Septime in Paris, France 2021

Getting a reservation to Septime is near impossible. The online reservation is an exercise in false hope. The dates on the calendar seem like they’re open, but really they click through to a waitlist. And the waitlist never seems to move. So I guess the silver lining about the pandemic is that only a portion of the world’s population can actually come to Septime, which means tables are easier to come by. I was planning a trip to Paris in September, so I started looking for bookings in the summer. I had no trouble getting a table. It felt really good being able to click on a date and get an actual reservation. What a difference two years makes. Last time I went to Septime, all I ended up with was a tote bag from their wine bar. This time I left with memories of the most amazing dinner.

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Le Pavillon in Midtown East

When people would say New York City is dead, I would always point out the busy outdoor restaurants downtown to prove otherwise. But Midtown was a different story. It really did feel like the everyone had left this part of town. With people working from home and Broadway having gone dark, was there any real reason for Midtown to exist? So when I went to dinner at Le Pavillon, the new Daniel Boulud restaurant that opened at a Midtown office tower, I was relieved to see that things were back. The crowd seemed to reflect precovid clientele – date-nights, the finance bros, and even out-of-town guests! You know things are really back when the tourists are back.

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Jungsik Seoul in Cheong-dam – 2 Michelin Star Lunch Tasting

Fine dining Korean restaurants are very much en vogue these days (pre-covid of course), but that wasn’t the case roughly a decade ago. Jungsik in Tribeca deserves a lot of credit for being one of the pioneers of this style of Korean cooking in New York, and it’s been very successful doing so, earning 2 Michelin stars in the process. Jungsik’s original location is in the Cheongdam neighborhood in Seoul, and when I booked my tickets to Korea I wanted to make a meal here a priority. I was absolutely blown away by the 5 course lunch tasting that I had here recently and could see how they deserve their 2 stars. If you have to splurge on one fancy meal in Korea, I would recommend the tasting menu at Jungsik. The lunch tasting is very reasonable at an all-inclusive 78,000 KRW (~$65) per person for four courses, 98,000 KRW (~$80) for the five course option.

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Jua Restaurant Review in Flatiron

Finally, a Korean restaurant breaks into my top 10 restaurants list. I had a very impressive meal at Jua, the new fine dining Korean restaurant run by Chef Hoyoung Kim, who used to be the executive chef at Jungsik. The nine course Jua tasting menu consisted of Korean dishes that I grew up eating, only fancier and better. The cooking was on par with what we expect from a highly esteemed Western restaurant. It makes me proud of how far Korean food has come in extending its reach far beyond just the humble bbq restaurant (which is still awesome) and joining the ranks of elite institutions, a status that tends to be reserved for the fancy European place or the pricey sushi omakase.

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Lunch at Le Bernardin

Le Bernardin is Eric Ripert’s world famous, three Michelin star restaurant in Midtown where the dinner tasting menu will run you $187 per person, $282 if you include a wine pairing. A meal here may seem inaccessible, but one trick to getting around the prices is to eat in the Lounge, where you can order off of the a la carte menu or enjoy the $57 3 course City Harvest prix-fixe, which is offered exclusively in the Lounge.Read More