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dining alone in NYC - 2 days - suggestions and input for itinerary

counterwise Jun 4, 2012 08:58 AM

Hello, I'm travelling from Europe and will be in NYC for 2 quick days. It looks as though I will be dining alone (I'm female, not sure if that makes any difference in terms of where I should go), and would prefer to eat at the bar. Based on what I've seen here, I've decided on Minetta Tavern and WD 50 for dinner (though I'd love to hear alternatives or reasons to go somewhere else), but am undecided about where to go for lunch. I definitely would opt for sushi one day, and a quick Mexican bite on the other. Any ideas for good sushi and Mexican places for lunch? Neighborhood is not a critical factor, though I'd prefer something below 42nd street for lunch - i.e., more downtown than up. Thanks a mil for the input!

  1. p
    Pan Jun 5, 2012 12:37 AM

    You didn't specifically ask about Italian restaurants, but though I like Scarpetta, I prefer Ai Fiori, and they have great cocktails, especially the one they make with bourbon and orange peel.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pan
      counterwise Jun 5, 2012 01:43 PM

      Thanks, all, for these tempting suggestions. I couldn't get a res at EMP, came very close to booking at NoMad, but then read the menu on-line at Anissa and could not resist! Anissa it is, table for one. Cannot wait! Undecided about evening two but it will probably be something more downscale. Again, thanks!

      1. re: counterwise
        gourmandish Jun 5, 2012 07:14 PM

        I'm in a similar situation - will be coming at the end of June for 4 days and dining solo at a bunch of places. I also chose Annisa as one of my dinners - very much looking forward to it. You mentioned Mexican - I booked the Chef's Table at Hecho en Dumbo for another of my dinner options. It looks really good, 5 courses for $55 bucks plus apparently they throw in a couple of extra courses and you sit at the pass and watch the kitchen do their thing. It meets your criteria for location as well. It sounds pretty great but I would love to hear other NY 'hounds opinions on this as obviously I have not been there yet.

    2. s
      Simon Jun 4, 2012 10:44 AM

      NYC is a great city for dining at the bar...you'll surely have fun...

      Two of my favorites were already mentioned above: Scarpetta and 15 East...

      I'll also recommend a cute wine bar in the LES called Ten Bells...and the oysters at the bar of DBGB...Tertulia might be fun too...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Simon
        The Cookbook Addict Jun 4, 2012 01:16 PM

        I have dined alone at the sushi counters at 15 East and Yasuda and had amazing experiences both times...Momofuku Ko is also a great place to dine alone if you can manage a resy.

      2. k
        kathryn Jun 4, 2012 09:53 AM

        What days of the week will you be here? Many sushi places are closed for Saturday lunch, and closed all together on Sundays.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn
          counterwise Jun 4, 2012 10:09 AM

          Thanks, that's good to know. Fortunately, on this trip I will be there Monday and Tuesday. I'm quite looking forward to a sushi lunch.

        2. f
          fm1963 Jun 4, 2012 09:10 AM

          Mexican lunch: Toloache (west 50th Street)

          Sushi lunch: Yasuda, 15 East

          Minetta Tavern and WD-50 are great. Other ideas:

          Momofuku Ssam Bar
          Casa Mono

          11 Replies
          1. re: fm1963
            roze Jun 4, 2012 09:48 AM

            I second the Yasuda and 15 East recs. Perfect choices.

            1. re: roze
              counterwise Jun 4, 2012 10:11 AM

              Wow, thanks for these prompt replies. I think the consensus on this board is that dining alone isn't "too weird", am I right? To throw a wrench in it all and add another thought, would it be a bit strange to book a table for one at an upscale joint like EMP?

              1. re: counterwise
                Sneakeater Jun 4, 2012 10:40 AM

                Eating alone is definitely not even a little weird in New York.

                I personally find tables for one (as opposed to bars) a little lonely. But if you don't feel that way, NO ONE will look down on you, or treat you as a second-class customer, ANYWHERE decent in New York if you book one. Very much including EMP.

                PS -- Note that they serve the full dining room menu at the bar at Le Bernardin.

                1. re: Sneakeater
                  uhockey Jun 5, 2012 06:49 AM

                  I've eaten at Per Se, La Bernardin, Daniel, Jean-Georges, Marea, Lincoln, Bouley, The Modern, and many of NYC's other top tables as a solo on multiple trips and, if anything, found the service even BETTER than when dining with others. It is, perhaps, the best solo dining city in the United States (though Vegas is also quite attuned to the solo diner, as well.)


                  1. re: uhockey
                    Riverman500 Jun 5, 2012 09:14 AM

                    The only exception is the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare which only takes reservations for parties of two or four.

                2. re: counterwise
                  fm1963 Jun 4, 2012 10:46 AM

                  I've seen quite a few solo diners at tables at places like Le Bernardin, EMP, Jean Georges. It's not weird at all. By all means book a table if you're not into small talk at the bar.

                  1. re: counterwise
                    roze Jun 4, 2012 11:45 AM

                    Dining alone is not weird at all here- I do it so much I actually prefer it. I haved dined at Eleven madison solo and was treated wonderfully. They also have an a la carte menu you can order at the bar if you can't get a table. The new Nomad might be a great upscale option if you can't get an Eleven Madison table as well.

                    1. re: roze
                      kathryn Jun 4, 2012 12:26 PM

                      Dining solo is a compliment to the chef! It means you came here primarily for the food.

                      Note: the NoMad (m is capitalized) is on 28th and Broadway in the NoMad hotel. Not in the East Village. The NoMad has the same leadership team as Eleven Madison Park.

                      1. re: kathryn
                        roze Jun 4, 2012 06:45 PM

                        Thanks for the clarification of resurant Kathryn. I do forget there are two with the same name.

                    2. re: counterwise
                      denaepeterscm Jun 5, 2012 01:25 PM

                      I went to EMP alone and it was still amazing!

                    3. re: roze
                      foodwhisperer Jun 5, 2012 09:05 PM

                      Sushi at 15 East lunchtime, does not compare to omakase 15 East at dinner. Skip 15 East for lunch and either try Hatsuhana for lunch sushi, or Robataya for something a little different.
                      Mary's Fish Camp for lunch isn't bad, why not Katz's for lunch? Dim Sum at Golden Unicorn, or the Meatball Shoppe for lunch.

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