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Mar 9, 2012 09:53 AM

Girls weekend - which reservation(s) to keep?

I've been reading a lot of the discussions on here and now can use some help of my own. In a week, a girlfriend and I are heading to NYC for a weekend of fun. Saturday will be pretty busy with St. Patrick's Day festivities so we're seeing Friday night (16th) as the more "sophisticated" night. I meant to make reservations awhile ago but kept forgetting so just got around to it today.

We're both foodies but also want a night of fun (she's recently divorced and looking to have some fun) so we're looking for a place with a good vibe for after-dinner too. I like the atmosphere at The Spice Room but have been there before and the food is just "okay" to me. She's 36 and I'm 40 (if that's imporatnat). I've booked a few reservations:

8pm: Morimoto's (I know more for the tv-type foodies but I really do like his style...)
9:30pm: WD-50
11pm: Beauty & Essex

I figure we need to either go to WD-50 (I don't mind eating at 9:30) or we can maybe do both Morimoto's and B&E (small amounts of food at each). We got into the main dining room at WD-50 so not sure what the vibe is like there. Also, is B&E a bit young for us?

What do you think we should do? Or should I look for a whole new reservations somewhere else? Also, is there any restaurant that offers what I consider a true "tasting menu"? By this, I mean a restaurant where the tasting menu does NOT consist of the regular menu's item but is created and changed by the chef on a daily basis?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I would suggest not making reservations you don't intend to keep.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nmprisons

      I will be cancelling the other one(s) once I decide where we're going.

    2. While noting that many here frown upon booking mutiple reservations only to cancel all but one later (it's a pain for the restaurants AND other diners who, in the meantime, can't make reservations at those times, and aren't going to think to check back after they've been denied - which might leave said table open, losing the restaurant money... thus everyone in the equation loses except you) - I'd say your best bet is either Morimoto or WD.

      First off, Morimoto isn't just for "tv foodies" - it's a great restaurant, with some flaws, but as long as you stay within certain boundaries you can have a fantastic meal. Mainly, don't order sushi / sashimi - there's better around, and Chef Morimoto is better known for his composed, playful dishes. Second - you could go omakase, but I find for the same price it's more fun (if you're going to spend that much) to "create your own" tasting menu. Since there are two of you dining, and I assume as good foodies you're sharers, you could put together an extended meal - say, four or five courses - for the same per-person price as the omakase, tasting the same number of dishes for possibly even less than the omakase cost. That way you can pick what looks interesting to you, have a bit more fun. (recommended: yellowtail pastrami, oysters foie gras, toban yaki.)

      Second, WD-50 - playful, fun. Again, you could do tastings (WD's, unlike Morimoto's omakase, is all non-menu items) or do a make-your-own multi-course (say, two apps + entrees + dessert) for less than the price of the tasting. The apps aren't HUGE there, so it's easy to double-up on them if you want to explore the menu more. Also worth noting is that if you like creative cocktails, WD has one of the best cocktail programs of any restaurant in the city. The location is better, as well, IMHO, for after-dinner fun - you're on the Lower East Side, the East Village is right there. Granted, it's SPD weekend (heck, it's ANY weekend) in NYC so most places are going to be pretty mobbed... but there's a good bit around for exploring afterwards. That's my neighborhood, so if you wind up going there I can offer a few more suggestions for things in the area that THIS 40-year-old is cool with.

      B&E is not too young, the crowd is quite mixed, but it's not as interesting food-wise as the other two. It's fine for what it is - don't get me wrong - but it's not quite on the level of Dufresne or Morimoto, nor is it trying to be.

      I have no idea what "The Spice Room" is nor can I find any listing for one in NYC, so I can't comment on the vibe of anything being like it or not.

      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

      88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      Beauty & Essex
      146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

      6 Replies
      1. re: sgordon

        I have a hunch that OP means "Spice Market"

        1. re: sgordon

          Thanks for the reply! I agree it's not good to double-book but with us being so late (and only able to get a 11pm at B&E) and not having had a chance to check on here for opinions, I figured that as long as I cancelled within a few hours, I wouldn't be quite so bad (said sheepishly).

          That's good to know about B&E not being as interesting food-wise...that's really what I want so I think I can cross them off the list (and cancel the reservation).

          I meant to say Spice Market for "vibe". Okay, which one...Morimoto or WD-50?? And if I go WD-50, I'd love for some suggestions for that area too! Thanks!

          Spice Market
          403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: krjok1

            Food-wise, they're both good, but my personal tastes (this week) run towards... WD-50. There, I've committed to one.

            As to what to do in the area afterwards... well, it being a Friday night in NYC, lots of bars will be full. You could always go to B&E (or their sister restaurant/lounge, The Stanton Social) for cocktails afterwards. The Back Room is nearby as well, cute little "speakeasy" though they often throw private events there so you never know if it'll be open. Or head up to the East Village to Death & Co., Mayahuel, or Booker & Dax. There'll be a wait-list at all three of them more than likely, but they're worth it if the wait isn't too long. There's also Apotheke in Chinatown if you're down for a little walk. If you're fans of artisanal beer at all, d.b.a. and Burp Castle in the East Village are both pretty well-known for their selection. Though after a big dinner, I suspect a mug of carbohydrates might not be in the cards. d.b.a. also has one of the best selections of sippin' spirits in the neighborhood, though, if you're straight-up whiskey gals.

            You could walk over to NoLita, too - there are a number of decent bars over there. The Monday Room (part of Public, which I can highly recommended for brunch the next day if you don't have plans for that already) is a good place to sip cocktails or sample their interesting selection of wines if that's more your speed. They do wines by the half-glass if you like, and the stewards will make custom flights for you, so you can do little tastings if you desire.

            50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

            Stanton Social
            99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

            The Back Room
            102 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002

            210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

            The Monday Room
            210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

            41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Burp Castle
            41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

            Death & Co.
            433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

            9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

            304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

            Booker & Dax
            207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: sgordon

              The Monday Room is closing this Saturday:

              The Monday Room
              210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

            2. re: krjok1

              If you like Spice Market's vibe, you will probably be happier at Morimoto. Personally, I love WD-50 and would never not go if given the option, but the decor inside is a bit haphazard. The curation really happens on the menu - not the space (which is not the case at Morimoto).

            3. re: sgordon

              sg - just wanted to give you props on your recent posts. Hitting them out of the park this week, m'man!

            4. Go to B&E after WD 50. The vibe is great.
              Went two weeks ago after WD50. Perfect evening.