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jaded chefs coming in for a quick visit

My husband and I are taking a quick trip to the city this coming week, and we're trying to figure out where to do our big, inspirational, this-is-why-we-came-to NYC meals. We're both chefs in Washington, DC, and we eat well on a regular basis.

Wednesday night we're going to the LTO event for RJ Cooper, and that will certainly count as a big fancy meal. We'd like to do at least one destination-restaurant lunch (think Le Bernardin, EMP, maybe Jean Georges); one mid-range casual but nifty dinner, probably Monday night (something like Spotted Pig or Balthazar, though we're not interested in waiting 2 hours to eat British food, lol). Tuesday night we'd like to bar-hop (food bars, that is). We like to go to fancy, famous, or otherwise off-limits places and sit at the bar, have a couple of small plates and a drink, then move on to the next place and do it again.

Hubby's a classical French chef; I do modern American with a seafood specialty.
We're big fans of the big names (Ripert, Boulud, etc), and the whole idea is to get away from our lives for a few days and eat some extraordinary food without spending $1000 a meal.

Last time up, we enjoyed Casa Mono, Ippudo, and Dovetail, had awful experiences at Fishtail and WD-50, and paid obligatory, enjoyable visits to Katz's and Shake Shack.

Especially for the bar-hopping night, which will probably be Tuesday, do you have any suggestions? For the destination restaurants, is there one or another that's hitting on all cylinders right now, or a place that might be a better deal than others? We're not paupers, but we're not magnates, either, so we're trying to piece together a quick trip that will allow us to experience a lot of what NYC has to offer without having to sell a kidney.

Any help is appreciated!

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WD-50
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

Casa Mono
52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

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

Dovetail
103 West 77th Street, New York, NY 10024

Ippudo
65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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  1. For bar hopping, you could do worse than the few block radius that contains craft, EMP, Gramercy Tavern, Veritas, Ssam Bar

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

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

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

    Veritas
    43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: nmprisons

      that's definitely what i was thinking! any other hot-spots come to mind with several well-regarded/kind of fancy kitchens within a few blocks of each other, or at least adjoining neighborhoods? we don't mind spreading it out over the course of the evening and traveling a little bit, for the record, but i don't think we're into starting out on the UES and winding up in Flushing, for instance.

    2. I think you would enjoy Ma Peche. Chef Tien Ho is turning out amazing food. The dinner menu has more variety than the lunch menu, but the sliced rib chop at lunch is without doubt the best pork that I've ever had (not kidding). BTW, I'm heading to LTO to try Chef Cooper's cuisine on Thursday. I'm going to DC in three weeks for vacation; at which restaurants do you cook?

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

      1. jean georges for lunch is a great deal though the menu does not rotate as fast as i would like.

        1. ABC Kitchen is good for late lunch bites...if you want a real[mob] scene the Dutch is opening at 11pm on Tuesday night,and then into the week.

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          ABC Kitchen
          35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

          The Dutch
          131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

          1. For your (probably Monday) "mid-range casual but nifty dinner," I strongly recommend Aldea for Chef George Mendes' delicious Portuguese-inspired cuisine. His signature Arroz de Pato is not-to-be-missed.

            Aldea photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            For your destination restaurant lunch, EMP. Definitely hitting on all cylinders!

            EMP photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            Since you say you're a fan of Daniel Boulud, you should consider going to Cafe Boulud. His protege, Executive Chef Gavin Kaysen, is cooking some of the best food in the city right now. This may be Boulud's second-tier restaurant, but in every way that counts, it's first-rate!

            Cafe Boulud photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: RGR

              Second Aldea and EMP.

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              Aldea
              31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011