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Restaurant Guide: Best Restaurants in New York
 
 
B. Smith's
320 W. 46th St.
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 315-1100
B. Smith's on Restaurant Row serves a Global-Eclectic menu featuring B.'s interpretations of cuisines from around the globe. The bar is almost always bustling for happy hour with a hip multi-ethnic clientele including the theater crowd, business and entertainment executives, tourists, and viewers familiar with B. from her TV show and publications. This list also includes everyone from heads of state and captains of industry to artists, celebrities and the guy and gal next door. Sunday Brunch, served until 3pm, features a selection of gourmet omelets and Pan Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Potato Pancakes, French Toasted Butter Crackle Brioche and a Petrossian Smoked Salmon Platter. The restaurant seats 175 people with a Private Dining Area that holds up to 40 and a mezzanine that seats 80. Catering is available for parties of 12 to 300 people.  
 
Craft
43 E. 19th St.
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 780-0880


The new boîte, from heralded chef Tom Colicchio of Gramercy Tavern, gets back to basics with an à la carte menu of fine, fresh food. In sleek surroundings of leather, wood and metal, diners mix and match from six categories, including meat, fish and vegetables. You'll find items like braised morel mushrooms ($12) and white king salmon ($24). Select the five-course tasting menu ($68) and save deliberation for wine: almost 3,000 bottles await in a chic, two-story cabinet. Though family-style service encourages sharing, the pistachio parfait ($7) may warrant individual orders.
 
 

Daniel
60 East 65th Street
New York, New York
Phone: (212) 288-0033

Daniel exemplifies a great French restaurant so completely that it could be typecast as one in the movies. There are grand tiers of hors d'oeuvres to begin with, and baskets of madeleines at the end. The wine list is slipcovered in two volumes, like a fine edition of Voltaire. The waiters, who are otherwise splendid, find it impossible to stifle a sigh when they feel you have made an uninspired choice. You will find every French luxury ingredient imaginable, from truffles to foie gras, early asparagus to fresh morels (although the dish we've loved there lately involved humble French sardines, seared crisp and served with peeled — peeled! — cherry tomatoes). The restaurant even imports its own Iranian caviar, which at Christmastime is troweled onto dishes so thickly it boggles the mind. Yet none of the extravagance, the napery, the squab would matter much without the piercing intelligence of Daniel Boulud's approach to classical French cooking. His kitchen gets more flavor from a simple bell pepper than most restaurants can from a whole truckload of foie gras.
 
 
Gotham Bar & Grill
12 East 12th Street
New York, New York
Phone: (212) 620-4020
Every big city in America has restaurants a little like Gotham: vast, noisy, crowded places squeezed into old neighborhoods, with wine lists as long as gothic novels, floral arrangements the size of trees, and expensive ingredients finessed into abstract geometries. But Gotham is an original — the point isn't that the food is tall, it's that the flavors are strong, balanced, and delicious, the compositions classical and sure. (You may never taste better squab.) And behind Alfred Portale's showmanship beats the heart of a chef as devoted to the principle of seasonal, regional cuisine as any growers market devotee.
 
 
Gramercy Tavern
42 East 20th Street
New York, New York
Phone: (212) 477-0777
Danny Meyer is single-handedly redefining the concept of the American luxury restaurant. Gramercy Tavern, his flagship, somehow manages to be comfortable and unpretentious while remaining absolutely correct. From the slender, heavy silver to the rustic flowers and elegant country antiques, this is a graceful establishment. Tom Colicchio haunts the farmers market, and his delicious, understated, vegetable-intensive American cooking is so seasonally attuned that you could probably set your watch by it (the calendar part, anyway). Reserve in the main dining room if you want to be astonished by the intensity of the flavors and the intelligence of the service, or simply drop into the tavern for good food and an easy time.
 
 
Jean Georges
1 Central Park West
New York, New York
Phone: (212) 299-3900
To Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a tomato broth is less a tomato broth than a vehicle for obscure spices, sautéed lobster, blanched snow peas, and a whisper of fenugreek that floats over the dish like a sigh. An elusive meatiness in his sauce may have been from burnt bread crumbs or from the carcasses of roasted quail. He may serve foie gras pressed between sheets of unsweetened almond pastry, with a garnish of green almonds whose tender crunchiness is more delicate than fresh water chestnuts, or cooked long and slow and served with just a sprinkling of salt. And his waiters anoint sautéed langoustines with what they call "magic potato foam." Chez Panisse and Jean Georges may represent the two opposing schools of American cuisine: the former devoted to displaying nature at its best, the latter determined to bend nature to its will.
 
 
Le Bernardin
155 West 51st Street
New York, New York
Phone: (212) 554-1515
If imperial Rome had decided to erect a temple to seafood cookery, it could never have come up with an edifice half as magnificent as Le Bernardin, an imposing chunk of Manhattan real estate devoted to the monkfish, the scallop, and the steamed striped bass, the tuna, the snapper, and the roasted dorade — plus, of course, the imposing array of white Burgundies, Alsatian Rieslings, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs required to pay proper homage to the fish. Here is fluke, served raw in four different sauces that flicker into motion across the tongue the way an old kinescope flickers across the eye; here, too, is the famous "croque monsieur" stuffed with smoked salmon and the best Iranian caviar. Chef Eric Ripert amuses himself by plopping a barely warmed fillet of salmon into a truffled pot-au-feu, by saucing fried cod with veal gravy, by serving crunchy-crusted monkfish in a peppermint-scented tagine…which somehow, appealing both to our taste for the magisterial as well as to our liking for fish, is as satisfying as a Beaumarchais comedy.
 
 
Nobu
105 Hudson Street
New York, New York
Phone: (212) 219-0500
It is hard sometimes not to think of Nobu Matsuhisa as the Escoffier of all things great and raw, the chef who radicalized the modern restaurant kitchen by placing a sushi chef instead of a hot line at its core. His partner Drew Nieporent promoted the idea of a fine restaurant that happened to specialize in sushi rather than a sushi bar that happened to have tables. No restaurant since Spago has been more widely imitated — not least by Matsuhisa himself — but Nobu continues to set the standard. Matsuhisa may have been the first great sushi chef in America to realize that if his patrons want spicy tuna rolls, he might as well make really good ones. Still, for all the mystique that surrounds the restaurant, the place is as user-friendly as a steak house. And if a veteran customer is still rushed through a roster of Matsuhisa's greatest hits — the sashimi salad, the toro tartare, the "new-style" sashimi, the tuna tataki — he or she will still have had a dazzling, idiosyncratic e-ticket ride through the world of raw fish. Which is almost always enough.
 
 
B. Smith's
Sag Harbor, NY 11936
Phone: (631) 725-5858



The menu for B. Smith's in Sag Harbor features fresh-catch local seafood and New American cuisine. Drink specialties include our Sour Apple Pucker Martini, Watermelon Pucker Martini, B. Smith's Mint Julep plus fabulous Cosmopolitans, Super Premium Margaritas and an extensive wine list that complements the cuisine. The restaurant is frequented by a multi-ethnic clientele including locals who live in the Hamptons year round, tourists out for a weekend who are familiar with Barbara from her TV show and magazine and artists and celebrities including Robert De Niro, Billy Joel, Alan Houston, Aretha Franklin, Star Jones and Roy Scheider. The bar is busy but comfortable every night for Happy Hour from Wednesday through Saturday and diners enjoy live jazz on Sunday afternoons.

B. Smith's on Long Wharf Marina is legendary for the most picturesque vista, for waterside dining and for cocktails at sunset. Overlooking the Marina and its fleet of boats that range from 20' to 200'. You could just as well be in the South of France or the Caribbean; B. Smith's in Sag Harbor is truly a worldclass waterside restaurant that can comfortably accomodate up to 600 people. Reservations are recommended, inside and outside seating is on a first-come first-serve basis.

 
 
Town
15 W. 56th St.
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 582-4445
Tucked inside the Chambers hotel, Town brought downtown chic to midtown when it opened in March. A curving mezzanine with "liquid leather" settees overlooks the 24-foot-high-ceilinged dining room where Aretha Franklin and Nelly Furtado have feasted. Select from luxuriously rich dishes including escargot risotto ($16) and Basque-style veal tongue ($25).

For lighter fare, try the tomato watermelon salad ($11), but save room for dessert: The sourdough chocolate cake ($9) will make your night on the Town complete.
  


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