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Itinerary help/EMP question

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I will be in New York Memorial Day Weekend. After much research (and procrastination at work), I have come up with the following itinerary. Background: my husband and I will be in the city with the main goal of eating good food, we live in Boston but are from the Midwest (St. Louis), we come to New York often but usually for work or friend engagements, so we usually don't have the freedom to eat whatever we want. We're coming to New York for our anniversary, which is Sunday, May 27. The general idea is to have 1 or 2 splurge meals and cheap, great eats for other meals. Our staples in Boston (that we don't want to waste time on in NY) - fresh seafood/sushi, Thai, Chinese (mainly Sichuan, Cantonese, Shanghaiese, and Taiwanese), Korean (mostly home cooking), Italian. Oh, and I'm pregnant (but may indulge in a half glass of or some raw fish on this trip).

I welcome any general comments, and I also have a couple specific questions.

Saturday:
Lunch at Katz's (I have been several times and should probably try something new but have been dreaming about a reuben) or Steak and Shake (I love the chili here - this is a Midwest/Southern staple and the Midwest branch is the closest location for hundreds of miles)
Dinner at EMP (barely snagged a 10:30 pm reservation!)

Sunday:
Bagels/salmon from Russ and Daughter's
Lunch - TDB (see below)
Dinner - something cheap - possibly Chinatown Crawl for different types of Chinese cuisine than we are used to, maybe Halal food truck if weather is nice. Any suggestions? We eat all kinds of food.

Monday:
Breakfast TBD (something close to hotel - 48th and 8th) - any suggestions?
Lunch at a naengmyun at Geum Sung Chik in Flushing

Here are my specific questions:

1. We have about an $700 budget for our 1 or 2 nice meals. We can either do the tasting at EMP (2 tasting menus plus one wine pairing for my husband) and blow all our budget, or do the 4 courses and still have money left over for a fancy lunch (see next question). Is the tasting worth the extra money?

2. If we don't do the tasting, we would try to get a res for a nice multi-course lunch on Sunday. I'm leaning toward this option, because we could try more dishes at EMP and still enjoy a nice meal on our actual anniversary. Our options are limited here - many places are closed and Le Bernardin (first choice) is booked. I have a res at Marea, and am also looking at Gramercy Tavern and the Modern. Any thoughts on those places, or suggestions for other places open for Sunday lunch?

Thank you in advance. This board has been tremendously helpful in planning this trip and other past meals.

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  1. The EMP tasting typically consists of two vegetable course, foie gras, one seafood/fish course, a meat course, a cheese course, and a dessert course. If you don't require a cheese course, or don't want/like vegetables or seafood, then the four course will provide more flexibility. Also the tasting is pretty long, so if you are seated at 10:30pm, you probably won't get out until 2am. It's a 3.5 to 4 hour experience. The four course at EMP is plenty luxurious with the parade of canapes at the beginning and the palate cleanser and petit fours, and will be a longish meal as well.

    Did you call Le Bernardin or use OpenTable to try to book your Sunday lunch? They are typically closed on Sundays, and only serve weekday lunch.

    The Modern's formal dining room is typically closed Sundays, but the Bar Room (casual front area) is open. They usually book 4 weeks in advance, so it won't show up on OpenTable just yet.

    Same for Gramercy Tavern. The formal room only does weekday lunch, and is closed altogether on Sundays. The front room (Tavern Room) will be open, but doesn't take reservations.

    For upscale Sunday lunch, try:
    Cafe Boulud
    Jean Georges
    Lincoln
    Manzo
    Momofuku Ko - if you are OK with counter/stool seating, only books 7 days in advance (counting current day) on momofuku.com
    The NoMad - they only book 4 weeks in advance, so it won't show up on OpenTable just yet, same folks who run EMP, so it might be overkill
    Per Se - the dining room looks booked but you could try the salon

    Per Se books 30 days in advance at midnight on OpenTable and at 10am that same morning via phone - I think you JUST barely missed it. You could try to get on a wait list.

    For Sunday dinner, if you don't want Sichuan, Cantonese, Shanghaiese, or Taiwanese, perhaps:
    Xian Famous Foods - the E Broadway Chinatown location doesn't have a lot of seating, try the other one
    Henan Flavor
    Lotus Blue - if you feel like spending a little more

    For breakfast near the hotel, if you are OK with a bakery:
    Amy's Bread - 9th Ave and 47th, one of the better bakeries in town, great sticky buns and cupcakes
    Petrossian - 7th Ave and 58th, try a croissant there, they have a sit down restaurant, too
    Bouchon Bakery - Time Warner Center, 59th and 8th, Thomas Keller's bakery, they have a sit down cafe, too
    La Bergamote - 57th and 10th avenue, also known for their croissants
    Sullivan Street Bakery - West 47th between 10th and 11th, try a bombolini

    Landmarc in the Time Warner Center also serves breakfast daily.

    There is also DB Bistro Moderne on 44th St., b/t 5th & 6th, by Daniel Boulud of Daniel restaurant fame.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Gramercy Tavern's Dining Room does serve dinner on Sunday. Not that it matters in this case because the o.p. is looking for an upscale lunch.

      Jean Georges is closed entirely on Sundays.

      Cafe Boulud serves a brunch menu on Sunday which pales in comparison to the Tues.-Sat. lunch menu.

      I would not choose Manzo for a celebratory lunch. When it comes to special occasions, ambiance matters to me, and I can't see celebrating in a restaurant located in a vast supermarket.

      I highly recommend Ai Fiori, which serves a full lunch menu on Sundays. Delicious food and lovely ambiance.

      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

      1. re: RGR

        Jean Georges is showing availability on OpenTable for Sunday, 5/27 right now. Not sure if they have changed their hours. I was able to find tables on 5/13 and 5/20 as well.

        1. re: kathryn

          Before posting, I checked the hours on Jean Georges' website, and it showed closed on Sunday. I guess it hasn't caught up with what is obviously a change. A quick look at OT shows they will be serving dinner as well as lunch on Sunday. Mr. R. and I prefer restaurants that have lunch rather than brunch menus on Sunday, so this is great news.

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          1. re: RGR

            Thanks so much for the insight. We're definitely going to do the 4 course and save money for a nice lunch.

            I made a reservation online for Sunday lunch at Jean Georges, then called to confirm that they are in fact open. They said that they have been closed on Sundays for renovations (including today, I believe) but will be open on Sundays by May 27.

            1. re: STL BOS

              Excellent! Under the circumstances, i.e., your budget limitation, I think you are doing the right thing.

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    2. OP said she had a reservation for Marea for Sun lunch. Why is no one endorsing keeping the Marea reservation?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Phoenix

        There are many Hounds, including me, who don't care much for Marea. Those who like it may very well come on to endorse it.

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com