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Most decadent dinner (pretty girl dining alone)

I'm in town for 2 whopping days and want to have at least one truly awesome, decadent dinner... Bring on the Foie, the marrow, sea urchin etcetc... I'll be dining alone though, so if I won't stand out like a sore thumb that'd be a plus. Ambiance anywhere from comfy to haute.

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  1. I dine alone all the time in every type of restaurant. You won't be out of place - nobody cares.

    If you're looking for a truly awesome meal, for haute restaurants my favorites are Le Bernardin and Soto. If you go to Soto, do the omakase. They'll ask for your budget - I'd go for at least $150. They're especially known for sea urchin.

    For a casual meal with more rich/heavy food (foie, steak, marrow), I would suggest Minetta Tavern or the NoMad (the one on Broadway).

    1. First, I'd see if there are any solo seats available at Momofuku Ko on your given night(s) - since it's all bar seating, perfect for dining solo.

      If that doesn't work out, any higher end place with bar seating. I like wd-50, since the bartenders (especially Jafrul) are good conversation. And Babbo is always very lively. Both are no-rez at the bar, but if it's a weeknight it shouldn't be a problem for a solo diner.

      Other places coming to mind - Lincoln, EMP (I've seen many solo diners at tables there, not just the bar), Del Posto, NoMad... Really any high-end place should make you feel welcome, and if they have bar seating, even better. Peruse the three/four star menus, see what grabs you...

      1 Reply
      1. re: sgordon

        +1 on Ko. Another suggestion: I know it's the "outer boroughs", but I would also suggest Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare. The foie, truffles, lobster, uni, caviar, etc. just kept flowing all night long. Maybe the most "decadent" meal I've ever consumed. And totally worth the redial time, in my opinion.

      2. All the previous recs are excellent. Gastronomy should be your only consideration. Gorgeous girls/actresses/celebs are everyday things in Manhattan, and people just go about their business

        1. FWIW, I'm not crazy about the food at wd~50.

          2 Replies
          1. re: deprofundis

            I know it's located in an Outer Borough, but I'd think about Blanca.

            1. re: deprofundis

              Agree. Spent a pretty penny there and have no intentions of coming back. Simply not worth it IMO

            2. I can't help but be curious why OP would specifically mention "pretty girl dining alone"

              are you
              1. Wanting someone from CH to join you so you wouldn't dine alone?
              2. Wanting to go somewhere where there may be other lone diners so you'd feel more comfortable and maybe strike up conversation?
              3. Wanting to go to a place where nobody will notice a pretty girl completely stuffing herself and possibly foodgasming in a not-so-pretty way?

              As mentioned upthread, many of the finest restaurants in the city have excellent dining at the bar options.

              If you are specifically interested in decadent ingredients, Brooklyn Fare would rank first if you can get a seat, and I would also suggest Megu. Looking on their website, their umami menu has caviar, truffle, kobe beef, foie gras, and sashimi and sushi.

              11 Replies
              1. re: fooder

                I was wondering that too.. There are plenty of pretty people in Manhattan and many dining alone at that. It's not a rarity.

                1. re: loratliff

                  I wondered if maybe she was hoping to have a decadent meal and have an intrigued passerby pick up the check!

                  1. re: Jeri L

                    Girl....that's what Craigslist is for!

                  2. re: loratliff

                    Agree, silly...Manhattan is full of beautiful people and most don't feel the need to describe themselves as such.

                    1. re: City Kid

                      The OP wants people's attention so they can read her thread in order to give her advice. I'd say she succeeded in getting that attention, don't you guys think?

                      1. re: City Kid

                        Or maybe she is eating alone at the bar and just doesn't want to be bothered...

                    2. re: fooder

                      Well certainly sounds better than portly older average looking gent

                      1. re: fooder

                        Well, 15 replies in 20 hours so I'd say it worked. It certainly got my attention.

                        On the Italy board I asked as a frontal balding middle aged married man and got bubkes

                        1. re: fooder

                          Iiiieeeeehhh; eaaaasy!
                          I'll pick #3!

                          Picture or not, I merely mentioned it because;

                          1) I truly, genuinely am looking for and love a good dining experience.
                          2) I'm traveling alone and thus will be dining alone (or if I didn't want to, surely CL- NSA) could help me out. (Sorry... That' was snarky)
                          3) didn't put the pretty girl remark out as a bait; just a "I want no bullshit awesome decadent meal" kindanthing.

                          And yes; I expect and am looking forward to paying for my own meal... Just want it to be awesome.

                          1. re: UmmNumNum

                            In all seriousness, I think the conclusion here is that almost all the top tier high end fine dining restaurants will suit your needs. As is often the case when people ask for "the best restaurant in NYC", there are so many high quality ones, it will often come down to personal preference.

                            So the best way to get the meal of your dreams is to be as specific as you can about what you like. Whether it be tasting menu vs small bites vs traditional entrees, or whether you want to focus on decadent ingredients vs modern interesting cooking techniques, we kind of have it all here. Listing comparable restaurants that you have in mind that you've been to (even if they aren't in NYC) would probably help too.

                          2. re: fooder

                            Okay, your number 3. completely cracks me up. Very funny stuff.

                          3. If you want more of a meal than a scene where you're fending off would be suitors... I'd avoid Minetta where the bar is packed at all times

                            I would recommend (like many others)
                            Marea
                            NoMad
                            Lincoln
                            Picholine

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: dyrewolf

                              Agreed, Minetta Tavern's bar area is pretty crowded, and I find the stools to be a uncomfortable after a while (lots of knees banging up against the bar as you perch on a stool). This is because it was originally a standing bar, and there's a foot rest that runs along the length of the bar. But then they added stools. Food is great, though.

                            2. This thread is not valid without her posting her picture.

                              4 Replies
                                1. re: Monica

                                  I'm not trying to start a dick-banging contest. The point is I am looking for a great meal. By myself. In town for 2 days.

                                  1. re: UmmNumNum

                                    But a crucial detail is that you're pretty, right?

                                  2. re: Monica

                                    I really want to see a picture now. I'm coming out of lurkiness just to comment on this hilarious thread.

                                  3. I would highly recommend abc kitchen, the crab toast is truly magical. All the food there is very pretty, and it has a great cool atmosphere. I also really like the bar seating at Le Bernardin, the tuna with fois is outstanding!

                                    1. Well, I must say you did evoke some funny responses. I like the post a picture one. Anyway, I agree that Minetta is too crowded and not a pleasant dining experience alone.
                                      Kyo Ya would be very good, since the chef's counter is perfect for solo. Jungsik would be a great choice, I've eaten there solo many times, ( i am not a pretty woman, but I am usually a pretty hungry man). Marea is a good choice you won't feel out of place. I'm not sure if Jean-Georges would accommodate a single diner but if they do, it would be really delicious.
                                      If you are in town on the 2nd Monday in August or September, Recette would be the best choice ever. "evening with Jesse" the meals have been nothing short of amazing.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                                        I eat alone at the bar at Minetta all the time.

                                        Of course, I'm not a pretty girl.

                                          1. re: deprofundis

                                            They're just using me to get to you, deprofundis.

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                          They do accommodate single diners at Jean-Georges, you can't book online but if you call them they have no problem making a reservation for 1. And it's always great!

                                        2. Okay, okay. I'm going to defend UmmNumNum here. Yes, it's an easy post to poke fun at, but I understand where she's coming from. My gf (who is very pretty) used to travel for work a lot, and it was essentially an impossibility for her to dine or have a drink alone without SOME guy (or two, in a dick-banging contest) moseying up to her, or sending over an unwanted glass of champagne, or whatever - and it put her in a very uncomfortable position. Being able to fade into the background / go unnoticed was a rarity. That's something that doesn't happen to old, ugly dudes. We get ignored as a matter of course. So I can understand her point.

                                          So I'd recommend "destination" restaurants - places where people dining out are already in groups, on dates, etc, and while there might be a bar it's not a bar "scene" of singles on the hunt. I'd reiterate Momo Ko as a great choice in that regard, as well as Babbo - it's too bustling to be a pick-up scene there. Blanca was a great choice as well... if you can get in.

                                          Kyo Ya is wonderful, but I'm not sure it's the place for your request - the food is light and subtle, and while spectacular it's not in the foie/marrow, uber-rich style of decadence.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: sgordon

                                            Didn't it used to be that old, ugly dudes who dined solo got the attention of the restaurant for possibly being a critic?

                                            "My gf (who is very pretty)..."
                                            Are we sure this defense isn't just an excuse to brag?

                                            1. re: fooder

                                              Well, I try to balance the brags with a dollop of self-deprecation...

                                              I have to admit my own experience with dining solo is minimal. Or, if I do, I go to a place where I know the waitstaff at least.

                                              1. re: sgordon

                                                Sneak and I are professional solo diners. You can trust us.

                                            2. re: sgordon

                                              As a reasonably attractive woman who has only recently come to enjoy dining alone at nice restaurants, one thing I've noticed is that places that have bar dining but not a full bar (ie beer and wine only) tend to have a more comfortable atmosphere for solo dining. No full bar = no bar scene = less likelihood of being bothered by guys who don't believe that you're there for the food, not their company. I realize beer and wine only may not jibe with the OP's desire for foie and uni decadence, but it's still an observation that I wanted to share.

                                              1. re: cookie monster

                                                So the take away is that if I want to pick up women, I should go where their defenses are down, places without full bars. I can regale them with my knowledge of wines...

                                                1. re: dyrewolf

                                                  That is another way of looking at it. You're welcome.

                                            3. Bump.

                                              This thread made my afternoon. Hilarious.

                                              I may not be a pretty girl (can one be a girl just shy of 50?) - but I will be dining solo next Tuesday, which is how I came to find this thread.

                                              I had been toying with Marea or Upstairs at NoMad (couldn't find any current info about it - is it on? Is there food?) and am now considering Ko, though it's solidly booked at the moment.

                                              I'm meeting a friend for dinner at WD-50 the following night but would still like to do something memorable on my own.

                                              I'll be staying near Lincoln Center (so maybe Lincoln?) but happy to hop in a cab or on the subway.

                                              Maybe I should go back to Gato since they were out of the soft shell crab crostini when I was there a few weeks ago.

                                              Anyway, any updated suggestions about new / under the rader, etc. places, or funny stories about women (pretty or otherwise) or men (balding or otherwise) dining solo in the city since this thread was born last summer are welcome.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: shaiken

                                                The answer to your first question is: yes, even at 50 one can still be a "girl".

                                                Second, as an almost 55 year old "girl" who dines mostly solo, I highly recommend Ko. I have had numerous wonderful dinners dining solo at Ko; too bad no availability at the moment, but keep checking back since I've gotten a number of reservations due to last minute cancellations.

                                                A few of my other favorite restaurants where I have been treated very well dining solo: Atera; The NoMad; EMP (call them for wait list availability); Juni; Jungsik; Bouley; Jean-Georges; American Cut; Ma Peche; Per Se's Salon (no reservations).

                                                Have a great time!

                                                1. re: ellenost

                                                  Thank you for the great suggestions - a few I've never heard of! I had Jungsik on my radar awhile back, but never made it. Will add it to the list. And I will definitely keep refreshing the reservation page at Ko. I think that would be really fun.

                                                2. re: shaiken

                                                  The Upstairs at The NoMad you are referring to is their jazz venue but that only operates on Thursday and is on hiatus until September.

                                                  You could of course do The NoMad restaurant, or if you prefer you could do their brand new bar around the corner (with an entrance through the NoMad Elephant Bar). Another option for dining solo and spoiling yourself would be to eat at the bar at Eleven Madison Park (EMP).

                                                  Dining at the bar at Betony could also be a nice option.

                                                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                    I think I was confusing the Upstairs jazz venue with the new bar. I had a fantastic dinner at The NoMad with my husband and another couple a year (or two??) ago. The food was, of course, incredible, but the design really knocked my socks off. I think I might try the new bar, if only for a drink before or after dinner. Thanks!

                                                    1. re: Spiritchaser

                                                      Oops! Sorry I forgot to include Betony. Another great place for solo dining at a table.

                                                      1. re: ellenost

                                                        We had dinner at Betony in March and I was disappointed - I'd been so looking forward to it. We sat all the way in the back corner and the service was nervous and awkward and a bit stiff. The food was good, but nowhere near as impressive as NoMad. I did love the 'Milk Punch' cocktail and the bar looked fun and lively - I would give it a second try, but probably at the bar instead of a table.