Our experience advisers field dozens of calls a day from members requesting reservations at popular, hard-to-book restaurants, from an intimate steak house in the Village to a French “restaurant of the century.” So which eateries are the most sought-after? We rounded up our top five most requested hot spots. If you want to see for yourself what all the fuss is about, there’s no need to check OpenTable for last-minute cancellations—we can set aside a great table for you whenever you’d like.
4 Charles Prime Rib
Chicago-based restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff is sprinkling his hog salt around Manhattan at his discreet, 10-table steak house in the West Village. The basement space is adorned with vintage-inspired decor (think: leather booths, wood-paneled walls, and Bavarian crystal chandeliers), but the offerings are contemporary. Its namesake is encrusted in salt and slow-roasted for 12 hours, making it a contender for the most sophisticated umami bomb to come out of 2017. Double up on your meat intake and make room for the thick-cut bacon with hints of maple and black pepper.
This French hot spot from Stephen Starr and internationally renowned chef Daniel Rose has only been open for a year, but several outlets have already called it the restaurant of the century. Intricate chandeliers, stone columns, and pillowy plum banquettes are what the Parisians would call très chic, while dishes like the refreshingly satisfying salade de homard, sauce lauris (lobster tails with basil, tomato, and a paprika sauce), and savory tarragon-laced sweetbreads would make Ratatouille proud.
Union Square Cafe
This Danny Meyer flagship put him on the map and turned the neighborhood into a dining destination back when the original opened more than three decades ago. The welcoming spot may have moved a few blocks up to East 19th Street and the restaurateur may be running a culinary empire nowadays, but the contemporary American fare still evokes a natural sense of warmth with practically every dish offered; our current faves include a seasonal take on the pan-roasted Peking duck with cherries and polenta, and an airy strawberry pavlova with a palate-cleansing mint ice cream.
We’d even go so far as to call the latest from Jean-Georges Vongerichten the ultimate power breakfast spot for yoginis looking to say salutations to the sun on the right foot. The room, for starters, feels like a space-age souk. Morning dates and meetings take place on the Moroccan-textiled banquettes and modern white chairs beneath mandala paintings and chandeliers. Addictive vanilla chia pudding is practically a painter’s canvas for bright fruit, dates, cacao, Brazil nuts, and hemp, while forbidden (black) rice and millet congee add cool new textures to a classic bowl of oatmeal.
Probably the most anticipated restaurant opening of the year, this retro-luxe American chophouse inside the Seagram Building (a $30 million reimagining of the former Four Seasons by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick) is the epitome of mid-century New York cool. While the hanging sculptures by Richard Lippold and the Venetian-inspired, 20-foot window treatments—not to mention the dramatic tableside pressed pasta service—are holdouts from the eatery’s classic 1959 days, some elements were modernized for today’s gentle diner: waiters clad in Zac Posen, rare vinos turned into wall lighting, martinis poured from crystal decanters. The power lunch was made for old (and new) money—care for some honey mustard–glazed duck with a side of perfectly waffled fries?—while dinner is a sight for sore eyes. You really can’t get more lavish than prime rib served out of a $10,000 trolley.
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