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Mid-casual places in New York

I'm going to New York in March, would you say they are must visits? I'm not going to go to too many fine dining places just probably Per Se, Le Bernandin, and maybe Atera so I'd rather spend most of the trip on mid casual places.

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  1. Per Se, Marea, Eleven Madison Park, 15 East

    1. Per Se, Bernardin, Daniel if I were choosing the three top

      1. I would skip Per Se, and why Atera?

        Depending on how many nights (or days) you have for uber fine dining, this would be my short list, in no particular order.

        Eleven Madison Park
        Masa (or 15 East depending on your mood)
        Le Bernardin
        Jean Georges

        But you should post your query over at the Manhattan board, you'll get lots of advice and opinions to help you make your decision.

        8 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Really? You like Le Bernardin? Always felt so sterile to me. Decor and foodwise.

          1. re: Porthos

            We've always loved Le Bernardin. Have never been served anything there that wasn't pretty close to perfect (have been 4-5x). The decor has been perhaps a bit sterile (I'm pretty sure it's been totally redone in the past year or so and don't know what it looks like now), and the service always seems a bit overly formal and stiff. Nevertheless, I don't know anywhere else where the product and preparation of fish are so close to flawless. Eric Ripert is masterful with fish. We'll be in NYC in March, and I think (and hope) that I'll be taken there for a treat. Will report back.

            1. re: Porthos

              Yes, I do like LeB. Quite a bit, in fact. And it's grown on me every time I go back.

              Per Se, on the other, feels sterile and corporate to me. To say nothing of the food.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I agree regarding the food a Per Se. But man, it's tough to beat that view.

                1. re: Porthos

                  View is spectacular, actually most of the restaurants at TWC have pretty good views, except maybe Masa but then you shouldn't be looking out a window if you're at Masa, right?

              2. re: Porthos

                Absolutely love it!! Never had a bad meal there. In fact, I'm trying to think if I've ever had a bad dish. I've obviously had some that I've liked better than others, but the food is uniformly great. Very, very nice wine list, too, although the markups are high.

              3. re: ipsedixit

                Only reason we may go to Atera is my friend use to work for the chef in Portland and if we get the chef hookup then we are going otherwise we will have to carefully consider if we wanna pay the costs of the regular meal.

                1. re: Johnny L

                  Atera is superb (regardless of whether you get the "chef hookup"); definitely worth the cost of the regular meal.

              4. To those who have responded, I think you may be misreading the OP's question. He does not seem to be asking about the high-end places he has already chosen, but wants suggestions of mid-priced casual restaurants for his remaining meals.

                To the OP: Can you specify a dollar amount for how much you want to spend on these casual meals, and your preferred cuisines? It is hard to answer such a general question.

                1. For interesting, creative, chef-driven but casual cuisine, look at Pearl & Ash, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Acme, the Empellon restaurants, Louro, Public, Tertulia, and Danji/Hanjan. Mission Chinese if it's open again by then.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kathryn

                    The noise level at Pearl & Ash is very, very high. So much so that I refuse to go back.

                  2. The dining equivalent of middle class has faded away in NY.

                    You'll find what gets talked about here is often the low end options, or places with $25 entree options. Of course there are still places 2 people can eat for $50 without alcohol, and if you get more specific about what you like, you'll get suggestions, but in general, the Mid-casual genre isn't thriving here like it has in the past.

                    1. Are you interested in ethnic food? There are great thai, japanese, indian, korean, middle eastern etc etc where you can have an excellent meal for $30 or less pp
                      More info on what the OP is looking for and locations in the city can help us help you....

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        Well I'm coming from Los Angeles and I'm probably going to check out Yakitori Tori Shin, Shake Shack, Ssam Bar. I'm not really interested in Indian or Middle Eastern food at the moment. My price point is probably going to be $50 pp but its not strict as long as we aren't doing omakase/tasting menu damage every night. My main objective is to eat as much great casual food as possible as a learning experience to hopefully inspire me in my own career. I don't plan to do fine dining so I don't want to spend too much money on it.

                        1. re: Johnny L

                          The places I posted above are all round that price point. If you are a chef, I think you'll really enjoy them.

                      2. If I were to choose 3 restaurants to go to on 3 consecutive days, I would likely go to one high end place bracketed by 2 less formal places. I'd probably go to Blue Ribbon the 1st night, Le Bernardin the 2nd, and for the last night either Union Square Cafe or Red Cat. Keep in mind that unlike many CH's I really enjoy pretty simple foods made with top ingredients prepared perfectly. I personally am not that interested in complex/innovative/molecular/experimental cuisine. Perfect oysters from Blue Ribbon or Le B with a terrific glass if white wine, and I'm a very happy camper.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: josephnl

                          I feel that way too. Well Per Se if probably not going to happen since our contact can't hook us up with a table.

                          I'll probably go for Le Bernandin.

                          Grammercy Tavern, Minetta Tavern are also high on the list. What makes Blue Ribbon worth the visit if I'm coming from LA?

                          1. re: Johnny L

                            If you're only doing one fine dining it should probably be Eleven Madison Park. Just saying.

                            Probably add Keste. Can't go to NYC and not have pizza.

                            Probably should try a David Chang place. Chances are you won't get into Ko so Ssam Bar.

                            Not sure if Blue Ribbon is a must even though they do have a good raw selection. Maybe 15 East or Yasuda to prove that NYC really does have better high end sushi.

                            And Marea.

                            Minetta Tavern is a good one to keep.

                            Ess-a-bagel (the one on 1st) for bagel and whitefish salad.

                            But that's just what I miss most about NYC.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Is Ssam Bar impossible to get into? I really want to try it.

                              1. re: Johnny L

                                Walk in only. All you have to do is put in the time.

                                Reservations accepted for their large format dinners.

                                1. re: Johnny L

                                  Not at all. Just went on Sunday night. 15 minute wait for two. Solo may be shorter.

                                  1. re: Johnny L

                                    Went solo for lunch at 3pm during the week, walked in and sat at the bar. Ordered the duck set with potatoes. Good service, great meal.

                                2. re: Johnny L

                                  Blue Ribbon is a casual bistro-type restaurant that because it stays open very late (4am), it has developed a large following of folks who work in the restaurant industry..from well known chefs to busboys who work late. I've not personally been there (will go next month) but will go next month. I've heard very good things about it from folks who should know. The menu is online...check it out. Oh...it's the Sullivan St. Restaurant that you want.

                                  1. re: Johnny L

                                    Blue Ribbon and MInetta Tavern are somewhat similar. It depends if you want the fresher hyped version in a lively pretty revamped room, or the more classic, original version, that's a little rougher, less trendy and in some ways longer in the tooth. It's kind of a toss up. Both are worthwhile, but expect solid food over innovative or the best meal of your life. They're going for a classic well rounded dining experience.

                                    David Chang is such a presence in NY that it's probably worth visiting one of his places. Keep expectations low, and expect a lot of the dishes to be overly heavy on sweetness or salt.

                                    Someone mentioned Keste for NY pizza. I love the place, but it's not really serving "NY pizza".

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      No one said it was "NY Pizza".

                                      Just said you can't go to NYC and not have pizza. Most of the top places in town aren't "NY Pizza" anymore.


                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        You don't see the contradiction? The best places aren't "NY pizza", so why is it a requirement as a rite of NY passage? Our pizza game is good here because we've risen above the whole NY pizza myth. Hopefully deli can do the same one day.

                                        I think Keste is a great suggestion, but not under the pretense of it being a NY thing you have to do.

                                        (Also, not for nothing, but a fair amount of the Time Out list could qualify as a classic NY style pie)

                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          No contradiction at all if you consider the overall pizza scene in NYC is still better than the overall pizza scene in LA.

                                      2. re: sugartoof

                                        Which is which? (between Blue Ribbon and Minetta Tavern) Which is the fresher, hyped restaurant...and which is the classic? Something tells me I'd prefer the classic!