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Tough-to-get-into-at-night restaurants that are easier during lunch time

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Blumie Jan 6, 2014 01:43 PM

I thought it might be interesting to compile a list of restaurants that are very difficult to get into at night (either hard-to-come-by reservations and/or long lines) that are open and relatively easy (or at least easier) to get into at lunch time. I'll get us started, but I'd appreciate others' input.

The NoMad
ABC Kitchen
ABC Cocina
Minetta Tavern
Mission Chinese (temporarily closed)
Peter Luger

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  1. princeofpork3 RE: Blumie Jan 6, 2014 01:51 PM

    Bouley

    1. k
      kathryn RE: Blumie Jan 6, 2014 01:59 PM

      Ooh, great topic.

      Weekday lunch at popular places downtown is usually quiet, especially compared to dinner.

      Pearl Oyster Bar (weekdays only)
      Spotted Pig (on weekdays, weekend brunch can be long)
      The Breslin
      Lupa
      Babbo
      Maialino
      Ippudo (EV location, weekday)
      Shopsin's
      Momofuku Noodle or Ssam Bar

      3 Replies
      1. re: kathryn
        c oliver RE: kathryn Jan 6, 2014 02:21 PM

        I didn't know Babbo was doing lunch. And, yeah, the only time we went to Ssam was lunch and walked right in.

        Good topic as we'll be there in Feb. for a couple of weeks and tend to eat lunches out more than dinners.

        1. re: c oliver
          k
          kathryn RE: c oliver Jan 6, 2014 02:28 PM

          Babbo lunch is only Tuesday through Saturday 11:30AM – 1:30PM, btw.

          1. re: kathryn
            c oliver RE: kathryn Jan 6, 2014 02:36 PM

            Thanks, kathryn. Good to know. The only time we ate there was four or five years ago.

      2. l
        Lacrosse_Gastronomic RE: Blumie Jan 6, 2014 02:27 PM

        Mission Cantina
        Momofuku Ssam Bar
        Mighty Quinn's BBQ
        RedFarm
        Moti Mahal Delux

        2 Replies
        1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic
          ipsedixit RE: Lacrosse_Gastronomic Jan 6, 2014 09:02 PM

          Moti Mahal Delux.

          Really?

          In fact, that sentiment sort of applies to the entire list.

          1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic
            s
            Scott_C RE: Lacrosse_Gastronomic Jan 7, 2014 09:23 AM

            Red Farm downtown is only open for lunch on weekends though Red Farm UWS is open for lunch daily. Otherwise, good list.

          2. Spiritchaser RE: Blumie Jan 6, 2014 02:34 PM

            EMP. I was looking at reservations and nothing was available for the 28 day window for dinner but there were many lunch reservations available.

            1. m
              mwhitmore RE: Blumie Jan 6, 2014 03:37 PM

              IME you can also get into just about any restaurant before/at 6pm. If there is any hesitancy, I say 'I can be out by 7:30 or 8 if you can serve me.' (Haven't tried it at Per Se, long tasting menus may be the exception.)

              1 Reply
              1. re: mwhitmore
                v
                villainx RE: mwhitmore Jan 6, 2014 10:14 PM

                There's not that many places that are hard to get in for lunch. Maybe on short notice during prime time for a place with a small dining room, say at Jean Georges, but even then, it's more easy than not.

                I'd say it's harder to find a place that is exceptionally hard to get into for lunch.

              2. j
                jewelin RE: Blumie Jan 7, 2014 06:29 PM

                Yeah I like this thread: my usual trick is to take a day off 'sick' at least once a month and eat at a restaurant like these listed. I figure that the food is basically half price compared to eating dinner. Bouley is relatively easy to book at short notice. Tocqueville is basically a walk-in, I simply book it for OT points. Mission Chinese used to be fine after 1:30, Spotted Pig is ok before 12:30, Minetta the same; Keens is another one I frequent no problems. As another poster says Jean Georges is the only place I've had a problem booking a lunch at short notice.

                1. d
                  deepfry7 RE: Blumie Jan 7, 2014 07:59 PM

                  Per Se, EMP, and to a lesser extent, Le Bern, are probably the only hardest high-starred restaurant to get reservations to for lunch. Le Bern also has the salon (a real table) for walk-ins, as I believe EMP at the bar. Momofuku Ko I guess is tough too, but I haven't checked recently since they're not on Opentable.

                  Based on my experience, JG, Bouley (my fav for lunch), Marea, and Del Posto are pretty easy on say, 1 week's notice.

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