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May 8, 2012 10:18 PM

One memorable meal - advice needed

This weekend I am helping my older daughter move into an apartment for an internship in Manhattan for the summer. I promised my wife and daughter alike that my sole focus would be to focus on making this a successful move. They both knew I was lying, and that dinner on Saturday night will be a priority. I am from out of town but know a fair bit about the New York restaurant scene, so I want to pose a challenge to those of you who no doubt know a bunch more about it than me. My three most memorable meals in New York were: eating at Trattoria da Alfredo on Hudson Street, as a starving college student in the 1970's (my cousin, a dress designer, would take me); my wedding reception at the Box Tree in 1988 (the memorable dish was their dessert, a vacharin, that was made up to be our wedding cake); and taking my younger daughter to about 7 or 8 places in Chinatown, about ten years ago, where we rated the dumplings (Joe's Shanghai won, as I recall; New Green Bo was a close second). If you've stuck with me to this point my request is this: where should I take my older daughter to have a great New York meal, and memory? As you can see from the other experiences, I am not worried about a particular experience. In a city that sets the standard for great food, I'm curious what any of you might offer up as truly great. Thanks.

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  1. I get at least some sense of what you like, but what has your daughter liked best so far?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      She loved a dinner we had at Crispo a few years back. And while I'd keep the porterhouse at Peter Luger's on my list, she'd want something healthier. If you're familiar with the Chicago restaurant scene at all, the Rick Bayless restaurants are a family favorite.

      1. re: GeeMo

        I've not been to Bayless's restaurants (actually, never been to Chicago), but if you're looking for excellent modern Mexican cuisine, I highly recommend Toloache, on 50th St., b/t B'way & 8th Av. Best to go after 8 p.m. to avoid the pre-theater crush and rush.

        1. re: GeeMo

          For something similar to Bayless try Yerba Buena Perry.

          1. re: H Manning

            I think it would be silly for someone from Chicago to have "modern Mexican" in New York.

            The onjy one that even approaches the Bayless restaurants, IMO, is Empellon Cantina. But if you have access to Bayless, New York isn't going to teach you anything.

      2. This Saturday night is rather last minute. I assume you won't want anything too upscale after spending the day moving? But also you probably won't want to wait 2 hours to eat after a long day. What neighborhood is the apartment in?

        8 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Good assumptions. West side. Though I could use the dinner as a chance to show her around a bit.

          1. re: GeeMo

            Cross streets? I'm wondering if something within walking distance might be good.

            1. re: kathryn

              Don't know exactly - I wasn't part of the apartment search - but it's approximately 6 blocks north of Columbus Circle.

              1. re: GeeMo

                Ah, that helps a lot. That's UWS, near Lincoln Center. Which might be good as many of the nearby restaurants have a pre and post theatre rush, but often have availability around 8pm.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Are you thinking Lincoln? With the caveat that I have yet to go, some hounds have been raving about it. GeeMo: Check their prices and see if it's too expensive. It's pretty aggressively priced for dinner. If it's not too expensive for you, try for a reservation. If reservations are a problem, Ai Fiori is a large restaurant (so possibly easier to get reservations at), and it's my current favorite Italian restaurant. It's also expensive, though.

                  GeeMo, do you have a maximum budget for this meal?

                  1. re: Pan

                    Price isn't the deciding factor for this reason: I can tell my daughter that this is the "big deal meal" so she stays within budget while on her own! Thanks to everyone for responding.

                    1. re: Pan

                      I was actually thinking more Boulud Sud & a trip to Epicurie Boulud afterwards, to pick up breakfast and snacks for the new apartment.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner. Showed the menu to the daughter, got thumbs up, and made the reservations. Thank you, and my thanks to all.

          2. Well, it's not in her neighborhood, but we recently enjoyed the modern Filipino food at Maharlika in the East Village. very hip vibe, as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChefJune

              Speaking as someone who is currently curing guanciale, and lardo with fennel pollen, in the basement, that pig dish on the menu looks awesome. The daughter is not (yet) such a big fan of any part of the pig beyond regular old bacon. Maybe I could get takeout on the way to the airport!