The Dining Duo’s New York City’s Top 4 Restaurants... some new ones worth enjoying

#1 – Per Se
10 Columbus Circle #4 New York, NY 10019
(212) 823-9335

Once again the mother of all restaurants and in our opinion, this is the very best in the country.  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, exquisitely tailored 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 $1,000 for two, but if ever there was a splurge, this is worth it. You have to view it as a four hour ride hosted by impeccable servers, not  just a meal. Do not miss this (at least) once in a lifetime experience and if you do, don't blame us; we told you to go.

#2 –Le Bernadin
155 West 51st Street New York, NY 10019
(212) 554-1515
Quel Beaute! La Raine of Restaurants in New York City, Le Bernadin is right up there with Per Se as being a magnificent place to truly dine.  If we were living in NYC, we would come every month, especially since that’s how long it takes to get a reservation. This is a handsomely decorated house of fish, and the fish selections are incomparable.   
Tightly tailored tables are back-dropped by scenes of crashing oceanic waves (an ode to the cuisine, we suppose) and the service was perfection.  We’ve met Mague, one of the owners, and Le Bernadin is absolutely an extension of her characteristic French elegance and je ne sais quoi.   
It won't be easy to get into Le Bernadin but be persistent as it is well worth the work to secure a reservation.

#3 –Bouley
163 Duane Street New York, NY 10013
(212) 964-2525

The moment you walk through the entrance and into a parlor decorated completely in apples from floor to ceiling, you know that this is going to be an extraordinary place.   
Jaw dropping aesthetics present a comfortably warm design that you wish you could live in full time.  Dramatically gilded vaulted ceilings are offset by imported antique wood and stone floors and balanced with fabulous delicate silks, chandeliers and aged glass that bespeak of a European chateau.  The food matches the quality of the décor and for an unbelievable $55 per person, you can enjoy a three hour lunch that will knock your socks off with selection, originality, taste and unparalleled style.   
 This is worth the ride downtown and one of the few places where the owner-chef is more interested in providing superlative repasts rather than perpetuating his image; you’ll always find him in the kitchen and not on television.  Walk through the doors and dare to tell us we’re wrong in any way.

#4—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 hefty end but well worth every dollar. Oreos never looked so good ; once the original Nabisco warehouse in the meatpacking district, this dramatic space wows you from the instant you open the hand-made iron doors.   
Our server was was the consummate professional.  If you are looking for Italian cuisine with a modern flair, this is it.  With live piano music filtering through the dramatically detailed space centered by sweeping staircases, we enjoyed a tasting menu of dishes that were not overly ornate, but that most definitely made the taste buds squeal with pleasure.

#5—La Grenouille
3 East 52nd Street New York, NY 10022
(212) 752-1495
You don’t have to be a prince to kiss a frog.  This frog has been the princess of the East Side forever (fifty years in the family) and is classically French and classically old world in every aspect.  If you don’t want a meal that is cutting edge, but you want to enjoy a country pate and duck that has all the markings of France, this is the place.   
 Beautifully elegant décor, the dining experience is more hushed tones and old money.  We haven’t been in over thirty years, and just like France, not much changes in such a short period.  If you want to feel like a prince or princess, or both at the same time, this is your spot.  Whatever you eat, make certain to share a chocolate soufflé.  We’ve had them all over the world, and this is by far the most scrumptious chocolate soufflé ever; think hot chocolate pudding with a cream sauce and then give your frog next to you a kiss.

13 Barrow Street New York, NY 10014
(212) 741-6699
Duck into this very neighborhood eatery for some delicious home cooking.  The chatter of old and new friends fills the tiny environment while the service is informal and friendly, but reflective of the simply delicious food.   

The chicken is deliciously organic (as the meats are grass fed) and everything is locally sourced.  Expect to wait even with a reservation since there are so few tables, but if you want to experience a delightful alternative to fancy fare, the Chef Anita Loo delivers.  She’s always cooking too, so peek in the kitchen and say hi, or meet new friends at the 4 seat bar while waiting for your table.

311 West 43rd Street New York, NY 10036
(212) 776-1818
What an amazingly dramatic space.  This place is cavernous and contains mountains of clean, glistening white Carrera marble.  The lighting is beyond dramatic, and the scents of incense greet you at the door, along with beautifully lit stone sculptures of Buddha and such.   
The bar undulates with oceanic waves, and it’s a mile long.  The food is pan-Asian, and although we’ve tasted better in other cities, it’s the entire experience here that is well worth the visit.  The drinks, including non-alcoholic ones, are sensational; the service is friendly, and the food quite tasty. Located in the theater district, it’s one of the few restaurants that’s open late after theater, and that’s actually worth the visit.

32 Spring Street New York, NY 10012
(212) 941-7994
Pizza is Pizza (unless it’s Mozza Pizza in Los Angeles), but the reason this  spot makes our list is because it’s the very first pizza parlor in America, established in 1905.  Since pizza is about as much as an institution in America as it is in Italy, we had to experience where the two countries intersected and so should you.  Get here early because the lines are long.  Michael really enjoyed the sausage and meat ball pizza, and our friend Danny clearly enjoyed his since he ate five slices for lunch.  That a boy.

We have only brought you 8 restaurants because we can’t wait to go back and source out numbers 9 and 10.  If you have any suggestions, don’t hesitate to let us know!  

Appetizingly yours,
Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo

Happy Birthday to Michael today...the best dish anyone could create! 

Dear Dining Duo: The truffle caviar is an inspiration on the chef's part. Have never seen this done before even in Florence. You lucky guys to have two amazing places nearby. Think of me stuck with Legal Seafoods (not that we go there! I do cook a lot and yes, there are some fine dining choices in the Boston area, but increasingly less. Portland, Maine is the foodie haven these days in New England ). on Old World Meets New World: East side, West Side all around the Town
--Katherine, Maine

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