Best Lunch Under $60 pp?
I want to take my sister out for a great meal but I can't afford some of the really high end places like EMP or Per Se. Suggestions on where we could go for a fantastic lunch for <$60 pp (not including tip, tax or beverage)? A tasting menu would be great but it's not a requirement.
We ended up at Bouley for the luncheon tasting menu ($55 pp) and we were not disappointed. Each course had four choices so the three of us each ordered a different dish for each course so we could sample as much as possible. I don't have time to go into great detail but I will say that every dish we had was a WOW with the exception of the roast chicken (bland) and the duck (good, but not great). The beef cheeks was our third choice in the entree category and that was great. We opted for the cheese course as one of our desserts. Glad we got it but I don't quite understand the $21 supplement on that nor do I understand the $21 supplement to get the lamb (which we did not opt for due to the high supplement). We split a fantastic bottle of wine (suggested by the Sommelier) and really had an exquisite meal. On top of the fantastic food, the restaurant is simply gorgeous and the service was attentive, professional and relaxed.
- Not that one would be necessarily looking for "value" when it comes to this, but the 5-course $55 lunch at Bouley is an excellent choice.
- Gramercy Tavern has a good 5-course lunch tasting for $58 in the dining room, but I found the service to be a little underwhelming
- not exactly a "tasting menu", but the $40 Ichiju Sansai lunch at Kajitsu is always excellent -- both for the food and the beautiful zen-like space
What "wows" your sister as a cook? What wows me in a restaurant is when a cook takes simple ingredients and leaves them simple but somehow they are magically delicious in the way they are cooked to such perfection and so precisely seasoned that an every day food is suddenly exalted and unforgettable. I now understand what that food is and I get new ideas about how to cook.
Other people are wowed by other things, I guess, given the preponderance of hugely successful restaurants in Manhattan with menus where I can't find a thing that I would be enthusiastic to order. One person's °best° lunch is another's total reject when it comes to palate and approaches to what constitutes eating brilliantly.
If your sister is a cook, are you sure she wants a tasting menu?
She wants to eat things not easily made at home, even by a great home cook. One of the best meals she ever had was the tasting menu at Bouley but that was probably 15 years ago. I also had an unforgettable meal there about 20 years ago. I'm leaning towards returning but wanted to hear other suggestions.
My mother in law was the same way about wanting a restaurant meal to be a difficult preparation. There are lot of Manhattan restaurants that specialize in that and your adding the details about enjoying those long-ago meals at Bouley ups the chances of getting steered in the right direction -- but obviously not by someone like me whose best lunches in NYC have not been difficult tasting menus!
Wow Kathryn. I follow (and admire) your posts on this board so I'll assume you had that response in the 'vault.' Either that, or you're an incredibly fast typist with an amazing memory.
It will be a lunch on a Thursday or Friday. Probably going to shoot for the first week of February. Aiming for right after the Superbowl but before Restaurant (3) Week starts.
When is this meal and what day of the week are you planning for? You can do a lovely prix fixe for $60pp or less. It just depends what days of the week you are talking about. Weekday is more common than weekend, but upscale weekend lunch is not impossible.
However, if you are booking less than 1 month in advance, and not seeing anything, it is possibly because a restaurant is already fully committed. Additionally if you are looking for Sunday upscale, fine-dining lunch, the options are much fewer but you still have some.
Some prix fixe options:
Jean Georges - two plates for $38, each additional plate $19, served daily.
Del Posto - $39 three course lunch with choice of Antipasto, Primo OR Secondo, and Dolce, "Enjoy a taste of pasta for the table at $10 per guest," weekdays only.
Le Bernardin - 3 course City Harvest menu for $45 per person with $5 donated to City Harvest, only in the lounge, only 2 choices per course, weekdays only.
The Modern - Dining Room - 2 courses and dessert for $62, 3 courses and dessert for $76, extra course $18, weekdays only.
Bouley - $55 five course tasting, Monday through Saturday.
La Grenouille - 2 courses for $52, 3 courses for $67. Tuesday through Saturday.
Marea - 2 courses for $45, daily.
Maialino - $35 for 2 courses with biscotti for dessert, weekdays only, they also have a Sunday pasta tasting for $55.
Babbo - $49 for a four course tasting, only Tuesday through Saturday.
Manzo - 3 courses for $29, weekdays only.
Aldea - 3 courses for $25, weekdays only.
Tocqueville - $29 for 3 courses, Monday through Saturday.
Gotham Bar and Grill - $34 Greenmarket lunch, three courses, weekdays only.
Seasonal - 3 courses for $29, Monday through Saturday.
Aquavit - 3 courses for $42, weekdays only.
Riverpark - 2 courses for $25, 3 courses for $32, weekdays only.
Cafe Boulud - 2 courses for $37, 3 courses for $43, Monday through Saturday; Sundays they serve brunch, which is 2 courses for $39, 3 courses with dessert for $49.
Ai Fiori - 2 courses for $42, additional course $18, weekdays
Lincoln - 2 courses for $36, Wednesdays through Sundays
Boulud Sud - 3 courses for $29, weekdays; 3 courses for $32, weekends
For less fancy options:
ABC Kitchen - 3 courses for $32, weekdays
Momofuku Ssam Bar - 3 courses, weekend lunch only. I think it's still around $25 or so.
Kin Shop - 2 courses for $17, weekdays.