A vivid triptych of a stormy ocean looms over the Le Bernardin dining room, where jacket-clad waiters dart nimbly amongst white-clothed tables and leather chairs. In the kitchen, Eric Ripert whips up the creative French-inspired seafood dishes that have earned the restaurant a 26 year-long standing as a New York Times four-star establishment.
Dizzy’s elevates jazz from the dark, smoky vaults of underground clubs––literally. The venue hovers several stories above Central Park, allowing patrons to digest spectacular views alongside soul food as hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, and fried chicken.
Chef Craig Koketsu likes to request exclusive cuts from his meat suppliers, Milton Abeles and Strassburger Meats. Case in point: the 64-oz. double rib steak, which two people typically share beneath the repurposed market scales and butcher hooks that make up Quality Meats’ lighting fixtures.
Whole chicken and premium soy sauce make up the base of the Totto Chicken Paitan Ramen, this busy restaurant’s signature dish. The complex broth is further flavored by char siu pork and nori, and for a dollar or two diners can add toppings including kikurage mushrooms, spicy sesame oil, and seasoned avocado. Arrive early to beat the lunch rush.
Slicing into a thick porterhouse, it's easy to picture yourself schmoozing with the famous clients who have been patronizing Keens since it was founded by a prominent Herald Square theater figure in 1885. Reminders of its chummy pipe club history are everywhere, most notably in the form of thousands of churchwarden pipes that once belonged to Buffalo Bill Cody, Teddy Roosevelt, and other legendary figures.
Chef Michael White makes all of his pastas in house, sculpting delicate tagliatelle and plump gnochetti by hand before showering them in fresh seafood plucked from Mediterranean waters. A lengthy European wine list pairs with an equally expansive menu of oceanic fare ranging from caviar to whole, salt-baked Italian Branzino.
It’s difficult to pinpoint a single reason for La Grenouille’s enduring popularity. As it marks its 50th birthday, the restaurant is renowned as much for its eclectic crowds and elaborate sprays of flowers as for its classical French cuisine. The Midtown mainstay keeps diners on their toes with bilingual menus grounded in seasonal ingredients.
Sparks ages its sirloin with a secret blend of wet and dry methods, which makes it supremely tender. What’s tough, though, is deciding what to pair it with: the seemingly endless wine list has netted the restaurant Wine Spectator’s Grand Award dozens of times.
Awarded three stars (meaning excellent) from the New York Times, this sushi restaurant never sacrifices quality, despite the dozens of imported fish selections that change daily. Each fish–-from Spanish mackerel to white freshwater eel––is painstakingly inspected, then stored in boxes lined with Japanese cedar-wood until ready to be sliced into paper-thin sashimi or rolled into sushi.
An elegant “big top” covers guests who dine on wild halibut, rack of lamb, or foie gras ravioli at tables draped in crisp white cloth. Servers impress and entertain, not by juggling, but by filleting dover sole tableside. Ringmaster Serio Maccioni also makes an appearance at each table to personally greet his guests.
Deal or no deal, our editors strongly recommend these businesses based on their reputation, popularity, and quality of service.