Brad and I go out on a date night every Wednesday. We have a standing babysitter so we plan these dinners out way in advance and love to try the latest and greatest on the NYC scene. Here’s some of the places we went to in June…
Amazing. Ranked one of the best new restaurants by NY Mag for 2012. You choose between either a 7 or 20 course price fix menu. We went with the 7, but I totally could have done the 20! You start off with a bunch of antipasti type dishes, then move into the main and a small dessert (we actually ordered an additional dessert and then stopped by Rice to Riches on the way home since we were in the neighborhood – pigs!). Oh, and Oprah, Gayle, and Diane Sawyer sat at the table next to us. We have one lousy picture that Brad took while trying to be inconspicuous. This is a very small restaurant and reservations can be tricky, so call early!
Bar Boulud (brunch)
This place is right around the corner from us and we seriously go there once a month. This time we took the kids after church for brunch and sat outside. This is a great place for outdoor seating since it’s pretty spacious and you are far away from the traffic. If you have an event at Lincoln Center this would be the perfect place to go before/after. Your typical french fare, but I especially love the steak and fries. Insider tip – if you can’t get a reservation, they have a long bar that’s for walk-ins and is totally comfortable to sit at.
Not our first (or last!) time at this spot. Marcus Samuelsson’s unique take on comfort food in the heart of Harlem. It’s worth trekking up there for the people watching alone! All the dishes we’ve had from here have been stellar, but you must get the cornbread. We actually order an extra portion just to take home for leftovers. If you can’t get a table (and reservations are hard to come by), the outside seating is a great walk-in option and provides even better people watching. Be sure to try the sweet potato doughnuts for dessert as well.
An upper westside gem. Great seasonal menu with really fresh and inventive dishes. Intimate atmosphere and really friendly staff. Nothing pretentious about this place, just consistently great food. I always get a fish dish for my main course and usually get the dessert special, which was a peach and blackberry clafoutis this time – delicious.
Beauty & Essex (brunch)
Yet another place we have frequented a handful of times. Great for a fun night out with friends. The scene is second to none in the city and the food is really exceptional given how cool this place is. Inside tip – yes, the weird looking storefront is the entrance. You just walk through it and into the door in the back. Not sure if they actually sell anything there, but it definitely threw me off the first time I went (we actually followed up that night by trying to get into a cab that was part of a movie scene – what a tricky city this is!).
I took Brad here for Father’s Day brunch thinking that a babysitter and adult beverages were exactly what he needed. I’ve always loved the food here for dinner and brunch was more of the same. Inventive bites meant to share. Everything is very flavorful. Even the cocktails were unique and packed a bunch. Must try the beignets and the fried chicken biscuit bites. The lobster tacos and spiced fries (they taste like bbq chips) are also great for either day or night.
Ditch Plains (brunch)
Done by the same people as Landmac (where we go or order from almost weekly). There’s nothing revolutionary about this place, but I mention it for all the parents out there. The UWS locations has TVs in each booth. Oh yes. It’s the best form of babysitting there is. Although I have seen strollers at even the most expensive restaurants in nyc, it’s always nice to be able to eat with both a fork and knife while the kids are entertained. And the food is actually really good. A diverse menu so everyone is happy.