Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Feb 2, 2012 09:46 AM

Recommendations for second tier dining

Hello all.

GF and I tend to go to the top tier places when we go out to dinner because we usually consider it our "entertainment" for the evening so we see it as money well spent since it almost always a guaranteed good meal/time. We decided we are probably missing out on a lot of incredible food by doing what we do so I was hoping I could get a good list of places we should probably be looking into by asking all you 'hounds.

So what do you like that isn't the typical high end place and why do you like them? Also, GF is a vegetarian.

Thanks in advance for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Neighborhood? I can't afford high end places except for real big celebrations, but go to lots of second tier places that have good food and focused & real chefs.

    I'm mostly in the East Village, so Graffiti, Redhead, & Brindle Room.

    224 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

    The Redhead
    349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

    Brindle Room
    277 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009

    1 Reply
    1. re: villainx

      And neighborhood in Manhattan up to 97th st.

    2. What does second tier mean to you? You would probably get more helpful responses if you specified your price range. I would assume that top tier includes all of the four stars but I wasn't sure whether you would consider places like Tocqueville, Ai Fiori, or Corton to be second tier.

      6 Replies
      1. re: peter j

        Yeah, I really wrestled with how to title my post. I guess what I was going for were those places with great food, not sky high prices, and probably a slightly more relaxed atmosphere BUT when I think about it, Tocqueville is an excellent example of something we would like but doesn't really fit my ridiculous definition.

        1. re: Spiritchaser

          La Silhouette is great. The new chef came from La Grenouille. Tocqueville and Boulud Sud are good too.

          1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

          La Silhouette
          362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

          Boulud Sud
          20 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023

          1. re: Spiritchaser

            Tocqueville is, of course, one of our favorites. And we really like (already mentioned) Corton, Ai Fiori, and La Silhouette. Here are some other places I would highly recommend:

            North End Grill

            Rouge et Blanc

            La Promenade des Anglais

            Union Square Cafe

            Bistro Lamazou




            1. re: Spiritchaser

              It's still kinda tough to answer, as everyone's definition of "sky high" is different. To some (actually most) people, every restaurant mentioned so far on this page would have "sky high" unattainable price points.

              For us, we've cut back to splurging only once a month or so, where we'll do something we'd consider "first tier" - which I guess would be any place where the total bill would be, I dunno, say $200+ - granted, it could wind up being double that, depending where we go - but for you, I dunno, $200 might be a casual weeknight meal.

              What's second tier? Under $100 prix fixe? Entrees under $30? Under $20? Would, say, EMP be first tier but WD-50 second tier, or would they both be first?

              1. re: sgordon

                Yeah, I'm really using some fuzzy logic here. I checked out the places that villainx, RGR, and peter j suggested and they all are pretty much what I'm talking about with a place like The Brindle Room being the lower end of the spectrum and Tocqueville probably being the high end.

                Based upon the suggestions so far I'm really looking forward to checking out La Promenade and North End Grill (been to La Silhouette and Tocqueville and will be going back).

                1. re: Spiritchaser

                  When I think of second tier, I think of it more as price point rather than quality. I mean, a tasting menu at Corton or Tocqueville is going to be not that far off price wise from EMP or Le Bernardin. Or basically the cut off for 1st tier dining for me is $100+ or so.

                  Second tier for me is food/chef focused, casual but still friendly service, and often more cramped space.

                  Since you mentioned your girl, Dirt Candy and Kajitsu should be good options. It's vegetarian, but done in a way that should keep you entertained and pleasantly surprised. Dirt Candy is slightly more difficult to get a table, but it's quite good.

                  Dirt Candy
                  430 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

                  414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009