Upcoming trip to NYC in December. Please evaluate plans.
My husband and I usually come to NYC about 1-2 times a year. We enjoy almost all food with the exception of Indian…we like it, but something doesn't sit well for my husband. We are fine with paying around $200 without drinks, tips & tax, although, we don't want to do that for every meal! We are not big eaters any longer, so we are limiting meals to 2 a day. This is what we are planned so far. I need to firm up plans in order to start making reservations. In the past, we've eaten at EMP, Per Se, Balthazar, Union Square…really too many to name.
Here's the plan so far…
We arrive at JFK (from Austin) at 10:30am, Wednesday Dec. 11. Will check into hotel which is located around Battery Park. Plan to have lunch at Locanda Verde.
We have tickets for a play Wednesday night which will be out around 10pm. Plan to have dinner at the bar at Minetta Tavern..love the steak & burger. Do they take reservations for the bar?
Thursday lunch we are thinking about Hakkasan after reading the reviews of the Pipa duck. Thoughts? (I don't mean to stir things up).
Thursday night is open. We are going to the early show at the Blue Note. Was thinking of some place to eat at a bar, have some drinks & relax.
Friday we are planning on lunch at Jean Georges (have never been). Dinner is open, thoughts????
Saturday we are trekking up to The Cloisters for a concert at 1pm. Any thoughts on a place for brunch beforehand? Most of the brunch places I considered don't start until 11am. Guess I'm looking for breakfast rather than lunch. Saturday night we planned on 15 East. Ate there last December and loved it.
Sunday, we are planning brunch at the NoMad (gotta try the chicken sandwich). Dinner is open.
Sadly, we have to catch an early plane Monday am.
Places we are considering:
Ippudo (have been there several times & love it, especially if it's cold & raining).
Il Buco (met a guy in a restaurant in Austin that suggested going there a few years ago)
Other suggestions or glaring holes in the itinerary? We don't need suggestions on BBQ or Mexican since that's plenty in Austin. What about good bar places to have a bite & drinks?
Thanks to everyone for suggestions.
You're going to get a lot of naysayers about Hakkasan (95% of them who haven't even eaten there). If you enjoy Chinese food and enjoy duck, the pipa duck is really wonderful. There is an art to cooking duck, and I honestly have not been impressed by the duck dishes at far too many Michelin-starred European/American restaurants that promise crisp skin, and well-rendered meat. The skin is usually not crisp enough and there is usually still a thick layer of fat.
They do the best dim sum in NYC with beautiful presentation. I especially enjoy the duck dumpling and pumpkin puff. They also have fantastic desserts. They basically do many things well and some things exceptionally.
Where is your play on Wednesday evening? If it's in the Theater District - you may consider having dinner at Ippudo Westside after 10pm (will likely not encounter a wait) as you mentioned that you've always loved Ippudo. Then you can go to Minetta Tavern on Thursday night after the Blue Note. Kathryn is right about Minetta's bar being first come first serve - but you can always put your name down and then pop into nearby bars for a drink. Perla is another great option as you can sit at the front bar or back chef's counter.
Why Hakkasan for lunch? I don't believe Austin is lacking in refined Asian cuisine, and Hakkasan is rather gimmicky, unless you have to be in the Port Authority/Times Sq area.
Friday dinner: Charlie Bird, Momofuku Ssam, ABC Cocina, Tertulia all seem like they'd fit what you're looking for in terms of fun places with good food and drinks. Would also be a nice contrast from JG for lunch that day.
As for Saturday brunch (I assume you're taking the train up from Battery Park to The Cloisters?), it may be good to pop into somewhere in the West Village near the 1 or A train. Tartine starts serving at 9am and Pastis at 8am. Or you can stay down in Tribeca and grab coffee and a light breakfast at La Colombe or Kaffe 1668. Locanda Verde serves brunch early, though you already plan to visit on your first day. In any case, your options close to The Cloisters in Washington Heights will be very limited.
Sunday dinner would be a good time to check out any restaurant that may not accept reservations or are typically very crowded as Sundays are a bit slower in the city. i.e., Momofuku Ssam, Lupa, ABC Kitchen.
I personally would skip Betony and Tanoshi if you're going to NoMad and 15 East.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
We were thinking about Hakkasan as Austin is lacking dim sum. It's really pathetic. Some of the reviews sounded really good, but the space seems to not really be very inviting.
Yes, we are taking the train up to the Cloisters. I read online somewhere that the restaurant at the Cloisters is pretty good. I found that hard to believe. Any thoughts?
At lunch Hakkasan does not play the "thump thump" music, which I detest. It's actually pretty quiet because the reaturant is large and there's usually some distance between diners. Also, there's some natural sunlight during lunch with the seats near the window.
The dim sum is some of the best you can get in the country. It's made fresh daily, in-house and that can't be said at many dim sum places.
Minetta Tavern's bar is first come, first served.
It's not actually that far from the Blue Note.
After the Blue Note. You could try Minetta, Perla, or cross 6th Ave for Tertulia, Louro, Kin Shop, Perilla... I think any of Gabe Stulman or Howard Dietertle's places could work. Babbo or Lupa if you want more of a scene.
Locanda and Bubby's are nearish your hotel and do earlier weekend brunch. You could also do bagels at Zucker's.