond the guest chefs on Top Chef, she could try out restaurants of the contestants. Options include Social Eatz-a very unfortunately named new restaurant by Angelo Sosa that has gotten raves for its bibimbap burger, or Kin Shop, a modern twist on Thai by Harold Dieterle (winner of season 1). Both should work with the OP's budget.

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                    Kin Shop
                    469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                    Social Eatz
                    232 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

          2. For a dose of Tom Colicchio, you can go to Craftbar or Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons and stay within your budget if you order carefully..

            For Mario: Eataly or Otto.

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            Craftbar
            900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

            Otto
            1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

            Colicchio & Sons
            85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010