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Help please for return trip to Manhattan with 2011 budget

foodseek | Feb 9, 201109:13 AM

We are a family of 5 from San Francisco -mom and children with accompanying spouses in their 20's and early 30's. The last trip in 2007 to Manhattan was done with a larger budget and we fell in love with the city and its dining. Highlights were dinner at Babbo,Vice/Versa, and Bar Americain,lunch at Le Bernardin and my favorite a pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli. We will be returning for 4 days in early April and need help in shortening our list to 2 lunches, 3 dinners, and a Saturday brunch. We also are happy to engage in some afternoon stops for coffee,drinks/cocktails, or food "sightseeing". Yes, we are "junkies" of Top Chef. We have one vegetarian amongst us- love Italian, American comfort foods and mac and cheese, eggs, and French Bistro standards. We have tickets for 2 Broadway shows so 2 dinners somewhere nearby the theater area would probably be a good idea. We are staying on E. 51th Street/Lexington area-midtown east but do well with public transit, walking or cabs. Besides eating, we will visit tourist attractions of Ellis Island, Riverside Park area, Central Park, Rockefeller Plaza, and Greenwich Village.
Here is a list of possibles I would appreciate feedback on:
1).Eataly- for sightseeing and a possible lunch. After reading up on this on Chowhound I see it is busy. Are there any tables available for seating and if so which places are recommended?
2.) Matisse-daughter had lunch there and still raves about it although I see little on the boards about it. 3.)Artisanal for brunch or lunch 4.)Dinners or lunches -Toloache, Red Rooster Harlem, Cafe Boulud, Marea (need Italian perhaps a bit less pricey) Momofuku Noodle Bar for Fried Chicken 5.) Breakfast or morning coffee stops? 6.) Any food stores or kitchen gadget shops we can visit would also be fun.
Sorry for the length of this post but I value Chowhound input and help is needed. Thank you so much!

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Cafe Boulud
20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

Le Bernardin
155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Red Rooster
310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

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