The area around Central Park isn't generally thought of a great restaurant neighborhood, and for good reason. But, inexplicably, its southwest corner may be the greatest concentration of culinary genius in the entire world.
Precise almost to a fault, this expression of eponymous chef Jean George Vongerichten provides one of the most buttoned-up, elegant, and thoughtful taste experiences in America -- and sometimes, the most surprising.
Sue Torres' supremely authentic and painstaking Mexican food deserves a hell of a lot more credit that it gets; this place is one of the best restaurants of its kind in the city.
Jean Georges' more casual, less expensive sibling is an annex within the restaurant; if you didn't know better, you might just think it a lounge.
The big prestige restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, Asiate has what is undoubtedly one of, if not the best view in New York. It's utterly weatherproof, so watching a storm here is an especially perverse pleasure, one that makes you feel almost godlike in your power. It's great on a nice night too. But plan on bringing a bag of krugerands to pay for your meal.
Say this for New York's sushi king -- he is at work behind the bar every day, and when you splurge on his omakase menu, it is the master himself who hands you each piece of magic.
When asked, as I often am, for my opinion on the best steakhouse in New York, I often hem and haw. The meat may be better at Minetta Tavern, the sides at BLT Prime, the atmosphere (and nothing else) at Peter Luger. But for the overall package of flawless service, great meat, and by far the loveliest and most relaxing room of any steakhouse I know, the answer is surely Porterhouse New York. Here's a tip: go have a steak sandwich and an Old Fashioned at the bar, during the day. It's a great NYC experience.
An uptown clone of the downtown original, it shares its sibling's best qualities: fabulous sushi, a cool vibe, and a great cocktail program.
Austro-Hungarian food can't be executed more perfectly, or to better effect, than it is at this superb, understated restaurant, a favorite of off-duty chefs.
Known, rightly, as the city's most admired Italian restaurant, the secret of Marea is that Michael White's pastas, and not the restaurant's fish entrees. How could they not be anti-climactic after the "Sultan of Spaghetti's" signature dishes?
Former Per Se chef Jonathan Benno brings his precision and brilliance to the famously informal food of Italy. It should be a mismatch, but both sides benefit from this odd marriage, and Benno's commitment to changing the menu from region to region adds another level of interest. A truly special restaurant.