Dining solo Friday night near Columbus Circle - need recs
I will be in from out of town and on my own Friday evening near Columbus Circle, would like a recommendation for a place where I can get a seat at the bar and enjoy a great meal. I am completely open to any type of cuisine. Any stellar sushi in the area? Price is no object, I am looking for the best experience. I will not be drinking, so it is really all about the food. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Recently enjoyed two visits to Kashkaval, 856 9th Ave bets 55th and 56th streets. Cozy, unique space. Cheese and prepared food shop in front, small dining room in back, very informal and welcoming to single diner. Also sit at long friendly bar. Great fondue, small plates, lovely wine. (My bill for one: $39 plus tip) Not high gourmet experience but what's better than cheese?
The most stellar sushi in that area is surely Masa in the Time Warner building. For a prix fixe of $450, you are served sushi and sushi and sushi, the chef makes the decisions, and that doesn't include drinks, tax, tip, and other extras.
(Well, you asked for it...)
For the "great dining," "price is no object" experience (phrases I kind of overlooked) I agree with the above suggestions!!
As pointed out above, if price really is no object, might as well try the Masa experience. Though keep in mind the price can vary from $450 (at the lowest) to $600+, depending on the season / what they're serving, before you've had a sip of a drink. Also, IIRC, they tack on a service charge of 20% or so (or at least they used to) - so you're looking at close to four digits, with sake and whatnot. Also, note that many have complained that if you're not a regular, service can be a bit... cold.
If THAT price is an object, a few other suggestions within walking distance:
Le Bernardin, although they only serve the full menu at the bar proper (not at the bar tables) if I'm remembering right, and there are very few seats at said bar. Might have to wait a bit, as they're no-rez.
The balcony bar at Ma Peche. There are always four or five great raw seafood preps, as well - not sushi per se, but could fix the same jones perhaps.
The bar at Aquavit is nice, if the ambience is a bit "Swedish Airport Lounge" - although they don't do the regular menu at the bar, normally. I suspect, though, if you told them you're dining solo, and prefer a bar seat, they wouldn't have any issue sending out the regular menu to you. They're pretty accomodating - and I mean, it's more money in their pockets after all. The kitchen there has been blazing of late. They've come a long way since their last NYT re-review, which was ill-timed - the new chef hadn't been there for long, was still finding his groove.
Sushi Yasuda is a little bit South of there - a New Yorker would consider it walking distance.
To the North, Lincoln is great - can't remember if there's bar dining there, though.
A little further up - Picholine and Dovetail are both generally solid.
If you're willing to venture out of midtown - since you say price is no object, might as well throw in a $15 cab ride - I find the bar at WD-50 is one of the best bars for dining at. Jafrul and Kevin, the two main bartenders, are good conversation and can lead you through some interesting, personalized pairings, be it wine or cocktails or whatever you prefer for a given course.
I have dined alone near that area a few months ago. My evening of dining:
Drinks and apps at the Per Se Salon (they also provide a fab bread selection)
Wine and fish and a pasta dish at Lincoln
Dessert and tea at Boulud Sud
Thanks everyone for all of the recommendations, very much appreciated! I need up at Le Bernardin and had the "Le Bernardin" tasting menu / 7 courses - 5 savory, 2 sweet. I sat at a table in the Salon. The service was flawless. The food was great, but if I'm being honest, each course could have been just a little bit larger, as I left without feeling completely satiated. Next time, I will order the "Chefs" tasting menu which is 8 courses.
All in report: Wednesday late dinner / Landmarc in Time Warner center- needed a quick bite, and this place got the job done without too much fuss.
Thursday dinner/ La Esquina.- had some interesting dishes, but point of fact, the Carne Asada is not a Carne Asada. It was fine, but not remotely authentic, and would not have ordered if I had known it was just a strip steak
Friday dinner / Le Bernardin
Saturday brunch / Sarabeth on Central Park south- smoked salmon Benedict was on point.
Saturday dinner / Boulud Sud - best of the bunch. Octopus appetizer, then house made rigatoni, then halibut, then grapefruit sorbet, all outstanding!