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May 7, 2012 10:34 AM

Looking for a good recommendation for solo dining spot in NY (preferably new and notable)

I'm in NY for a few nights for client events and have one free night for dinner (I'm from the Bay Area). I'm interested in spot with good atmosphere and a comfortable bar (hate to eat at a table by myself). In the past I've done Mesa Grill or Babbo so I'm trying to branch out (but that gives you context on type of venue I like).

I've heard Primehouse is good but steaks seem like a cop out. Also hear Minetta Tavern, Catch and Abe & Arthur's are good but not sure of their bar set up (like to have a little elbow room). While I like a lively scene, I'm more about the food and don't want to have my barstool bumped 50 times by people wedging by me.

Would also be up for sushi if there's anywhere phenomonal. Appreciate any thoughts.

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  1. Minetta

    1. When is this for? A weekday? Or weekend night?

      Minetta Tavern's bar area is pretty crowded, and I find the stools to be a little uncomfortable (lots of knees banging up against the bar as you perch on a stool). Food is great, though.

      No idea about Catch and Abe & Arthur's.

      Sushi would also be a good call as a solo diner but for the most well-known spots like 15 East, Yasuda, etc., you'll need to call and reserve specifically for the sushi bar.

      For new (2011+), notable, and w/ bar dining, I might try:
      The NoMad
      Fatty Cue West Village
      Acme - might be too crazy though dependent upon the night
      Perla - chef is ex-Babbo
      Manzo - the upscale restaurant inside of Batali's Eataly
      Empellon Cocina
      RedFarm - the bar is in the back of the room, so you might not actually get bumped as much
      Recette - the bar only has 6 seats but is actually more spacious than the dining room

      Tertulia, The Dutch, John Dory Oyster Bar might be worth a look but I think you might find it too busy/crowded.

      See also:

      14 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Perla is great but if you don't want to get bumped and nudged at the bar ask for a seat at the chef's counter. Manzo is still very good, post-Toscano.

        Torrisi Italian Specialties doesn't have a bar but seats solo diners at a small counter with a window view.

        Other suggestions:

        Momofuku Ko
        The Modern Bar Room
        La Promenade des Anglais
        Kin Shop

        1. re: peter j

          Sounds good. Night is tomorrow (Tuesday). Have done Marea, Momo and going to do Eataly on way out of NY on Wednesday. Friend also recommended Jeffrey's Grocery and Boulud Sud (this one looked interesting). ABC Kitchen's menu sounded good but space doesn't sound like a great dinner option.

          1. re: NapaTJ

            Boulud Sud would be a great choice.

            1. re: NapaTJ

              ABC Kitchen has a bar in the front, with high tables reserved for walk in customers. If you can snag a bar seat, you'll be fine. I personally dislike the walk in tables since the chairs are so high.

              1. re: kathryn

                Thanks all (love the NY board as everyone has an opinion which is how I operate). I'm going to go with a Daniel Boulud since seems a little more unique menu than Italian and Steaks (I'm from SF and Napa so lots of good Italian up there).

                I'm leaning towards Boulud Sud but Bar Boulud looks interesting as well (and gets slightly better Zagat's ratings). Any thoughts?

                1. re: NapaTJ

                  This is probably a minority opinion, but I prefer Bar Boulud to Boulud Sud as I prefer classic bistro to somewhat-contrived-pan-Mediterranean (don't get me wrong, though -- Boulud Sud is a very good restaurant).

                  Also, Boulud Sud has been a little hard to walk into lately -- a victim of its own success.

                  As you might have guessed from my last post, I think you'd be crazy to go to either of those places over Minetta Tavern. But that's just my obvious personal preference.

                  1. re: Sneakeater

                    Thanks sneakeater. Definitely appreciate the Minetta rec as friend also loves it. Just felt like a different menu as Minetta reminds me of Wayfare Tavern in SF (which I love). I also agree with your thought on Boulud Sud's menu but just seemed like something fun to try. Hopefully a spot for one is achievable at the bar!

                    Any thoughts on a nice posh spot for a cocktail near Times Square for a pre-dinner drink. I am taking my team for a post work cocktail and tend to love The King Cole Room but don't want to troop across to East Side and then back west to Boulud Sud (and since I'm not having dinner with them, wanted to keep it close to office).

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Lantern's Keep looks pretty cool. Wasn't clear if needed a reservation or how crowded but is the Royalton any good as a back up (new it was reasonably hip years ago but haven't been in eons).

                        1. re: NapaTJ

                          No it is not. Unlike Lantern's Keep, it does not have a serious cocktail program.

                          1. re: NapaTJ

                            The drinks are hit or miss at the Royalton. They don't jigger, from what I have observed. Whereas Lantern's Keep is much more rigorous, freshly squeezed juices, jiggering, high quality ingredients, big focus on technique.

                        2. re: NapaTJ

                          Minetta Tavern is quite different from Wayfare Tavern. MT leans more towards French-style meat and potatoes, whereas WT seems like an updated take on American comfort food.

                          While I enjoyed WT, the quality of the meat at MT is, in my opinion, superior, especially if you're considering the black label burger or any of the steaks.

                          That said, you can't go wrong with Boulud Sud though the bar does get crowded after 7:00 pm.

                          1. re: H Manning

                            I wouldn't even call Minetta Tavern "French-leaning." I'd call it "French".

                            1. re: Sneakeater

                              +1 on calling MT as"French". It's one of the best, if not the best, bistro food in the city today, imho.

            2. Thanks again all. I will keep MT when back for fun as does sound like a great burger or steak. Kind of in a fish mood tonight (trying to get that waistline back down).

              Appreciate the heads up on Lantern's Keep. Do you need a reservation at Lantern's for drinks?