A Culinary Journey In Manhattan

Let me start with one of the very best, situated in TribecaBouley. I’ve known this place for over 20 years, when I was living in New York. At that time it regularly topped the list of gourmet restaurants in the city. It since moved locations twice, saw a decline in its ranking, moved back close to its original location and returned to its glory days. Every meal at this restaurant is a delight. If you would like to get the best value for your money, try their Luncheon Tasting Menu which offers five courses for $55!  I did on my most recent meal. Some of the highlights of were the Big Eye Tuna (see picture above) and the organic Colorado Lamb (featured on the Trip Ideas page).

Next on our journey is Del Posto – an elegant Italian restaurant next to the  Meatpacking district, on 10th Avenue and 15th street. I finally got to try this place and enjoyed an excellent meal. Here I highly recommend taking the “Il Menu Del Posto” – a five course menu which includes a personal appetizer, a main course and dessert, plus two pasta dishes that are shared by the table. I started with their Fin Fish Crudo – a selection of five pieces of different raw fish, which was wonderful. We then shared the Lune Piena with truffle and the 100 layers Lasagne – both delicious. I had the grilled lamb for main course (see picture below). One thing to note for wine lovers: their selection of Italian wines is extraordinary and covers producers from every part of Italy.

Our next stop is Jean-Georges, by Columbus Circle across from Central Park. This is the pinnacle of Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten restaurants’ empire. While on the first floor, its floor to ceiling windows allows great views of Central Park. I’ve dined here many times, both for Dinner and Lunch but my preference is lunch, when one can better enjoy the view and the menu offers excellent value. Some of their signature dishes include:  Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons with avocado and spicy Radish and my favorite - the Black Bass crusted with nuts and seeds, with sweet and sour Jus – just thinking about it makes me crave for that dish.

We move to the east side of Manhattan, to Eleven Madison Park. It is situated across from Madison Square Park close to the Flatiron district. This place offers a unique culinary experience: a multi course tasting menu that is a total surprise. Each diner states what dietary restrictions he or she may have and beyond that makes almost no selection of items. The offerings are very creative both in texture and taste and the meal takes no less than three hours. While not inexpensive, it is something that every gourmet food lover should try at least once.

Some 35 blocks north, on 58th street between Madison and Park Avenues you’ll find Tao, an interesting Asian “temple”. The atmosphere is quite lively, with loud music and a large statue of Buddha in the center of the restaurant. The menu offers a wide selection of items covering various types of Asian cuisine. Their prix-fix lunch is a real bargain and the location, around the corner from the hottest shopping area of town, makes it an ideal spot for a lunch break.  I’ve dined here a number of times and always had a very good experience.

Back to the west side and the Columbus Circle area - on the 3rd floor of the Time Warner center is where you’ll find A voce. This Italian restaurant offers “contemporary take on Italian traditional dishes”, and does it really well. It is owned and managed by a team of seasoned chefs. I just had my first experience there and it was wonderful. I can recommend the Tonno Crudo and the Branzino (Mediterranean Sea bass) for main course. Also, I could not help but try the Double chocolate swirl cheesecake, which was divine.

The last stop on this culinary journey is a Sushi of Gari, on Columbus Avenue between 77 and 78 streets. It is right behind the Museum of Natural History, so could serve as a perfect place to dine after a visit to this great cultural institution. The restaurant, which has branches in other parts of the city, offers some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted. If you want to go “all out” ask for their Omakase  - the Chef’s tasting menu. This is a surprise menu that offers a variety of specialty items. Otherwise I highly recommend the Tuna of Gari – a selection of items all with Tuna that is a true delicacy.

On this journey I shared with you some of my personal favorites in Manhattan. There are many more which did not make the list this time. I hope to include that in one of my future stories.