HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Montrealer seeks NYC great value restaurants (detailed description inside)

  • e

Hi, I'll be heading to NYC next Friday (September 30th) for 3 nights (leaving Monday October 3rd). We'll be a group of 6 adults in their early 30s (4 boys, 2 girls) from Montreal.

We'll be staying on 8th near W47th.

I'm looking for advice on bistro-style restaurants for dinners that locals consider "great values". By that, I mean that I'm not seeking the best of the best but just restaurants that are reasonably priced and that have a great ambiance. The ambiance I like is when it's sort of noisy, full of people having a great time, with dimmed lights, wood, etc.

To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, here's a couple links to some Montreal restaurants where I go often. You can look at these menus and you'll see the type of cuisine and prices I'm after.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

http://lequartiergeneral.ca/#menus/en...
http://www.lesenfantsterriblesbrasser...
http://www.fbar.ca/en/bar_side.html
http://www.fbar.ca/en/f_side.html
http://www.bistrotlafabrique.com/en/m...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. How much do you want to pay per person? It's easier if you give a cuisine preference and a per person cost for food (only), HERE on this board (rather than linking out), and give it in USD.

    It helps those of us unfamiliar with Montreal (esp. with exchange rate math - those are all in Canadian currency, yes?) and people who may be searching for similar places in the future (restaurant web sites change all the time -- those links may break in the future).

    So $40pp before tax, tip, drinks/wine? $50pp? $60pp?

    Given that you have what is considered a large group here in Manhattan (6 people), and you're coming in less than a week, you may have trouble making reservations. Just FYI. Many of our popular restaurants book up a few weeks in advance. At this late stage, they may only offer you slots like 5:30pm and 10pm.

    Are you willing to wait for a table?

    13 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Hi kathryn and thank you for your reply!

      I'd say I would like to pay somewhere around $40 to $50 USD per person for an appetizer and a main dish. Desserts, coffee and/or wine would be extra.

      As for the cuisine I'm looking for, I don't know for sure what's it called in NYC but here in Montreal, we often refer to it as "French Bistro Moderne". Basically, for the main dish, you'll always have a short but complete menu with at least one steak (often flank, hanger, bavette or filet mignon), one fish (the freshest available daily at the market, often pan-seared), maybe some sort of salad, maybe a fancy burger, etc.

      I don't care about the latest and greatest restaurants. I don't need to go to what's "in" at the moment. I'm looking for restaurants that maybe have been around a couple years and that locals go back to because its always consistent and a great value.

      1. re: ESP68

        Are you unwilling to try other cuisines? I say this only because the bistros here may be very similar to what you have back home--why not try something new that you won't find in Montreal?

        1. re: kathryn

          Yes, totally willing to try anything. I was mostly giving these Montreal restaurants as examples of what I normally look for. But I'm up for anything that locals are willing to share with me! ;)

          1. re: ESP68

            Public's Sunday supper is only $50pp and they have availability on OpenTable for 6 people, so I'd book ASAP online right now if interested. Creative menu with some Australian/Asian influences.
            http://public-nyc.com/food/supper-sun...

            I think you might also like Hearth and they are showing some availability on OpenTable as well. I just checked and I see Saturday at 6:30pm available for 6 people. American, farm-to-table, with Italian influences.
            http://restauranthearth.com/menu.pdf

            You might also want to show up at Torrisi Italian Specialties one night early at 5:30pm to put your name in for a later seating. It's a $50 prix fixe that changes nightly, no reservations taken in advance, it's only when the host comes out at 5:30pm. It's upscale Italian-American, very hip and popular right now.
            http://piginahat.com/dinner.php

            I also like the newly opened Tertulia, a Spanish tapas restaurant. Tapas, by a well-regarded chef, and also very hip and popular right now. I waited 30 minutes for a table this past weekend and was jealous of the large party who had a reservation. They only take reservations for larger groups (which is good for you!) so contact them soon.
            http://tertulianyc.com/

            You might also like the atmosphere at Fedora. They only take day-of reservations, too, which will help you, as long as you plan well and call morning of. It's an old school restaurant that's been taken over by a different restaurateur, but the inside still feels very old New York. Eclectic menu as well.
            http://fedoranyc.com/

            Another cozy option would be Blue Ribbon Bakery. They only take reservations for the bigger groups as well, which helps you out. They bake a lot of bread in their working 135 year-old brick oven and it smells amazing if you get seated nearby. Eclectic American comfort food - bone marrow, fried chicken, chocolate bruno.
            http://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com/...

            Overall, book as soon as you can, otherwise you may end up waiting 1-2 hours for a table on a Friday or Saturday night.

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

            Blue Ribbon Bakery
            33 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

            Public
            210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

            Fedora
            239 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

            Torrisi Italian Specialties
            250 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

            Tertulia
            359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            1. re: kathryn

              Wow! Excellent! I love all your suggestions! Will definitely check these out! Can't thank you enough! :)

        2. re: ESP68

          ESP68, the menu at Spotted Pig is a little like what you describe. I really liked the food at the Spotted Pig, although it can be crowded (and sometimes cramped) and the food is closer to upscale comfort food than Montreal-style French bistro moderne. Although I'm not a local, there were lots of locals dining there when I was there, and I dined with a local, for what its worth. ;-)

          I recommend the ricotta gnudi, and the fancy burger. Not a typical burger, but after trying it, it's my favourite burger. http://thespottedpig.com/food.php

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

          1. re: prima

            A party of six is going to wait a long, long time at Spotted Pig on a weekend night.

            I'd perhaps do lunch/brunch there instead.

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

            1. re: kathryn

              Oops- I somehow missed the "party of 6" part. I was a little too focused too much on the food and ambiance. ;-) Agree completely- a party of 6 would have a very long wait on a weekend night. Not sure if it might work as a place for an early supper in the late afternoon.

              1. re: prima

                Thanks for the suggestion! It's exactly the kind of restaurant I'm looking for. I've added it to my list even though it sounds like it would be though for 6 people to get in on a weekend night.

                1. re: ESP68

                  You might also want to consider a place like Perry Street. They take reservations through Opentable, and are located on the Western edge of the West Village. While I find the atmosphere somewhat cold and minimalist, some of the food reminded me a little of the food at Laloux. They offered an early bird and after 9:30 pm $38 prix fixe Sun-Fri. It's listed as a summer promotion, but it might still be available since it's still mentioned on the website.

                  http://jean-georges.com/

                  I would think your chances of finding a good restaurant as a walk-in would be better in West Village and in Tribeca, than in the Meatpacking District. To be honest, I avoid eating in the Meatpacking District! ;-) The Meatpacking District is a good place to peoplewatch, but some of the restaurants are out to gouge people. ;-

                  )

                  -----
                  Perry Street
                  176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: prima

                    I checked out Perry Street and you're absolutely right, it does look like it's a little bit too "cold" for my taste. But thanks for the suggestion nonetheless.

                    -----
                    Perry Street
                    176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

                  2. re: ESP68

                    Try Spotted Pig for lunch/brunch instead. The same chef also does The Breslin, which does an amazing breakfast/brunch daily.

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

                    The Breslin
                    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Breslin look good. I've added it to my list. Now, it's time to make some reservations! ;) Thanks for all your help kathryn. Your suggestions will help me out a lot.

                      -----
                      The Breslin
                      20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

        3. I would say at that price range, for regular bistro fare, your best bets are probably Schiller's Liquor Bar (certainly noisy and full of people) and Les Halles (either location, though the Park Ave one is probably busier and livelier on the weekends) - both are solid, Les Halles a touch fancier but nothing ultra-refined by any stretch. Moving up the ladder there's Balthazar, but that might stretch your budget a bit.

          For all the above, make a reservation. There's zero chance of a six-top getting seated on a weekend without one. Heck, there's little chance of a two-top getting seated, even. But if you want something "full of people" that's always going to be the downside. I mean, by default, any place that's full of people IS what's "in" at the moment.

          -----
          Balthazar
          80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

          Les Halles
          15 John Street, New York, NY 10038

          Les Halles
          411 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

          Schiller's Liquor Bar
          131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          2 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            Many thanks for your great suggestions! Schiller's looks great! If you have any more suggestions, keep 'em coming! Like I replied to kathryn, I'm willing to try anything...

            1. re: ESP68

              Well, if you're willing to try ANYTHING... there's about 1,000 restaurants we could name. Any cuisine preferences? Things you like / don't? (i.e. no spicy food, no Asian food, no Italian food, that sort of thing)

          2. Thank you everyone for the great suggestions. I'm always kinda lost with Manhattan's 2 trillion neighborhoods but it looks like I should be heading to West Village and Meatpacking District if I don't have reservations and just want to walk around and have lots of nice restaurants. Those two neighborhoods look very lively at dinner time!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ESP68

              Very lively yes, and also very crowded. Definitely make reservations.

            2. cafe d'alsace seems to be close to your specs:

              http://www.cafedalsace.com/home.aspx

              -----
              Cafe d'Alsace
              1695 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

              1. Everything that you described can be found at La Sirene, a very good French bistro in Soho. BYOB only.

                http://www.lasirenenyc.com/

                -----
                La Sirene
                558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

                1. As a New Yorker who visits Montreal frequently - I think you'd be disappointed and/or underwhelmed at most of French-style bistros here, not to mention you'd be paying a lot more too. Les Halles, La Sirene, Balthazar, all good places but places like that are dime a dozen in MTL, IMO... Are you really looking to stay with something familiar? (possibility, I thought, since you listed your faves.) If not, I'd say try something that's hard to find in Montreal and/or things that NYC does better - like Japanese (sushi, kaiseki, izakaya, etc... a lot more variety here) Korean (what little Korean I tried in Montreal was pretty abysmal) British gastropub, BURGERS, BBQ, Jewish/Eastern European, etc. Do you have any cuisines you favor or would like to try?

                  -----
                  Balthazar
                  80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                  Les Halles
                  411 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

                  La Sirene
                  558 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: uwsister

                    I'd probably love to have a good sushi place. Maybe some place that's very lively, where the food is great and the vibe just gets you in the mood for a long night out.

                    1. re: ESP68

                      Blue Ribbon Sushi.

                      -----
                      Blue Ribbon Sushi
                      119 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                      1. re: pauliface

                        Great atmosphere but you'll have a long wait for 6 people. Especially on weekend nights.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Yes, that's true.
                          However:
                          [a] it will be better if you arrive early and/or do a weeknight,
                          and:
                          [b] think of the evening as drinks followed by dinner. you can give blue ribbon sushi your name and cell phone number. They will call you when your table is ready. In the meantime, walk a block south to the wonderful bar "Soho Room" at 203 spring on the corner of spring and sullivan. It's a fine place to hang out for an hour while you wait for your table.

                          -----
                          Soho Room
                          203 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                      2. re: ESP68

                        Blue Ribbon Sushi is a good choice - solid sushi, enough variety on the menu so there's a little something for everyone, right atmosphere. Most high-end sushi places aren't exactly lively, so I don't think they would be appropriate for this occasion, IMO.

                        I think you might like Sakagura though - it's not a sushi place, but like an upscale izakaya with excellent Japanese small plates (there's usually some sashimi special) and a great sake list, supposed to be the best in the country. Atmosphere is very lively and interesting, feels like you've been transported to Japan. I've yet to see a place quite like this in the U.S. Don't miss their black sesame creme brulee, if you like black sesame flavor.

                        -----
                        Sakagura
                        211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

                        Blue Ribbon Sushi
                        119 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                        1. re: uwsister

                          Another place to consider is Village yokocho in the east village (8 stuyvesent st, basically 9th st and 3rd ave).
                          They do take reservations.
                          Very busy.
                          Very sprawling menu, cheap and good, though not nearly as good as blue ribbon sushi, but more variety.
                          I return there because it's always fun, while not the finest food on the planet.

                          -----
                          Village Yokocho
                          8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003

                          1. re: pauliface

                            11st and 2nd Avenue? I think you meant to write 9th Street and 3rd Avenue?

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Thanks Kathryn. Edited my original post to reflect your correction.
                              (The former was what I googled from memory to find it on the map; the latter, yours, is correct)