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Post engagement meal at short notice - NYC

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Help! We are travelling to NYC from the UK via Boston (by train) with my daughter and her boyfriend in two weeks time (yes TWO WEEKS!!) and the bf has just informed us that he intends to pop the question whist we are there - possibly walking the Brooklyn Bridge if they don't freeze their ****s off!!
We would like to meet for dinner post the 'event' but I have no idea where to go and at such late notice too.
My hubby loves MJ's Steakhouse at Grand Central but it appears to be closed for an event or something. Obviously won't get into Lugers or any of the other high end places. Don't really want Asian or fancy french style. Just a really good American cooking. Tall tall order being so non-specific but any suggestions would be welcomed. (Oh budget not an issue really, considering the significance of the event - but bear in mind we are on a flying 2 night visit enroute and will not be equipped with formal wear)

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  1. You need to check on Open Table and see what's available. Don't assume you can't get into any of the steakhouses without trying (and if they aren't showing availability on Open Table and you want to follow up, give them a call).

    Which direction are they going to be walking on the Brooklyn Bridge? I ask because there are places on the Brooklyn side that are possible, too (though not River Cafe without formal wear), and you could ask about them on the Outer Boroughs board.

    What day of the week would this take place? Here are some places you can check into, other than steakhouses: Tocqueville (I've had some fantastic lunches there, haven't been to dinner, which is much more expensive - New American, sedate, formal atmosphere), River Park (also New American, very pleasant, pretty view, neither as formal nor as great as Tocqueville but definitely reliable). Actually, a place that's probably a more obvious suggestion is Craft (also New American, I guess, but I think less French-influenced and more Tuscan-influenced than the other places I've mentioned), which I haven't been to in ages, but people here talk up their steak. Look at photos to see if it's formal enough for you, though; I think the atmosphere is somewhat casual.

    I haven't been to Blue Hill (it's expensive and is known for subtlety that I fear might be lost on me), but that's another one to consider. 11 Madison Park and NoMad will probably be impossible to get reservations for (and for the record, my one meal at 11 Madison Park since Humm took over as Chef was disappointing; I have yet to eat anything at NoMad but recently had a couple of very good cocktails there, and it's an impressive-looking place).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pan

      Yes, if you can give us the specific date, we can look on OpenTable and help you winnow choices down. Especially if you are OK dining early. I imagine they'll be walking the bridge during the day, and the sunset is still around 4:30pm right now.

      Unfortunately, even if you do bring formal clothing, the River Cafe is still currently closed.
      http://www.rivercafe.com/closure-info...

    2. Are you sure you're daughter's going to say yes? That could affect the kind of place we'd recommend.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Sneakeater

        Ha! Love it! Yes she will definitely say yes (if not it would have had to be a bar or an ice cream place!)
        We are there on Wednesday 12th December. I may try and call a couple of places as you suggest too. But thanks for the suggestions and helpful advice.

        1. re: annethered

          For 4 people on 12/12 around 6pm, I see openings on OpenTable at:
          Craft
          Gotham Bar & Grill
          Gramercy Tavern
          Hearth
          The NoMad - mind the capital M when booking, there is a restaurant with a similar name
          Minetta Tavern - French ish but also great steaks here, one of the best in town
          Marc Forgione
          Riverpark
          Tocqueville
          Wolfgang's - very similar in style to Peter Luger, kind of a PL clone
          Union Square Cafe

          I'd also look into Mas Farmhouse (not on OT). Looks like Blue Hill is pretty booked up that night.

          For Gramercy Tavern, Union Sq Cafe, especially, let them know you are celebrating an engagement.

          1. re: kathryn

            I think The NoMad is especially festive.

            1. re: kathryn

              Yeah, Nomad, without the capital "M," is a North African restaurant in the East Village.

        2. For steakhouses, you can also check into The Old Homestead.
          The have plenty of openings on opentable on December 12.

          Peter Luger does reservations by phone, so you might as well call and check. I bet they have a table, and it may make a difference to tell them what the occasion is...

          If not, you can also check into The Old Homestead.
          The have plenty of openings on opentable on December 12.

          1. If you want a steak house:
            Peter Luger, you can probably get a reservation. Give them a call.
            The Palm or Palm II
            Sparks
            Old Homestead
            Gallaghers.
            There are probably other steakhouses which are just as good. I've been to these and can reccommend.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Motosport

              Why not just pick up the phone and explain to a restaurant person (like Kean's Steak House), that you would like to be able to come in close to the last minute on such and such a day but cannot be exactly specific about the time because of the "popping the question" issue, and ask if they would consider holding a table for the betrothed couple and family.
              The worst they can say is no, but it is such a romantic idea that they might just be into it.
              It's like chicken soup -- couldn't hoit/might help!
              Happy day!