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Sep 9, 2012 02:41 PM

Chelsea Dinner for 1 Without a Res

Hello again. Where should I go for dinner Wednesday night? Will arrive in town earlier that day, and my husband has a business dinner. I am looking for somewhere within an easy walk from our hotel in Chelsea. While I know fine experiences can be had at a table for one, my preference is to sit at a bar to eat, which is why I indicated without a reservation. I do not want a tasting menu, but also do not require "cheap eats". I eat just about anything, am not picky, love sushi, can handle spice, and my least favorite cuisines are Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and Greek. I will probably go on the early side, around 6 or 6:30, prefer not to dress up but am not bringing jeans, and because I'll be starting a vacation, I'd love them to pour me a drink or two. Thanks, New York!

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  1. How about Eataly? Or Cookshop?

      1. re: kathryn

        Kathryn: I thought of Txikito and know you are a fan. Does it work well for one? My experience with tapas/pintxo spots is they can be challenging without a person or 3 to share. It seems counter-intuitive to go to a small plates restaurant and just get a couple of dishes.

        I was leaning toward Co. If it matters, we are staying near 23rd and 7th. Thanks again.

        1. re: GourmetWednesday

          Some of the items at Txikito are 1-2 pieces.

          You could also do The Breslin, perhaps?

          Too bad the NoMad eliminated bar dining!

          1. re: GourmetWednesday

            Yes, The Breslin or John Dory - both at the Ace Hotel
            Promenade des Anglais

        2. Manzo at Eataly. Great bar staff and the full menu is available. Excellent food and an excellent way to start your vacation!

            1. re: EBT

              Thank you for your thoughtful input. I stopped at Rub BBQ, since it was so close to our hotel, then dinner part 2 (sounds less indulgent than dinner #2, no?) at Txikito.

              At Rub, I sat at the bar and had a brisket sandwich, paired with an Ommerang Witte. Because I knew this was only a starter, I stuck to the sandwich, no sides or fries. The server described the brisket as much more tender than I experienced it. I found the sauces to be just fine, nothing outstanding or off-putting, and thought the regular and spicy tasted almost identical. I asked for a bacon chocolate chip cookie to go, but they were out of them. I guess the menu disclaimer that they run out of stuff because of the nature of the barbecue process also applies to cookies. Overall, I thought Rub was good not great. Given that I have lived in central Texas and Kentucky, I am probably spoiled by great BBQ, and I can see why Rub might stand out in NYC. I would stop in Rub for a casual meal if I lived or worked nearby, but would not make it a destination.

              Txikito was one of my highlights of the trip. I sat at the bar and found the bartender (Brian? Sorry I didn't write down or remember his name) to be delightful, with enough interaction with me to give guidance and help me feel welcome as a solo diner and newcomer, while still engaging with some friends and regulars and keeping up with his job as bartender for the whole place.

              At his (Brian's?) recommendation, I started with a 2011 Ameztoi Rubientis, Getariako Txakolina, Hondarribi Zuri, Beltiza, ie, a glass of rose, with just a hint of bubbles. I then had an order of the Piperrak, blistered gernika peppers. This was a really fun and tasty starter, and not too heavy as my body was still recovering from the brisket sandwich. In preparation for the next course, I had a 2010 El Chapparal, Navarra, Garnacha. The food to come was the Pintxo Higo, off the special board, described as "Flatbread with fig, jamon Serrano, and truffle honey." This was my OMG moment of the entire trip! The truffle flavor in their house-infused honey could be overwhelming if you don't love amazing, intense, throw you on the ground to make out kind of flavors. The dish was confusing to eat, and would be nearly impossible to share. The flatbread base was a tad larger than an English muffin half, not small-pizza sized like I'm accustomed to, to which my husband responded when I later described my experience to him, "It turns out size doesn't matter for flatbreads!"