My wife and I have lived in and been enjoying the food in Manhattan for about 10 years now. As you might remember from a couple of my recent posts, we recently had our first kid and thus are eating out less, especially adult-only dinners. For pretty long time I've kept a handy list of favorite places and places we want to try. That said, realizing that we're not going to have the luxury of eating out as often, I would love to get some opinions on which places you think should be on the top of our list, which should be removed, and any that you think we're missing.
Some general info on our dining preferences:
1. Food is by far the most important thing when we eat out. Decor and service can certainly make the experience better or worse, but we've never been to a place and and walked out saying we'd never go back b/c of the decor. Have said that b/c of service though.
2. Cost matters, but in a relative value sort of way. Meaning if I am paying more for the same type of food I can get elsewhere in Manhattan it should be worth it. Don't have Per Se on the list for this reason, just can't believe the food there is that much better.
3. Have not been to many "upscale fine dining" places b/c I believe you are paying significantly more for the service/decor and that you can often get just as good food elsewhere. Have dined at del Posto for dinner twice. I did think it was great, but not worth the extra $. David Burke Kitchen is another example - the food was not impressive, the service was snotty and it was expensive
4. Type of food - open to anything, but tend to prefer ethic cuisine.
5. Generally avoid food we can easily cook at home. Not amazing cooks here, but can do a pretty good job with simple dishes steak, bbq, scallops, seared tuna....
I have a few lists below: basically places we want to try and places we've been fairly recently with quick thoughts on them as I thought it would help with our request. And, it might also help someone trying to pick between a couple restaurants we've been to. One last thought, if you think any of the places on our want to try list would work for a weekend lunch with baby pls let me know and I'll move them to that list instead of my "adult dinner" list. thanks!
Want to try:
- Jungsik - good reviews here and seems like our type of food, but honestly the picture don't look great
- Eleven Madison Park - Although I have my caveat above about "upscale fine dining" the comments on this board have put this on my list
- Omakase at 15 East or Sushi Azubu - never had a real nice sushi dinner before. nicest would be Poke or Haru and never sat at the bar or done Omakase. we both eat it occasionally, but pretty much stick to tuna/salmon, but open to trying plenty more with some guidance.
- Kyo ya
- Boloud Sud - haven't been to any of his restaraunts. generally not a huge french food fan, but feel like I should try this on the below.
- Bar Boloud
- Le Bernadin
- Blue hill (been to stone barn)
- Minetta tavern
- The Dutch
- Ciano – been for their prix fixe lunch and liked it, considering going back for dinner specifically for the chicken for 2
- Locanda Verde
- Mas Farmhouse
- Mas Grillade
- El quinto pino
- Joseph Leonard
- Dirty Candy
Places we've been:
Danji - love
Abc Kitchen - love
Red Farm - love
Kin Shop - great
Momofuku Ko - loved
Momfuku Ssam Bar - great
Ma Peche - great
Pearl Oyster Bar - great
Milos - loved but so expensive for what it is
Union Sq Café - overrated & nothing special
Tertulia - okay but overrated
Txikito - great
Frankies Spuntino - great
Lupa - used to love
Modern Bar Room - good
Wong - okay/overrated
Toloache - good
Spotted Pig - overrated. good once, bad once
Casa Mono - overrated. didn't like food or service
Fatty Cue - overrated, didnt enjoy
Fatty Crab - liked more than F Cue, still not great
Café Asean - better than either fatty, but not good enough to head back
Hunan Manor - great
Sichuan Gourmet - v good, but too oily
Zabb Elee - great
Empellon Tacqueria - okay, not worth going back
The Smith - okay
Itzocan - used to love, haven't been for years
Penang - good
Sala 19 - good
Koi - good but way too expensive for what it is
Ciano - went for the lunch special, very good
15 east - went for the lunch special, very good
Gotham B&G - went for lunch special, wasn't impressed
David burke Kitchen - hated