Favorite brunches or sit-down lunches in the city?

We’re staying at The Marlton on W 8th for a week and I would love to get a couple of brunch/lunch recommendations for daytime dates with the missus; ideally places to linger over a glass of wine or cocktails. Foodwise anything goes from interesting and creative to exquisitely-done staples. Unique venues are always fun (historic, architectural, etc). Any price point works- doesn’t have to be super fancy or expensive. Good food with atmosphere to spare are the prime requisites. I’m specifically inquiring with a Saturday in mind and my wife has got to be at Grammercy by 3pm, which shouldn’t make a difference but worth noting.

Thanks for your help!

Also unrelated but has anyone been to Sessanta and/or Slowly Shirley for cocktails, and would you care to offer feedback?

i live nearby the marlton so here’s some ideas though you should be aware i hate brunch.

-jacks wife freda…on carmine…very loud, can be packed on weekends. its a bit healthy-ish but its rather good food.
-sadelles…no wait on weekdays but absolutely mobbed on weekends. check opentable. probably where we go most often for brunch. jewish appetizing, bagels, great space, delicious baked goods…get the sticky bun.
-upland…near gramercy…26th street…one of my favorite ‘large’ restaurants. never been for lunch but im sure its popular so always reserve.
-gramercy tavern’s tavern room. very enjoyable place for lunch. get the burger which is off-menu.
-casa mono…mario batali’s spanish restaurant south of gramercy on 17th street. very pleasant place for lunch.
-sushi yasuda…lunch here in midtown east. if i have the day off, i always try to go here. excellent value for what i consider is the best sushi in nyc…at least for the money.

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Hi Sam and thanks so much for the recommendations!

Just to clarify, I could’ve just as easily asked about lunch as brunch (interchangeable in my mind) as the idea is roughly 11-noon mealtime; in case that lifts any previous restrictions.

That said, Upland looks great to me and I will almost certainly add it to our plans!

I’m a big fan of Yasuda as well, but it’s not my wife’s kind of thing and we’ll be in Tokyo later in the fall. I tend to prefer smaller spaces to dining rooms like Grammercy. I think we’re probably set with Upland though, so thanks again!

If I can pick your brain for 2 more questions:

  1. Sticking with “brunch”, how is Mailiano on weekends for a small group?

  2. Could you offer any dinner suggestions with the following criteria:

  • NOT Italian (going to Perla)
  • NOT Mediterranean (we’ve got Estela in the books)
  • NOT Sushi (Tokyo in fall)
  • Under $200 p/p (shouldn’t be difficult)
  • ANYWHERE in Lower Manhattan, ideally…
  • “Charming” space, however you choose to interpret that: not 100+ seater
  • Kick-ass (and creative) chef-driven kitchen

Thanks so much!!

PS: Queues aside, how’s Russ & Daughters new(ish) restaurant?

  1. ive only been to maialino for dinner and have been meaning to try it for breakfast and lunch. from what ive seen, a very solid option for a small group.

  2. id skip perla and go with i sodi instead. only a couple of blocks away and infinitely better italian in a small place.

buvette is no reservations, small plates french…i prefer the bar to the tables since the tables are so tiny but i highly recommend it for an intimate night out. get the cheapest bottle of languedoc and enjoy.

prune in the east village…im a big fan and i think if you like intimate and an interesting perspective, youll like it.

wildair for small plates and natural wine on orchard street. probably the most interesting space in nyc these days sadly.

oddly enough, im a life longer new yorker and have been to russ and daughters once. every time i stop by the cafe, its mobbed and i walk past it. try a weekday and you should be fine.

nyc isnt as progressive as it used to be or has the reputation for. its simply too expensive to try something unique anymore and the dining clientele are not interested in something unique. they prefer places where you can instagram and pretend like you’re having a good time.

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Thanks again, Sam – it’s much appreciated!!

I Sodi looks great. I hadn’t realized that Perla moved from it’s orig Minetta location. I’ve just read a review on heinfatuation.com and it sounds like a definite “pass!”.

Have you heard anything about Sessanta, reviewed by a fellow poster recently?

My wife is in love with the (retro) mid century design and bar. I figured we’d swing by for cocktails one evening to appease her (I must admit, it does look very well done) but I wonder how the kitchen compares, if at all, to NYC’s better Italian kitchens (incl Sodi)?

Re. Prune, it looks like a breakfast/brunch spot based on Yelp pics; is that accurate and was that your intention for the rec? (as opposed to dinner service?)

Buvette and Wildair also look terrific - I’ll run them by the missus!

It’s a shame to read your comments about the state of the city’s dining scene, although I’m in San Francisco and can’t say that we’re doing much better. I suppose as rise in costs and inequality expand, this will only spread further across the country. It’s very sad and unfortunate.

EDITED to add:

Forgot to ask about Cull & Pistol in Chelsea Market! It’s been highly recommended and I’m wondering if it meets the hype and whether it’s best suited for lunch or dinner? Is this strictly a one-trick pony menu (lobster roll/oysters) or is everything fair game?

Sorry, one more to add:

Wife’s old friend from NYU wants to do dinner at Little Owl. I’ve been once before many many many moons ago. I’ve read mediocre things on the old Chow board. Lots of talk about it being overrated, last I looked. I don’t remember specifics of my meal but it is nearby and looks okay… I’m not sure how this person settled on it or what the criteria was, but I’m wondering if I should suggest something in it’s place?

Cull and pistol is probably a good lunch spot, they are the restaurant for the lobster place next door- although note they have a $1 oyster happy hour on weeknights if you’re into oysters.
Also in chelsea market is Dizengoff which i LOVE, seriously fantastic hummus and fresh hot warm fat pita bread.
**to preserve your sanity do not go to chelsea market on the weekend

+1 for casa mono for sat lunching
+1 for gramercy tavern- front tavern room is fantastic, but no reservations so best for a weekday lunch, note they serve lunch menu from open til 5pm or so

Little owl is more about the scene than the food.
I agree on Sadelle’s over russ and daughters- definitely make a reservation, and be sure to try a sticky bun as well as the fantastic bagels

Maialino is great! I’ve been a number of times and consistently great meals. The olive oil cake dessert is fantastic

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Re: Cull & Pistol. Pan recently took his gf there for dinner on her birthday and wrote this detailed report.

A couple of suggestions that have not already been mentioned.

I highly recommend Le Coucou. I did a blog post about it here. It’s been a difficult dinner reservation since the day it opened. If you can’t snag a dinner res, lunch is usually easier.

Union Square Café has reopened in its new location. We’ve been there for lunch and dinner though not yet for brunch. The space is gorgeous. The food is better than ever. They’re now making their own bread and it’s spectacular. Service is, as it has always been, excellent.

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Thanks for the link to the review; that’s very helpful!

2 quick questions:

  • Yakitori Taisho on St Marks Pl for fun casual – still a good bet??

  • The Beatrice Inn – I’ve always been curious about this place but have never been. I love the ambiance and someone on the CH forum recently mentioned he/she enjoyed an excellent meal there. I understand it was a bit of a hot scene place for a while, which isn’t our thing. Any thoughts on this as a throwback option?
    See: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/dining/beatrice-inn-review.html?_r=0

  • The Dutch for dinner – good, bad, thoughts?

So I’ve decided to give The Beatrice Inn a try since it’s been on my radar for ages and the timing seems right with Ms. Mar running the kitchen (NYT review put me over) - I’ll be sure to post feedback of our experience.

No intention of visiting on this upcoming trip, but I was wondering if there’s been any similar “revival” with the food at West Village sister restaurant Ye Waverly Inn? I’ve heard it was terrible for a long-time (possibly still is…) so I’m curious if anyone’s had any recent experience; ie. last 14 months? According to this Eater post from 2015, there’s been some changeover in the kitchen: http://ny.eater.com/2015/7/10/8931145/Waverly-inn-jeffrey-teller

I won’t risk a dinner as we’ve already got The Beatrice in the books, but I’m curious nonetheless…

Taisho doesn’t open for lunch. My general impression is that yakitori-ya’s in general are dinner and drinking affairs.

Sorry, I should really edit the title of this thread (is that possible?) as I’m just veering off on a tangent now and inquiring about meals in general. My question concerning Taisho was indeed with regards to a casual late-night dinner.

I recall there were a few threads about yakitoris in the city. Here’s one thread with a recommendation for Totto by TTrockwood

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Yakitori taisho is ok for casual late night, but be warmed it’s in the middle of NYU dorms and such so there’s a 50/50 chance there will be a table of loud obnoxious college kids nearby.
Yakitori totto is fantastic but not casual late night kind of spot.
Sake bar hagi is perfect, although it’s an izakaya they still have yakitori items. And open til 4am. It’s rather popular now but manageable- weekend nights will be most hectic. They just opened another location on w46th, i haven’t been yet but could be less busy if you want to go on a fri/sat

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West 8th - I immediately thought of Otto, but it sounds like you’re more ambitious for lunch/brunch than a dependably very good, inexpensive Italian place.

Cull & Pistol - it was just one dinner (well, 2, considering that my girlfriend and I shared everything), but if my meal was any indication, in no way is it a one-trick pony. It was consistently good in every facet of its performance that night, and most of the meal was great!

Yakitori Taisho is a restaurant I’m very glad to have in my neighborhood, and it’s definitely reliable for good yakitori and sake late at night, but it’s at least a couple of levels below Totto in quality - and Totto, though great, is a couple of levels below Torishin in quality. If you want non-casual sublime yakitori that really impressed my sister-in-law from Tokyo, go to Torishin, but be prepared to pay for the pleasure.

I’m surprised that Cafe Mogador hasn’t yet been mentioned in this thread (although their influences of Morocco, the Levant and France are all Mediterranean, so that violates your #3, but though I haven’t been to Estela, I don’t think it’s from the same part of the Mediterranean). Reliably very good place, and open for breakfast/brunch/lunch every day of the week. Avoid weekends, due to excessive crowding.

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Thanks! I’ve had Hagi on my list for years although I was hoping to avoid Midtown for this trip. We usually visit Manhattan at least once a year (my sister lives in Brooklyn) and stay further uptown so I wanted to really stick around the Village and Lower Manhattan on this trip. We’ll play it by ear though… I see there’s a large flatscreen television behind the bar which is a major pet peeve of mine in bars and restaurants. Do you know if it’s often turned on during business hours?

Pan, thanks for the tips!

We’re not overly ambitious at all though – we’ll surely find ourselves at B&H Dairy for at least one lunch! Neighborhood and casual is my favorite for New York. I’m far more interested in soulful neighborhood spots than expensive Michelin tasting menus.

We’ve both been to Mogador at least a dozen times over the years. My wife used to live right nearby it and the first thing I said to her when planning for this trip was, “when should we do brunch at Mogador?” :slight_smile:

Torishin is another that’s been on my list for a while and does indeed look terrific, but I think we’ll likely save it for a future trip when we have evening plans around Lincoln Center.

I’m still trying to decide between lunch versus dinner at Cull & Pistol. I’m thinking the former as Chelsea Market just strikes me as more of a daytime place. If we do go for lunch, we’ll be sure to go on a Tuesday or Wednesday when it’s less likely to be crowded and overrun with tourists like ourselves!

Do you know anything about Bar Sardine in the West Village, by chance? I really do prefer the ambiance of these quaint little neighborhood bistros in NY to the bigger power places. I wonder if this might be a good lunch option?

From what i recall the TVs were on closed caption, not noticeable from sitting at the little tables.

There’s yoppari on the les that’s a tiny spot but great izakaya, their homemade hot tofu dish is my favorite. They have a selection of yakitori and plenty of vegetarian and pescatarian options. Definitely make a reservation

Also SakaMai, which is a bit more expensive, but i haven’t been in a long time but remember enjoying

Thanks so much, Ttrockwood!

Yopparai looks like it’s just my speed and I’ve made a reservation for Sat, May 6th!

I’m surprised that I’ve never heard of it before; is it relatively new?

Do you have any favorites (apart from the hot tofu dish, which I shall make note of) or suggested standouts from the menu?