please critique my itinerary
we are group of office colleagues travelling early October to Manhattan. Just for dinners I though of:
Craft for new american/steaks
morimoto for asian fusion
perilla for new american (or noMad)
maialino (or perla ) for italian
15 east for japanese
Ushiwakamaru for traditional sushi
I'll appreciate your thoughts and recs.
Thanks in advance to all repliers
How big is your group?
I'd do somewhere else for Asian fusion. Momofuku Ssam, Ma Peche, Fatty Cue, Mission Chinese...
The NoMad is better than Perilla but also quite a bit more expensive.
If your group is four or more you can reserve at Perla; otherwise you'll be in for a wait.
15 East and Ushi is kind of redundant, both do sushi well. I'd just choose one.
Thanks to all repliers so far.
we are a group of 5. Some of us lack the passion for innovative cuisine so I think that koy-ya, Ma peche and momofuku ssam are not for all of us.
I choose morimoto because we had a great experience there 2 years ago. I will probably go with esat 15 for sushi. Sgordon - I've been to Babbo 5 times over the last 8 years or so and last year they seemed tired to me so I've decided to try some new Italian.
Kyo-Ya is not innovative, to my knowledge, but instead, traditional and specializing in kaiseki, and its kaiseki menu (which you would have to reserve in advance) is sublime. If your group likes sushi and sashimi, I can't imagine that they'd find the food at Kyo-Ya weird or in any way objectionable. The only caveat is that while I completely loved my kaiseki meal there, an a la carte meal was merely very good, so if you do decide to order a la carte, follow the ordering advice of people very familiar with the offerings.
I don't consider Momofuku Ssam to be "Asian Fusion" - they're New American, if anything, with occasional Asian (and Italian, and Mexican, and etc etc etc) touches. There are couple of somewhat pure Asian dishes on the menu - the Korean rice cake, etc - but overall, it's NewAm. I'd actually suggest them as a replacement for Perilla, if anything. (Perilla I find kind of bland and unexciting.)
Other NewAm options worth considering: Marc Forgione, Public.
Morimoto is quite good if you have a sense of what to order before you go - skip the sushi, stick with the composed dishes. I find doing a four-course meal (two apps - one raw / one hot - plus entree and dessert) to be optimal. There are standouts on the menu like the Oysters Foie Gras, the Chawanmushi, Yellowtail Pastrami, Seafood Toban Yaki... The menu is a bit too large for it's own good, though, and there are a few duds among the offerings (I find the toro tartare boring, but then I find most toro tartares boring...)
Other Japanese options, in lieu of either Morimoto or 15E: Soto, Kyo Ya - especially the Kaiseki at the latter. One of the great meals in NYC.
Maialinio is very good. Babbo is always my first choice for Italian, but your party would have to be six people or less. Otherwise, we have a number of excellent options: Lincoln, Marea, Ai Fiori, Locanda Verde.
Craft has arguably the finest non-steakhouse steak in the city, and it's even better than most steakhouses, frankly. The advantage of having a spectacular steak there is that the other offerings are excellent as well for apps and for those who don't want steak - areas where most steakhouses fall pretty short.
If you want a steakhouse, my feeling is that there are enough great steakhouses so that you can get great food in a steakhouse ambience. Keen's has never disappointed me, and the ambience is perfect, the service perfect, and the sides are well-executed.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie is also a fine choice for a menu, execution, and experience that you aren't likely to see in many cities. The food is just. . .wonderful, and the room is fun, lively, and food-serious.
I can't argue with your Italian choice. Babbo is great, too, as someone pointed out. Have fun!