(38th-59th, West of 6th)
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill: Japanese. 308 W 58th @ 8th-9th Av; 25/20/$64; 397-0404; Combining many elements of Blue Ribbon Sushi and Blue Ribbon (other Bromberg brother owned restaurants), this open-late mecca serves the highest quality sushi, rolls, steaks and fish; Also have various combo platters; Breakfast available; Top notch service; Expensive and perfect for a special occasion. Very classy inside. Oxtail fried rice.
Masseria Dei Vini: Italian. 887 9th Ave @ 57th-58th; 24/20/$63; 315-2888; www.masseriadeivini.com/; Quaint farmhouse setting and hearty cooking mark this great area option; Perfect pre-theater; Try the Pappardelle Bolognese or Squid ink spaghetti; Homemade pastas; Wood fire oven from Naples; Website gallery is awesome- food will force you to head there right now; Baked or fried calamari; Italian meat & cheese plate; The pizzas – way to go. Large overall menu.
Nobu 57: Japanese. 40 W 57th @ 5-6th Av; 27/24/$82; 757-3000; www.noburestaurants.com; Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa owned; Peruvian influence; Off the chart good. Ridiculously fresh sushi and fish/ seafood dishes; Fancy & Trendy; Celeb Hot Spot; Larger than Soho version and more comfort – same quality. All locations, now all over the world, provide that over the top experience, now sponsored by Robert DeNiro. Comfortable and not overly pretentious.
Basso56: Italian. 234 W 56th @ B-Way-8th; 23/18/$55; 265-2610; www.basso56.com; Extensive menu of consistent classics sure to please any patron; Ultra friendly service and ideal pre-theater; The Buffalo Mozz appetizer and Seafood pasta…mmm; Overall, the pasta dishes stand out with their simple creativity that always impresses; Very popular restaurant that almost never disappoints. Try the Grilled Calamari, Grilled shrimp or beef Carpaccio; Huge menu with added specials. Excellent choice!
Patsy’s: Italian. 236 56th @ BWay-8th; 22/18/$58; 247-3491; www.patsys.com; Old school feel; Restaurant decorated with celebrity memorabilia; Southern Italian classics; Sinatra’s old stomping grounds. At home cooking. I’d suggest getting an at-home type of meal like a red sauce based pasta dish; Or, buy their sauce or cookbook on the way out and enjoy at home; Perfect for out-of towners. Monstrous menu. Pricy for the area and genre.
Redeye Grill: American. 890 7th Av @ 56th; 21/21/$62; 541-9000; www.redeyegrill.com; High energy, always crowded and fun; Seafood-centric; Huge place; Sushi and sashimi available; Raw bar and seafood towers; Alaskan King Crab, Lobster Mac N Cheese, Mayan Shrimp, Peking Duck Quesadillas, Several cuts of steak; Many pasta dishes & they offer Seafood Paella, Yellowfin Tuna, Salmon & more. Basically – something for anyone. Even have a raw bar and several steak offerings. Brunch served with bottomless Mimosa/Bellino option.
Kashkaval Garden: Mediterranean. 852 9th Ave @ 55th-56th; 24/19/$29; www.kashkavalgarden.com/; Great first date spot – very affordable; Casual and offers large assortment of tapas; Also fondues; Near theater and endless bars; Kale salad, Hummus, Cheese & Meat plate with 5 items for $24, Brunch menu with $5 Bloodys or Caesars; Great overall wine & cocktail list; Grilled Cheese; Skewers, 3 types of fondue. 6 tapas for $23.
Molyvos: Greek. 871 7th Av @ 55-6th; 24/19/$59; 582-7500; www.molyvos.com; Greek greatness; Expertly prepared dishes; Stylish, spacious setting; Affordable $37 Prix fixe. Popular for lunch; Noted for Moussaka and whole fish specials. Baklava dessert is famous here; You can order online; Spiced Lamb spare ribs; Tons of appetizers to select from; Nice wine list. 3 spreads for $23; Lamb or spinach pie; Grilled whole fish.
La Bonne Soupe: French. 48 W 55th @ 6th; 20/15/$34; 586-7650; www.labonnesoupe.com; Authentic French food; Bistro feel; Cheese Fondue on the menu; French soups including perfection in French Onion. Large place. Very casual spot that is almost an upscale diner; Menu also features lots of varieties of crepes and salads; Steaks and usual French fare available. Good bang for the buck. Omelettes and Crepes as well.
Il Corso: Italian. 54 W 55th St @ 6th Av; 23/20/$54; 957-1500; www.ilcorsorestaurant.com; High end fine dining; Tables are separated nicely; Creative selections; Classy establishment & a friendly, professional staff. The Risotto and Tiramisu stand out. Slightly older crowd; Just a delicious menu with much to choose from – mostly classic Italian dishes with some unique offerings. Grilled Calamari, Grilled Octopus; Mozz di Buffala; Bronzino; Pan seared Tuna; Lots of great sides.
Tang Pavilion: Chinese. 65 W 55th @ 5-6th Av; 22/17/$38; 956-6888; Roomy quarters with spacious seating; Upscale, different types of selections; Shanghai style; Excellent service; Eight Jewelry Duck – Mmm; Can’t go wrong here. Better for dinner; They are an ‘upscale’ place with normal prices; Soup Dumplings available; Popular business lunch place; Décor and service is average. General Tso Shrimp. Endless menu.
Milos, Estiatorio: Greek. 125 W 55th @ 6-7th; 27/24/$91; 245-7400; www.milos.ca; Highest end Greek; Spectacular setting and unparalled service; Whole fish so fresh it personally greets you; Artic Char; Dover Sole from Holland; Sea Bass from NC; All selections served grilled with olive oil, herbs and lemon. Resort like décor; So frustrating it is so expensive; Seafood lovers dream. Grilled Calamari; Have early bird prix-fixe of $49 menu – 4 courses. Raw bar. All items on menu designed to share.
Yakitori Totto: Japanese. 251 W 55th St @ BWay-8th Av; 26/16/$46; 245-4555; www.tottonyc.com; Various forms and styles of Chicken on a stick. See website; This is a particular type of Japanese cooking and it is the best in the city. Try something original- it is gourmet! About 30 different types of Yakitori and also noodles, soups and a few entrees now; Sit at the chef’s counter or a table. Tokyo style cuisine. Lunch – $10 gets you a gourmet meal. Inexpensive and a lot of fun.
Torishin: Japanese. 362 W 53rd @ 9th Ave; 25/19/$84; 757-0108; http://torishinny.com/; Chicken heaven at this yakitori house; Amazing skewers – absolutely mouthwatering; Fun to sit at the bar and have saki with them; Website is excellent with great photos; Order a la carte or try a 10 skewer set with 7 meats and 3 vegetables for $65/ person. Have pork and duck as well. Try this experience once at least. 1 Michelin star!
Remi: Italian. 145 W 53rd @ 6-7th Av; 22/23/$65; 581-4242; www.remi-nyc.com/; Venetian meals prepared flawlessly; Risotto dishes stand out; Lively space great for dates or groups; Tuna-filled ravioli; Murals set the décor. Homemade pastas; Unfortunately, fairly pricy; Great wine list; Imported Buffalo Mozz; Grilled Bronzino; Pastas are $25 (buts tons to choose from) and Entrees $35+. Ossobuco, Sea Bass, Veal Chop.
Taboon: Middle Eastern. 773 10th Av @ 52nd; 26/21/$52; 713-0271; Flat out awesome place; To die for Fresh bread; Festive atmosphere; Oasis; Relaxed setting. Stone oven prepared foods; Tsatsiki & hummus are unreal. Sauteed Calamari; The breads are delish; Osso Bucco, short ribs, halibut; Sea Scallop appetizers; Menu is extremely eclectic and worth a try. You will love it. Oxtail cigars; Grilled Calamari. I absolutely love this place; Great cocktails as well.
Danji: Korean. 346 W 52nd @ 8th-9th Av; 25/19/$49; 586-2880; http://danjinyc.com/; Midtown Korean tapas; Great service; Try the spicy pork belly sliders; Braised short ribs; Yellowtail sashimi; Place is extremely popular; Spicy Korean wings; Tofu is excellent for vegetarians; Kimchi pork dumplings; Just a very innovative place that stands out and is worth a try.
Russian Samovar: Russian. 256 W 52nd @ BWay-8th Av; 21/21/$62; 757-0168; www.russiansamovar.com/; Ideal pre-theater spot for a flavored infused vodka flight; Menu features great Caviar, Smoked Salmon, Beef Stroganoff, and Russian Pirogies. Expensive price tag on the food. The best thing to do is share appetizers and vodkas. Beware – the drinks catch up to you quickly. Stylish setting.
Victor’s Café: Cuban. 236 W 52nd @ B-Way-8th Av; 22/21/$55; 586-7714; www.victorscafe.com; Lively Cuban; High energy dining; Delicious Cuban classics & modern takes on traditional dishes; Strong, creative drinks. Certainly a fun vibe; You must have a Mojito or Sangria here; Flexible dining – prix fixe lunch or dinner or a la carte & brunch available; Try the Ropa Vieja – house specialty (steak dish). Large menu. Perfect pre-theater.
Pure Thai Cookhouse: Thai. 766 9th Ave @ 51st-52nd; 26/15/$28; 581-0999; www.purethaicookhouse.com/; Genuine Thai shophouse style restaurant; Homemade noodles are the secret; They offer small plates (snacks) for under $10, wonderful stir-fried dishes; Amazing noodle dishes including Pad Thai with Shrimp; Also, pure Thai noodle soups such as the seafood soup and duck noodle soup. Décor is okay- small place and stools for seating. Best for lunch.
K Rico: South American Steakhouse. 772 9th Av @ 51st-52nd; 23/20/$65; 977-6000; http://kriconyc.com/; First up – the weekend brunch is great – unlimited Mimosas, Bloodys and Margaritas for $25 with entrée; Great menu as well; For dinner, you must have a giant steak for $40 something – cheap for the genre; The mixed grill for 2 at $62 is a bargain; Mixed Cerviches as well; Roasted Oysters; Chilean Sea Bass; Giant Port Chop; Fun menu – not a place they bring skewers.
Capital Grill: Steakhouse. 120 W 51st @ 6th-7th Av; 24/22/$67; 246-0154; www.thecapitalgrille.com; Amazing Steaks; Clubby Feel; Business types; Extremely friendly service; Time-Life Building. Lobster Mac n Cheese side stands out; Steaks arguably smaller than some of its competitors; Great bar scene; Slightly larger menu than most. Chrysler Building location is the flagship. Cold shellfish platter for 2: $50; Great soups and salads; Seared Tuna; Chilean Sea Bass; Less expensive then most.
Ruth’s Chris: Steakhouse. 148 W 51st @ 6-7th Av; 26/22/$76; 245-9600; www.ruthschris.com; New Orleans themed; Large, sizzling steaks; Tender, cooked in butter. Relaxed, cool setting – not gruff; Great décor and friendly –normal- staff. Steaks cooked in 1,800 degree oven and served on 500 degree plate; Large selection of seafood to go along with the steaks- which are why you come here. Seared Ahi Tuna; Lobster tails; Lamb Chops; All the usual cuts of steak.
Le Bernardin: French. 155 W 51st @ 6th-7th Av; 29/27/$170; 554-1515; www.le-bernardin.com; This Michelin 3-star rated restaurant, and #1 in Zagats 8 years running always shines; Famed chef Eric Ripert shows off his best work when you order the $150 prix fixe at dinner- 4 courses; Seafood-centric dishes; Save money by going at lunch ($87 prix fixe). Issues: Besides the price, jackets required. See website for seasonal menu. Only on my website because it is #1 ranked every year. You will spend $500/couple minimum here with drinks.
Hell’s Kitchen: Mexican. 754 9th Av @ 50th-51st; 23/16/$43; 977-1588; www.hellskitchen-nyc.com; Creative dishes; New location with Great food; Toxic Margaritas; Sleek interior. One of the first ‘upscale’ Mexicans. Ahi crusted tuna stands out; Guac is outstanding; Menu is very unique and they have a fun cocktail list; Pre-theater favorite. I’d call in New American with a Mexican twist. Great vibe for a date. Excellent location.
Chez Napoleon: French. 365 50th @ 8-9th Av; 24/17/$52; 265-6980; www.cheznapoleon.com; Old fashioned setting; Great service; Large menu with all the French classics; Excellent food! Pre-theater; Family-owned- like dining at an old friend’s home; Steak au Poivre stands out; Been around since the 1960s; Great Martini menu and very affordable wines; Massive menu with every possible French classic; Just love this place.
Bann: Korean. 350 W 50th @ 8-9th; 23/21/$48; 582-4446; www.bannrestaurant.com; Upscale version of Korean; Cook it yourself Bar-b-q; Also have prepared dishes; Trendy bar as well; Beautiful inside; Service is solid; Smokeless table-tops; Undiscovered. Certainly a higher end version of the old favorites, the cheaper versions of which are found in Korea town (32nd). Sibling of Woo Lae Oak; Great date spot. Great formula.
Natsumi: Japanese. 226 W 50th @ B-Way-8th; 23/19/$45; 258-2988; www.natsuminyc.com; Japanese-Italian fusion but it works; King Crab dumplings; Fun scene at the bar/ lounge; Attentive service; Great date spot due to the scene; Spicy seafood soup; Tuna tartar martini; Crispy Calamari; Rock shrimp tempura; Full sushi bar with a huge number of selections; About 30+ types of rolls including special rolls; Cooked dishes;
Palm: Steakhouse. 250 50th @ BWay-8th Av; 25/19/$76; 333-7256; www.thepalm.com; Gargantuan steaks and enormous lobsters; No-nonsense; Saloon type décor. Original location closed but 3 total in NYC; Old style feel. It is a chain restaurant now, losing some of its cache; Seared Ahi Tuna; They do have amazing sides; Rib Eye, Filet Mignon, and King Crab Legs. Italian on menu too. Lobsters up to 5 pounds. Huge menu.
Toloache: Mexican. 251 W 50th @ B-Way – 8th Av; 25/19/$45; 581-1818; www.toloachenyc.com; Bold new flavors at this creative new Mexican; Huge tequila selection ( 150+) & potent Margaritas; Décor is murals of Mexican scenes. Duplex scene great for groups; Menu is incredible – large special platters as well as simple taco entrees and quesadillas; Guacamole; Best Mexican in midtown. Ever improving quality. Brunch served.
Oceana: Seafood. 120 W 49th @ 6th-7th Av; 24/23/$83; 759-5941; www.oceanarestaurant.com; Spacious setting, more of a corporate setting focusing on happy hour and power lunches; Epic good (and expensive) raw bar; Trendy to grab a drink and appetizers at the bar which has a tasty & more affordable menu; Great menu, but main courses all north of $30 each; The fish and shellfish is excellent however. Incredible wine list. Seafood tower for 2 is $54. Grilled Halibut; Seafood Paella; Seared Yellowfin Tuna.
Churrascaria Plataforma: Brazilian. 316 W 49th @ 8-9th; 23/19/$71; www.churrascariaplataforma.com; All you can eat MEAT. Carnivore Heaven. Skewers of Meat from friendly servers. Giant all you can eat buffet/ salad bar keeps even vegetarians happy. $10 parking for up to 5 hours. Perfect for large groups or birthdays; Tip for newcomers – don’t grab all the meat they throw at you- wait for the best of the best (short ribs and steak). $62 for dinner prix fixe for everything. Lunch is $39. Worth it….
Del Frisco’s: Steakhouse. 1221 6th Av @ 49th; 25/23/$93; 575-5129; www.delfriscos.com; Great setting; Solid all way round; Pre-theater deal; Top beef served in a Texas-elegant setting; Generous with portions and drinks. Perfect service and a can’t go wrong experience. Crab cakes & creamed spinach most notable sides; Bacon strips available (off menu); Wall street type of crowd; Ahi Tuna, Seafood Soup, Expensive even for NYC. King Crab Gnocchi, Mac N Cheese side; Sea Bass. Power bar scene. Very expensive.
Print: New American. 653 11th Ave @ 48th; 24/24/$62; 757-2224; www.printrestaurant.com/; Stylish, cool as hell set up and décor; Rooftop lounge for drinks before or after at the Press Lounge; They serve breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner; Famous for their grilled octopus; Also, try the Rabbit, Rib Eye, Garganelli with Lamb Ragu; Bread comes with 3 types of butter; Menu items are seasonal; Pan Roasted Bronzino;
Patzeria Family & Friends: Italian. 311 W 48th @ 8th-9th Av; 24/17/$37; 245-4343; www.patzeriafamilyfriends.com/; Not a fancy place typical of this site; Warm, welcoming local Italian serving huge portions of truly well prepared Italian classics; Known more than anything for their Pizza; Ideal when you need a super casual meal or are in a rush; Grab a Pizza to share for the table, garlic Bread and a Peroni; Also good is the Rigatoni in Vodka; Spaghetti Bolognaise; Tons of Chicken & Veal dishes; Breakfast served too.
La Masseria: Italian. 235 W 48th @ B-Way-8th Av; 22/19/$56; 582-2111; www.lamasserianyc.com; You will be treated like family; Southern Italian classics; Eggplant & smoked Mozz with homemade pasta is a standout; Warm country house setting; Outstanding menu – go for 3 courses to enjoy it all (appetizer, pasta dish and main course); Wide selection of wines and desserts to top it off.
Wu Liang Ye: Chinese. 36 W 48th @ 5-6th Av; 24/14/$37; 398-2308; Inventive food; Unique Chinese choices and the classics; Great spices and hot dishes are hot. Beware of iffy service and not the greatest décor; Upscale Chinatown; Try the pan seared pork dumplings; Tofu and go for an amazing lunch special. Prawns in garlic sauce and the tangerine beef also stand out. Awesome choice for affordable Chinese outside Chinatown that doesn’t fall into the trap of overpricing the food.
Nano Ecuadorian Kitchen: Ecuadorian. 691 10th Av @ 47th-48th; 24/14/$32; 646-649-4678; Absolutely traditional menu; Ask the waiter to suggest something based on your preference; Great portions – enough to share; Very small space so make a Rez; The Seco de Pollo – spicy and sour chicken with rice and plantains is popular; Try a Rum based cocktail; Experiment with something new.
Glass House Tavern: American. 252 W 47th @ B-Way-8th; 20/21/$46; 730-4800; www.glasshousetavern.com; Perfect for pre-theater; Huge place with stylish décor- more airy than tavern; Top notch service will get you to your show on time; Bi-level setting; Brunch, lunch, and pre-theater specials available; Rock Shrimp Risotto; Lamb Shank; Lots of fun pasta dishes; Fresh Mozz; Just a fun place a large crowd can all enjoy. Quieter upstairs. Prix-fixe available.
Blue Fin: Seafood. 1567 B-Way @ 47th; 22/21/$62; 918-1400; www.bluefinnyc.com/; Seafood palace; Crowded; Noisy; Cavernous, sleek; Steve Hanson owned; Despite touristy location – great meal will be had. Tuna tartare and ultra fresh sushi stand out; Oh, and try the Lobster Bisque; Eat upstairs and beforehand, have a drink at downstairs bar (pricy though); Brunch served; Raw bar as well; 1000+ wines. Large menu to please all including big sushi menu.
Utsav: Indian. 1185 6th Ave @ 46th-47th; 20/20/$43; 575-2525; www.utsavny.com/; Known as a mid-town lunch option in the heart of Times Square & the companies on 6th Av around here; $22 buffet daily featuring a nice selection; They do a great job with their Naan; Prices are too high on a la carte menu ($20-$27) for the genre; However, if you recently got paid, the food is quite good though better options near by. Perfect for lunch.
Daisy May’s BBQ: BBQ. 623 11th Av @ 46th; 22/7/$23; 977-1500; www.daisymaysbbq.com; Amazing smokey ribs, chicken and Southern classics; Tasty sides; Get it to go; Stay – if you like a dive-diner setting. Real south in NYC. The BBQ overall is great for NYC standards and good-solid for overall standards; They do get that nice smokey flavor right. Drink it down with amazing sweet tea served in a mason jar.
Lattanzi: Italian. 361 W 46th @ 8-9th Av; 23/21/$53; 315-0980; www.lattanzinyc.com; Pre-Theater favorite; Wonderful back garden, friendly service, romantic setting; Food not bad either! Perfect before show. Pastas are a stand-out; The food is overpriced overall but a great fallback to Becco on Restaurant Row for a pre-theater Italian; Very strong wine list as well. Old world feel to it.
Becco: Italian. 355 W 46th @ 8-9th; 23/18/$44; 397-7597; www.becco-nyc.com; All u can eat Pasta for $19.95- 3 selections to choose from- tableside service; Other great selections on menu choices (way to go); Nice bar; Massive $29 a bottle wine list; Yet still upscale & perfect pre-theater. Immensely popular and best Italian on restaurant row; Overall- they do a great job, especially if you are in a rush.
Sushi of Gari: Japanese. 347 W 46th @ 8-9th; 27/15/$75; 957-0046; www.sushiofgari.com; Melt in your mouth fresh sushi; Absolutely straight from the sea; Unique combos; Order ‘off-menu’; Omakase- $~75. Sushi is served as works of art; Can order a la carte as well. Meticulously presented sushi, exquisitely plated, and of the highest freshness and quality. Teriyaki, tempura and noodle dishes available as well. Closed Monday. For $55 you can have Tuna of Gari – 8 pieces of Tuna sushi & a Tuna Roll.
Bourbon Street Bar: Cajun. 346 46th @ 8-9th Av; 19/21/$40; 245-2030; www.bourbonny.com; Classic New Orleans setting complete with wrought iron fencing; Alligator on menu; Classic Jambalaya; Tasty cuisine and great place to have a drink anytime. Be prepared – much more of a happy hour/ late night bar scene than a restaurant but if you want great pub/ Cajun fare – this is it. Umm Crawfish Mac N Cheese!!
Orso: Italian. 322 W 46th @ 8th-9th Av; 24/20/$56; 489-7212; www.orsorestaurant.com; One of the best “restaurant row” restaurants; Wonderful appetizers including Bufala Mozz, Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar, Escargot, Beef Carpaccio and Veal & Ricotta meatballs; 6-7 pizza entrees; Lots of meat and pasta dishes – pasta available in half portions; Great sides; Superior pre-theater choice and quality Tuscan fare. Old world pre-theater star.
Queen of Sheba: Ethiopian. 650 10th Av @ 45-6th; 24/16/$32; 397-0610; www.shebanyc.com; Great portions of flavorful dishes to share of the classic Ethiopian injera bread; Iffy service made up for by top quality cuisine; Trendy scene; I suggest getting the combo plates for main courses: Taste of Sheba for meat dishes and Sheba Vegetarian as all the food is great! Amazing to experience good Ethiopian food – can’t recommend it enough. Better than Indian food!
Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse: Steakhouse. 269 W 45th @ B-Way-8th Av; 21/16/$69; 997-9494; This location has been around since Babe Ruth’s era; Speakeasy-ish vibe; Old school waiters in bow ties; Another location on 37th and 5th Av with less history; Standard menu with Sirloin, Rib Eye, Porterhouse & Filet Mignon available; Salmon, Sole, Lobster and Shrimp also on menu. Veal chops; Lamb Chops.
The Marshall: American. 628 10th Av @ 44-45th; 24/18/$53; 582-6300; www.the-marshal.com/; New American, farm to table hot spot with fun cocktails and a Sunday Brunch menu (drinks $12); Menu has about a dozen appetizers and a dozen entrees; Great selection includes: Burrata, Wood Over Mac n Cheese, Pork Meatballs, Deviled Eggs, Lamb Shank, Arctic Char, tons of sides and their famous Meat Loaf.
44 & X Hell’s Kitchen: American. 622 10th Av @ 44th; 22/19/$45; 977-1170; www.44andX.com; Essentially a storefront with outdoor dining in summer; Fancy versions of comfort food; Incredible Mac n cheese; Lively bar scene as well. Gay friendly vibe; Lunch, brunch and dinner served; Lobster tacos on menu; Great mix of meat and seafood dishes and lots of amazing appetizers; Solid for any palate. Best for brunch outdoors on a sunny day.
Marseille: French. 630 9th Av @ 44th; 21/20/$51; 333-3410; www.marseillenyc.com; Mediterranean influenced; Unique menu with classics and innovative dishes; Spacious setting with a nice pre-drink bar area; Sexy scene. Cool décor; Mixed reviews; Try a standard such as Steak Frites and you’ll be pleased; $35 3 course prix fixe available; Menu truly is wide and varied and I enjoy this place;
Carmine’s: Italian. 200 44th @ B-Way; 22/17/$48; 221-3800; www.carminesnyc.com; Legendary Italian institution; Family Style featuring Massive portions; Great for a group; Loud and always packed; Incredibly fun if not the best quality wise. Go with Italian classic standards and prepare to have fun; Reserve well in advance; Food features lots of garlic (perfect for me). High energy – polished service. Must go here once in your life.
Chimichurri Grill: Argentinean/Steak. 609 9th Av @ 43rd-44th; 23/17/$55; 586-8655; www.chimichurrigrill.com; The place to go for a ‘tier-2’ steakhouse; More affordable than the Del Friscos of the world; The Short Ribs and the mixed grill will leave you mouth-watering and extremely stuffed; Tons of salads, sides and appetizers; Go for the swiss chard empanada apps! Grilled calamari; Tons of grilled meats to select from for main course.
Esca: Seafood. 402 W 43rd @ 9th Av; 25/20/$75; www.esca-nyc.com; Italian-Seafooder; Mario Batali owned; Top of the line fresh fish and amazing pasta dishes; Excellent setting and service. Whole fish available and served beautifully; Very pricy, especially if you have a bottle of wine; NY Times 3-stars; Food quality is top notch; Portions could be bigger; $75 tasting menu available or a-la carte; Massive wine list. Hamachi, Snapper, Arctic Char, Sablefish and other rarely found seafood fish entrees. Huge menu for a foodie place.
Tony’s DiNapoli: Italian. 147 W 43rd @ 6th Av – B-Way; 21/18/$50; 221-0100; www.tonysnyc.com; You come here when you have a big group, will probably get loud, and are not in a rush; Family style at its best; Similar to Carmines; Massive portions meant to share; Affordable drinks; Red sauce classics; Menu has everything; Really strong, fun option; Holidays, birthdays etc. But – tourism central. Not great for a date.
Chez Josephine: French. 414 W 42nd @ 9-10th; 22/23/$55; 594-1925; www.chezjosephine.com; Tribute to Josephine Baker; Fine French food; Elegant and welcoming. Fun decorations reminding one of her day; Large menu; Live piano on occasion; 25+ years in existence; Brunch available; Menu tends towards the New-American end of the spectrum; Fabulous soups. Escargot to die for.
Aureole: American. 135 W 42nd @ B-Way-6th Av; 26/24/$86; 319-1660; www.charliepalmer.com; High end players and celebrities frequent the bar; Impeccable service and gorgeous décor- fairly modern; Prix-fixe only dinner in dining room for $89; Charlie Pakmer’s flagship; Can eat in large bar-room for much less (Apps- ~$19, Entrees ~$35); Delicious menu for those who can afford it; The epitome of high-end American. 1 Michelin star.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse: Steakhouse. 250 West 41st @ 7th-8th; 26/20/$84; 921-3720; www.wolfgangssteakhouse.net; Started by former head waiter at Peter Lugar’s; Incredible Porterhouse; Wildly popular; Vaulted ceilings; Laid back, with old-school cool; Gorgeous décor and fish-friendly menu as well; Gruff waiters; Creamed spinach & German potatoes are famous; Bacon by the slice; Freshest Mozz; Sea Bass; Yellowfin Tuna; Rib Eye; One of 5 Manhattan locations. Masterfully done steaks – top 3 in city.
Il Punto: Italian. 507 9th Av @ 38th; 22/18/$47; 244-0088; www.ilpuntoristorante.com; Despite poor location, incredible food; More than made up for by welcoming staff & family owned excellence. Gorgeous inside; Puglian inspired menu. Try the lobster ravioli and other seafood dishes- very fresh; Homemade dishes and many menu selections not typical of an Italian restaurant. Monk fish is awesome.