HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Restaurants that don't take reservations...

s
schmizer Nov 28, 2011 02:49 PM

Hello everyone,

My husband just surprised me an hour ago with my first NY trip. We are leaving this Wednesday and returning Monday.

I work in the high-end food industry and am FREAKING out now, because I know that reservations are going to be impossible for alot of the can't be missed places. We don't have a budget for food. Are willing to pay for really unique and memorable experiences. We dine out frequently in Chicago and appreciate all types of food from hole in the walls to molecular gastronomy. My husband is Taiwanese and really likes dim sum and Asian Fusion.

If you could put together a dream list what would it be? What trendy or must do restaurants will we be able to get into that maybe don't require reservations? What should we NOT miss?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Cheeryvisage RE: schmizer Nov 28, 2011 02:59 PM

    A must is Jungsik, you should be able to get a reservation just fine because they're a new restaurant (http://www.chow.com/topics/815513).

    Maybe a kaiseki meal at Kyo Ya? They only require a 2 day advance reservation for their kaiseki. You should be able to find quite a number of reviews on this board.

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

    Jung Sik
    2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

    1. ellenost RE: schmizer Nov 28, 2011 03:05 PM

      You should definitely include any of the Momofuku restaurants (other than Ko) since no reservations are required.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ellenost
        s
        schmizer RE: ellenost Nov 28, 2011 04:05 PM

        Husband has Ssam Bar on his list! I think he has a secret crush on David Chang:)

        Are there any lunch recommendations that are musts? Might be a way to get into the places that we couldn't get into in the pm?

        Jungsik looks great!!

        1. re: schmizer
          r
          RGR RE: schmizer Nov 28, 2011 04:37 PM

          Lunch at Jean Georges (French cuisine with Asian accents) is one of the best deals in town. OpenTable is showing reservations for two people on 12/1 at 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. , and on 12/2 at 2:30 p.m.

          We just had an absolutely stellar dinner at Corton. Chef Paul Liebrandt's cuisine is astonishing in its complexity and deliciousness. And desserts from pastry chef Shawn Gawle are not exactly too shabby. Lots of reservation times available for 11/30 and 12/1. A very few early spots on 12/2 and 12/3. They don't serve lunch and are closed on Sunday.

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

          Since this is your fist visit to NYC, you might want to consider taking my famous self-guided tour of the Lower East Side to sample some quintessential New York foods. Here's the link:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/493333

          Note one change and one correction. Guss's Pickles has closed, so substitute The Pickle Guys Essex St., just off Grand. And the Economy Candy is at 145 Rivington, not 108.

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

          Corton
          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      2. n
        nmprisons RE: schmizer Nov 28, 2011 04:48 PM

        In addition to the excellent suggestions below (Corton, Jean Georges for lunch, and Ssam Bar), I have a few suggestions to add.

        1) Chicago has a serious lack of Western Chinese offerings. I would suggest checking out Xi'an Famous foods (the location under the Manhattan Bridge is the best, but only has a couple of stools by the window for seating). This would be a better option than Manhattan's dim sum offerings, which aren't up to par with those in Flushing.

        2) A number of very very good restaurants have first come, first served options at the bar. Those include Babbo (have to arrive early), Craft, and Le Bernardin (though there have been some post-renovation tweaks that you should look into, but I am unfamiliar with). Any of those are certainly worth trying.

        3) Call Eleven Madison Park and Per Se to see if something pops open. Often something can be had, especially at lunch, if you are willing to wait to the last minute.

        Enjoy the city!

        -----
        Per Se
        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

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

        Xi'an Famous Foods
        88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

        1 Reply
        1. re: nmprisons
          c
          crsin RE: nmprisons Nov 28, 2011 06:25 PM

          I agree. If there are particular restaurants that you really want to try and can't get a reservation, I would call and ask to be put on the waitlist if they have one, or just keep calling back to check for cancellations if they don't. Persistence can pay off. Definitely make other plans and assume it's not going to work out, but I've had some luck getting primetime dinner reservations at some of the most popular restaurants in the city on the day of because of people canceling and/or not confirming.

        2. k
          kathryn RE: schmizer Nov 28, 2011 07:58 PM

          2nd Kyo Ya, and it's often possible to get in at the last minute there.

          > I work in the high-end food industry and am FREAKING out now, because I know that reservations are going to be impossible for alot of the can't be missed places.

          Maybe...it depends if you want to eat high end for every meal or not. Note that Per Se and Daniel both have lounges. Per Se serves an a la carte menu in the "Salon," whereas Daniel serves tasting, prix fixe, and a la carte menus in the lounge.

          Eleven Madison Park serves the normal prix fixe menu at the bar for lunch IIRC (but not dinner). For dinner, the bar menu at Eleven Madison Park is a different menu from the regular dining room. You must order a la carte. The menu consists of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Many of these dishes are pulled from the dinner prix fixe, though.

          Here is my list of what I consider to be 'unique' to NYC.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8050...

          You may not want to eat quite so much of the high end Italian and high end French as you have plenty of that in Chicago.

          Additionally, I think that the molecular gastronomy scene here is probably skippable as well; WD-50 is our only option and IMO not as delicious as Alinea/Next/Aviary.

          In addition to Momofuku Noodle Bar/Ssam Bar/Ma Peche/Milk Bar, take a look at Danny Meyer's, April Bloomfield's, and Mario Batali's restaurants, most of which serve the full menu (or a worthy menu in and of itself) at the bar area.

          For Meyer's restaurants, Maialino's bar room and Bar Room at the Modern are both worth a look if you can't get into the main dining room for either.

          For Bloomfield's, neither Spotted Pig or the Breslin take reservations. Lunch at either is usually less insane than dinner.

          All of Batali's restaurants (Babbo, Lupa, etc) except for Del Posto serve at the bar. Manzo might be worth a try, I see a few openings on OpenTable. Del Posto also has a lunch slot for 2 on 11/30 available on OpenTable right now; they have an excellent prix fixe lunch on weekdays.

          Regarding Asian fusion, check out RedFarm, Fatty Cue (some reservations on OT but not a lot), Wong, Kin Shop, and Takashi (creative Japanese BBQ).

          In terms of trendy:
          http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/11/...

          -----
          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

          Lupa
          170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

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

          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

          Del Posto
          85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

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

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

          Momofuku Milk Bar
          251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

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

          Maialino
          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

          Takashi
          456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

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

          Fatty 'Cue
          50 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

          Wong
          7 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

          RedFarm
          529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

          1. m
            mushroomaffairs RE: schmizer Nov 28, 2011 10:19 PM

            Although reservations are always a good security measure, it's actually not an actual neccessity at almost all restaurants but then, either I've lucked our or you'll just have to watch your mileage. I've had almost 100% positive results as a walk-in group (3-5 people), but then again, I'm not exactly walking in to a majority of the upper tier restaurants perenially mentioned on this board either.

            I've gone to STK, Dos Caminos, Locanda, Spice Market, ABC Kitch, Perry St., Pastis, Balthazar, Lure Fish, Stanton, basically any McNally and JG/V place I guess w/o reservations and was sat relatively quickly, for both lunch and primish dinner hours, although lunch is easy almost anywhere as a walk-in.

            All the neighborhoody eats in W. and E. Villages, Soho, Tribeca (maybe all the restaurants on Greenwich and the streets that surround out it like Franklin, Hudson, W. Broad) you can just go and wait a little since it's part of the fun. Yes, it can be fun to wait and people watch and rub it in to the faces you're leaving behind once your table is ready. :)

            Two sceney places I recommend are Lavo and Co-Op. Lavo (Italian) is on 58th near the Apple Store. The line is already out the door at 7 p.m. on any given night almost. Tao (fusion) is across the street as an alternative. Co-Op is in the Rivington Hotel downtown. It's got to be one of the coolest designed spaces, loud as sh*t, late night dinner places, (To be fair, I'm more enamored with the way a restaurant looks than the actual food), Three other late night places are Apotheke (mixology drinks) and Pulqueria (Mexican) in Chinatown, next to each other, I can't remember the story but the the guy that originally started Apotheke now owns Theater Bar in Tribeca. I'm too lazy but you can do the reseach online. lol

            I can't remember the name but there's a large dim sum place in Chinatown called......Jang Fang or Jung Fing???? I know I'm butchering the name but I really liked it. If anyone knows which place I'm talking about, you have to go up escalator to the large dining hall.

            Since you're industry, the French Culinary Institute has a restaurant that might interest you. It's very small but you could probably do lunch as a walk-in and it's right in the heart of Soho.

            -----
            Jing Fong
            18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

            Tao
            42 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

            L'Ecole
            462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            Apotheke
            9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

            Lavo
            39 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022

            Theater Bar
            114 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013

            Pulqueria
            11 Doyers St, New York, NY 10038

            Co-Op Food & Drink
            107 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

            2 Replies
            1. re: mushroomaffairs
              m
              mookleknuck RE: mushroomaffairs Nov 29, 2011 04:51 AM

              Just at Jing Fong 3 weeks ago and thought the food quality only so-so, although the service was fine, there were tons of options on the carts, and the ambiance is Very old-school. I'd skip it for other dim sum in Manhattan's Chinatown (if you need to stay; as above, I'd recommend getting out to Flushing or Sunset Park for dim sum). Try Dim Sum Go Go, Red Egg, and Chinatown Brasserie (menus online).

              Some recent threads about dim sum:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791416
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/804527

              -----
              Dim Sum Go Go
              5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

              Chinatown Brasserie
              380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

              Jing Fong
              18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

              Red Egg
              202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: mushroomaffairs
                k
                kathryn RE: mushroomaffairs Nov 29, 2011 07:09 AM

                I just got back from Chicago and I'd say to skip Lure (GT Fish & Oyster is better) and Dos Caminos (doesn't compare favorably to any Bayless restaurant).

                From your list, ABC Kitchen and Locanda Verde are the only can't miss ones IMO.

                -----
                Lure Fishbar
                142 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012

                Dos Caminos
                825 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10022

                Locanda Verde
                377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

              2. famdoc RE: schmizer Nov 29, 2011 08:35 AM

                There's a wonderful resource for last minute reservations on grubstreet.com: each day, at 4:10 PM, they post a list of restaurants they have called and asked to seat 2 at 8 PM. Each day's list is different, each list having a theme (Italian, Meat, TV Chefs, etc.). You'd be surprised at how many fine restaurants can still be booked a few hours in advance. In addition, ny.eater.com posts a list of restaurants on Open Table with Saturday evening openings sometime each Saturday afternoon.

                Both Corton and SHO Shaun Hergatt are excellent restaurants that, somehow, don't manage to fill their tables each day. You can almost certainly score a same-day table at each.

                Please consider a visit to Brooklyn and Queens. Search chowhound's Outer Boroughs board for plenty of good suggestions. Park Slope's Applewood, Al di La and Franny's are excellent choices.

                I agree with lunch recommendation at Jean Georges, which can usually be reserved with a few days notice. Del Posto also does a magnificent lunch for $29, but you may need a week or so advance notice.

                Good luck!

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

                Del Posto
                85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                SHO Shaun Hergatt
                40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

                1. l
                  lulumoolah RE: schmizer Nov 29, 2011 08:39 AM

                  Since your husband likes dim sum, I recommend Red Farm or Chinatown Brasserie. Red Farm takes reservations for large parties, but is otherwise walk-in only. Chinatown Brasserie does take reservations, but I've never had a long wait the times I've been there. Both places have the same dim sum chef. I would avoid Jin Fong (which I actually think is okay, but my Chinese American friends tell me it doesn't pass muster with them and I'm going to assume your husband will agree with them). You might want to check out Oriental Garden. I've heard that Nom Wah Tea Parlor is okay, but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet.

                  Other suggestions that come to mind... Zab Elee for Thai... Frankies Sputino (I've only been to the Bkln location and am guessing the food is the same in the Manhattan locations)... if you like April Bloomfield's food then check out John Dory and Breslin, like the Spotted Pig neither of them take reservations.

                  -----
                  Frankies 17 Spuntino
                  17 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                  Chinatown Brasserie
                  380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                  Oriental Garden
                  14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                  Jing Fong
                  18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                  Nom Wah Tea Parlor
                  13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

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

                  The John Dory Oyster Bar
                  1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

                  Zabb Elee
                  75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  Frankies 570 Spuntino
                  570 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                  RedFarm
                  529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: lulumoolah
                    n
                    nmprisons RE: lulumoolah Nov 29, 2011 08:43 AM

                    Nom Wah is the most traditional american-style dim sum and, in my opinion, the only dim sum in Manhattan without a superior corollary in Queens. The egg rolls and salt and pepper pork chop are both very, very good.

                    I too would pass on Jin Fong and Oriental garden.

                    Zabb Elee is good, Ayada is significantly better, but again, outside Manhattan.

                    -----
                    Nom Wah Tea Parlor
                    13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

                    1. re: nmprisons
                      k
                      kathryn RE: nmprisons Nov 29, 2011 09:10 PM

                      Thai in Chicago is supposed to be excellent, so maybe it doesn't make sense to send visitors from Chicago to Queens. And Northern/Issan style is available in Chicago at Aroy Thai, I believe.

                      1. re: kathryn
                        n
                        nmprisons RE: kathryn Nov 30, 2011 08:04 AM

                        I lived in Chicago for four years prior to a similar length of time in New York. Nothing in Chicago comes close to the best Thai available in NYC (though NYC lacks the white tablecloth thai options Chicago has). Arroy is not exclusively Issan (their menu has tons of stuff like pad thai, etc.), nor is it as good as Zabb Elee.

                        Though, you are right, there is find Thai food in Chicago, so maybe it doesn't make sense here. I only suggested it because Thai food is one of the things NYC does particularly well.

                      2. re: nmprisons
                        The Chowhound Team RE: nmprisons Dec 1, 2011 07:07 AM

                        We've moved a discussion of Ayada and other Queens restaurants to http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/820735

                      3. re: lulumoolah
                        k
                        kathryn RE: lulumoolah Nov 29, 2011 08:53 AM

                        Oriental Garden is OK, I'd put it on the same level as Jing Fong, maybe slightly better, but nowhere near as good as, say, Chinatown Brasserie.

                        Note to the OP: Red Farm is more "fusion"-y and only open for dinner. It only has about 10 items listed under dim sum, whereas Chinatown Brasserie has a lot more. CB is also open for lunch/brunch.

                      4. l
                        lulumoolah RE: schmizer Nov 29, 2011 08:44 AM

                        Just wondering, but are you willing to travel to the other boroughs or do you plan to stay in Manhattan? Asking, because if you want more of a food experience vs a fine-dining experience, you should try and check out the other boroughs, like Thai and Korean food in Queens, Sri Lankan food in Staten Island, Brooklyn's Chinatown, Ukrainian in Brooklyn, etc.

                        1. l
                          lulumoolah RE: schmizer Nov 29, 2011 08:53 AM

                          Forgot to add Ippudo for ramen in the East Village. Ippudo will be a long wait unless you get lucky with the timing, but I like their ramen enough to wait.

                          For dessert, check out Chikalicious and Milk Bar (another David Chang place). No reservation needed.

                          -----
                          ChikaLicious
                          203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

                          Ippudo
                          65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                          Momofuku Milk Bar
                          251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lulumoolah
                            k
                            kathryn RE: lulumoolah Nov 29, 2011 08:56 AM

                            I've been told (but haven't tried this yet) that you can make in-person reservations for Ippudo on the same day. Stop in that morning, put your name down for dinner.

                            1. re: kathryn
                              Peter Cuce RE: kathryn Nov 29, 2011 09:49 AM

                              Yes and in fact, I think that's the only way you can make reservations there.

                              1. re: Peter Cuce
                                l
                                lulumoolah RE: Peter Cuce Nov 29, 2011 09:04 PM

                                Really? Because I've tried before and was told that they only took reservations for parties of 5 or so. Will try this weekend and see if they do. Thanks for the info.

                          2. s
                            Simon RE: schmizer Nov 30, 2011 07:50 AM

                            i highly recommend Kin Shop

                            If you want to include some Italian, my rec is Scarpetta where it's easy and fun to dine at the bar.

                            I'm an extreme detractor on Chinatown Brasserie -- hated the food both times i went. For dimsum in Manhattan, i'd say Red Egg.

                            And for a highend sushi meal, i'd go to 15 East and eat at the sushi bar...reservations should be doable if you're willing to go after 9pm...i was there last week and the sommellier did white/red wine pairings w/ each course/fish and it was wonderful.

                            -----
                            15 East
                            15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                            Chinatown Brasserie
                            380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

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

                            Red Egg
                            202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Simon
                              l
                              lulumoolah RE: Simon Nov 30, 2011 10:35 AM

                              I second Kin Shop. I was pleasantly surprised because I had heard mixed reviews about Perilla from people. The only thing is it may be hard to get seats, even at the bar. I and other friends (together and separately) have tried on several occasions to go as walk-ins and were told the wait was very long. I did finally manage on a Thursday evening as a walk-in and lucked out. I would have to say the front people were nice every time I went.

                              As for Scarpetta, it's good, but given that Chicago has some great Italian restaurants, I don't know if Scarpetta is special enough to be worth this visit.

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

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

                            2. brancron RE: schmizer Dec 1, 2011 06:45 AM

                              Go to Eater New York (ny.eater.com) on Saturday morning. They will have a "last-minute Saturday night reservation guide" where they've scanned through and curated all the good restaurants on open table with spots left. It's a beautiful thing.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: brancron
                                famdoc RE: brancron Dec 1, 2011 06:52 AM

                                This suggestion has already been made further up in this thread.
                                At this point, I'd be curious whether the OP has sifted through the many excellent suggestions in this thread and chosen a few destinations.

                                1. re: famdoc
                                  brancron RE: famdoc Dec 2, 2011 05:21 AM

                                  Making the same suggestion as someone else is a way of reinforcing it. The OP was apparently "freaking out" about lack of reservations, so the eater last-minute reservation guide is a much better solution than them having to fight the crowds for seats at a reservationless restaurant.

                              Show Hidden Posts