Need help, great food in a casual spot
- Bayareafoodiei Aug 7, 2012 12:06 PM
I will be in NYC for two nights in October. One night we are hoping to get into EMP. For the other night we want a casual restaurant with awesome food. We love all kinds of eats, but do not want to get dressed up two nights in a row. Any suggestions would be great. We are staying in battery park, but will travel. Thanks for the help!!!
There are lots of restaurants that have great food and are less casual than EMP, especially if you eat all kinds of cuisines.
How much do you want to spend, per person, before tax, tip, wine, drinks?
I would do something New Yorkish and a good constrast to EMP, like:
Momofuku Ssam Bar
Babbo (smart casual dress)
Unfortunately Momofuku Ssam Bar doesn't take reservations but I would consider it for lunch.
Babbo has amazing food, casual atmosphere, but it's pretty popular so sometimes hard to get a reservation. You have to call at 10am on the numerical date one month in advance, i.e. call on September 15th 10am Eastern for a table on October 15th. However, they do take some walk ins and they also post cancellations to their Twitter feed.
WD-50 (tasting menu only but it is not terribly formal)
All good suggestions above, especially Babbo (if you can get in) - Recette and WD-50 would be my other top picks of those already mentioned, with the caveat that WD is now tasting-menu-only, as was pointed out. Acme is also great, though it can be CRAZY noisy on the weekends, so it depends what day you're going and just how casual a vibe you'd like.
I'll also add FYC:
Marc Forgione - great casual atmosphere, creative New American. Bold and gutsy flavors, but playful and fun.
Momofuku Ko - might as well try to win the "Ko Lottery" and see if you can score seats, just be sure to log in right at 10:00 (or 9:58 to be safe, then just keep refreshing the page - also be sure to make an account earlier, so you save a step, as time is of the essence) - I can't imagine a better one-two culinary punch than EMP and Ko - both brilliant, forward-thinking culinary experiences, but very very different from each other.
Kyo Ya - ...but if I could imagine one, it would be with Kyo Ya. Would provide the greatest contrast to EMP, most likely, though equally exquisite.
Public - one of the few chefs to do "fusion" right. Local / seasonal but with SE Asian and Australian / NZ twists. Also one of the best, most creative brunch options in town, if you're going to be around during the day on a Sat or Sun.
Definitely have a Plan B already set for day two - and if you hit the Ko Lottery, great, easy enough to cancel the Plan B.
Probably the closest thing to Ko would be the tasting at WD-50 - the Momo gang are VERY influenced by Dufresne, probably moreso than any other chef, though they have their own culinary identity for sure. And if you've never been to Ko, and thus never had the famous "foie gras snow" - well... it's one of those game-changing dishes every serious eater should have once in their life... And unlike, say, Jean-Georges' foie gras brulee (or whoever first came up with that one) it hasn't yet been copied to death.