Midtown solo dinner?
Headed to NYC from LA for a few days tomorrow. Usually when I come to your amazing city I have friends or co-workers who make all the dinner plans and all I have to do is show up. However this trip it looks like I may be solo for dinner on Friday so I'm looking for ideas. I've read a bunch of threads, but I'm still overwhelmed. Staying at Le Parker Meridien and would love to find some place within walking distance or an easy cab or subway ride. After many years of trepidation about solo dining in "nice" restaurants, I've become a big fan of sitting at the bar by myself, enjoying a leisurely meal and a glass of wine or two in a lively atmosphere. Cusine-wise, I'm not a vegetarian but I don't eat fish or shellfish or most "non-mainstream" meats (pork belly, foie gras, sweetbreads, etc.), and I do love all things vegetable. Tend to prefer small plates type menus when I'm solo so that I can try multiple dishes. Italian, Asian, modern American are all good. Budget is flexible, but let's say $50-$60 pre-tax, tip and drinks. And of course some place where I can actually get in on a Friday night. Thank you!
Just an addendum now that I'm back home to say I ended up not having any solo dinners at all, and the Modern Bar Room will have to stay on my list for next time. I met up with a friend on Friday night and was rather "dinnered out" at that point having dined the two previous nights at La Silhouette in Hell's Kitchen and Tamarind in Tribeca (both of which I thoroughly enjoyed). As I was really not in the mood for a full meal, we went to the Met, wandered around through the exhibits a bit and then had wine and cheese at the upstairs bar, a perfect evening in my book. Other random things I enjoyed: Tartinery in the Plaza Food Hall (this being part of my day of fully embracing the tourist experience of Mahattan during the holiday season - Rockefeller Center tree, 5th Avenue window displays, etc.); the Donut Planet special seasonal cranberry donut available at Dean & Deluca; and tea in the lounge at the Parker Meridien - $5 for real tea served in real china in a lovely setting.
re: H Manning
2nd Bar Room at the Modern.
You can dine at the raw bar in the dining room of Ma Peche, or at the mezzanine bar, but both can get crowded on a Friday night. The mezzanine bar is also separated from the main dining room, on a higher level.
And it's less fun to people watch at the mezzanine bar of Ma Peche in comparison to the Bar Room at the Modern, where the bar is integrated into the main space.