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Its been a while since I've posted, so I thought I'd put out a post to try and get some refreshed ideas. The brief background is that I live in the Boston area, recently coming home after a 6 year expat deployment in Asia. I still get to Asia and Europe regularly on business, but I also try and get to NYC as often as possible, but realistically it ends up being 3-4 trips a year, usually for a one or two overnight - limiting my time to try new options. Fortunately, the business travel gods have lined up and I have a 4 night trip in Oct coming up, half of it solo and half of it with a colleague who is also a friend. So, I'm looking for some suggestions.
As far as preferences - first off, not Asian. I love Asian food of most types, but I spend a lot of time there getting it "at the source", so my NYC focus wants to be more western. Also, I have no need for fancy or a scene - its all about the food for me, and I typically much prefer casual and great food to fancy. Seafood wise, its not my first choice as I find it hard to beat what I can get in New England.
For the nights that I'm solo, ideally I'm looking for somewhere that I can get a great meal while sitting at the bar. Some of my favorites are Gramercy Tavern, Union Sq Cafe (old and new), and Osteria Morini. I will almost certainly try and include one or more of them, but I'd love some additional options. Cost wise, I'm good for anything up to about $150 for myself with a drink or two.
When my friend is in town, I don't have the 'must sit at the bar' constraint, but I am absolutely still looking for casual+excellent vs fancy. Cost wise, I need this to be closer to the $100/ea ball park as I've got to try and stay close to my corporate expense limits in this case.
Location wise, anywhere in Manhattan works. Within reason to the subway is ideal, but not a deal breaker. I'm staying on 31st between 5th & B'way, but I have no issue making the trek anywhere within reason if the food is worth it.
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