It's graduation time for students, undergrad and otherwise, all around the New York City metro area. That means a celebration out somewhere, but it's not an easy find: it has to be exciting and special, but also quiet enough for older people like parents, and serving food that is special but will at the same time please a big, diverse group. Also they have to be able to accomodate large parties. And not be horrendously expensive. No problem! Here are ten such places.
Though best known for its siu lim bao, or soup dumplings, Joe's is one of New York's best introductions to the cuisine of Shanghai, one of China's noblest cookeries.
No one talks about it anymore, but Molyvos reigned for a long time as the city's best Greek restaurant. And maybe it still is. Certainly the place took Greek cooking and modernized it before anyone else has. The food is elevated by homey and the room always comfortable and the service tight. The price is right too; a great choice in midtown.
"Big Box" Japanese restaurants are generally low-quality, off-brand affairs, but EN is as good as it is big. Avoid the New York cliches (e.g. miso cod, etc. ) and ask for the actual Japanese standards at which the place excels.
Tocqueville is the great New York restaurant everybody forgets about; the one that falls between the cracks. As it's name implies, its the kind of restaurant that gets appreciated most by other chefs. A labor of love from its chef-owner Marco Moreira, the French-inflected food is luxurious, idiosyncratic, and totally timess; Moreira cooks as though he didn't care what year it was, and he doesn't. But his kitchen if one of the best in the city, for those who know about it.
Former Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle gets more buzz for The Marrow and Kin Shop, but this American classic, straighforwardly brilliant, is his best restaurant -- and one of the best in the city.
Pretty the much the perfect New York neighborhood restaurant. It's hidden away on a curving sidestreet in the west village; it has a perfectly preserved art deco decor; a great drink program; and, most important, one of the best chefs in New York, if not the country, in the criminally underrated Harold Moore. It can get noisy though, so come for an early dinner.
Just a perfect restaurant. The food is superior, if not great; the room is sunny and electric, and the lunch, dinner, and dessert programs are all equally perfect. The ultimate Manhattan casual Italian restaurant.
If you love the "three Ps" of Roman cooking -- pork, pecorino, and pepper -- you will love Maialino, which is uniquely dedicated to that flavor profile. Danny Meyer's Italian restaurant has the usual flawless service and a big, sunny room at Breakfast with its own wonderful menu.
This small but perfect jewelbox of a bistro has everything going for it: a talented young chef, a great location, and a natural, neighborhood feeling. It's a French version of the little owl, essentially.
A very fine example of the "lardcore" or modern southern restaurant; certainly the most refined. It shares with its brooklyn sibling, Char No. 4, an extensive bourbon selection.