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Help us plan our First Anniversary Saturday!

In mid February we'll be celebrating our first anniversary (we were married in NYC last February -- before we were allowed to in New Jersey).

We have booked tickets at The Met for Die Fliedermaus for the matinee on Saturday, but were a little surprised that it starts at 12:30 and is over about 4, so that kind of messes up our plans for a nice lunch then a great dinner afterwards. We'll be wearing suits and wanted to spend the whole day "dressy". I was thinking Picholine for dinner (our favorite color is purple, no less!). We could still go with that, but we'd have quite a bit of time to kill between the opera and dinner -- drinks at the rooftop of the Empire? Another idea?
And we had thought maybe doing dim sum or Chinese at Shun Lee West before, but that's out as we need to be at the Met by noon, and like most places it doesn't open till 11 or 11:30. Most brunches have the same time issue. So where would we do a nice "upscale" breakfast around 10:30 or so where we won't feel overdressed in suits?

On Sunday, which is our actual anniversary we've not made plans yet, but are thinking Gramercy Tavern for dinner. Maybe One of By Land for brunch (yea, I know the food's not wonderful, but the atmosphere is and it seems brunch would be a good time to use our gift certificate we have for there). We like "romantic" and "quiet" restaurants. Not too much into the places that are much over $100 per person fix price. Our private wedding dinner was at Le Bernardin, and we've loved Le Grenouile, but both were a little "crowded" surprisingly, rather than "romantic" -- just the luck of the draw with the table we were given. What's really quiet and romantic that still has really good food and will be less than $300 or $400 for two with a nice bottle of wine? Should we stick with Gramercy Tavern or how about something like Le Perigord? Other ideas? We have varied tastes and love good food, but to be perfectly blunt a tablespoon of anything with a drizzle of exotic foam for $45 leaves us pretty cold.

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  1. Landmarc in the Times Warner building for breakfast/brunch on Saturday? or Nice Matin on W. 79th?

    1. If you want an early dinner, Del Posto opens at 4:30 on Saturdays though the prix fixe is $126 for five courses.

      Avoid Le Perigord. It is not at all in the same league as La Grenouille.

      1. Gramercy Tavern is a solid choice, though when I went in for dinner (in the dining room), it did feel somewhat crowded and noisy. It may not be the best atmosphere if you're looking for something more quiet and romantic.

        I would recommend Annisa for the kind of environment you're leaning towards as well as the cuisine. The dining room doesn't seat too many and tables are well spread out, the food is delicious (foie gras soup dumplings are a must-order), and the five-course tasting menu is under $100.

        2 Replies
          1. re: kokoro

            Would agree that Gramercy Tavern dining room isn't exactly romantic; tends to cater to business dinners as the place is so iconically "New York" and sometimes the volume from the tavern room can carry over into the dining room.

            Annisa is much more intimate and elegant, even during peak hours on the weekends as the dining room doesn't seat too many tables. Jungsik is also great, quite serene when I visited during dinner and the dining room is minimalistic but zen in a way that allows for good conversation.

          2. Highly recommend having an early dinner at Picholine. They start dinner at 5. I had a fantastic 8 course tasting menu at Picholine 3 weeks ago.

            1. For drinks after the opera the lobby bar at the manderin oriental gives you panoramic views of central park and the city, with comfortable relaxed seating- and you will blend right in dressed in a suit.

              1. What about Daniel instead of Picholine. Yea, I know it's not by Lincoln Center, but lots of time. Or would we want to do Picholine one night and Daniel the next? Too much "alike"?

                11 Replies
                1. re: patash

                  You should read the recent (July 2013) NY Times review of Daniel. Unless you're known to the staff at Daniel you'll receive second class treatment. I can vouch for the second class treatment, and have no plans to return.

                    1. re: Pookipichu

                      Wow. Thanks to ellenost and pookipichu. Guess we'll scratch Daniel off the list as we are definitely Unknowns there!

                      Oh and thanks especially to gracenote. Landmarc seems like the perfect breakfast/lunch suggestion at that odd time.

                      1. re: patash

                        I've been to Landmarc twice and wouldn't recommend it. It's overpriced and nothing memorable.

                        1. re: patash

                          Landmarc at the TWC will be loud, casual, and likely full of families. They have a dedicated stroller parking area from what I've seen.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            Hmmmm. Any other suggestions for breakfast/brunch at about 10:45 or 11 AM on Saturday near Lincoln Center?

                            1. re: patash

                              You gotta go to Lincoln! We had a fantastic lunch there a few weeks ago..it was really one of the better meals In had in NYC. Looks like they have brunch menu too and don't forget to order a cocktail.

                              1. re: Monica

                                But they don't open until 11:30 Way too rushed for a 12:30 curtain at the Met!
                                And frankly we don't want a lot or we'll never make it through the opera. $100 for two (with tax and tip) not including any cocktails is a bit much for a nice little quick brunch for us.

                                1. re: patash

                                  Sorry, i should have read all the details. After that lunch, I have been recommending the restaurant to pretty much everyone!

                                  1. re: patash

                                    How about Cafe Luxembourg? It's at 70th just off Amsterdam, and it opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch.

                      2. re: patash

                        what about Blue Hill? You can request a table in the back room which is much quieter and romantic.

                      3. Where are you staying in the city? There may be more brunch options for before the met near where you are staying vs near the opera

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          We'll be at the Andaz, 5th Ave and 41st, across from the library.
                          Just makes sense to take a taxi to somewhere near Lincoln Center for easier timing. Over the years, I've been late too many times from thinking we were allowing lots of time for a taxi ride somewhere then got stuck or delayed in traffic.

                          Would like more that a "quick bite", but not a major $100 brunch. Salmon Benedict at Cafe Luxembourg sounds kind of good. Still bummed out, as we had hoped to do dim sum at Shun Lee -- but they're not open in time.

                          1. re: patash

                            Thank goodness that Shun Lee isn't open in time for you. I've had the dim sum at Shun Lee West; it's some of the most expensive and not good dim sum anywhere.

                            1. re: ellenost

                              My thoughts exactly- and i'm not even a dim sum junkie.... But i knew it was too much for how blah it was.

                            2. re: patash

                              Be sure to visit the bar downstairs one night for a drink, the cocktails are pretty good and there's a good wine by the glass selection.

                          2. Pj Clarke's opens at 11:00. They are good for a quick bite and right across the street from Lincoln ctr

                            1. Bar Boulud opens at 11:00 for brunch.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Spiritchaser

                                Hmmm. Now that is a good idea. Not enough time (or interest) in their four course brunch. But some of the ala carte dishes really do sound great. And it couldn't be more convenient to The Met.

                                1. re: patash

                                  And the food is very good (IMO). Go, enjoy, and congrats.

                                2. re: Spiritchaser

                                  This is perfect- their egg dishes are really ethereal...

                                3. Getting back to this and seeking more help.
                                  We have made a reservation on Sunday night for Annisa -- thanks to recommendations here. Really looking forward to that.

                                  We had planned on Picholine for an early dinner after the opera on Saturday and were waiting for the reservations to open up, but oddly there were none for Feb. 14 or 15 -- it is the 15th we're talking about. I called and found that they haven't yet done the announcement, but both dates will be a special tasting menu only -- price unknown. I realize many here are huge tasting lovers, but we never have been. We'd prefer to order a meal with a substantial portion of some wonderful appetizer and entree that we've chosen. Tastings just seem like "samples" to us and leave us wanting more of some things and leaving us feeling "I never would have ordered that as a full entree" with other things. But more importantly, the idea that it is a "special Valentine's tasting only" tells me the idea is really "let's see how many people we can get through here and pick a pile of money". The idea of a nice leisure dinner suddenly changes to a more hurried "serve everyone the same thing at the same time" kind of assembly line evening. You usually can't dawdle over one course as the timing will be planned by THEM and not US.

                                  So we're now waiting for the 31 days to make a reservation for dinner at Asiate. I'm thinking we'll do cocktails in the lounge then move into dinner at 6.

                                  And Bar Boulad seems the right choice for breakfast (11 AM) before the opera.

                                  But we're still open to other ideas for an early quiet, elegant, romantic dinner on Saturday if not Asiate. And now an additional problem. We will be in the city on Friday -- Valentine's Day -- the most hated night of the year to eat out. Any suggestions -- here we'd love great food, not necessarily as quiet and romantic as the others. Preferably close to our hotel at 41st and 5th Ave, as we arent' even sure how soon we'll be able to get to the city after work. Someplace that doesn't become a horrible "rip off special" or "packed so service lacks" as many restaurants seem to do on the day.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: patash

                                    I'm going to the same opera a couple weeks before you, patash. I'm glad I opened this thread, because I've just booked brunch at Bar Boulud too. It looks yummy.

                                    As for your Friday night dinner, what about the Bar Room at the Modern? Is that too far from your hotel? I've eaten there just once but thought the food was excellent. I'm going again for lunch in a couple weeks. You could do the Dining Room at the Modern, of course, but I really like the Bar Room a lot.

                                    1. re: ChinaCat

                                      What a good idea. The Modern probably wouldn't be so "Valentines" oriented. Peter used to work at MOMA, but hasn't eaten there for a long time.
                                      By the way, this is ChinaCat from Fodor's right? Did you know I'm NeoPatrick? Hi!

                                      1. re: patash

                                        Hey Patrick...yes, I recognized this screen name right away. Hi :)

                                        That was my thinking about the Modern..not so romantic or Valentine's like. But the food is so good. And I think they deal with crowds on a daily basis, so the service wouldn't suffer too much if they are busy.

                                        We are going to see the Magritte exhibit before it closes, then have lunch at the Bar room, before heading to the Frick to see the Vermeer. And then on to an evening performance of "Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder". It will be a very busy day :_

                                        1. re: ChinaCat

                                          I love the Modern as well, and its still a good suggestion, but recognize that the current chef is leaving at the end of the year. The new chef is also amazing, but it may take a bit for the place to find its groove again after the transition. just something to consider.

                                  2. OK, It's all settled (after waiting to be able to make reservations).
                                    On Friday night (which happens to be Valentine's Day), we'll dine at The Strip House Midtown which is just a couple blocks from the Andaz on Fifth at 41st, our hotel for the weekend. Our first date was at The Strip House in Naples, which has sadly closed, so this is the best we can come to recreating that night.
                                    On Saturday we'll have brunch at 11 at Bar Boulud, then go across the street to Die Fleidermaus at The Met from 12:30 to 4 PM. Afterwards we'll head to the Mandarin Oriental for cocktails, then dinner at 6:30 at Asiate. Would have loved Picholine, but not interested in doing their assembly line tasting which is REQUIRED of everyone on Valentine's and the night after!

                                    On Sunday, we'll probably use our gift certificate for One If By Land for brunch. Hoping to see a show in the afternoon -- (possibly After Midnight, if they extend a discount for then). I've seen almost everything, Peter has not.
                                    Sunday dinner at Annisa at 8 -- our anniversary.

                                    Monday (which is President's Day, so a bonus for us) we'll probably do a museum or two and perhaps have a casual lunch at Otto before returning to NJ.

                                    Thanks for the many suggestions here, and I have some good information for future visits.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: patash

                                      sounds like a nice trip. just be aware that a lot of museums are closed on Mondays, as are the galleries.

                                      1. re: coasts

                                        Moma and the Met are now seven days a week!

                                      2. re: patash

                                        Hope you have an amazing time and congratulations! Let us know how it goes.

                                        1. re: patash

                                          How did you do with your itinerary with the bad weather?