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Restaurant near Grand Central

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Need a restaurant for dinner next Sat night near Grand Central. Want to eat and chat w/o feeling rushed and don't want to exceed $80 a couple. Booze not needed.

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  1. Cuisine preferences? Any avoids? And Is that $80 per couple for food only? Or does it include nearly 9% tax and 20% tip?

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    1. I have enjoyed meals at Gente (Italian)...153 E 45th St (between 3rd Ave & Lexington Ave) .
      However, your budget for midtown is close and probably unrealistic unless you will add your gratuity to the $80.00. You can probably split an appetizer, have a nice pasta or main course, and split a dessert , drink iced tap water (my drink of choice when I don't want wine) and come out within budget if you add your gratutiy on top. I hate being rushed through a meal but on the last Saturday evening before Christmas Eve(the following Saturday), midtown will be crowded, restaurants will be filled to capacity, people will be standing in line, and I'm not sure you'll find any place near Grand Central that will not want to quickly turn tables to feed the masses. Since you've mentioned Grand Central, why not hop on a subway and at least get away from some of the masses? You'll see comments on this board about folks being rushed at $$$$$ places. Many restaurants are filling up with reservations and you're cutting it close. I hope you succeed in your mission.

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      Gente
      153 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

      1 Reply
      1. re: Icook2

        additionally, I went to Gente's website and was able to click on reservations and it showed availability for Saturday, Dec. 17 for 2 with a window of 6PM to 7:30PM. Hope that helps.

      2. Why not a restaurant IN Grand Central, they have everything from fast food to fine dining.

        9 Replies
        1. re: coll

          A pan roast at the Oyster Bar...yum!

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          Grand Central Oyster Bar
          89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

          1. re: Veggo

            Oh yeah!! We're going there for lunch next week, and then Cipriani or Michael Jordon for dinner. I know we won't starve. My husband has a thing about trains.........and Christmas seems like the time to indulge.

            1. re: coll

              Don't go to Cipriani. It's a really a ripoff tourist trap and and the food is not good.

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              Cipriani Dolci
              89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                Thanks for the input! I still have a few days to decide. We've been to Michael Jordans several times and never disappointed in any way.

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                Michael Jordan's the Steak House NYC
                23 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

                1. re: coll

                  michael jordan's steakhouse is actually pretty good. i only have been there for corporate lunches and dinners but im always surprised at how much i like the food there.

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                  Michael Jordan's the Steak House NYC
                  23 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

                  1. re: sam1

                    The steak is great, but what I most look forward to is their truffled creamed spinach.

              2. re: coll

                Yeah, I can't say anything good about Cipriani @ GC, though the manager there did ply me with free Bellinis (those were good, but not enough for me to pay $$$ for them.) I've also heard good things about MJ's, but since you've been there you're already familiar. If your husband loves trains, you guys might want to check out Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Garden, BTW. My husband also loves trains (what is it about trains and guys?) and he's psyched about it.

                1. re: uwsister

                  Oh thanks, we've been to the train show in the Bronx a bunch of times and it ties in nicely with Arthur Ave, for shopping and dinner. It is amazing! When the Bronx Zoo used to do the nighttime thing for the holidays, it was a fun day for sure!

                  Tried to reserve Michael Jordons and they have nothing (lunch or dinner) the day we will be there, sigh. We're doing the Oyster Bar for lunch so hopefully we won't be too hungry later. At least the view from the balcony will be good, and we'll be totally prepared to be disappointed. Guess it's a bad sign that Cipriani had plenty of open reservations!

                  1. re: coll

                    Just to say, you were all right. Cipriani has a great view, and the service was excellent, but the food was disappointing in a strange way. We got tuna carpacchio, veal ravioli and a veal dish with risotto, and each one was so bland that there was no flavor at all, I have never experienced anything like it. They had salt and pepper shakers on the table and I used them copiously to try to fix it, but it didn't work. Even the ravioli, which obviously was house made pasta, did not have a drop of oil or sauce, not a sprig of parsley nor basil, nothing. How can food have no flavor at all? We enjoyed the experience of sitting there though, it wasn't a total bust. We were still full from 2 dozen assorted oysters and the pan roast at the Oyster Bar earlier anyway.

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                    Cipriani Dolci
                    89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

          2. $80 before tax/tip = $62 (give or take) menu price = $31/pp.

            That's not much for midtown, but there are a few decent options:

            The Lounge at Aquavit has decently priced "Scandinavian Tapas" (for lack of a better description) - in the Bar/Lounge area you can relax and order small plates - pick seven different things from a selection of about ten for $28 - or fewer for less, but seven is probably a good number for a meal.

            Grand Central Oyster Bar is doable, theoretically, but you couldn't order much - one entree or two apps each, but one of each woiuld break you budget handily. You could do just entrees and maybe split an 8-piece platter of oysters or clams as your starter if you're not big eaters.

            Sip Sak - decent enough Turkish kabobs & mezze. If not ordering outliers like the steak or veal chop (and why would you do that in a Turkish restaurant, anyway?) it's manageable on your budget.

            Tulsi could work as well, for fancified "Haute Indian" - but again depending what you order. All the veggie entrees and about a half-dozen of the meat ones are in the high teens / low 20s. You could do entrees and dessert, and maybe split a couple apps between the four of you, but it's certainly possible. Like the Oyster Bar, kind of depends on how big eaters you are.

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            Aquavit
            65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

            Grand Central Oyster Bar
            89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

            Sip Sak
            928 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

            Tulsi
            211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

            3 Replies
            1. re: sgordon

              If you go to the oyster bar, skip the entrees and the $28 salads. Stick to the raw bar, pan roasts, and appetizers. At the small bar, the bartender, Marcello, knows his oysters and pours a great drink-its the best way to do the GCOB IMHO.

              Agree about Cipriani. I happen to think Michael Jordan's is pretty good, although its expensive for what it is, and sitting at one of the tables overlooking GCT at holiday time is a great experience.

              Menchanko is another place I like for cooked Japanese food-ramen is decent and they have great small plates.

              If you want sushi, Hatsuhana on 48th (not the one a block from GCT) has terrific sushi and decent dinner specials although it might be hard to stay under $80 if you are big eaters.

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              Grand Central Oyster Bar
              89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

              Hatsuhana
              17 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017

              Menchanko-Tei
              131 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

              1. re: AdamD

                I agree about MJ's (and about Harry Cipriani being a rip-off, too) - but MJ:TS is better than one would expect for a celeburestaurant. I found myself eating there once killing time waiting for a train when the OB was mobbed - I didn't get a steak (I don't see any point in ordering a straight-up steak anywhere besides Luger's or Keen's) but the couple apps I had were decent enough and not ridiculously overpriced - some soup, a crabcake, a salad. Nothing fancy that I'd go out of my way for, but if you're waiting on a train... there're far worse places to eat at Grand Central, that's for sure.

                That aside, not sure why we got onto MJ's & Cipriani when they're both well above the OP's price range.

                1. re: AdamD

                  This is totally right. In fact, skip the whole restaurant and go straight to the back bar. That is real NY at it's finest. Great wines by the glass and a plate of oysters. Yum!

              2. If you can take advantage of the prix fixe at Kellari Taverna (19 W. 44th St.), served 4-7 PM and 10 PM -12 AM, it could work. Two courses are $28.95 and three are $32.95 -- the latter just a bit over your budget with tax and tip. Excellent Greek seafood and other specialties in an intimate setting with very good service. Never rushed.
                http://www.kellari.us/prepost_theater...

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                Kellari Taverna
                19 W. 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                1. No one has mentioned it but.. I had lunch at Fonda del Sol last week- technically in the Met Life Building. Sooo expensive. Tiny portions. But the service was quick and it was convenient to where I had to be. No other reason to go.

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                  La Fonda del Sol
                  200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10020

                  1. There is a cutting edge new regional Chinese restaurant offering cuisine from the Hunan province called Hunan Manor just a flew blocks from GC on Lexington btw 39th-40th. The menu will delight your tastebuds

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                    Hunan Manor
                    339 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AubWah

                      Hunan Manor is excellent authentic Hunan food.
                      Mapo Tofu across the street is also very good and a bit more Amerianized if you are not so adventurous.

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                      Mapo Tofu
                      338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                      Hunan Manor
                      339 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                    2. Definitely within your budget is Dafni Greek Rest. on 42nd between 8th & 9th. You can check reviews on menupages.com and also the menu. Food is excellent. You can do as suggested and try a place fairly close, but not right in GCS area -- for example Black Duck on 28th between Lex and Park. If you go with a restaurant.com certificate, it should also be reasonable enough. You can get a $25 certificate for $2-$3 when they go on frequent sale. Again, check menu/prices on their website or menupages or opentable. I also agree with the reviewer who recommended Gente -- lovely service and good food.

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                      The Black Duck
                      122 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016

                      Dafni
                      325 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

                      Gente
                      153 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

                      1. We had a great meal at Bi Lokma on 45th btw 2nd and 3rd last week - a little hole in the wall Turkish place, but the food was delicious and interesting - they had some things that you don't get at most Turkish joints. They're BYOB, too. We ate like kings for around $50 for two! It's going to be my go-to spot near Grand Central from now on.

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                        Bi Lokma
                        212 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017