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Quintessial Dining Experience - NYC

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My now-husband moved to NYC three years ago next week to date me ... I want to reward him on the anniversary of his move date with an amazing dinner ...

Am thinking of taking him on a touristy visit to Empire State Building pre ...

All suggestions welcome, thanks in advance.

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  1. To me, Minetta Tavern is the current quintessential NYC dining experience.

    I'd say Keens is probably the quintessential Old Skool NYC dining experience.

    1. I think the responses to your question are going to be amazingly -- and interestingly -- varied.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Sneakeater

        wow Keen's looks amazing, and duh, Minetta, forgot all about that place. I can't wait to see the responses! Thanks Sneakeater.

        1. re: iriedesign

          sneakeater beat me to it, I was going to suggest Keen's. For me, that place oozes old New York

          1. re: Spiritchaser

            I just noticed this thread. I had some out-of-towners who wanted old school NYC, midtown, no seafood. I took them to Keens a couple of nights ago, and they loved it. The mutton chop is a must, if you go.

            1. re: SteveSCT

              Just went to Keens again last night and I can't think of a better place for food, history and classic old NYC. Get a dirty martini and dive into some serious meat.

      2. La Grenouille, as memorialized by Truman Capote.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic

          Truman Capote memorialized La Cote Basque (now Benoit) in "Answered Prayers," though he and his "swans" were also regulars at La Grenouille.

        2. The Oyster Bar in Grand Central comes to mind with a beer or two at McSorley's afterwards.

          Too bad Luchow's is still not with us.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Duppie

            I love the spirit of this post, ... good to keep in mind.

            1. re: Duppie

              Quintessential "fancy schmancy" or quintessential down and dirty??
              We love starting our dnner experience @ Grand Central Oyster Bar for oysters and maybe some chowder. The rest of the menu is not spectacular.
              After enjoying the Oyster Bar experience head out for dinner @ Katz's or Great NY Noodle Co for a less fancy Manhattan experience. @ Katz's split a pastrami sammich on rye. Plenty for two.

              1. re: Motosport

                I"m open to both ... though leaning toward fancy. Since this anniversary of his moving here will come up a lot, it'll be good to have lots of options. We do Katz's often, but the Great NY Noodle Co looks awesome.

                1. re: iriedesign

                  just to point out, and not intending to put works in Motosport's mouth, but i THINK the place in question is Great NY Noodletown.

                  1. re: tex.s.toast

                    Mea culpa!! How could I make such a mistake? Where is my sword?

                    1. re: Motosport

                      hey, just trying to keep the OP away from noodles and co (the third result for a google search for "Great NY Noodle Co" - thankfully teh good folks at google are all knowing and the first result would have directed iriedesign to the correct spot)

                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                        I love the diligence on this list ... luckily, my goggle search for Great NY Noodle Co did bring the correct Great NY NoodleTown, and sadly I only focused on GREAT NY, so didn't even notice, but it's always good to know the true name.

                        Nice work everyone.

                        1. re: iriedesign

                          It's a decidedly non-fancy restaurant, though. Delicious food, gross bathrooms, super-informal atmosphere.

                          I'd add John's of 12th St. to this list, as it's a super-old Italian-American restaurant, but it is certainly not of comparable luxury to La Grenouille, though a bit less informal than Noodletown. Quintessential New York dining for another day, I think.

                          1. re: Pan

                            ......Great NY Noodle Town @ 3 AM is quintessential NYC. How about?
                            1.Grand Central Oyster Bar for starters
                            2.A fine dining experience for dinner
                            3.Late night Jazz @ Kitano
                            4.Noodletown in the wee hours!!
                            I love NY!!

            2. 21, Four Seasons,

              1. River Cafe.

                5 Replies
                1. re: swannee

                  How is the food at River Cafe, the general opinion seems to be "eh" ... or is that just sterotyping, as in "the most scenic restauarants tend to have the most average food"?

                  1. re: iriedesign

                    The food is better than "eh" but less than you'd expect of a restaurant of that cost and ambition.

                    Given the views, I guess it's to their credit that it's any good at all.

                    I personally wouldn't really recommend it for your purposes, though.

                    1. re: Sneakeater

                      thanks, and since we live in BK and spend a lot of time at BK Bridge Park, we should probably do something a little out of the way anyway.

                    2. re: iriedesign

                      Y experience at River Cafe was fantastic. Our food and service were impeccable. We did however laugh that it was the most expensive meal per person the four of us had ever eaten.

                      1. re: Jvfndal

                        If that was the first time you've eaten food that expensive, you owe it to yourself to go to a restaurant in that price range that places more of an emphasis on the food. You will be shocked at how good the food can be.

                  2. My NYC:
                    Late night meal at Blue Ribbon Brasserie
                    Raoul's
                    Balthazar
                    The Modern

                    1. Please feel free to make any dessert suggestions as well ...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: iriedesign

                        If you would like something TRULY spectacular (although not quintessential NYC) go do the dessert tasting at Per Se. If your special someone deserve a reward this is that reward.

                      2. If you live in BK, and over the top old fashioned romance is your thing, then La Grenouille. But it's not really New York per se.......

                        1. What could you possibly mean by a quintessential NYC dining experience? I don't believe there's any such thing. Do you have any criteria you're willing to go by?

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: brancron

                            Gray's Papaya.. a hot dog and a papaya juice. For breakfast or brunch go to Barney Greengrass and get the sturgeon. Its not Per Se per se.. but they are both quintessential tastes of NY.

                            1. re: brancron

                              Good question and definitely subjective. I'm just looking for what restaurant experiences represent the most typical example of a classic Manhattan dining experience.

                              So the Katz' and Grey's are just as interesting to me as Per Se and Minetta.

                              Since this meal is about thanking someone for moving to NYC for me, I want to deliver a truly NYC-filled evening, complete with some touristy stuff (ie., a trip to the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building).

                              Does this help?

                              1. re: iriedesign

                                The observation deck, as quintissential as it might sound, would end up being a nightmare. Took my in-law from China there. 2 hour line....the view was nice, but the process would not be.

                                Here's are a couple of thoughts:

                                If weather is nice, find a rooftop bar and enjoy Manhattan from the top. I think there's a rooftop bar at the Met, overlooking Central Park. Also, the rooftop at the Thompson hotel in Columbus Circle is nice too. For a view of the Empire State, 230 Fifth is a nice spot as well, or the one on top of the Dream Hotel in the Theater district.

                                From a dinner standpoint, as you can see there are many ways to go. But since its a SERIOUS date, I suggest going highend - a few options:

                                - River Cafe
                                - One if by Land, Two if by Sea
                                - Per Se (early seating like 6pm, so that you could watch dusk fall - its really pretty)
                                - Blue Hill
                                - Marea
                                - Minetta Tavern
                                - The Four Seasons (request the pool room)

                                Rather than the Empire State, the Highline might be a cool alternative place to soak up some new work. Another cool place to have a drink would be the Beekmen Pier at South Street Seaport. They made a beach bar out of a barge filled with sand, and you can drink while taking in the Brooklyn Bridge.

                                You should have a nightcap at PDT - just the drama of how to get in (through the phone booth) is just so new york.

                                Hope this helps.

                                1. re: foodiechan

                                  Great suggestions.

                                  1. re: foodiechan

                                    Do you know what there would be to see, do and eat at or around the highline in mid-November? I would like to finish off a Saturday in that area after spending the day in one of the boroughs. Thanks

                                    1. re: conniemcd

                                      The mods prefer that we keep the discussions focused upon food and drink.

                                      The High Line's food vendors may still be there:
                                      http://www.thehighline.org/about/high...

                                      Same for the UrbanSpace Meatpacking Food Market:
                                      http://urbanspacenyc.com/urbanspace-m...

                                      And there's always Chelsea Market, which is indoors:
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844638

                                      1. re: conniemcd

                                        Far west Chelsea is full of art galleries, so that we fairly often get questions about eating before or after visits to gallery shows.

                                        1. re: Pan

                                          I actually can't recall a "post-Chelsea gallery" question in the last year or so -- maybe there has been one or two? The number of "eating before/after the Highline" has greatly surpassed those.

                                          1. re: kathryn

                                            I can, but I do agree that questions related to the Highline are more common.

                                        2. re: conniemcd

                                          Thanks Kathryn and Pan for suggestions

                                      2. re: iriedesign

                                        Do the Top of the Rock instead (timed entry tickets, shorter lines). From there you can SEE the Empire State Building. Then go grab a drink elsewhere, maybe an old school NY cocktail bar:
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/849527

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          Great suggestion.