Corton’s Tastings, Costata’s Ribeye: NYC Dine & Deal

The era of corporate excess is over. Client dining is not.

This isn’t about frugality; it’s more about restraint. So if your company’s paying, consider the following venues for more judicious ways to wine and dine. (For a closer look into more New York venues, visit this slideshow.)

1. Ai Fiori: 400 Fifth Ave. Information: +1-212-613-8660;

What: French-Italian.

Why: Because Michael White, one of our leading Italian chefs, can crank out some solid truffled-lobster bisque and other Southern French hotel dishes.

Where: The Setai Fifth Avenue.

When: You need a quiet place near the Empire State Building. Four courses are $92; the tasting menu is $130. Sunday pasta menus are $72.

Bar: Yes.

Private Room: Around 12-32 people.

Sound level: Whisper-safe.

2. Le Bernardin: 155 W. 51st St. Information: +1-212-489-1515;

What: Formal French seafood, with international touches.

Why: Chef Eric Ripert has turned his once-stodgy dining room into one of New York’s most attractive and comfortable places to eat seafood.

Where: Midtown West.

When: You’re with clients who have astute palates; Le Bernardin’s fare can be so subtle you sometimes need to close your eyes to appreciate it. Smart diners will splurge for the $45 osetra caviar supplement as Ripert’s roe, firm and coral-hued, is among New York’s tops. Dinner menus run $130-$195.

Bar: Yes, full menu served.

Private Room: Will accommodate up to 200 after expansion.

Sound level: Hushed but convivial.

3. Blanca: 261 Moore St., Bushwick. Information: +1-347-799-2807 or

What: 25-plus courses of American, Italian, Japanese fare.

Why: Chef Carlo Mirarchi is a master at concentrating and economizing flavors. Nduja raviolo, a spicy one-bite course, explodes on the palate like a firecracker.

Where: In a converted garage, for $180 per person.

When: You want a tasting menu that doesn’t leave you painfully full.

Bar: The restaurant is a bar, with cushy captain’s chairs.

Private Room: No, but Blanca is available for buyouts.

Sound Level: Pleasant.

4. Briskettown: 359 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. Information: +1-718-701-8909 or

What: Beef barbecue: Low, smoky and slow.

Why: Daniel Delaney serves solid brisket and rocking beef ribs ($21), with as much flavor as dry-aged meat.

Where: South Williamsburg, near Peter Luger.

When: You want to show an out-of-town client that New York’s barbecue renaissance is going strong.

Private Room: No.

Sound Level: Just people eating meat.

5. Brushstroke: 30 Hudson St. Information: +1-212-791-3771;

What: Japanese kaiseki, via David Bouley and company.

Why: You want multi-course odes to the pristine cuisine of Kyoto, with occasional hat tips to Germany and France.

Where: Tribeca.

When: You need (relatively) affordable kaiseki. The tastings start at $85 and can exceed $300 with supplements.

Bar: Sushi bar; omakase starts around $150-$160.

Private Room: No, but larger groups can be accommodated.

Sound level: Lively.

6. Corton: 239 West Broadway. Information: +1-212-219-2777;

What: Fancy, fussy, four-star French fare.

Why: Paul Liebrandt has turned his tasting-menu spot into one of New York’s first-rate restaurants, doling out whimsical creations like striped jack with cotton candy. Sure, Eleven Madison Park is great. But Corton is better.

Sommelier Orr Reches can put together personalized by-the-glass pours to meet your budget.

Where: Tribeca.

When: You want four-star fare at non-Per Se prices. Corton charges $125-$155 for its tasting menus.

Bar: Yes.

Private Room: No.

Sound level: Reverent.

7. Costata: 206 Spring St. Information: +1-212-334-3320 or

What: Michael White’s first steakhouse.

Why: Because you want a chef with multiple Michelin stars overseeing your $116 porterhouse. White, New York’s foremost pasta chef, also serves his fine carbo-creations here, all for $21 or less each. Try the linguine with clams. Eben Freeman stirs a frosty Martini.

Where: The old Fiamma space in Soho.

When: Whenever you want a mind-altering ribeye, a dry-aged hunk of meat with notes of liver and blue cheese ($55). Refined carnivores should skip the bland, bone-in strip.

Bar: Yes, full menu.

Private Room: Yes, up to 60 guests.

Sound Level: Just right for conversation.

8. Craft: 43 E. 19th St. Information: +1-212-780-0880;

What: Haute-barnyard American.

Why: Tom Colicchio’s flagship is still one of New York’s finest (and most attractive) American restaurants. Expect simple, straightforward preparations like pork trotter topped with a farm egg ($18) and simply roasted maitake mushrooms ($16).

Where: Gramercy Park.

When: You want to take the fuss out of fine dining.

Bar: Yes.

Private Room: A secluded space has a separate entrance. Seats up to 40 or so.

Sound level: Bustling.

9. Dovetail: 103 W. 77th St. Information: +1-212-362-3800;

What: An emphasis on vegetables, without being entirely vegetarian. Sunchokes might be your main course, but they’ll be fortified with bone marrow. Don’t worry, there’s steak too.

Why: Chef John Fraser’s Michelin-starred fare is often overlooked by the city’s culinary cognoscenti.

Where: Upper West Side.

When: You need ambitious, affordable menus ($52-$132). If only the mediocre service kept pace with the ambitious food.

Private Room: Semi-private, up to 21 seated.

Sound level: A bit noisy when full.

10. Empellon Cocina: 105 First Ave. Information: +1-212-780-0999 or

What: Mexican small plates and tacos.

Why: Alex Stupak, previously one of this country’s most ambitious pastry chefs (Alinea, WD-50), has transformed himself into one of New York’s primary Mexican chefs. Barman Matt Resler will make sure you drink well; the yuzu margarita cools when things get too spicy.

When: You’re hungry for umami-rich chicken confit and spinach tacos ($12), or heady sea urchin guacamole ($24).

Bar: Yes.

Private Room: No.

Sound Level: Quite tolerable due to sound-proofing.

11. 15 East: 15 E. 15th St. Information: +1-212-647-0015;

What: Sashimi, sushi, sake.

Why: Because there are no second-string chefs for omakase, like at other sushi spots. If you sit at the bar, Chef Masato Shimizu will serve you himself. His fish is never too cold; rice, never too warm. The warm bluefin tuna neck is perfect.

When: You don’t want a $1,000-plus experience like at Masa or Kuruma Zushi. Meals rarely exceeds $200 for one before tip.

Bar: Yes.

Private Room: No.

Sound level: Buzzy.

12. Kin Shop: 469 Sixth Ave. Information: +1-212-675-4295;

What: Thai, through a French-American-Long Island lens.

Why: Pok Pok is more of a true Southeast-Asian experience, but that Red Hook joint doesn’t take American Express. At Kin Shop, Harold Dieterle’s fried chicken and red-curry duck make an equally delicious case for Thai, in a Manhattan-friendly way.

Where: Greenwich Village.

When: You want to subject a first-year associate to some spicy culinary hazing. The duck-larb salad, a mix of ground meat, mint, fish sauce, lime and chilies, is incendiary.

Bar: Chef’s counter plus bar, full menu.

Private Room: No.

Sound level: Shouty when full.

13. Mission Chinese: 154 Orchard St. Information: +1-212-529-8800 or

What: “Americanized Oriental food.” All dishes under $20.

Why: Chef Danny Bowien donates a portion of his sales to the Food Bank for New York (so far, $41,550).

When: You’re prepared for the Novocain-strength numbing power of Chongqing chicken wings, fried tripe and mapo tofu. Waits are long but limited reservations are available online.

Bar: Yes.

Private Room: No.

Sound Level: Just right for conversation.

14. North End Grill: 104 North End Ave. Information: +1-646-747-1600 or

What: American with French-Indian influences.

Why: Chef Floyd Cardoz (late of Tabla) serves a mean clam pizza, loaded with fragrant cilantro and briny bivalves ($21).

When: You’re finishing up a visit to Goldman Sachs next door and are craving a perfect omelet with heady lobster jus.

Bar: Yes, with more than 100 Scotches by the glass.

Private Room: Yes, up to 12 people with $1,200 minimum.

Sound Level: Noisy in the lounge, quieter in back.

15. Perla: 24 Minetta Lane. Information: +1-212-933-1824 or

What: Italian, sometimes with offal.

Why: Because owner Gabe Stulman is a master of service. And Michael Toscano ranks near Mario Batali and Michael White as one of our unrivaled pasta chefs.

When: You’re in the mood for stellar tomato-tripe bucatini ($19), ribeye for two ($95) or veal head for three ($85).

Bar: Yes.

Private Room: No.

Sound Level: Jay-Z on the jukebox but never too noisy.

16. Prime Meats: 465 Court Street, Brooklyn. Information: +1-718-254-0327 or

What: American steaks at an Austro-Germanic brasserie.

Why: Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo’s bastion of beef has improved over the years, with musky dry-aged steak sausage ($16) and a solid Wagyu frites ($30).

When: You’re entertaining clients in Brooklyn.

Bar: Standing-only. That’s how to eat bratwurst.

Private Room: Private space next door at Frankies 457.

Sound Level: Always respectable.

17. Riverpark: 450 E. 29th St. Information: +1-212-729-9790 or

What: American fine dining in between Bellevue and New York University hospitals.

Why: Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar continue to wow us with elegant mushroom consomme and casual fish tacos.

When: You’re craving lamb ragu after meeting with ImClone’s biotech professionals (in the same building).

Bar: Yes, full menu.

Private Room: Yes, can seat up to 160.

Sound Level: Very quiet.

18. Tulsi: 211 E. 46th St. Information: +1-212-888-0820 or

What: One of our city’s unrivaled Indian restaurants.

Why: Tulsi’s tasting menus are absurdly affordable, $65 for seven courses (vegetarian or with meat).

Where: Midtown East, across from Sparks.

When: You’re craving goat rogan josh, redolent of cinnamon, cardamom and Kashmiri chilies.

Private Room: No.

Sound Level: Quiet.

19. Tertulia: 359 Sixth Ave. Information: +1-646-559-9909 or

What: Spanish meats, sherry and Iberico ham.

Why: Seamus Mullen serves one of the city’s choicest steaks ($92), packed with charcoal-grilled, dry-aged flavor. He also serves a fine paella ($38).

This is all meant to be paired with one of the city’s finest selection of sherries, which range from $8 for a La Guita Manzanilla to $29 for a powerfully complex La Bota de Palo Cortado.

Where: Greenwich Village.

When: You want to splurge on a $36 jamon Iberico starter, loaded with silky fat and the aroma of sweet coconuts.

Private Room: No, but large parties accommodated.

Sound Level: Bustling like a brasserie.

20. Torrisi Italian Specialties: 250 Mulberry St. Information: +1-212-254-3000; Carbone: 181 Thompson St. Information:

What: The city’s greatest Italian-American fare. Torrisi serves a creative, forward-looking tasting menu ($75), while Carbone gets nostalgic with spicy rigatoni a la vodka and other expensive ($14-$140) a la carte dishes.

Why: Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone have elevated Italian-American fare from an ethnic cuisine to a fine-dining cuisine, on par with the best French and Italian fare.

Where: Nolita and Greenwich Village.

When: Torrisi is for closers. Carbone, with its 1950s rock music and killer cocktails, is for a more raucous night out.

Bar: Yes at Carbone, but standing-only.

Private Room: Not at Torrisi, where buyouts range from $8,000-$10,000 at dinner, or $3,000 at lunch. Private to semi-private events at Carbone run around $250 per person.

Sound level: Convivial at Torrisi, louder at Carbone.

(Ryan Sutton reviews restaurants for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

(This report is the third of the 2013 series of Bloomberg Dine & Deal. The articles survey top cities and offer informed tips on good restaurants for business and pleasure. For more Dine & Deal reviews, click here.)

Muse highlights include Robert Heller on rock, Katya Kazakina on art and Philip Boroff’s book review.