Gotham Bar & Grill, 12 E. 12th, 212-620-4020, Alfred Portelli, Owner/Chef
Day and and day out this is my favorite restaurant in NYC. It has everything, buzz, atmosphere, casualness, amazing service and just great food. The bar is perfect for eating at if you can get a seat. The food is just always great and they have the single best pork chop anyplace in america The wine list is one of the best around and the wine stewards will steer you in the right direction based on your budget. Vertical food invented here yes, but great food also delivered here!
Prune, 54 East First St, 212-677-6221
This east village tiny place is the chef’s restaurant of choice. They have one of the biggest followings of people in the trade and deliver the goods to support it. Its not for everyone but its not too far out either. If you like bone marrow, and I do not, everyone that has ever had it here says its the best they have had. So, if you can score a table, its worth the trip. They are also famous for their sunday brunch, but I can say that i have never been able to score a table.
Minetta Tavern, 113 MacDougal St, 212-475-3850
Greenwich Village landmark, this is one of McNally’s best productions. They say the black label burger may be the best in NYC, a special blend developed by the cities top meat provider, it really does melt in your mouth. The Cote’ de buf is a steak for two people, over $100, but it really is fabulous and huge. The fries are off the charts great and the drinks are what you would expect from a place Jimmy Braddock used to frequent decades ago. Tough to get a reservation, but I have walked in and sat at the bar several times.
Daniel, 60 E. 65th, 212-288-0033
This may be the best “dining experience” of the bunch. Its as elegant as it gets, cozy, quite and always, always great food. People think they will walk away hungry because of the smaller portions, but there are so many of them its not an issue. Great wines, amazing service and the best chef living in NYC.
PerSe, Time Warner Building, 212-823-9335
Chef Tom Keller’s New York outpost won’t fail to wow you with an extraordinary meal, as long as you can handle the check. Its a nine course tasting menu with killer bread all for $295 per person plus tip, tax and wines. I know that is expensive, really expensive, but it is an experience and one worth trying atleast once. Everything, and I mean everything, is fresh, locally sourced or produced by Keller himself and truly delicious. If you have that one occasion and want to blow real serious money, give this a try.