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Feb 29, 2012 08:16 PM

4 days in NYC to celebrate 40th birthday...need restaurant recommendations

My husband & I will be in New York with another couple in June (4 days) to celebrate my 40th birthday & we'd love some restaurant recommendations. Our hotel is in Chelsea but we're willing to travel throughout the city in search of a good meal! We're super adventurous eaters and looking for the following recommendations:

Asian (Dim Sum, Korean BBQ & Sushi)
Seafood (Oysters!)
Nice Lunch
Nice Dinner

Looking forward to your recommendations!

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  1. Best breakfast/brunch:

    The Breslin, Clinton St, Locanda Verde have breakfast/brunch daily. Prune and Minetta Tavern are only on the weekends. Shopsin's is Weds-Sunday, cash only, no parties > 4 people. Of these, only Minetta and Locanda take reservations. Minetta is on OpenTable. Locanda only takes them via phone.

    If you're more adventurous then I think Minetta Tavern and the Breslin's menus will be more interesting to you.

    For best dim sum, I really like Chinatown Brasserie and RedFarm, but they're menu based, not cart based. And neither is in Chinatown. Both are more on the upscale side of things. It really depends what you're looking for: carts vs menu, food over atmosphere, etc.

    For Korean BBQ, I like Madangsui. HOWEVER, since you say you are adventurous, I would definitely check out Takashi, which is Japanese Yakiniku, similar to Korean BBQ but not quite the same. At Takashi, they serve all 4 cow stomachs, achilles tendon, intestines, sweetbreads, raw liver, different cuts of tongue, etc.

    For seafood/oysters, it again depends on what you're looking for. Just oysters? Oysters and other seafood? Oysters and non-seafood dishes?

    Aquagrill has the most variety of oysters, but their other, cooked dishes are just OK. A place like Balthazar or Blue Ribbon will have good seafood/raw bar platters but less varieties of oyster, however, they have excellent non-oyster items as well. Grand Central Oyster Bar will have the best old school NY atmosphere, but many CHers avoid the non-raw oyster dishes, while others have caught them pre-shucking some of the oysters. Pearl Oyster Bar has good oysters and you can try their amazing lobster roll, bouillabaisse, etc.

    For nice lunch and nice dinner, this request is very vague given the thousands of restaurants in NYC.

    It is best to give an estimated per person cost, before tax (almost 9% here, so slightly better than Chicago, eh?), tip (20%), and wine/drinks. What cuisines are you looking for?

    Is this for a weekday, in which case you can take advantage of weekday prix fixe specials? Or weekend?

    Many upscale places don't serve lunch at all, or only weeday lunch. Many are also closed on Sundays.

    What days of the week are you thinking?

    Pearl Oyster Bar
    18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

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

    Shopsin's General Store
    120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

    35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

    Blue Ribbon Brasserie
    97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

    Chinatown Brasserie
    380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

    54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    Clinton Street Baking Co.
    4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

    456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

    529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thank you so much for the thoughtful recommendations, Kathryn!
      Super excited to check out Takashi...huge fan of offal especially tongue.

      Totally intrigued by these & on the short list to check out:
      Minneta Tavarn (Black Pudding Clafoutis!)
      Shopsin's (any of the Slutty Cakes & the Mac'n'Cheese Pancakes...crazy!)
      Grand Central Oyster Bar or Balthazar for post-shopping drinks & oysters/seafood

      What are your thoughts on these recommendations found in other threads:
      Lunch @ The Modern
      Lunch @ Toqueville
      Lunch @ Jean Georges
      Brunch @ Sarabeth's
      Any of the Momofuku restaurants
      Dinner @ Eleven Madison Park
      Sushi @ Yasuda
      Any meal @ Gramercy Tavern...worth the effort to snag a reservation?
      Spotted Pig


      We'll be in New York Friday - Monday so lots of opportunities to check out your recommendations.

      1. re: ChiTownDiner

        Your list looks pretty good overall, although it may be hard to squeeze that all in during 4 days.

        The Modern only serves lunch on weekdays -- so it would have to be a Friday or Monday. Tocqueville is closed Sundays, as is Jean Georges. You may have to do some lunch tetris to fit it all in.

        Which Momofuku restaurant are you thinking of? Momofuku Ko, Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar, or Ma Peche?

        The former two won't take a reservation unless you're doing a big group meal -- but they are only at off-peak times & having the large format meal means you won't be able to try a bunch of different things on the menu. Not all the large format meals work for 4 people. You won't be able to try the Bo Ssam at Ssam Bar but you can try for the fried chicken at Noodle Bar or Duck at Ssam Bar or Beef 7 Ways at Ma Peche.

        Ma Peche does take reservations for non-beef 7 ways meals (online only) but the vibe is very different from the downtown Momofuku restaurants. It is also a bit more expensive than the other two I listed (Noodle Bar & Ssam Bar).

        For more:

        Are you looking for a omakase nigiri experience at the sushi bar? Or more fusion dishes or maki rolls? I'm thinking 4 will be hard at really any sushi bar in town, and many sushi aficionados wouldn't do a table.

        I've not been to GT's formal dining room for a while, and I know some CHers prefer the casual Tavern Room (no reservations), BTW. If you do a search, you'll probably find some recent conversation.

        Gramercy Tavern
        42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

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

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

        1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

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

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

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

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

        1. re: ChiTownDiner

          Tocqueville serves a great "Greenmarket" lunch on Saturdays, that is an excellent value. I love to splurge on lunch there on Sat. ;)

          Sarabeth's is famous for brunch, but I've had better brunches at lots of other places. Balthazar has a wonderful Sunday brunch. So does Capsouto Freres on the edge of Tribeca, and they specialize in souffles...

          Yes, any meal at Gramercy Tavern is worth the effort to snag a reservation, imho. Michael Anthony is one of my favorite chefs anywhere.

          Gramercy Tavern
          42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

          1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

          423 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10024

          Capsouto Freres
          451 Washington St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: ChiTownDiner

            Sarabeth's in Tribeca is bright and spacious. Clinton St Baking Co is a bit of a squeeze. The pain perdu at Landmarc in Tribeca is great!

            179 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            Clinton Street Baking Co.
            4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

            339 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013