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Apr 12, 2012 07:40 AM

Please help with restaurant choices

Returning for our tenth annual trip to NYC. Last year was my most successful as the group dining planner and need new ideas for this spring. Our favourites last year were LArtusi, Fish Tag, and Empellon. Here are my ideas so far....
Locanda Verde ..could only get a reservation for lunch despite calling right at 8am. Apparantly tables for 5 are hard to come by.
Standard Grill..also for lunch
Del Posto..dinner
Union Square Cafe ...brunch
Still need 2 more dinner options and looking at Pipa , A Casa Fox,Joseph leonard
Also need pre matinee on Sat. and considering Toloache, marseille or Ma Peche if you think it is doable.
I would love some new ideas...any cuisine, any neighbourhood and any price point comparable to restaurants I have mentioned.

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  1. The owners of Joseph Leonard have a new Italian restaurant, with an ex-Babbo/ex-Manzo chef. It's called Perla and it only takes reservations for 4+ people, so that might work out well for you.

    If you liked Empellon Taqueria, consider Empellon Cocina. Or maybe the newly opened Fonda (used to only be in Brooklyn, now in the East Village, too).

    30 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks, kathryn. I had looked at the Empellon Cocina menu but it didn't grab me. Perla looks great.
      I should also mention that I love the idea of small plates menus.
      Still kinda stuck for pre theater lunch...what do you think of Blue Fin?

      1. re: trishottawa

        I haven't been to Marseille, but Toloache and Ma Peche are great options. Also consider The Modern Bar Room. Any of them should be great.

        1. re: trishottawa

          Blue Fin is OK, I haven't really had any memorable meals there, it's often been chosen for convenience (I have family that likes staying in that hotel).

          I agree with Cheeryvisage & think Ma Peche, Toloache, or Bar Room at the Modern would be much better choices.

          1. re: kathryn

            I had the same feeling about Blue Fin and I haven't even been there yet.
            If we do Ma Peche will we need to cab it to the theater district? We are going to see Memphis which is at 44th
            I am kind of panicky because last year was so good and It is just not coming together this year.
            What do you think about Kin Shop and Manzo for donner ideas?

            1. re: trishottawa

              I highly recommend Kin Shop. I have not been to Manzo, but for Italian I would suggest Ciano.

              1. re: rrems

                Would you suggest Ciano over Maialino?

                1. re: trishottawa

                  I've been to both, once to Maialino and quite a few times to Ciano. Though I liked Maialino, a lot, I still give the edge to Ciano. Better overall experience. But you really won't go wrong with either of them.

                  1. re: trishottawa

                    We've been to Maialino nearly a dozen times (dinner most often but also lunch, brunch and breakfast), and the food has always been excellent. We've been to Ciano for dinner four times and once for lunch and had excellent food each time. So, it's really a tough call. One big reason to choose Maialino is the sensational maialino al forno. Countering that at Ciano is the fantastic chicken for two roasted in a clay pot. I think the cuisine at Ciano has a more sophisticated quality than the rustic style at Maialino. As I said, tough decision....

                    Maialino photos (including the maialino):

                    Ciano photos (including the chicken):


                2. re: trishottawa

                  Kin Shop is good, and as others suggest, I'd swap out Manzo for somewhere else, especially if you are already doing Del Posto.

                  1. re: trishottawa

                    As much as everyone on this board knows I adore Ma Peche, Marseille is much closer to your theatre. I've done pre-theatre dinner at Ma Peche and walked to theatres on West 44/45 Streets. It's a "healthy" walk. I'm not a fan of taking taxis to the theatre since they mostly get caught in the pre-theatre traffic jams.

                3. re: trishottawa

                  As someone who likes small plates menus: Have you been to Txikito, the terrific Basque tapas bar? If not, make a beeline for it. I've been only once, but both the food and wine were great, and I enjoyed the convivial atmosphere. Many hounds have given the place a lot of love, too.

                4. re: kathryn

                  If the new Fonda is like the one in Park Slope, the portions are small and the food is satisfactory but not great, especially for the price and quantity of it.

                  The flavors lack authenticity as if they've been dialed down in an effort to be inoffensive to palates acclimated to Moe's Southwest Grill or Don Pablo's. Presentation is pleasing though, upscale. Better Mexican food can be found elsewhere in Manhattan or Queens.

                  1. re: Pookipichu

                    Thanks for the great input. here is what \i have narrowed it down to

                    Tues. dinner is open and will probably choose a neighbourhood to wander and stop in at a couple of places for an app, sald, and somewhere for an entree,
                    Wed, breakfast..Buvette
                    Wed. lunch..Ma Peche or Momofuko Ssam
                    Wed dinner..Del Posto

                    Thurs lunch..Locanda Verde
                    Thurs. dinner...Public

                    Friday lunch..Standard Grill
                    Friday dinner..Maialino

                    Sat. lunch..Toloache
                    Sat. dinner...La promenade des Anglais

                    Sunday brunch is still undecided
                    So, what am I missing or where am I going wrong?

                    1. re: trishottawa

                      Weak spot: Standard Grill. Food just eh. Scene is fine though for outdoors MePa dining, if that was the reason for its choice..

                      1. re: trishottawa

                        I would advise against wandering randomly on Tuesday night up because you have a bigger group (5 people) and are under pressure to live up to last year's trip.

                        If you can name a neighborhood, we can at least give you a list of possible places to try.

                        Thursday breakfast--maybe The Breslin or Clinton St Baking Co?

                        Pan's suggestion of Txikito is a good one. And they take reservations. I might do brunch at Public on Sunday and dinner at Txikito on Thursday.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          oops..sorry...forgot to mention the first night i am on my own. My favourite neighbourhoods are probably the west village, SoHo, union square. Am staying in Chelsea for the first time so should probably explore there.

                          1. re: trishottawa

                            If might be fun to snag a bar seat at:
                            Joseph Leonard
                            The Dutch
                            Fatty Cue
                            Kin Shop

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Joseph Leonard chef's table (or bar) was my first thought as well, but all of the above on Kathryn's list are great spots that are typically buzzing and impossible to get into with larger parties. (I've been particularly in love with Fatty Cue lately.)

                              1. re: loratliff

                                Those look great, especially Joseph Leonard, Kin Shop and Fatty Cue. In fact will try to replace our lunch at Standard Grill with one of these or also lookinf at Cookshop and Craftbar....any suggestions?

                                1. re: trishottawa

                                  Cookshop and Craftbar, overall, are just OK. I haven't been to Standard Grill or any of the other places you mention, though.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    So I have replaced lunch at the standard Grill with Kin Shop.
                                    Now need somewhere for Sunday brunch/lunch.Considering Hundred Acres, Market Table,.....or? Any ideas? Ideally somewhere where i can make a reservation for 4.Thanks

                                    1. re: trishottawa

                                      What did you decide for Thursday breakfast-- The Breslin or Clinton St Baking Co?

                                      Since you are already doing LV and Maialino for dinner, I would suggest:
                                      ABC Kitchen
                                      Minetta Tavern

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        I think i would prefer the Breslin.
                                        Will look at Minetta Tavern. have done ABC and loved it but would like to try something new. Is Hundred Acre not a good idea?

                                        1. re: trishottawa

                                          For Sunday brunch, you might want to consider Trestle on Tenth. I don't know if you've mentioned exactly when you'll be here, but if the weather is warm, you can dine al fresco in their lovely back garden.


                                          1. re: RGR

                                            thanks, RGR. I didn't mention where we would be because we tend to choose the restaurant first and then explore the neighbourhood.
                                            I am getting the feeling that Hundred Acre is not a Chowhound choice. How about Hudson Clearwater?
                                            I looked at the menu for Trestle but it just didn't grab me

                                            1. re: trishottawa

                                              Hundred Acres is perfectly alright, but aside from one great dessert that I've had there (a crepe flambeed in cognac with house-made dulce de leche ice cream, if I remember correctly), everything else was merely good and perhaps a bit overpriced for the straight-ahead, old-fashioned American food it mostly was. Cocktails there can be really good, but only if you sit at the bar and let the bartender know you want them to not be sweet.

                                          2. re: trishottawa

                                            You'll be fine at either but I think Minetta is much more memorable, especially in terms of atmosphere.

                                      2. re: Pan

                                        Cookshop was a joke for breakfast. Our waiter was insane and the food was just meh.

                                  2. re: kathryn

                                    We so thoroughly enjoyed our bar seats for lunch @ Joseph Leonard in the Fall. We are going back!