If you had to choose a NYC Michelin-starred restaurant...

Title says it all. Friends from Chicago coming in mid-October for a couple of nights, and they are kind of obsessed with trying new Michelin-starred places. We’re flexible on neighborhood but East-ish midtown-ish is preferable. No vegetarian/vegan, no sushi/seafood-heavy - otherwise flexible on cuisine.

Price point is not a major concern but generally speaking we have limited interest in super-formal, $400 prix-fixe menus. $100-150pp for food only is probably a good ballpark. We like a livelier atmosphere, great cocktails, shareable plates, delicious but unfussy food overall. Last time they were here (pre-COVID) we went to the Breslin, which we all enjoyed. Would the Tavern at Gramercy fit the bill? Casa Mono still worthwhile (we have enjoyed it in the past but it has been years)? Upland? TIA for your recommendations!

ETA: I see Upland no longer has a star, but the menu looks right up our alley - I think I will float that past our friends and see if they like the idea. Also, upon checking out a handful of the menus at Korean places, I think we can safely eliminate Korean from the running, with the possible exception of Cote Steakhouse.

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If you are asking about picking a Michelin star place now for tonight, I think you first have to see who even has availability for dinner as I think that will cut out 95% if not 100% of your options.

But if you have time to book, my favorites excluding japanese and Korean in midtown are Benno, Marea, Le Bernardin, The Modern. I think for the price Benno might be a best value. I think the dining room there has been closed and might have just reopened. Gramercy Tavern is good to but the tavern room isn’t the same as the main dining room. Downtown we really like Batard.


Oops, I see my title is misleading - edited. I should have mentioned this will be in mid-October. Most places seem to start accepting reservations a month out, so we have some time to decide.

I edited my first post while you were updating. I was thinking if you liked Breslin then ZZ Clam Bar would be a good option.

ETA: skip ZZ. Missed your comment about seafood. Musket Room then? Maybe Carbonne. More options on the menu there.

I looked at Musket Room, the menu seems a bit small but interesting nonetheless. I’ve been meaning to try Carbone for ages, but I’m not sure I will be able to convince DH to go all the way downtown for Italian. I was just looking at Rezdora, I think that might work better geographically. Have you been?

We are open to either, I just thought the Tavern menu looked more shareable/informal. Which do you prefer and why?

My 2c is pre-pandemic, as I haven’t been to most places that qualify recently.

I love Upland and Cote - since you mention them both.

GT has been a bit stilted for a while imo. That said, I do love it for cocktails and dessert.

Between Rezdora and Carbone, with visitors - Carbone.

I haven’t been to Benno but I loved his food at The Lincoln.

Using Michelin stars as a guide for nyc is the tail wagging the dog, though.

There are a lot of new places in the last two years that might fit your need, but they won’t show up on Michelin for a while.

As an aside, I don’t know how your friends feel about high end modern Indian, but take a look at Baar Baar. (Sona is more visible at the moment but mostly because it’s new and has a celeb spokesperson.) Not on a Michelin list.

Are you driving in? If so i would go to Lilia or Misi in Bk over Carbone or anywhere else italian in Manhattan.

Also transport-related - take a look at the new Seaport complex, there’s a new Andrew Carmellini place (Carne Mare) that might fit the bill.

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I know - it’s one of the reasons I don’t quite understand our friends’ obsession with this particular rating! I’m open to non-Michelin recommendations as well - I plan to give them a few options and let them look at menus before we reserve. Hit me with your latest and greatest!

That said, I’m glad to know I can recommend Upland and Cote - I think they would like both. I will ask DH if he is willing to brave a trip downtown for Carbone before I offer it as an option - he had to go down there on a big tourist loop with his mother and sister today and I’m sure that will be enough for him for the next 10 years!

My family is a delight when they visit, but I have very close friends who insist on imposing these types of nightmares. They also want great food, don’t want to commit - or stick to - reservations (some of which have to be made a month ahead), but still want to go to new/trendy/hard to get into places.

Silver lining of the travel ban has been no difficult summer guests :rofl:


No, we’ll probably train in and Uber home so no one has to DD. Friends are staying in midtown, so I doubt anyone will want to go out to Brooklyn. Upper west is actually better for us in terms of the ride home but I don’t know of anything interesting up there.

Baar Baar looks fantastic to me - I will definitely put that up as a contender.

I liked The Lincoln a lot, but it looks like the menu at Benno skews more French - accurate? Not that I’m opposed to French, I was just wondering. The website hasn’t been updated with the current dining room menu so I’m just judging from the bar menu.

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I had to look at the menu - I have missed it…

Smilie’s signature short rib (from Il buco A&V)is back on the menu - it’s amazing.

Sad to see my favorite pasta (estrella) and all-time favorite dish (whole Maitake mushroom) both missing at the moment.

Benno is still closed I believe. Bar Benno reopened.

I used to go to GT pretty often. Have not been since it reopened but at least before the tavern room was much more casual. Food was good and a great value compared to the dining room but the quality was clearly higher in the dining room. Depends on what you want. Tavern room was wonderful for an afternoon lunch but the dining room better for a indulgent dinner.

I’ve been waiting for Benno to reopen and sad to see I still have to wait. The menu was quite varied. I think it tracked more Italian with the pasta dishes. The clam uni pasta is probably one of the best things I ate in 2019. It was usually served as an app but one time my wife asked if they could make it a main and they were happy to do so. Pre 2021 you would select either a 3 or 4 course meal. 3 was fine for normal people but if you wanted to be a glutton like me go with 4. Really lovely dining room.

It’s funny how the OP can’t get her husband to go downtown. If it weren’t for work I would hardly get north of Chelsea. NYers get pretty parochial about where they live and how far they will go from home.

If you are coming downtown look at Crown Shy.

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UWS - the only thing you might be interested in is Red Farm, which is excellent and unusual. You can even order the Peking duck in advance as a treat - there’s a meal that goes with, or you can go a la carte. Huh end pricing but delicious.

Then there’s Momofuku noodle bar at whatever Time Warner center is called now - food is excellent, a few reservations are available on Resy, but even if you walk in i have gotten tables very quickly. Nothing else there is worth a special visit - I don’t know if Aviary/Office at the Mandarin are open (for cocktails / bites) but you can check.

Rest of what I’d recommend you can get versions of in midtown.

If your friends have a hankering to see Hudson Yards, there’s an outpost of Milos there, and also the Spanish complex from Jose Andres which is very good (it can be confusing, so look at the website for the dining options it offers).

But I wouldn’t offer too many options :joy: Maybe Baar Baar vs Upland? :rofl:

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Aviary shut down last year, unfortunately…

What counts as “new” for starred places? It’s been around for a few years now, but I’ll always support gabriel kreuther. I’ve been a few times since COVID and the food is still great, but i felt like the service slipped a bit since COVID (I think they’re getting used to serving indoors again). Then again, I feel that way about a couple places I’ve been to post-COVID.

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Of the places I’ve been, I’d recommend Le Bernardin, Marea, Estela, Gramercy Tavern, Kanoyama (none of them anywhere near new), Four Horsemen (if you dare leave Manhattan), Le Coucou, and Rezdora.

Red Farm looks like it would be right up everyone’s alley - thanks so much for that idea! Hudson Yards might not be a bad idea, either.

High end pricing

Lol, he has ALWAYS hated downtown, which in his mind encompasses anything south of 42nd. When we lived in Queens we were on the 7 train, so 42nd Street became this mental dividing line, and moving to Westchester just reinforced that barrier. He seriously thinks of the 30s as downtown! :roll_eyes::laughing: