‘Tis the season for making lists. Christmas Lists. New Year’s resolutions. Hottest celebrity bods. And of course, best restaurants. But instead of putting together another overdone “best restaurants in New York” list, I decided it would be more useful to make a more practical list of places to go depending on what you’re craving. Enjoy:
For Brunch, Café Cluny
For Cocktails, Apotheke
For Donuts, Doughnut Shop
For Espresso, Third Rail Coffee
For Falafel, Taim
For Hummus, Hummus Place
For Indian, Taj Tribeca
For Italian, L’Artusi, Torrisi Italian Specialties
For Lobster Rolls, Luke’s Lobster
For Lox, Zucker’s
For Korean BBQ, Hahm Ji Bach
For Mexican, Empellon Taqueira or Cocina (upscale), Tehuitzingo Deli & Grocery (authentic and cheap)
For New American, ABC Kitchen
For Pizza, Di Fara (the absolute best), John’s (best in Manhattan), Joe’s (best by the slice) Keste (best neopolitan)
For Sushi, Kanoyama
For Tapas – Caliu (Best and Relaxed Atmosphere), Pipa (impressing out-of-towners)
For Vietnamese, Co Ba, Sao Mai (for pho)
Back in September, I wrote a post about Governor and the incredible food being churned out of the few months old kitchen. In fact, the beef tartar was a recipient of 4 stars and remains one of my favorite dishes of the year. Sadly, due to its location near the Dumbo waterfront, Governor sustained substantial flood damage during Hurricane Sandy.
The good news is several of NYC’s top chefs have pitched in to help raise the money needed to repair the space and you can help. If you can afford the price tag, I encourage you to attend one of the meals below. I guarantee you’ll have a great meal while helping a worthy restaurant get back on its feet.
- On Saturday, November 17th Momofuku owned Booker & Dax will host a lunch from 12 to 3 including courses from Momofuku Ko’s Sean Gray, Ssäm Bar’s Matt Rudofker, Governor’s Brad McDonald, pairings from Ko’s Beth Lieberman, and a cocktail made by Booker and Dax’s Tristan Willey. The cost is $325 per person with all proceeds going to rebuild Governor. You can buy a ticket online here.
- On Tuesday, November 20th at Eleven Madison Park, Chef Brad McDonald and the team from Governor will create a seven-course menu with wine pairings in the private dining room. Dishes will include caviar with brown butter ice cream and sunchokes, oxtail with salsify and oyster sauce, and celery root with cheddar and preserved egg yolk. The meal requires a $250 (minimum) donation, with all proceeds going to help rebuild Governor. Dinner at 7:30. Call (212) 889-0905 to reserve.
For those who want to help out but find those price tags a little steep, you can also donate any amount on Governor’s GoFundMe page.
The first Restaurant Week of 2012 begins next week, which most of you probably know means restaurants are offering 3-course lunches and dinners for $24.07 and $35, respectively. While this event was created to offer the opportunity to eat at expense-account restaurants for much more palatable prices,it’s degraded in recent years as many (or dare I say most) of the participating establishments are not places a diner would necessarily spend that amount on food only. As more people have become wise to this fact, Restaurant Week has lost much of its cachet among foodies.
But that doesn’t mean Restaurant Week should be ignored entirely. I’ve spent some time pouring through the numerous offerings and I’m happy to report that there are still some great opportunities to sample the cuisine of highly regarded restaurants at reasonable prices. I’ve compiled a list of my top picks below.
Top 5 Restaurant Week recommendations (in alphabetical order):
Ai Fiori (Lunch): This highly-acclaimed year-old restaurant normally charges $38 for its 2-course prix-fixe lunch (you get 3 here). Save over a third and get a free desert. 400 Fifth Avenue (212) 613-8660
EN Japanese Brassiere (Dinner): Unique but expensive Japanese small plates in a beautiful setting. $35 actually gets you 5-courses here and you can add a sake flight for another $16. 435 Hudson St. (212) 647-9196
Nobu Next Door (Dinner): Yes, it’s been around forever and is no longer as cutting edge cuisine as it once was. But the food is still fresh and flavorful; it just comes at a high price. The Beef Toban Yaki (avail on the Restaurant Week menu) itself usually goes for $35, but you can add a seafood appetizer and dessert for that price. 105 Hudson St. (212) 334-4445
Perilla (Dinner): Harold Dieterle is one of my favorite chefs (also owner of Kin Shop) and never disappoints. With entrees generally costing around $30 and apps around $15, the $35 prix-fixe is a steal. 9 Jones St. (212) 929-6868
SHO Shaun Hergatt (Dinner): The highly regarded Asian-French fusion fare is normally only available in an $85 prix fixe. You get to test it out for for less than half that. 40 Broad St. (212) 809-3993
Other acclaimed restaurants worthy of consideration:
A Voce (Lunch) 10 Columbus Circle (212) 823-2523 & 41 Madison Avenue (212) 545-8555
Café Boulud (Lunch) 20 East 76th Street (212) 772-2600
Lincoln (Lunch) 142 West 65th St. (212) 359-6500
Megu (Lunch and Dinner) 62 Thomas Street (212) 964-7777 & 845 UN Plaza (212) 964-7777
Know of any other Restaurant Week deals worth jumping on? Please share them in the comments below.