Last week I saw a meme on Instagram that said something like, “What Do you Want for Christmas this year?” And then the mom responds, “a Saturday night babysitter.” Boy can I relate to that one.
I really, really love restaurant dining, and well, parenting cramps your dining style. We do our fair share of dragging the kids out to eat, as well as paying a sitter so that we can dash into NYC for an adult meal. But even still, I don’t get rock star fine dining on nearly as much as my heart would like.
Here now are the spots in New York City that I would hit if given the gift this holiday season of a sitter AND a magic reservationist that could actually get me in at a reasonable hour. Oh and another big “if” here is IF I had unlimited funds. These restaurants are not cheap - but if you’re going to splurge, these are places to do it.
We’ve been trying to hit Frenchette since it opened last spring. Alas a proper dinner reservation at this ultra hot TriBeCa French bistro is still a tough cookie to land. No matter when I check its Resy page, I can only find dinner times at 10:30pm or the rare 5:30pm (lunch has far more availability but the hubs can’t swing a NYC lunch). All the buzz and critic reviews on Frenchette have been rather good and the crowds show no sign of stopping. We will make it here eventually. Probably at one of those 5:30pm reservation times. Until then I’ll be drooling over the pics I see on Instagram.
Atomix is the new 14 seat fine dining multi-course younger sibling to the already well regarded, but more casual, Korean spot, Atoboy. Diners sit along a chef’s counter to enjoy a 10 course tasting menu of new Korean cuisine. Substitutions and allergy restrictions usually cannot be met, as several of the courses are communally served. Like some of the country’s other best fine dining spots, Atomix requires you to pay for your meal in advance using the reservation system Tock. If your plans change, the reservation is transferable but not refundable. Reservations are taken nightly for either the 6pm or 9pm seating and the menu is currently $175 per person (a la carte is offered in the Atomix no reservations bar area). The reviews so far for Atomix have been stellar, and I love Atoboy, so I’m very much looking forward to trying this one. This would be my pick for a very special occasion if one were to arise :-)
Maybe the most difficult reservation to get right now, Misi is, like Atomix, a follow up restaurant to an already popular spot. But in this case, Misi is billed as a more casual, rustic version of its critical darling older sister, Lilia. Misi focuses on handmade pastas and vegetable dishes. Like Lilia, Misi is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is under the care of celebrated chef and owner, Missy Robbins. Mama needs Chef Robbins’ pasta ASAP this winter.
Unlike the above restaurants, Contra has been around awhile. It opened in 2014 on the Lower East Side and immediately set itself apart from the pack by offering a kick ass multi course meal at a reasonable price and in a casual, relaxed environment. Almost 5 years later, Contra is still only $78 per person for a six course fixed menu of New American cuisine that changes often but stays undoubtedly awesome. I’ve only been to Contra once, and I LOVED that one visit. I’ve been saying I need to go back for years now. See, this is what happens when you’re a mom in the ‘burbs. Sigh.
The Bar at Momofuku Ko
Momofuku Ko is so damn good. It’s my favorite restaurant and Executive Chef Sean Gray is so talented. I would like to eat at Ko a lot. In my dreams I do. But in reality, it’s not going to happen, due to children, commutes and a limited bank account. (A meal at Ko is currently $255 per person, inclusive of service, for about 12-15 delicious courses). For now, a more reasonable goal is to hit Ko’s bar area where a la carte dishes are served to guests on a walk in basis. Per Ko’s website FAQ section, “Our bar serves as a field for research and development for our culinary team. We put forth a constantly evolving selection of a la carte dishes.” SIGN ME UP! (PSA: If springing for the multi-course meal at Ko, definitely sit at the chef’s counter rather than a table. Watching the chefs prepare your courses is a huge part of the experience.)
Maybe Santa will put some of these ressies in my stocking on 12/25 (hehe). A girl can dream!