My parents are visiting in a few weeks and we’ll be taking in the Chihuly NIGHTS exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. Obviously, we have to have dinner on Arthur Avenue before the show! Anything new and notable? I was considering Zero Otto Nove for something a little more modern and less red-saucey, or maybe Roberto’s or Tra di Noi for traditional. What say you?
I don’t think we’re going to be spending much time in Manhattan this trip but if you could choose just one restaurant for a special dinner, what would it be? Monday night, no sushi/seafood specialty places. I’ve been rather out of touch with the Manhattan scene since we moved to Westchester last year!
Just have to say that the Chihuly sculptures are stunning. Make sure you don’t miss any. There are quite a few in the Conservatory. My favorite is in the Native Species Garden down the path to the right of the “flames.” I can’t wait to go back at night. We would probably choose 089 for dinner as well.
The Chihuly Exhibit is colorful and a delight! There is good news, and more good news. In my opinion, the restaurants you mention are generally pretty much the same: Italian/American. It is possible to have a good meal at any of them. The difference lies in the price points: Roberto’s being the most expensive, Tra Di Noi, the least pricey. Also the fine points: Roberto, whether at his flagship or his pizza joint, has always ventured into more modern territory. The others run a tight ship with their traditional choices. Remarkably, Tra Di Noi actually had a nice mention in Michelin Guide years ago and it has helped carry them thru.
My entry would be Mario’s, an old favorite, but they are closed on Mondays. Another suggestion would be Hudson Garden Grill at NYBG. It is open on select Mondays for lunch, dinner and cocktails. Enjoy and buon appetito!
I’m not helpful for authur ave suggestions but what are you looking for monday pm? Any specific neighborhood or approx price point? Are the parents picky or adventurous…?
When in doubt gramercy tavern is a sure thing and hits the creative/seasonal/not weird no tiny portions and good service. The front tavern room is lively but no need to yell. Also no reservations but on a monday pm the wait shouldn’t be longer than a glass of wine (or mocktail) at their bar.
More adventurous and new and popular is ABCV, i have been for breakfast once and brunch once and have to return. It’s a jean georges restaurant so the menu is a bit eclectic/ “global”. Make a reservation if you can but as a walk in on a monday pm the wait won’t be horrendous.
Gabriel Kruether or le coucou for more fancy and french-ish
Nur is new for upscale middle eastern, has great reviews (but almost no vegetarian options of that’s a concern), i have always loved Bar Bolant and Balaboosta for upscale middle eastern as well
Kinda random list! Just brainstorming since i’m not clear on other parameters
Thanks Ttrockwood! There aren’t any real parameters yet because I’m not sure whether we’ll be coming into the city to do something else (museum or show, most likely), so I don’t know which neighborhood we might be in. We’ll be coming into Grand Central for sure, though, so I was considering checking out Agern. My parents are pretty much up for anything other than sushi, although they are definitely tired of 6+ course tasting menus. Price isn’t a huge concern. I’ll take a look at some of your ideas!
If you want to do museums monday isn’t a great day, lots are closed so just check first.
Agern could be awesome-i haven’t been myself but have read some great reviews. I’m a big fan of the nordic options in the great northern food hall at grand central if you need a more simple meal or snack (or for the jar of elderberry jam you never knew you needed ;))
If we do a museum it would probably be MoMA, which is open Monday, but I’m still not sure. My dad has slowed down a lot these past couple of years so I try not to pack too much activity into their visits. We’ll see if the siren call of great food is enough to get them into the city for a bit!
That is SO perfect because the restaurant at the MOMA (the modern) is fantastic! No tasting menu, but a reservation would be a good idea. They also have a bar area if you just want a drink and snacky thing, happy hour timing can be very busy in the bar area - although on a monday night i would be surprised.
Nearby is also Aldo Sohm wine bar (the sommelier from le bernardin opened it) and they of course have great wines by the glass but also really good food options, both small plates and some larger portions.
And le bernardin itself is close, you can order a la carte from the front no reservations bar area which has a few tables as well as the bar itself
We’ve been to the Modern - loved it, but I think they would welcome something different. The wine bar sounds interesting, though! My father actually dragged my non-seafood-eating mother to Le Bernardin once - but it kind of backfired on him, because she ended up loving her meal despite having only a couple of non-seafood options, and he felt his meal was only okay!
Just a quick bump and a little further info. We’ve narrowed our choices to Roberto’s or Zero Otto Nove - my parents and DH wanted something a bit more upscale and creative than the traditional/red sauce places. Reading reviews, it sounds like they’re more similar than different, and I’m tempted to hit Roberto’s for two reasons: first, it’s his flagship, and second, I am making pizza for my parents on Thursday night and I know that white Zero Otto Nove has a full menu, pizza is something of a specialty there as well. Any compelling reason to choose Zero Otto Nove, given these parameters?
In other news, my Dad was eager to check out Agern and the food hall, so we’re doing Agern for lunch on Monday, possibly with a MoMA visit and possibly not. I’ll be sure to mention the proximity of Aldo Sohm, though - that might seal the deal!
Oh i hope you all enjoy Agern, i’ve just been to the vendors in the food hall (which is worth poking around on your way to/from lunch)
Haven’t been to either place in the bronx…
Kind OT here but if you need an easy (cheap) way to get to/from MOMA with dad the car sharing service VIA is awesome, usually a big immaculate suv picks you up within a block of where you ask for and drops you within a block. probably easier than subway since moma isn’t very close to any of the subway lines from grand central
I will be sure to post a full report on Agern! Thanks for the tip on VIA, too - I actually think of MoMA as being close to GC, but I think that’s because I come in to the north end (47th St.) every day and have no choice but to walk past MoMA on my way to the office! A car would definitely be kinder on my Dad’s recently replaced knees.
If want want to use Via it’s probably easier to download ahead of time and be sure to give yourselves enough time and look carefully where the pickup is- you can choose a car in like 4 min or whenever the next one is. When/if you do you can get $10 free if you want to use my referral code
On a nice day it is a gorgeous easy walk- maybe let dad decide if that’s too far…? Or you could walk there and take a ride back.
Hopefully it’s cooled off a bit, last few days have been kinda hot! Sounds like a fun day you have planned :))
Just wanted to report back - we had a GREAT meal at Roberto’s on Saturday! The only negative was the noise level - it was very busy and they weren’t able to seat us downstairs (which I understand is a little quieter). Upstairs was insanely loud, but we managed despite the fact that my dad is a little bit deaf. Food was delicious across the board.
We shared two antipasti, two primi and three secondi between us, plus one tiramisu. The antipasti were VERY small portions for the price - we chose the cotechino sausage with white beans and the burrata with beets, and we ended up with one small slice of sausage and about four beans each, plus maybe 1/2 oz of burrata and a single thin slice of beet, and I think they were $15 each. However, the pastas were generously sized and the meats were enormous, so it all evened out. My dad and I shared a seafood pasta in cartoccio that was delicious - light tomato sauce and abundant seafood (clams, mussels and shrimp) with perfectly cooked rotelle. Shrimp were a tad overcooked but the clams were PERFECTION. My mom and DH had a cauliflower orecchiette that was also very good.
For mains DH chose the osso buco from the regular menu, which is made with lamb and served with a rich wine sauce. My parents tried to order the same thing but were steered instead to the veal osso buco special by our waiter, which was in a lighter tomato sauce and ended up being a better choice for them to share. Both were super tender, and the sauces paired really well with their respective meats. I had veal scallopine with cotechino and fontina in a sage sauce - it was FABULOUS, but in truth the sausage and sauce kind of obliterated the delicate veal - it could have just as easily been pork tenderloin. The sauce was so good I didn’t care :).
Tiramisu was light and full of espresso flavor - very nice rendition. Breads were good and I appreciated the very peppery, grassy olive oil on the table - so many restaurants skimp with cheap oil. Service was extremely efficient - these guys know what they’re doing! We had had lunch at the CIA the day before with terrible, amateurish service so this was like a breath of fresh air. We’ll be back for sure, and I look forward to trying Zero Otto Nove as well.
BTW, we also had a spectacular lunch at Agern - I’ll post a full report on a separate thread!