Who's been to these iconic restaurants before, which would you recommend first?
(Wanted to included Nobu but heard its quality went downhill and is now overrated)
(Also wanted to include Delmonicos but heard that it's pretty empty inside)
Pretty big spread of styles, cuisines, etc. I've been to four of the five, and toured the fifth (the FS is gorgeous).
First off, WHEN are you coming? Are you planning many weeks in advance?
Luger books up 6-8 weeks in advance and you gotta play phone tag to get a table. If your trip is soon, you're probably not getting a table except at 4:30pm. I like Ko a lot but it's a totally different experience. AND Ko doesn't even let you book until 10 days ahead including the current day, and only on their web site. And ABC and GT remain fairly popular, with the best tables getting snatched up a month ahead.
What kind of experience do you seek? How important is value and your budget?
Personally, not a fan of Momofuku Ko or ABC Kitchen, both are over praised IMO.
Nobu is simply awful and Delmonicos is like food you'd get at a semi nice time share resort in the Poconos.
Gramercy Tavern would my first choice for food. If you like steak, Peter Luger would be my choice. Four Seasons has ok food but I like the ambiance.
We were at Grammercy last week. We shared a vegi lasagna that the kitchen split for us without asking and a duck confit flatbread. It was a lovely luncheon and service was spot on.
In the past we have had dinner in their dining room and recorded 5 amuses from the kitchen, including their tomorrow muffin end of the meal gift.
I counted 5 different flower/plant arrangements in the ladies lounge. When we asked for some of our food be packaged they gave us a coat room tag and to retrieve our leftovers on the way out rather then plunk a bag in front of us. Nice touch.
How about Katz's Deli and Russ & Daughter's Café (I am giving the café the cred of the market by association)? Now that's iconic...
Ko or GT would be my first two choices.
Luger is a steakhouse. It is what it is, I don't find it appreciably better/worse than many of the other notable steakhouses in NYC (e.g. Keens, Wolfgangs, etc.)
I have not been to Ko or Lugers. Years ago went for lunch at four seasons but i remember the room more than the meal. Have been to ABC and Gramercy tavern several times- ABC is good but can get crazy loud, much more casual and very different flavors from GT.
GT would be my first pick, the front tavern room is great for a late lunch or drinks. (Open continuously lunch thru dinner) Service is flawless in the dining room with very elegant seasonal dishes very well executed. And a wonderful dessert menu which is getting harder to find....
No surprise: Momofuku Ko is my first choice. Ko offers a 10 course dinner at $125, and a 16 course lunch (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) at $175. I've been to both recently (dinner this past week and lunch last month), and they are wonderful! Dinner lasts about 2 hours; lunch lasts about 3 hours. It is counter seating only with a set tasting menu. Allergies are accommodated and should be noted when making your reservation via their website.
Peter Lugar is the first recommend.
The others are all secondary, save for Momofuku Ko. I would exclude this from iconic, and relocate it to the post-modern.
"Nissin founder, Momofuku Ando, has always instilled a sense of commitment and quality in Nissin products."-Nissin Foods.
For Momofuku Ko: Naming (linguistic identifier) is dislodged from its referent (that which the linguistic identifier refers to).
That is, processed convenient food. " Faced with sparse food sources after World War II, Mr. Ando realized that a quality, convenient ramen product would help to feed the masses. "-Nissin Foods.
"Another of Momofuku Ando's achievements was the development of Space Ramen"-Nissin Foods
Momofuku Ko is a restaurant, that shares very little with Momofuku namesake. except keeping with the Asia-mystique, for the US market.
What if David Chang called his restaurant, with all else the same, called it "Jones", or "Kovic Ona"
Based on my experience: Peter Lugers - always good/Gramercy Tavern - wonderful atmosphere/Four Seasons - very special, very good food/Delmonico's is not empty, the bar is always packed and it is a wonderful old New York experience/Nobu - I don't really like it.