Masa, located in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle is a thoroughly unique dining experience. There are no windows. There is no menu. You order a specialty cocktail made with top-shelf ingredients, then Chef Masa Takayama, just inches away, goes to work on a three-hour multi-course meal of the most mouthwatering, heart-melting sushi. But the fact that Masa is one of a microscopic few non-French establishments to be awarded The New York Times' coveted four star honors is evidence that being at the chef's mercy can only be a great thing. A step into Bar Masa next door is also worthwhile.
Chic and supremely popular, Gramercy Tavern is known among the Manhattan elite for its excellent service, superb food, plush interiors, and extensive wine list. The restaurant boasts two distinct dining options: you can enjoy a cozy, à la carte meal in the Tavern or indulge in the prix fixe experience in the Dining Room. Chef Michael Anthony proudly sources ingredients from local vendors, creating sensational dishes that change with the seasons. Whether you're snacking on treats like Wagyu pastrami and fluke tartare in the Tavern or reveling in courses like pork belly with peaches and strawberry brown butter cake for dessert in the Dining Room, you're sure to be amazed by Gramercy Tavern.
Since 1896, the Rao family has served traditional Neapolitan dishes to diners in the area of East Harlem. Its tucked cozily on the corner of Pleasant Avenue and 114th St., pegged right against the East River and Jefferson Park, but even if you made the trip up here, it wouldn't be worth it because once you arrive your chances of getting a table are miniscule to none. That's because Rao's has the reputation of being one of the most difficult places to get a table in the entire city. In fact, there are only about 8 to 10 tables here and you practically have to know somebody like Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen or Anthony Salerno to eat here. Nonetheless, the fam has another location in Las Vegas, where it's much easier to get in. They sell homemade sauces, oils and vinegar here to go along with your recipes, for which they have also uploaded a page full of recipes that can be prepared at home just by using the ingredients from the store. Some of their prominent dishes are broccoli rabe, lemon chicken and baked clams.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's impeccable French Contemporary restaurant, located on the southwest corner of Central Park in the Trump International Hotel & Tower, offers modern French food with Pan-Asian and other modern influences. The gleaming, modern space complements phenomenal dishes like herb-crusted rack of lamb and crispy sauteed frog legs. Black-clad waiters provide unsurpassed service.
A popular jazz club, Birdland is dedicated to Charlie Parker, a famed jazz musician nicknamed Bird. Located on West 44th Street, this place is all about soulful jazz music. Well spread with simple decor, the food here is typically spicy Southern cooking. The sirloin steak with gravy and the pork medallions with collared greens are worth trying. Musical greats like John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and, of course, Charlie Parker have all performed here. All in all, Birdland is a great place for jazz music. Glance through their website to see who's playing when.
Exceptional service and exquisite cuisine are the hallmarks of the Sea Fire Grill. With a raw bar offering chilled lobster, clams, oysters and shrimp, alongside a menu rife with seafood delicacies like basted Atlantic halibut, yellowfin tuna tartare and Alaskan king crab legs, this restaurant is truly a haven for seafood lovers. Chef Ted Pryor sources his crustaceans and other seafood from the remotest locations, such as Nova Scotia and Hawaii, so freshness is not compromised upon. Refined yet approachable, every dish is a masterpiece in and of itself. The dining area is sleek, modern and elegant, with intimate lighting, wooden wine shelves and a lovely fireplace that infuses the air with warmth and comfort.
Sitting in the heart of the Theater District, this friendly Italian restaurant was established in 1944, and is still going strong. Traditional Italian cooking and a warm atmosphere ideal for going out with families and friends alike, is what makes Patsy's such a loved establishment. The interiors are done up in mellow hues, with beautiful chandeliers and sconces creating a warm vibe. The artwork and photographs adorning the walls add a nice touch to the proceedings. Signature dishes at Patsy's include Chicken Contadina, Veal Rollatine Marsala and Lobster Fra Diavolo. There's a pre-theater menu as well. Throughout its rich history, the restaurant has been host to numerous celebrities, and its not uncommon to spot one dining beside your table. Check website for more.
Nougatine, located inside the Trump International Hotel & Tower is a lesser expensive version of its sister restaurant- Jean-Georges. The cuisine remains Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's forte- French! The sophisticated but cozy dining establishment makes for a great place to dine before heading out to catch a theater show or a movie. With a prix-fixe menu on offer, guests get to indulge on an exquisite and contemporary fare made with the finest ingredients money can buy. During summer, the outdoor dining area provides a spectacular view of Central Park.
Nobu Fifty Seven is another feather in chef Nobu Matsuhisa'a hat. This Japanese resto-bar serves the usual suspects as at other Nobus - which are sashimi salad, black cod with miso, toro tartare, green tea ice cream, sushi, sake, and martinis. The standard is undoubtedly elite and there's no dearth of celebrity sightings. The conspicuous sake barrels, wood panels, hibachi table, and bar give a trendy look to the place, though the high decibels can be annoying at times. Fantastically fresh sushi and sashimi is available.
Boulud Sud is just one of the many branches of Chef Daniel Boulud's culinary empire. Boulud Sud, on the Upper West Side, serves up delicious upscale Mediterranean cuisine. Inspired by the Mediterranean coast, the menu is a medley of flavors different regions and countries. The infusion of herbs, poultry, citrus, fresh vegetable, seafood and grains, ensures there is almost something for everyone. The wine list is also impressive, with over 250 different varieties to choose from.