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Solo dining recommendations in the Financial District/beyond

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Hello,

I'll be in NYC for a conference on a Sunday and Monday night and would like to add some enjoyable dining into an otherwise slightly boring trip. From reading a few threads, I'm operating on these assumptions:

1. Solo dining is NYC is absolutely acceptable and there are very few places it's discouraged (phew!)
2. Financial District has less than stellar food reputation and a bit of an obnoxious crowd reputation

Given that, here's what I know I'm looking for:
- Something in the Financial District (where I'm staying and the conference is), but I'm happy to walk (maybe 20-30 minutes?) especially for something worth it. I want to avoid distance that necessitates a cab or public transportation
- Recommendations for after-conference drink (outdoor/fun view a plus, I guess) and fun, good food dinners - can be the same place for drink and dinner or two different -- I have two nights.
- Happy to spend up to $100 on a dinner with drinks - hoping not to go too much over that but I always can justify ignoring my budget for something worthwhile.
- Although it sounds like having a table for one is acceptable, I'd probably be much more comfortable dining at a bar.
- Would like a not-too-serious/stuffy atmosphere with good energy without crossing into obnoxious, frat-boy world.
- I think I'll use food cart recommendations from here for my hour lunches, unless there is a can't miss recommendation.
- Probably would prefer a kind of New American or fusion menu, but I'm really open to anything.
- Considering North End Grill, but not much else has jumped out at me.
- I really appreciate good food and a good dining experience.

So, I'm not a New Yorker, but on recent visits when we've stayed in Hell's Kitchen, I've had a great time at Casellula and Danji and could easily imagine being happy dining solo at either of those bars... I'm just not a frequent solo diner and I'm absolutely unfamiliar with the Financial District.

So many parameters! I'd love any and all recommendations that fit them or a polite nudge in the right direction if nothing quite fits what I'm looking for.

Thanks!

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  1. For the dinner, walk over to North End Grill. It's in Battery Park City, across West St. from the Financial District. The area it's in is very uncharacteristic of New York and so might be deemed uninteresting touristicly (although it's hard to dismiss its beautiful waterfront and spectacular harbor views). But the food at North End Grill is terrific (and so are the cocktails and the wine list), and the dining counter is a great spot for solo dining.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Sneakeater

      Glad to hear that North End Grill is a good option, especially for a solo diner. Good views are a bonus, and I'm not worried if it's "uninteresting touristicly" (that might even qualify as a good thing, you know?).

      Any recs for the second night? I'm kind of thinking of ditching my "no cab" parameter, but then it seems like there are TOO many options and I'll become overwhelmed. Plus, it's kind of fun to be forced to try something new instead of falling back on neighborhoods where I'm more familiar.

      1. re: lunajack

        And, thank you for the response.

        1. re: lunajack

          Gotham is my favorite place to dine alone at the bar. But I think the distance, whereas is completely walkable, warrants a cab.

          Although I've never eaten there alone, and I haven't been there in quite a few years, The Harrison comes to mind for tasty downtown eating.

        2. re: lunajack

          There is no view from inside of North End Grill unless it's of the Irish Hunger Memorial, but you can walk around afterwards and see the water, etc.

          This is the same complex that also houses Shake Shack and Blue Smoke, BTW.

          Both NEG and Blue Smoke would be good for a drink, though I believe they both get a little crowded during happy hour-ish times.

          1. re: lunajack

            Just to manage your expectations, the North End Grill itself doesn't have much of a view. There are some good views nearby outside.

            1. re: Sneakeater

              Got it - in your initial post, I thought the "view" you were referring to was the walk/neighborhood. North End Grill sounds terrific, though, so thanks again.

        3. The WFC has a food truck court, with a rotating schedule that they post online.

          You should probably consider going up to Tribeca for Monday night dinner. Some options:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/816396

          1. Inatteso is another Battery Park City option that is fine for solo dining. Like NEG, however, no view:

            http://www.inattesopizzabar.com/

            My go-to for outdoor drinking is by the North Cove marina at the World Financial Center. Food truck schedule included in link:

            http://www.worldfinancialcenter.com/r...

            I also recently learned on this board about rooftop drinking at Loopy Doopy at the Conrad Hotel (same complex as NEG). I think there's also an outdoor bar at the BPC Ritz-Carlton:

            http://www.conradnewyork.com/about-th...

            As kathryn suggests, if you don't mind hiking up to Tribeca (less than 30 minutes), then that opens up a lot more "chow-worthy" options. Finally, if you're in eastern FiDi, closer to Water Street than West Street, then tack on some walking time and approach the South Street Seaport with caution ;) .

            1 Reply
            1. re: Andy T.

              Thank you both Andy and Kathryn. I like the Loopy Doopy/NEG combo (had read about Loopy Doopy here, but didn't realize it was the same complex - awesome!) one night and then maybe a walk up to Tribeca with a cab back the next night. Of course, adding in Tribeca definitely adds many, many more options, but I'll re-read that link you sent, Kathryn and work on making a short list.

              Thanks all!

            2. Tribeca is an easy walk from that area, and there are a few upscale places that'd be solo-friendly:

              Marc Forgione (probably my favorite in the neighborhood - great, hearty, playful New American. Has bar dining, also.)
              Jung Sik (just added a la carte options, so you wouldn't be stuck with a $$$$ tasting menu)

              Fancy-fancy, but not as stuffy as Midtown fancy-fancy:
              Bouley
              Corton

              For Japanese:
              Brushstroke
              Nobu / Nobu Next Door

              For drinks:
              Ward III (great cocktails - a block from Forgione, conveniently, if you wanted to hit both)
              Plein Sud (great cocktails at a less-than-great restaurant)
              Mudville 9 (if you're a craft beer fan)

              5 Replies
              1. re: sgordon

                I think Bouley and Corton are fancier than I'd like to do on this trip (and likely out of my budget too), but wow does the menu at Forgione look tasty! No prices though - any sense of what I should have in mind for a dinner there?

                1. re: lunajack

                  Apps are generally $16-$18 (the Chili Lobster - which is amazing - varies with M/P), and entrees are high 20s to mid-30s.

                  There's also a tasting menu of his signature dishes - IIRC, the BBQ Oysters, Hiramasa Tartare, Chili Lobster, Halibut w/ Sauce "Proposal" (also amazing, a justifiable classic), and a couple others - a meat course and a pasta, maybe. I think it's $99 (and a very good deal if it is) but don't quote me on that. There might even be two different tastings of varying length - I seem to recall reviews of five- and seven-or-eight course ones. I've always gone a la carte, myself.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    is paul liebrandt cooking at corton?

                    every couple years it seems like he moves from one restaurant to another. quite the peripatetic chef for sure.

                    sorry,, if i diverged the thread.

                    1. re: kevin

                      He's still there.

                    2. re: sgordon

                      That's helpful -- thanks!