NYC-Really nice place for a Friday lunch?

Feb 16th, 2010, 08:27 AM
Original Poster
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NYC-Really nice place for a Friday lunch?

I know there are zillions of places to eat in NYC, especially for lunch, but looking for something a little "SPECIAL" for a birthday lunch with 3 gals in March. Flexible on location,
I have been to Bouley's many, many, times for lunch, its fantastic!!!! But looking for a new place , popular, thinking about Gramercy Tavern, or maybe Union Square Cafe? Looking for something bright and airy, great "fresh " and innovative food, etc. Trying to avoid tourist traps and overpriced dining that's not worth it. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!
free2b4862 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Eleven Madison Park, fabulous food and even better prix fixe lunch.
owlwoman is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 09:30 AM
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Jean Georges $26 prix fixe lunch.
K_brklyn is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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Gramercy Tavern's lunch is one of the best deals in Manhattan, as is the lunch at Nougatine, the cafe at Jean-Georges. Another really great place is The Modern (at MOMA); if you eat in the Bar Room, you get small plates and can eat as much or as little as you choose.

Union Square Cafe food isn't especially "innovative" (and from my experience there last year, not really even all that good anywmore).

Make reservations a few days in advance for any of these.
doug_stallings is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 10:20 AM
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Robert's is a new restaurant in the Museum of Art & Design with nice views. Haven't been yet but have heard good things.

If you like seafood, Le Bernardin is wonderful. Airy but maybe not bright. Haven't been to Auerole since it moved, but that's another idea.

I second the Modern idea. And as for light and bright, the Grill Room at the Four Seasons. Their new chef is supposed to be great.
mclaurie is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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On a recent visit to NYC we had a wonderful lunch at Orsay on Lexington at 75th Street. Everything was delightful at this French bistro--the food, the service, the atmosphere. Orsay is up-scale but not stuffy or pretentious.

Nearby is the Frick Collection, the Whitney, and great shopping.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 10:45 AM
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My wife does an annual "girls" lunch at La Grenouille with some business contacts. She thinks it's great for lunch. Classic french in a spectacular setting. Granted, it's been around for decades but it is still a special spot.

They like it because it tends not to be a place filled with bankers and brokers having lunch with their clients. (Except of course in this case when they are all women.)

Alto on E 53rd at Madison has become reasonably popular for lunch but perhaps not as well known as places like The Modern. (Which I wasn't impressed with either time I've been.)
Ryan is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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I also love La Grenouille and was going to suggest it but there's nothing "innovative" in the least about the food. It's the old tried and true classic French haute cuisine including souffle for dessert. I do think the food, room and service are outstanding though.

Marea, the new Mediterranean on Central Park South is another idea.
mclaurie is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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I absolutely do not like 11 Madison Park and would not go there. I think it is cold and even with the big windows hard to see out of.

I second the suggestion of Jean-Georges. I had the best meal of my life there and the most wonderful service without being overbearing.

I also like The Modern and second that suggestion as well.

I love La Grenouille and my mother especially loves the flowers there. And she has a huge crush on Charles Masson the proprietor.

I think Union Square Cafe is not special enough. While it was groundbreaking in its day and still very very good, i just don't know if it is what you are looking for.
williamscb13 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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I was disappointed with a recemt lunch at Orsay.

Add Gotham the list of possibilities.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 01:58 PM
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I haven't been to USQ or Gramercy Tavern, but I've had lunch at 11 Madison Park, Jean Georges and Le Bernardin.

Le Bernardin has no lunch prix fixe really, so lunch is much more expensive than the other two, and in my opinion, not really worth the expense.

I liked the first two. 11MP has a prix fixe lunch, as I recall, for $28 or something like that. JG also offers a "cheap" lunch where you must order a minimum of two courses at 14.50 each.

JG is better, but 11MP is also very good. 11MP was recently awarded (a well deserved, in my opinion) 1 Michelin star. In fact, I couldn't see why Michelin was so slow to recognize this restaurant (NYT gave this restaurant 4 stars.) JG and LB have three stars.

I've eaten at the Bar at MoMA but not at the main restaurant itself. I haven't been in a while, but I liked the Bar as well.

If you're looking for Italian, I've also had lunch at Insieme, which I think is fine, and I've had dinner at Alto, which I thought was quite good. Not sure what lunch at Alto is like. Insieme has one Michelin star, and Alto has two. I think it may be the only Italian restaurant in NYC with two Michelin stars (not sure about Del Posto or Babbo by Mario Batali, but I think they have one star?).

Alto and Marea are run by the same chef, if I rememeber right, and Marea has had some good reviews. I think Marea has one star.

I've had dinner at Gotham Bar & Grill, and I was surprised by how good it was, but that was quite a number of years ago. Even so, the restaurant is one of the few in NYC that's been around for a long time at a very high level.
111op is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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No one has mentioned Daniel yet. I don't know what it's like for lunch, but I had a disappointing dinner there once. It's recently received a third star from Michelin.

If you're interested in Japanese, I've had lunch at Kai, one the 2nd floor of the tea shop Ito En. The cheapest donburi lunch starts at $20, and the bento box is at $40 or something like that. I've also had lunch at Matsugen in Tribeca, another Jean Georges (JG) restaurant.

Speaking of JG, I'm reminded of Jo Jo, where I also had lunch many years ago. It was quite nice, and I think it's still going strong. It's located in a townhouse near Bloomingdale's.

Personally of all the restaurants I listed, I rate Jean Georges the best for value for lunch with 11MP a close second.
111op is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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I was going to suggest Robert as well, on the top floor of MAD. I ate lunch there last month and I thought the food was fabulous; and the staff was very nice with no attitude at all.

The space is airy and since it's a special celebration, you should try to request for a table overlooking Columbus Circle/Central Park SW corner.
yk is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 05:41 AM
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There is indeed a prix fixe at Le Bernardin although it's $69 so not as good value as some of the others but imo worth every penny. I guess it's horses for courses because I was woefully disappointed in the lunch at 11 Madison Park
mclaurie is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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Agree that Grenouille is vey pretty and has good food - but it is very traditional - and "ladies who lunch". The prix fixe lunch at Le Bernardin is also great - but again, traditinal. I would reco Robert - new and good food.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 09:13 AM
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Del Posto supposedly has a great prix fix lunch ($29) on weekdays. I've read great things but haven't tried it. The menu is on their website.
MFNYC is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Sorry to piggyback on this, but has anyone tried the $38 DINNER (winter promo) @ J-G's Nougatine? It's only valid early or late in the evening, but it seems such an incredible deal!
yk is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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We're headed back to Nougatine tonight before a Carnegie Hall concert. We return there periodically, as the limited prix-fixe menu changes every couple of months or so. Vongerichten is frequently present, since the same kitchen serves both his flagship immediately adjacent and Nougatine itself. The lunch p/f is, I believe, two courses for $26; dinner, three courses for $38.

We've not been to Alto or Marea (site of the former--and sadly missed--San Domenico) yet, but Michael White, the executive chef at both places, also runs Convivio over on the East Side (in Tudor City). We had a prix-fixe dinner there Saturday after the Met matinee and it was outstanding (so was the opera).

For the original poster, I'd suggest Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, high up in the Time Warner Center. An excellent prix-fixe lunch, beautifully served, with lots of little extras. And you can't beat the spectacular view of Central Park across Columbus Circle.
bspielman is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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I'm with 111op on Daniel's. Dinner for four (chef's tasting menu) with two bottles of wine (yes, the wines were expensive)and one cocktail each - $800+. But the kicker was we all left hungry - and a very poor level of hospitality. Never recommended as far as I'm concerned.

Benoit at 55th and 6th has a nice prix fixe at $27.

Olive's in the W Union Square (17th & 5th)has a yummy/different menu.

Bistro Milano at 1350 6th (at 55th St) is the best Italian I've had in a very long time. NOT run of the mill - chef is unafraid of flavor.

Haru - there are several in the city. Sushi/sashimi but also really good cooked food Nice cocktails.
Margaretlb is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 10:20 AM
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bspielman, I'd LOVE to hear what you think of your dinner @ Nougatine tonight - I assume you'll be getting the prix-fixe? [Can I say "jealous" that you're seeing the Concertgebouw Orch tonight - it's got a great review with its performance in DC.]

We had a prix-fixe dinner there Saturday after the Met matinee and it was outstanding (so was the opera).
Is it La Fille du Regiment that you're referring to? In case you don't know, we have an "Opera chat" thread going on in the lounge:

[Apologies to the OP for taking this somewhat off-topic.]
yk is offline  

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