Pescetarian Birthday Dinner
Hello everyone, I'm going to be in Manhattan at the end of September and I'd lake to make a reservation at a great pescetarian friendly restaurant. I'm willing to spend $300-$400. I would prefer a place that's more fun and laid back than stuffy. Think Schwa over Alinea in style, but I'm open to all cuisines. Thanks for any and all ideas.
I'm willing to spend $300-$400.
Is that per person? For everyone? Before or after tax/tip? Does it include alcohol?
How many in your party?
I mean if it's per person you could do a place like Le Bernardin and try one of the tasting menus, or sushi at places like Kuruma Zushi.
The initial thought is Le Bernardin, of course, but the atmosphere is far from "fun and laid back"
Any of the higher end places are going to be pescetarian-friendly, though. Marea and Esca are both solid for Italian seafood.
Aquavit has fantastic seafood options - they're Nordic, they know their fish. In fact, the Summer Tasting Menu - 5 courses, the shorter of the two tasting menus - is already pescetarian and could be done for just a -smidge- over your budget if you include wine pairings. It'd be $413 total with the pairings, or $245 without the pairings and you could pick own cheaper bottles / glasses. Or, a la carte, even if you picked the most expensive seafood apps and entrees, it'd be around $210 for the food portion before drinks. It's fancy, but not as fancy-shmancy as Le Bern (no jacket requirement, etc)
If you can get a rez at Babbo, it's MUCH more casual a vibe and the seafood options (especially the octopus) are great. You could do a full Italian four course feast - say, two antipasti, then split one pasta as a mid-course, two apps and two desserts (after which you'd be in a food coma, but whatever...) and keep the food part of the bill under $200.
Pampano is quite focused on seafood -- 9 of 12 dinner entress are seafood, and there's a nice selection of ceviches as well. You would be well within your price range.
Look into the brand new ZZ's Clam Bar, perhaps? They're certainly charging price in your range....
Now I'm really torn. I definitely want to start off at ZZ's if I can get in. They only take reservations one month in advance. Then I'm thinking either Babbo or Marea for dinner, but I can't decide between the two.
Should I go somewhere else for dessert too and make it a triumvirate?
Thanks for the great advice guys.
I wouldn't do two, let alone three places in one night - maybe dinner somewhere & dessert elsewhere, but not apps at ZZ and then entrees at Babbo. Most places won't say anything, but if you make a rez for a table and then only have apps, you're probably going to be "red flagged" in their system if you ever go again. Reserved tables - especially at VERY busy places like ZZ or Babbo - are expected to have a whole meal. Otherwise they would have rather given the table to someone who would have, since you're only spending half as much, and then the table sits empty until the next rez arrives.
Thanks for the sound advice. We would still spend a fair amount and I'll definitely let ZZ know we'll be an hour-hour and a half tops. This is my first trip to NY since there was a porn shop on every corner and FAO Schwarz was the highlight of my visit. I probably won't be back for awhile, so I'd like to visit a lot of places. I realize this isn't optimal. ZZ seems to have the setting and personality I'm looking for but I don't know if I'd like to make an entire meal from their menu. I'm leaning toward Marea for dinner, but their dessert wine by the glass is a short list and I was really hoping for a nice Marsala or Oloroso. I realize how nitpicky I'm being, but it's New York, I'm on vacation for the first time in a year and a half and I'm getting old.