I'm not going to say, as so many New Yorkers do, that I am indifferent to fame. I'm not. I still recalling seeing Merv Griffin from a distance once, and standing in line at a buffet behind Rip Taylor. So when people tell me they want to see the real A-listers, I respect that. And I tell them where to go.
Combining Keith McNally's flawless art direction with co-chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson's equally accomplished cooking, this elevated take on old New York outdoes both its models and its rivals.
Maybe the defining mid-century New York restaurant, The Four Seasons continues to be a gathering place for the most powerful and wealthy of Manhattan grandees. The food, as always, is an afterthought, but there is no better place than the Grill Room bar to have a martini.
Owned by Jay-Z and packed with Jay-Z wannabes, this club is full of action, drama, and bling, and there's no denying it.
The Spotted Pig invented the New York gastropub, for all intents and purposes, and it's still the best, thanks to the brilliance and integrity of chef April Bloomfield.
Any establishment owned by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter is bound to have an A-list crowd, and that, rather than the middling cocktails or unexceptional food, is the point of Monkey Bar and restaurants like it.
The hotel is a little over the top, and its bar and club scene even more so, but the restaurant at the Standard is surprisingly good, with legitimately seasonal, carefully sourced, simple food executed well. The front beer garden, with its elaborate sausage program, is fabulous as well.
Everyone talks a big game when it comes to seasonal cooking, but to my mind this place and Gramercy are the final word on the subject. I'm not completely in love with the room but the food is good in winter, glorious in spring, inspiring in summer, and very good in fall.
Conceived as a classic, old New York hangout, The Dutch delivered on its promise with a swinging crowd, a good, eclectic menu, and a first-rate cocktail program. Stop in for oysters or a steak, or, if it's available, chef Andrew Carmellini's fabulous fried chicken.
From the outside, La Esquina looks like a simple taqueria with a small dining room in back. But the real action is downstairs, where boulevardiers and beauties hobnob over custom cocktails, and chef Akthar Nawab directs one of the best Mexican kitchens in Manhattan.