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Sep 11, 2013 05:32 AM

Solo diner for fine dining this Saturday dinner and lunch, no budget restrictions

Hi people, I'm a fairly frequent traveller to NYC, but I haven't tried a few of the 3* Michelins: Per Se, EMP, Chef's Table, Daniel's.

Have only tried Jean-Georges, Le Benardin, both of which were a bit underwhelming.

Circumstances have conspired to throw me a Saturday dinner where I am free, but have no reservations yet :( I want to eat at the best restaurant possible given my circumstances and timing: What is that restaurant and how can I get my table?

Thanks everybody!

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  1. Here are my suggestions/tips:

    1. If you can, show up in person to try to make a reservation, some of these places sometimes still have maitre d'/VIP spots left available.
    2. Otherwise, call and ask to be put on the waiting list. Some of these places do see cancellations, so you might get lucky. This is probably your only option for BK Fare.
    3. Be willing to eat at 5:30 or 10:30. Sometimes you can still get off-hour reservations.

    Although it's not exactly the same experience, some of these places do serve a la carte dishes in their first come first serve bar/lounge areas. My recommendations/preferences in order:

    1. EMP bar/lounge
    2. Daniel bar/lounge
    3. Per Se Salon

    2 Replies
    1. re: fooder

      Hi fooder,

      Great food blog BTW. For a table for 2 for Sunday lunch, same deal, no reservations yet - what would you recommend?

      1. re: singaporediner


        If you haven't already, you should snag that Per Se reservation. It's still there last I looked.

        Not sure how many of the 3* Michelins (or other fine dining restaurants in NYC) actually do Sunday lunch. I know Daniel is closed. Perhaps you can give JG another try. My guess is you had one of the tasting menus. You could probably eat really well composing your own tasting from the lunch prix fixe choices.

        Another possibliity is to see if you can get a seat at the NoMad hotel restaurant for brunch (their bar is usually first come first serve). It's meant to be the more casual sister restaurant of EMP, so while it's not 3* type of fine dining, the food and service are at a very high level. The menu is meant to be done a la carte, so your aversion doesn't apply.

    2. THIS Saturday, the 14th?

      Definitely get on the wait list for every restaurant that you have listed so far. Call ASAP.

      Are you willing to eat a la carte in a lounge or bar area?

      Per Se serves a la carte in the Salon. EMP serves a la carte in their bar area. No reservations taken for these areas.

      Daniel also serves the full prix fixe and tasting in their lounge. You can reserve on OpenTable but I don't see any availability; might be worth calling to ask if you can just walk in. I'm also not sure if they even take reservations for 1 on OpenTable (some places don't).

      3 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks kathryn for the tips. I shall keep the Daniel's option in mind next time! I went with atera this weekend.

        For a table for 2 for Sunday lunch, same deal, no reservations yet - what would you recommend?

        1. re: singaporediner

          Per Se has a 1:15pm table for 2 people available on OpenTable right now! Sunday, 9/15, correct?

          Book it ASAP!

          1. re: kathryn

            Thanks kathryn for the tip!!!

            I have, and it looks like I will be going to Per Se this weekend after all :)

      2. In addition to the other great suggestions, I highly recommend Atera for solo dining. They're showing availability at 6 (they have only 2 seatings: 6 or 9:30).

        I recently dined solo at the Salon at Per Se, and it was wonderful!

        Brooklyn Fare does not accept solo diners at all.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ellenost

          Thanks elie I went with your suggestion.

          For a table for 2 for Sunday lunch, same deal, no reservations yet - what would you recommend?

          1. re: singaporediner

            Glad you got the Atera reservation. I've dined at Atera three times in the past year, and all were terrific meals. Probably will try for another reservation for the end of the month (I was last at Atera in June).

            If you didn't get the Per Se reservation for lunch, you can always dine in their Salon without a reservation. BTW, there were plenty of extras when I dined at the Salon at Per Se for dinner at the beginning of August.

            I just had a fantastic brunch at The NoMad. Fell in love with their chicken sandwich. Reservations are still available.

            Have a great time, and hope you report back.

        2. Thanks everyone for your recommendations. I have decided to go with Atera for this Saturday. I have a (perhaps irrational) aversion to eating a la carte at a restaurant famous for prix fixe (Per Se, EMP), since I feel the flow of dishes is part of the experience. I guess they shall have to wait for another time!

          1 Reply
          1. re: singaporediner

            Makes sense to me -- you want the full, tasting menu experience, with all of the extras, etc.

            Have a great meal!