Restaurants and Theater.  Is there anything better, or anywhere else in the world that does it like New York City?  The Dining Duo takes on the best of the best to dine while discovering all that the city has to offer.

80 Columbus Circle # 35
New York, NY 10023
(212) 805-8881

What an amazing space inside the dramatic Mandarin Oriental Hotel!  Start with a drink in the lobby bar on the 35th floor, and soak up the sweeping vistas towering over Columbus Circle and across Central Park, this spot is rumored to be the best view in New York City.  
Move to the subtle entrance with just a hint of its name into the contemporary space that is Asiate, and enjoy the treats of Chef Toni Robertson.   
Make sure you book in advance for one of the five great window tables (although, truly, because of the step-up design of the restaurant, all of the tables are great and orchestrated at a respectful distance so you feel like the place is yours). 
Although there were so many scrumptious choices on the menu, we suggest getting the tasting menu, which is, actually a very good value for the space and food offered; it’s also a great cross section of the preparations offered. 
The amuse bouche set the tone with a spoon full of apple gel that bursts with a light, liquid center. With an American Contemporary with Asian influence, every course was robust and interesting, well presented and delicious and the service is absolutely top notch. 
It will be one of your better New York experiences.  We plan on returning to stay in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel so we can bring you all of its upscale features, so stay tuned for more on this pick of the litter.

Per Se
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019-1219
(212) 823-9335

Once again the mother of all restaurants, we will say it again; food preparations, ambiance (with a gorgeous view over Columbus Circle and Central Park) and service simply could not get any better at this superlative creation. 
If we had one last meal on earth, it would be at Per Se; although if there is a heaven, Per Se will be catering it. 
It's not for the faint of heart, if you want the true Per Se experience, be prepared to take a second on your home since it's not easy to get out of there without spending about $1200 for two but you will leave fulfilled, pleased and sated. 
You have to view it as a four hour experience, not just a meal. Don't not miss this (at least) once in a lifetime experience and if you do, don't blame us; we told you to go.
 It also was a great way to celebrate Michael's birthday, and Thomas Keller didn't miss that that hands-on opportunity of wishing him the best: 

Rouge Tomate 
10 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022
(646) 237-8977

Thank you Greg and Faith for introducing us to what is possibly one of the most dramatic new spaces in New York.
Secure one of their private booths at the rear of the restaurant, which is great for a lunch with friends or a business lunch. 
The menu is very inventive; Chef Jeremy is a young and creative foodie and certainly knows how to cook. We're watching this guy as he's cutting into this competitive industry with lightening speed.
Although ordering the myriad delights on the menu was our choice, the $29 three course prix fixe for lunch is a great way to go for New York.  
Save room for the interesting and unusual desserts. There are also numerous private rooms for events.


Del Posto
85 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 497-8090

Yes, Del Posto is that good and that beautiful. Prices are at the high end but it’s well worth every dollar. 
Once a warehouse in the meatpacking district, this dramatic space wows you from the instant you open the hand-made iron doors.   
Our server was Oliver and he was the consummate professional, taking about ten minutes to describe each course in luscious, drooling detail.   
If you are looking for Italian cuisine with a modern flair, this is it.  The minestrone soup was the best we have ever tasted and their home made pastas were extraordinary. The lobster melted in our mouths, while the dessert was pretty darn fabulous.  Pricey, yes, but well worth every dollar.

Le Bernadin
155 West 51st St
New York, NY 10019
212 554 1515

Quel Beauté! La Reine
of Restaurants in New York City, Le Bernadin is right up there with Per Se as being the place if you have only one meal left to eat (but don't wait for that). 
If we were living in NYC, we would be here at least every month, especially since that’s how long it takes to get a reservation. 
This is a gorgeously decorated house of fish, and the fish selections are incomparable.  Tightly tailored tables are backdropped by scenes of crashing oceanic waves (an ode to the cuisine, we suppose) and the service was perfect.   
We’ve met Maguy, one of the owners, and Le Bernadin is absolutely an extension of her French elegance and chic style.  It won't be easy to get into Le Bernadin but be persistent as it is well worth the work to secure a reservation.

The Darby
244 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 242-4411

Chef Vic from the Four Seasons Culina prompted us to try this trendy new hit to the New York scene. 
 This is a huge, unique yet cavernous room, with live music (a Brazilian trio when were there), and a thumping, pumping models-only young crowd downstairs, dancing at all hours of the night. 
The downstairs crowd was delicious, and so was the food upstairs.  Their Lobster Newburg at $100 for two was well worth the price, although heavy handed on the sauce, it was loaded with lobster. 
Don't miss their hot fudge sundae for dessert, classic and a yummy way to forget that you’re not one of the skinny young model types downstairs.

Jean Georges New York

1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
(212) 299-3900
Jean-Georges is a beautiful space (although there was some sort of contrived tree branch at the entrance that was just about eye-poking level and detracted from the overall décor) and the service was attentive and extremely professional.   
Our captain, waitperson and sommelier were extremely well trained. It was our last night in NYC and after superlative dining at Del Posto, Per Se, Le Bernadin and Asiate, it was hard from this name-sake restaurant to compete with the best of the best. The food was still delicious, albeit unmemorable.   
It felt a bit derivative and needed updating especially at these high-end prices, but admittedly, we need to give it another chance. 
New York City is always the best for Dining, so we’ll be back soon; perhaps Spring when everything thaws, and the Dining Duo has saved enough for another round in the Big Apple.

Appetizingly yours,

Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo

 (c) Copyright The Dining Duo 2011.  All Rights Reserved

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