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For gazing purposes: Open kitchen for solo diner?

I'll be staying at 101st & Riverside, but plan to eat my way from one end of Manhattan to the other in early August. Can anyone suggest great food in a not-stuffy atmosphere for a solo diner, with view of open kitchen? No budget concerns really (under $150 would be good)
many thanks!
Libby

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  1. There aren't a huge number of high end restaurants with an open kitchen. Here are a few:

    Chef's counter at Kyo Ya
    Chef's counter at Aldea
    Momofuku Ko
    Degustation

    Previously:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/557829

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    Degustation
    239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

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

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

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Another option that is relatively new is to sit at the bar in front of the wood burning stove at the Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons

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

      1. re: kathryn

        There was a recent article on the chef's counter at Aldea, lots of details which make one really want to make a reservation there!
        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/the...

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

      2. Highly recommend one of my most favorite restaurants when dining solo with a bird's eye view of the kitchen: Momofuku Ko. You need to reserve a seat at the 12 seat counter 7 days in advance via their website. The price for dinner is $125. I love it!

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: ellenost

          7 days, which includes today, so each morning at 10am the day of (today + 6) opens up.

        2. You can't do Momofuku Ko as a solo diner, unfortunately.

          The chef's bar at L'Artusi is another good option. Not at all stuffy.

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

          L'Artusi
          228 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014

          10 Replies
          1. re: michelleats

            They do take some reservations for 1.

            From their FAQ page:

            q: why do we only take reservations for parties of 1,2 or 4?
            a: this is a small restaurant with only bar seating. we cannot accommodate large parties or parties of three due to space limitations.

            1. re: kathryn

              I see. Is this a new policy? I remember seeing posts by single diners either seeking a dining partner to go with to Ko or bemoaning the fact they couldn't go.

              1. re: michelleats

                No, I think they've always taken solo diners. It may just be that the two-tops are easier to get.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Very interesting. I think foresee more Momofuku Ko in my life.

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

              2. re: kathryn

                Yep, they certainly do allow it. My first time was on my own about a year ago...

              3. re: michelleats

                Ko does take solo diners. Party sizes are 1, 2 or 4.

                Believe there's also a kitchen counter at Beacon.

                If you're a fan of cocktails, the better restaurants with
                small bars can provide some entertainment. WD50 is a standout for that, with engaging "bar chefs" (or whatever they're called these days...)

                Down the street from WD, Falai has a couple bar seats with a sort-of side-view of the kitchen.

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                Falai
                68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                Beacon
                25 West 56th St., New York, NY 10019

                1. re: michelleats

                  What!?!? I pretty much live at Ko dining solo more than 30 times in the past 3 years :-).

                  1. re: ellenost

                    Oi. I'm late to the game on this one. But now that I know, I think I'll be taking advantage of this.

                    1. re: michelleats

                      I find Ko to be one of the most interesting restaurants as a solo diner. I've had many nice conversations with people sitting next to me. Food is always fantastic. Hoping to get another reservation soon. Read they have a new peach dessert that I'd love to try. Since you've enjoyed Ma Peche (another favorite restaurant of mine as a solo diner), I think you'd really like Momofuku Ko.

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

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

                      1. re: ellenost

                        I think I am sold on Momofuku Ko for my big solo dinner! Many thanks!

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

                2. Hearth and Mercat have a few seats at the pass, although I don't know if you can reserve them. Neither is stuffy, both are good, and I don't think <$150 would be a problem at either.

                  http://restauranthearth.com/
                  http://www.mercatnyc.com/

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                  Hearth
                  403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

                  Mercat
                  45 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: small h

                    You can reserve the "chefs counter" at Mercat, though I think the OP may have already been sold on Ko by now.

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                    Mercat
                    45 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012

                  2. A few other suggestions:

                    Casa Mono
                    Momofuku Noodle Bar
                    Kin Shop

                    The middle dining room at Lincoln has view of the kitchen but you can't really see the food being prepared unless you stand by the glass wall. Interesting to watch though, especially when Jonathan Benno is there.

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                    Casa Mono
                    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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

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

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

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Riverman500

                      I was also going to suggest Kin Shop. The bar is essentially in an L shape with the kitchen.
                      My favorite places for solo dining tend not to be in NYC though.