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"Per Se is so 2009"
September 1, 2011 10:21 AM   Subscribe

He's a Very Serious Food Nerd. I just like to eat stuff. We live in Manhattan and I'm taking him out tonight. Help?

Ok! So, I'm taking Dude out for a nice dinner tonight, just because.

He's really nerdy about food and cooking - only reads cookbooks, has opinions on celebrity chefs, grows his own veggies. I, on the other hand, will eat pretty much anything and know little about the Manhattan restaurant scene.

I need recommendations for restaurants in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. I have seen the NY Magazine editor's list, and I can imagine all of the food itself is amazing. But they could be totally loud or totally crowded, which will make me batty.

He mentioned being interested in Co Pane, but reviews say it's so loud you can't hear each other across the table. This is my backup though.

For your consideration:

* I'm willing to spend around $200ish, but less is better

* Doesn't have to be crazy upscale, snobby, or pretentious

* Does have to make him think of me as SO TOTALLY THOUGHTFUL AND AWESOME

* Can't be super crowded or loud - I want to relax and enjoy

* If reservations are necessary, they'd have to be open to me making one today

Thanks!
posted by functionequalsform to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you considered a trip to Eataly? He could geek out in there, and then you guys could get some (amazing) pizza and gelato or something.
posted by saladin at 10:28 AM on September 1, 2011


Does it HAVE to be in Chelsea?
posted by The Bellman at 10:28 AM on September 1, 2011


Depends on how many brownie points I'll score delicious the place is. Chelsea is highly preferred.
posted by functionequalsform at 10:33 AM on September 1, 2011


You are looking for a place that doesn't require a reservation, is incredibly delicious, costs under 200 bucks and will please a huge food nerd who happens to have chef knowledge. The place you want is momfuku (the original, not one of the new places). You'll have a wait a bit, but it will be worth it. It just doesn't happen to be in Chelsea.
posted by The Bellman at 10:38 AM on September 1, 2011


Spice Market (you can probably get a late table)
posted by mkultra at 10:39 AM on September 1, 2011


Eataly is super-loud and crowded, and the food is so-so. If you want something quiet and cozy, that particular place won't work out for you.

Some people say that Morimoto is overrated, but when I ate there it was delicious, and it certainly has the celebrity chef angle. It's also expensive, however, so if you're big eaters keeping it under $200 would be tricky.

I'll be honest with you: if you want really amazing food for not a ton of money and on short notice, you might be better off making the trek over to the East Village. Or Brooklyn, if you're feeling adventurous.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:40 AM on September 1, 2011


Try Scarpetta. I've had some success getting same-day reservations there. It's on 14th and 9th.
posted by bedhead at 10:41 AM on September 1, 2011


Should have previewed!

OH GOD MOMOFUKU, restaurant of dreams! That's exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned the East Village.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:41 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know. All the good food's in Brooklyn now. :-/
posted by functionequalsform at 10:41 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


relax - I got this. I'm this guy.

Co. is quite good, but its still pizza, and not really much more. I like it, but wouldn't be impressed by someone taking me out there.

In that general nabe you should go to Aldea. 17th between 5th and 6th. Near the top of your range price wise, generally considered by the congnoscenti to be one of the better serious food places to open in the last few years - along with Brooklyn Fare and the Chef'st Table at Roberta's - neither of which you are going to get into. You will need a booking for Aldea.

Txikito next door to Co. is very good as well, but its small plates, and bit frenetic.

Also probably doesn't bring it for a food person the way Aldea and George Mendes do. I generally place zero creedence in awards and what not, but it sounds like this guy might, Mendes and Carlo Mirachi (of Roberta's) were F&W best new chefs NYC last year.

If you are willing to go further afield - two really good ideas are Degustation and Kyo Ya both in the east village. Kyo Ya especially would be cool - Kaseiki restaurant.

There are other places that are lots of Eater driven hype - some of them are actually pretty good (locanda verde for example) - but a lot of them don't deliver.

Also avoid all places in the Meatpacking. They blow.

I can't in good faith tell you to go to momofuku - its a shadow of what it once was. The Changster doesn't care about Ssam anymore, and all of the talent that made it great has gone elsewhere.

(Brooklyn food ex- BF, Robertas, and Frannies is overrated on top of overrated.)
posted by JPD at 10:45 AM on September 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Red Cat is solid, local to Chelsea , and quiet, but not famous.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:46 AM on September 1, 2011


Also listen to JPD.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2011


Feel free to listen to JPD, but not about momofuku. I was there a few months ago and had a meal as good as any I had when it was Chang's only restaurant and no one had heard of it. And yes, I'm that guy. Not that it matters -- JPD has given you plenty of Chelsea spots.
posted by The Bellman at 10:51 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was there a few months ago and had a meal as good as any I had when it was Chang's only restaurant and no one had heard of it.

This is a weird comment to me, because Ssam was always where the 'fuku team did its most interesting work.
posted by JPD at 10:55 AM on September 1, 2011


I've been to Kyo Ya, found it on accident on my last trip to the city. Amazing place, that one.
posted by rocketman at 11:59 AM on September 1, 2011


Unfortunately, it's in the East Village.
posted by rocketman at 12:01 PM on September 1, 2011


I was there a few months ago and had a meal as good as any I had when it was Chang's only restaurant and no one had heard of it. And yes, I'm that guy

I think you're talking about Momofuku Noodle Bar? Not Ssam Bar?
posted by kathryn at 2:31 PM on September 2, 2011


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