4 Dinners in NYC/Manhattan

Open to all kinds of recommendations, but generally like to mix different types of dining experiences. Previously tried and liked Momofuku Ko, ZZ Clam Bar, and Daniel. Also loved Spring in Paris, so was thinking of Le Coucou. Also, we are a group of 5, only restaurants that do take reservations.
Appreciate all suggestions.

I’ve found @RGR to be an excellent source.


Frenchette will be at the top of my list. Better than Le Coucou, and I loved Le Coucou.

Simon & The Whale is another solid option.

Also look at Alta, Shuka and Loring Place.

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@catholiver, Thanks for the compliment!

We were at Frenchette last week. Our apps outshined the mains. Overall, the food was not on a par with Le Coucou’s which we’ve been to many times. Frenchette’s extremely high noise level will deter me from returning for dinner. Conversing with my husband across the table was difficult. With five people at the table, it would be a serious problem. I’ll probably give lunch a try when it starts since very noisy restaurants are usually much quieter in the afternoon.

We’ve been to Simon and the Whale and Studio (the all-day more casual spot on the second floor) several times. They are in the Freehand Hotel which is down the block from our apartment. I like the food at both a lot, but there’s no comparison to Coucou or to the restaurants listed below.

Based on the restaurants mentioned in the original post, my recommendations are: Eleven Madison Park, The Modern Dining Room, Gabriel Kreuther, Trattoria Italienne, Le Coq Rico, Aquavit, Indian Accent.


Thank you, these are awesome suggestions. I might do Friday late visit to MOMA followed by 8 pm dinner at The Modern as well as Tratorria Italienne.
One question, what to do before ballet at MET Opera at 7:30 pm and it lasts 3 hours, so probably too late to eat afterwords.

Lots of late night dining options.

My last meal at The Modern was a disappointment (if was so disappointing we got comped without asking.) And I used love that place. Just hope it was a one-off.

Brooklyn fare
Kyo ya
Minetta tavern

@ipsedixit, I’m sorry to hear that you had a disappointing experience at The Modern Dining Room. Since Chef Abram Bissell took over the kitchen in 2014, we’ve been going to the Dining Room with some regularity and have never had anything but superb cuisine. In fact, we had lunch there just last week, and the meal was absolutely stunning. Admittedly, even the best restaurant kitchens can very occasionally fall down on the job as they are run by human being who are not infallible. But given our multitude of experiences there, I do think yours was an aberration.

@beam, Re: ballet and dining. We go to ABT productions at The Met every spring/summer season. None of the ballets being performed this season have running times of 3 hours. Most are around 2-1/2 (including intermissions) and a couple even less.

Since we don’t like to have a full meal right before an evening performance, we always have a substantial lunch and then a light supper after the ballet is over. Our three favorite restaurants for that lunch are EMP, The Modern Dining Room, and Gabriel Kreuther. Which we choose depends on what day we are going to the ballet. EMP serves lunch only Fri., Sat., & Sun; The Modern M-Sat.; and Kreuther, M-F. For supper after the ballet, we usually go to Lincoln Ristorante which is right at Lincoln Center.

Off-topic but I love the differentiation between “dinner” and “supper.” Growing up in Atlanta Sunday dinner was midday after church.

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Thank you again, very insightful recommendations!

Between The Modern vs Aquavit - which one would you pick and why?

Not @RGR obviously.

But personally between the two I would choose The Modern. The menu is much more innovative and execution more precise. Aquavit is fine, but for Nordic / Scandinavian cuisine in Manhattan Agern is a better option. Much better.

No question I’d choose The Modern as it is one of our favorite NYC restaurants. I love the style of cuisine served there, and Chef Bissell and his team are now at the top of their game. I can honestly say I’ve not had a dish they’ve prepared that wasn’t seriously delicious. Also, Pastry Chef Jhio Kim creates the most fabulous desserts. There’s a first class wine list, and my husband the wine drinker gives high marks to the wine pairings. Excellent service is a given, and the ambiance is attractive and comfortable.

While I like the ambiance at Aquavit, and service is always excellent, I’ve had mixed experiences with the food. When we’ve gone there for dinner, we’ve always had one of the two tasting menus. While some dishes have been wonderful, there have been others whose flavor profile I found unappealing. Our most recent meal there was lunch, and I actually loved the food because the style is very different from the dinner menu’s, i.e., basic rather “creative.”

Re: Agern. We went twice for dinner right after they first opened. For the most part, I don’t find the New Nordic style of cuisine served there particularly appealing (quite different from Aquavit which is Swedish-centric). There were some dishes I enjoyed; others not so much. And I absolutely hated the desserts.

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Just read a NYT review on Tratorria Italienne. Pete Wells mostly hated the place, but I have liked quite a few restaurants hated by the critics and the opposite is true for me as well.

@beam, I have no use for Wells. When it comes to media reviewers, I prefer Adam Platt (Grub Street/NY Magazine). He gave italienne a pretty enthusiastic 2 stars.

However, since those reviews came out, there have been significant changes at the restaurant. Several months ago, they changed from having two different menus (bar room vs. rear dining room) to just one menu throughout. And they recently rebranded as Trattoria Italienne.

Our first visit was right after they opened towards the end of 2016. We immediately became fans and have been back more than a dozen times (it’s a short walk from our apartment). In addition to Chef Sippel’s delicious cuisine, the welcome is warm, service is excellent, and the ambiance is pleasing. Definitely a winning combination.

I just returned from a great week of eating in NYC (often with a group of 4). If I were to return soon, I would strongly consider the following for 4 dinners:

Le Coucou (soft shell crab and the quenelles de brochet were outstanding)
The Grill (pasta a la presse to start, honey mustard duckling or tableside prime rib for main, Jack’s Pie on the side)
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Some high-end sushi - Sushi Noz, Noda, Sushi Ginza Onodera, etc.

For lunch, it really depends, but it’s hard to go wrong with Di Fara, Carbone, ramen, or a good deli sandwich to vary it up. Maybe a private tea tasting and just snack around the city (slice of pizza, Ceral Milk soft serve, grab a Tres Leches donut at Doughnut Plant, some Chinese in Flushing, etc.)

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I just have to ask: did you do anything other than eat?

Plenty! Shopping & window-shopping; visited museums (The Met, Guggenheim, Neue); visited some galleries / art installations; cafes / day drinking; ran in Central Park; visited friends in Brooklyn & met some family for drinks; walked through Brooklyn (Williamsburg & Greenpoint). Tons of walking. I’m exhausted. Only 1 dud throughout the trip (Cosme). I missed the World Science Festival among others.