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No luck with EMP, where to go instead?

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I would like to book a memorable restaurant for a family last night together for a while.
There are 5 of us (awkward number for reservations)
I don't like French and we'll probably have Italian for lunch
Should be Mid-Town (but not necessary)
Should be cutting edge modern and imaginative but not molecular
Saturday night Dec 8 (less than a month away)
I really enjoy fresh, crisp and delicious and dislike harty, long-cooked, meat and two veg
Not too exotic (my brother is just the opposite of me)

Plus side: there is no limit to the budget. This is a one-off and should be worth it.

Thanks very much for any assistance and tips you might give me!

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  1. Hard to satisfy all of your caveats, but might I suggest The NoMad? Also, Gramercy Tavern.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ramenbound

      If you can switch Italian from lunch, try Vice Versa.
      Blue Hill is also fine but not mid-town.

    2. How about the DIning Room at The Modern? There is a 6:00 available. Beautiful setting especially around the Holidays. Great food.

      1. If you're willing to switch the italian for lunch then I'd suggest Marea, I think it's the best italian in town if you like fish..

        Then The Modern, Le Bernardin, Per Se, etc etc.. The usual big players..

        I have a really sweet spot for Tocqueville, every dinner I had there was nothing short of amazing.

        1. I was at Marea and Blue Hill a few weeks ago and both were outstanding. Le Bernadine was too, as usual, but that is French. Dining Room at The Modern was excellent at lunch a while back.

          1. Oh, I forgot, how about Public?

            1. Looking over what's available that night through opentable.com for 5 people...

              There are a few tables left at Aquavit - modern "New Nordic" but very approachable, both the foodies and your brother would be pleased. Leans more in the fresh crisp direction - that's just more the Nordic style than the heavy, butter-based French style. But there's always a hearty option or two for main courses for those that are more meat n' taters sorts. Actually doing an all-seafood tasting menu right now if all in your party would be down with that.

              David Burke Townhouse - maybe not as exciting as it was some years ago when they first opened and DB was actually in the kitchen every night, but if you've never been, you could do a lot worse. Playful, fun takes on American cuisine. The best of Burke's restaurants, still, by a long shot.

              Del Posto - if you'd be willing to swap your Italian at lunch for something else, and do Italian for dinner.

              The Modern - a good suggestion. Creative but not in a post-Wylie way. Has only one table left at 10PM, though, as I type this.

              Morimoto can be a lot of fun - there's playful stuff like the "oysters foie gras" for those of you who like to go that route, and for the others more classic, unthreatening fare. It's a very long (too long) menu, but the good stuff is still quite good.

              Gramercy Tavern - maybe more meat & veg, but still solid. The classic "something for everyone" kind of place.

              Tocqueville has a number of openings.

              Le Bernardin, suggested by someone above, might be too French for you. What with them being French and all.

              Public is great - very creative, but it's not in Midtown. It's not quite as fancy-fancy in terms of setting/ambience as some of the others, either - more of a casual vibe.

              Also not in Midtown:

              If you're okay with a (much) more casual vibe, maybe book a Duck Ssam (cheaper than the Bo Ssam) at Ssam Bar so can get a rez, then order a bunch of the more fun / creative things to go with it? Another good "something for everyone" place. Your brother can gorge on duck, pork buns, the excellent steak, while you can have uni, smoked duck liver with pickled mushrooms, or whatever other creative things they're putting out right now.

              Marc Forgione is another one I'd put in that category - more formal that Momofuku, sure, but lots of good stuff for foodies & non-foodies alike.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sgordon

                "Le Bernardin, suggested by someone above, might be too French for you. What with them being French and all."

                Made me laugh : )

              2. Thanks guys all very much! Sgordon, what a great list. Now I'm sure I'll be able to choose something. Ssam sounds very appealing because when I'm with DH, I'd never be able to get him to wait in line for a table. This way we could make the reservation :-)
                I also like the sound of DB Townhouse and Public, I'll have a look at those. Gramercy Tavern - no, we'll go to Jazz Standard on Friday and I hope they still share the kitchen of Blue Smoke which I have come to like. I'll keep e Modern and the NoMad for next time, when I'm with DH so he can have some foodie time too. And I've booked Aquavit for them when I'm not there yet, I'm sure it's great but I have no desire to tarnish my lovely memory of Noma from this summer :-)
                So thanks all of you again!