Reviews of Fine Dining Establishments


Because I’m but a poor college student – perhaps you’ve seen me scrounging up crumpled dollar bills from the depths of my bag at various subway kiosks or using my credit card to pay for a $6 sandwich – I have not eaten at as many fine dining institutions in New York City as I would like.

However, that doesn’t mean my meals outside my apartment have been confined to halal carts and bodega egg-and-cheeses. Between saving up, planning wisely, and the gracious offers of friends’ parents or visits from my own mom and dad, I have crossed some acclaimed restaurants off of my ever-expanding wish list.

Here are my reviews for some of the more memorable ones, in alphabetical order.

Editor’s Note: Admittedly, though some on the list are still hot spots in the culinary world, restaurants in the fine dining scene have a rather short shelf life (sometimes years, often months) before they go cold, regardless of how great the food served is.


A Voce Columbus

A Voce Columbus

A Voce Columbus: 10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor

Executive Chef: Missy Robbins (since 2008)

I’ll keep it simple: despite Robbins’ acclaimed pasta dishes from when she worked at Chicago’s Spiaggia, skip the pasta in favor of rustic Italian fare with a twist – corzetti, branzino, bisteca. If you’re a pasta junkie, the gnocci was particularly light yet flavorful. Any vegetable-based dish you order is amazing; don’t dream of visiting A Voce without ordering cavolini or cavolo nero (brussels sprouts and tuscan kale, respectively).

Like most upscale restaurants, we experienced spectacular service. Though most patrons seem to love the atmosphere, I felt it lacked a certain intimate ambience I like when I dine out.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

del Posto

del Posto

Del Posto: 85 Tenth Avenue

Executive Chef: Mark Ladner

A best restaurant list mainstay since illustrious partners Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich opened the Italian eatery in 2005, Del Posto consistently lives up to the hype. As with many traditional Italian restaurants, the menu is divided into antipasti, primi and secondi courses. Once when I visited, I was lucky enough to enjoy the Menu Del Posto, which includes five courses served for the whole table.

It is said sharing is caring, and when ordering the Menu Del Posto, that aphorism rings true. Here, the pastas were my personal favorite. Whatever the dish, Ladner brings intricate flavors to basics like “Yesterday’s” lasagna, butternut squash cappellacci, and tortello puzzone with brown butter sauce. A somewhat unusual ingredient brings a twist to certain dishes – jalapenos on spaghetti with Dungeness crab, espresso on veal – serving as a subtle highlight.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Gotham Bar and Grill

Gotham Bar and Grill

Gotham Bar and Grill:  12 East 12th St.

Executive Chef: Alfred Portale

Gotham Bar and Grill feels like the restaurant you picture when wanting to celebrate a big event, although my waiter assured me they have a regular client base. Either way, it makes sense: between the attentive service, helpful sommelier, pleasant atmosphere and, most importantly, excellent food, this restaurant is a must-visit.

Perfect meal at this New American haunt?  Tuna tartare to start, roasted beet and goat cheese salad and Gotham Risotto (chicken sausage, bacon, broccoli rabe and tokyo turnips, parmigiano reggiano) as second dishes, and finish with one of the Select dish specialties. For the ultimate experience, order a dish from their Petrossian caviar selection.

Review: 5 out of 5 stars

Momofuku KO

Momofuku KO

Momofuku KO: 163 First Avenue

Executive Chef: Sean Gray

Part of David Chang’s growing empire, including Noodle bar, Ssam bar, and Milk bar, KO opened in 2008 to rave reviews. Four years later, it remains a culinary hotspot. Atmosphere is a huge player here: reservations are hard to come by as they narrow dining parties to 1, 2 or 4 guests, due to the limited space of the restaurant. Although pricey – $125 per person for the dining tasting menu – KO is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. They didn’t earn those two Michelin stars for subpar cuisine.

It’s hard to pick out favorite dishes because their tasting menu changes regularly, but know that during your two hour-plus meal you are in good hands.

Review: 5 out of 5 stars


Union Square Cafe

Union Square Cafe

Union Square Café: 21 East 16th Street

Executive Chef: Carmen Quagliata

Since 1985, “celebrity chef” Danny Meyer’s flagship restaurant has consistently churned out highly acclaimed dishes. As their bio states, Union Square Café serves “American cuisine with an Italian soul.” This description shows itself in the housemade coppa and soppressata with pickled vegetables, sirloin carpaccio, fettucine with Calabrese ragu and pan roasted chicken. I’m not much of a dessert person, but the selection at Union Square Café is definitely recommendable.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

This entry was posted in Lists.

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