Midtown East Restaurants
99 E. 52nd St., Midtown East
When Mario Carbone and his team took over the Four Seasons space, they divided it into two separate restaurants–a high-end steakhouse (The Grill) and this modern-feeling seafood spot. The space still has a beautiful interior (including all of the notable historical details, which are landmarked by the city), and in addition to Carbone's ambitious take on seafood–think Dungeness crab rice, charred octopus with onion blossoms, and Block Island monkfish with an "ocean emulsion"–there's a deep focus on cocktails, incorporating flavors from whole fruits like bananas, strawberries, and oranges. If you're feeling flush, the surf and turf is a worthy splurge.
245 E. 44th St., Midtown East
This new Japanese spot is named for Toshiro Mifune, a Japanese actor who starred in films like the Seven Samurai in the '50s. Exemplifying Japanese fine dining, the feel of the place is very white-tablecloth-special-occasion, with dishes to match–we've heard great things about the miso cod with parmesan foam and the (stunningly plated) butterfish with radishes. For a really special occasion, make an omakase reservation at sushi AMANE downstairs–Chef Shion Uino comes from Sushi Saito, a Tokyo restaurant with three Michelin stars where it's nearly impossible to get a table.
99 E. 52nd St., Midtown East
The opening of The Grill was a little bittersweet for some New Yorkers (given the location's previous identity as the legendary Four Seasons, which re-opens a few blocks away later this year), but as major fans of Mario Carbone, we were supportive of this changing of the guard. Nostalgics will find comfort in the fact that the interior is relatively unchanged (many elements, including the famous Lippold sculptures over the bar, are relevant to the history of the Mies Van der Rohe-designed Seagram building and landmarked by the city) and that the overall vibe honors the expense-account, power-player reputation of its past. So does Carbone's menu, which leans on old-school items like oysters, crabcakes, a ridiculously good Crab Louie salad, and steaks that you can literally choose from the waiter's tray. The classic cocktail list reads like something out of The Great Gatsby–new regulars order the gin martini, a Manhattan, or a feminine, delicate grasshopper.
Salvation Burger (Closed)
230 E 51st St., Midtown East
April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman know a thing or two about burgers—if you’ve been to The Spotted Pig, their first venture, you know what we mean. For their newest, a restaurant inside the Pod 51 Hotel in Midtown East, they bet big on the classic, but the best version is veggie: It’s served with carrots and topped with a spicy masala. Heaven. The not-for-the-faint-of-heart menu has chili cheese fries, poutine, popcorn, beef jerky, and four types of pie—it’s kind of like fancy fast food, except that everything—mustard included—is made from scratch. Photos: Danielle Adams
The Monkey Bar
Hotel Elysée, 60 E. 54th St., Midtown East
This bar inside Hotel Elysée is admittedly a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place; typically filled with suits, it's definitely reminiscent of a very specific '90s New York experience. But regardless of your feelings about the scene, the uncomplicated menu and skillful bartenders make it a reliable standby. Good to know: they offer a pre-theatre fixed menu, which makes for an easy dinner if you’re going to a show with a big group.
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
Grand Central Terminal, 89 E. 42nd St., Midtown East
This NYC institution opened on the lowest level of Grand Central in 1913, the same year the station was built. Over the years it lost a lot of its luster due to poor management, until it got a desperately-needed facelift in 1974. Since then, it's consistently topped the list of the city's best seafood spots—as it's name suggests, the oysters are particularly epic.
57 E. 54th St., Midtown East
Bill's is an upscale steakhouse in a gracious, 19th-century townhouse. Keeping the name and some of the comfortable old boys décor of its predecessor (red leather booths, faded photographs, taxidermy), the multi-floored venue makes for a pretty special setting. The menu serves East Coast steakhouse classics with a modern twist (lacinato kale gratin, dover sole fish and chips, and more).
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