Outdoor Dining at Daniel (The Terrace)

There are certain chefs in New York who are so acclaimed that they need only go by their first names. Daniel of Daniel Boulud is one of those lucky few. His two Michelin star restaurant Daniel on the Upper East Side is a famous fine-dining destination that’s typically reserved for special occasions. Or perhaps if you’re a fabulous wealthy UES local, it’s just your local neighborhood spot. The pandemic has been especially rough on the fine dining segment. Coordinating multiple plates of a meticulous tasting just doesn’t work when you’re outdoors. So Daniel has momentarily put the tasting on hold and has pivoted to a more casual bistro format–The Terrace at Daniel–although the prices remain sky high. Now Daniel has resumed indoor dining, something I am not quite ready for, but The Terrace remains open.

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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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Oxalis in Prospect Heights

The resumes of these Brooklyn restaurants are starting to look the same. Chef trained at some fancy restaurant (Daniel, French Laundry, Alinea, etc) and wants to cook more casual, seasonally driven food, in a restaurant with an outdoor patio, of course. They all look the same, but it’s a formula that works. The latest addition to the pedigreed Brooklyn restaurant community is Oxalis in Prospect Heights. The chef Nico Russell trained at Daniel and Mirazur in Menton, France, and now it looks like people might be seeking him out for work, seeing as how Oxalis earned a Michelin star this year. The Oxalis tasting menu was quite impressive–and relatively affordable!–and was proof that the star was well deserved.

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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

A Scandinavian Lunch With a Side of Two Michelin Stars at Aquavit

aquavit in midtown, cozy and refined

By now, you’re probably aware of the popular Scandinavian concept of “hygge” or coziness. That’s the word I’d use to describe my experience at Aquavit, the two Michelin star Scandinavian restaurant in Midtown run by chef Emma Bengtsson. High end lunches at restaurants of this caliber tend to feel pretty formal and efficient–order the prix fixe, then get in and out in less than an hour for your next business meeting–but at Aquavit, our meal felt relaxed and pleasant. With peaceful jazz music playing in the background and tasteful throws placed on the backs of chairs, the main dining room at Aquavit feels like a refined lounge that calls on you to put your feet up and enjoy yourself for awhile.Read More