Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Dec 7, 2012 12:37 PM

Jaded Manhattanite Looking for "new" fine dining restaurant

Hello everyone - I've been asked to make a reservation for a party of four and admit to being guilty guilty guilty of always going to my regular favs (Jean-Georges, Restaurant Daniel).

Yes I've been to Eleven Madison Park. It was fine yet been there a few times now. Also Nomad.

Not sure extreme drama is required ... we were at Marea last year and liked the vibe and the food. The table could converse yet a pleasant buzz outside our table was welcome.

Thinking of Gilt ... yet other suggestions are welcome!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. When is the dinner? Do you have a budget in mind?

    1. Hmm I think Gilt is about to close (maybe as soon as in one week's time). For actual suggestions I'll leave it to kathryn :)

      7 Replies
      1. re: kyph0515

        Thanks! Price is not a factor ... at times Restaurant Daniel can be "stiff" so a slightly more lively atmosphere preferred ... we need to be able to converse, yet as stated, a "good buzz."

        Some of the more popular top rated restaurants (ABC Kitchen, etc) have good food and a buzz, yet prefer a more formal (yet not 'dead') atmosphere.

        Thanks again.

        1. re: Marisa Dvari

          Speaking from my own recent experience:

          Jungsik - one may or may not consider it "dead", depending on how filled the restaurant is on that particular night. Service is competent to warm, but not stiff. The decor might be on the "cold" side.

          Bouley - fantastic looking dining room with fantastic food (disclaimer - only went for lunch, but dinner is supposed to be even better). I wouldn't describe the service as "stiff" here either but I've never been to Daniel so I can't compare.

          Tocqueville - we had lunch in an effectively empty dining room (and possibly because of that got the best service ever), but it's supposed to fill up at night. Miguel was our server.

          Per Se - everything is immaculate and impeccable - it's a matter of shelling out the dough and securing a reservation. Not stiff, but very formal.

          1. re: Marisa Dvari

            Ai Fiori--rarefied Italian, lovely dining room, refined feel, and not dead. Excellent food, by the way.

            1. re: planetjess

              Great suggestions all! Yes, now that I think of it, Ai Fiori strikes that hard-to-find balance between excellent cuisine and a hip feel.

              Also for everyone North End Grill FABULOUS. Tempted yet a bit far downtown. That would be my fav restaurant if it was midtown.

              1. re: kathryn

                Thanks Kathryn ... agree it is perfect to a T yet we also go frequently ... I'll see if the group is up for North End Grill or Al Fiori yet hoped to find something trending right now just like them yet new ...

                1. re: kathryn

                  I'd second The Modern.. food good, good buzz and the best choice ( had my birthday there)
                  also if it is raining they give you a free umbrella.
                  Jungsik- an alternate but pretty quiet.
                  Bouley- i think is too stiff
                  Al Fiori - might be a good choice

            2. Having the exact date obviously helps, so we can all take a look at opentable and see if anything jumps out at us.

              I like the food at Ai Fiori, but I'm not so high on the room. Feels a bit "corporate" to me.

              I'm not sure there are many "new" places along those lines - Lincoln comes to mind, and they're quite solid. Jungsik as well, but if you're looking for more European fare, they wouldn't fit the bill.

              If you're okay with Haute Asian, though, they're worth considering, as is the kaiseki menu at Kyo Ya - an extraordinary experience, most agree.

              For older places, Bouley is of course the obvious choice, he's in the same vein as DB and JG.

              Are you the sorts to go for a tasting menu only resto? Venture downtown, there's Atera and/or Corton. WD-50 as well, but that might be a bit too casual a vibe, depending what you're looking for.

              And there are places that have revamped or made changes - Aquavit's new chef has really hit his stride, finally, and got the restaurant's first ever Michelin star this year, well deserved. It's something very different than it used to be. Like Ai Fiori, the room isn't the most exciting, but the food is very much so.

              And old standbys - Batali's top places, Del Posto (fancier atmosphere) and Babbo (better food, IMHO) - the latter's a pretty difficult rez to score, though.

              Gilt is... meh. A bit dated. And may not even exist anymore.

              Another thought: Cafe Boulud. It's more casual, but frankly I find the food there ten times more exciting than at the flagship. I'd sooner eat at CB even were the price the same.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sgordon

                Thanks everyone! Considered everyone's post in detail and ... sigh ... it is the formal The Modern restaurant.

              2. Tocqueville and The Modern never disappoint...

                1. For high end Italian dining like Marea, try Lincoln, Ai Fiori, or Del Posto.

                  Gilt is still open though Michel Richard will be taking over the space eventually.