Upvoted by Gerardo Rodriguez and 24 others
philippe-sauriat

Wine Director / Dir. of Operations at The Lotos Club

Philippe Sauriat

Wine Director / Dir. of Operations at The Lotos Club

Answer found helpful by Jackson DeWitt and 16 others

The Grand Central Oyster Bar has been part of the New York City scene for decades with a very casual services , a decor that has not changed for 20 years (I think) and the same concept which is all about freshness. You won't find the most creative dishes in their menu but the selection and the freshness of oysters is remarkable, the "catch of the day" offers simply made but very delicious dishes. The wine list has improved over the past few years, a more thoughtful selection where I always find something appropriate and delicious and well priced to drink. (not so much with the BTG)
I honestly feel good at the Oyster bar, no one cares on your looks or what your order, it's casual in the good sense of it.
Simple and good, one recipe for a long term success.

Helpful 17 Comments (2)
dara-eskandari

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

Dara Eskandari

Beautifully said! This is an icon you can't miss, definitely worth the trip to Grand Central for anyone who has never been.

Reply almost 2 years ago

vincent-singler

Vincent Singler

New York City

Artist and aspiring food critic

Vincent Singler

Perfect description

Reply almost 2 years ago

Upvoted by Gerardo Rodriguez and 20 others
morgan-harris

Morgan Harris

New York

www.morganwharris.com

Sommelier at Aureole Restaurant

Morgan Harris

Sommelier at Aureole Restaurant

Answer found helpful by Dana Silverstein and 15 others

What makes a restaurant a classic? At the end of the day, I always think about the Maya Angelou quote, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." The enduring experience you take from any great restaurant is the feeling it generates inside of you.

I have never left Union Square (which opened a month before I was born) feeling anything but totally excellent. While never New York's fanciest restaurant, it has a lived-in comfort that few other restaurants can match. The strange multi-part layout of the dining room means no matter where I'm seated, I always feel like I'm in my own special world. The service is always genuine and confident, seeming to say, "Listen, just relax, you're going to have a great fucking time." The wine list is littered with high-value gems, especially if your'e willing to spend a little. I have on my last few visits always found something fully mature (over 10 years old) for under $100 and drinking wonderfully. They also have the cheapest prices on Krug half bottles anywhere in the City.

The food, while not bleeding edge, is the best of New American, market-driven cuisine. It's timelessness comes from a focus on satisfaction, from the feeling the food generates. Also, can we talk about the bread service? Which aims to make everyone happy..."Oh, you're gluten free, we've got that, have some of these awesome olives!"

Brunch is great, and it's a great option for a power lunch. Do try to make a reservation. Also try to go before it closes. I'm confident the next iteration will be wonderful as well, but it just won't be quite the same...

Helpful 16 Comments (1)

Christina White

This is by far the best review I've read about the Union Square Cafe. I can't wait wait to try it out this weekend!

Reply almost 2 years ago

eric-gd-singer

Craft Beer Specialist, The Cannibal

Eric GD Singer

Craft Beer Specialist, The Cannibal

Answer found helpful by Andrew Johnson and 8 others

In those cases where people follow a specific chef or restauranteur, often behind the scenes there is someone intelligent behind the scenes present and keeping the quality high as well as keeping things fresh, which makes me think of USC and of course Danny Meyer. Other places are timeless as I return to them over again for more simple or rustic roster of dishes or classics that may be traditional, or ethnic food. Depending how far back you want to go, and based on the time I tend to get out of work at night, for a true historic-type restaurant experience though, sitting at the bar at PJ Clarke's (most likely doing oysters or a burger) would be a favorite recession-proof NY Classic for me.

Helpful 9 Comments (1)

Patricia Dennis

Spot on, really well said. Thank you Eric!

Reply over 1 year ago

Upvoted by Alison Starke and 20 others
1 Central Park West, New York, NY
paul-aquino

Sommelier at Maialino

Paul Aquino

Sommelier at Maialino

Answer found helpful by Dana Silverstein and 17 others

Restaurants like this are enduring because from a business point of view they find very motivated people who embrace the restaurant group's/chef's vision. At Jean Georges I find that they continue to (or have struck a balance) of serving their classic dishes and keeping them consistent alongside newer more inspiring seasonal dishes. All of this while also maintaining consistent service and standards that pampers and caters to each specific guest. In other words timeless yet always looking forward. Elegant but warm without the stuffiness one expects, dining at that level.

Helpful 18 Comments (1)

Brice Vermeiren

Hit the nail on the head, well said

Reply almost 2 years ago

Upvoted by Jorge Ramirez and 19 others
william-brasile

William Brasile

New York City

Executive Chef at Minetta Tavern

William Brasile

Executive Chef at Minetta Tavern

Answer found helpful by Jay Thomas and 34 others

One of the things that mark a restaurant as a classic is that it can be placed at a particular moment in the memory and history of New York dining. Whether it is one hundred years old or just ten, when you dine there you feel and remember a sense of the history that spawned the location. However long a landmark restaurant survives and evolves, what makes it important is it’s place in the development of the culture of the city. Le Cirque, Jean Georges, Daniel, Bouley, Le Bernardin, McSorley’s, La Grenouille, Oyster Bar, An American Place, Gotham Bar & Grill, Balthazar, Lutece, etc.. All made a statement when they first arrived that changed the landscape of New York dining and remain pillars for what has come after. Chefs and restaurants that have made their mark in this way are remarkably rare, and should be treasured for their past and present contributions to New York and American dining. These restaurants have so much to consistently offer - food, service, and ambience in their own distinctive style. They make you feel special. They are places you remember with dishes that you come back for every time. What also binds them together is the sense of pleasure they inspire year after year, having stood the test of time without losing any of the vitality and character a first class establishment must maintain to survive.

Helpful 35 Comments (2)
james-schmitt

New yorker with a big appetite

James Schmitt

This my favorite steakhouse in all of NYC

Reply almost 2 years ago

rich-dougherty

Ragin' Cajun

Rich Dougherty

I agree with Peter Luger's, but where is Minetta Tavern on this list? ;)

Reply almost 2 years ago

Upvoted by Kellie Norris and 15 others
antonio-miceli

Manager at Bouley Restaurant

Antonio Miceli

Manager at Bouley Restaurant

Answer found helpful by Jacob Fenster and 20 others

The trick in NYC, it seems to me, is to latch onto certain social groups and keep them happy if you want to be in for the long haul. No one does it better for the late-night crowd as well as the original Blue Ribbon Brasserie. Maybe it's because it was one of the first downtown spots to offer food and wine until 4am. Today they are not alone; many places offer a fine meal with a last call cocktail. Yet after over two decades in business few can match Blue Ribbon's eclectic crowd and celebratory vibe. You'll see bankers, fashion designers, Teslas pull up with tech heads, limos pull up with hip hop artists, and the exhausted cooks and servers that serve them at their own respective restaurants. And we all go for the unfussy and exceptionally executed food. I must admit I rarely venture outside of the things I love because they do them so well: fresh oysters, steamed head-on gulf shrimp, bone marrow with oxtail marmalade, and sometimes an order of tender sweetbreads (I think the Bromberg Brothers might be singlehandedly responsible for the bone marrow menu trend.) That's the other trick about restaurant longevity in NYC: New Yorkers care less about concept and more about execution. It's better to have a non-schtick schtick than to have some fully integrated plan. The menu also lists fondue, matzoh ball soup, paella, and a pu-pu platter of sorts. I guess if you look deeply it's all about New York, but it doesn't care to present it in some boxed-up way which other restaurants are doing. What they do care about is taking care of you and enhancing your night out as best they can. It's always a pleasure for me to walk in, see Victor shucking oysters alongside James at the bar, and celebrate the end of a great dinner service with a few good friends. Make sure to leave some love in the "Oysters Tips" jar up at the front.

Helpful 21 Comments (4)
eliot-abrams

My friends think I'm a food snob

Eliot Abrams

Awesome -- I somehow have never made it here but I loved your description of it. Need to check it out!

Reply almost 2 years ago

dana-silverstein

Midwest girl, love to cook and dine out in NYC!

Dana Silverstein

I loved this thank you!

Reply almost 2 years ago

garry-fall

My dream is to own a food truck

Gary Fall

This is a really nice read, thank you!

Reply over 1 year ago

kellie-norris

Kellie Norris

Manhattan

@kelsojeann

Current wine rep for Savio Soares Selections and bartender at Sweet Chick Ludlow. Past lives include The Modern, Craft and Raines Law Room.

Kellie Norris

One of my favorite spots in NYC as well, many a late post-shift night has been spent here!

Reply over 1 year ago

Upvoted by Sarah Blau and 15 others
65 E 55th St, New York, NY
sarah-blau

Beverage Manager at Aquavit

Sarah Blau

Beverage Manager at Aquavit

Answer found helpful by Dana Silverstein and 21 others

There is something undeniably admirable about a restaurant surviving in one of the most competitive cities on the planet. That ability to remain relevant is a reason why guests -- tourists and regulars alike -- keep visiting the classic spots. While enduring is the common thread, not every restaurant goes about it the same way. Some stay exactly as they were, comfortable for their regulars, and others evolve with the times. A restaurant like Aquavit, which has been around for 28 years, still has the comfort food of Nordic cuisine that it was originally known for, but has also moved in the fine dining direction. That adaptation allowed the restaurant, at the age of 27, to receive the honor of 2 Michelin Stars and 3 stars from the New York Times, breathing fresh air into Aquavit and signaled that it can endure well into the future.

Helpful 22 Comments (3)
anita-malhotra

Any time's a good time for a margarita

Anita Malhotra

One of my favorite restaurants in the city! Had no idea its been around that long

Reply almost 2 years ago

jerry-hughes

perfected the art of eating

Jerry Hughes

Really nicely said!

Reply almost 2 years ago

skyler-zeiger

I spend a disproportionate amount of my income of food

Skyler Zeiger

I've always wanted to go here, have heard it's the best scandinavian food in the city

Reply almost 2 years ago

Upvoted by Shiloh Jackson and 12 others
160 E 64th St, New York, NY
anthony-ricco

Executive Chef at Spice Market

Anthony Ricco

Executive Chef at Spice Market

Answer found helpful by Natalie Russell and 23 others

JOJO, which is Jean Georges first restaurant, is one of my favorite dining rooms in NYC. The old Town House which was converted to this beautiful classic looking restaurant makes for an amazing setting for a great meal. The food is clean and simple with the signature Jean Georges touches running through each dish. If you are lucky enough to get the window table on the second floor you will want to extend your meal for as long as you can. The dining room has that old school feel but the cocktails and food are current and perfectly executed plus the service is spot on and rounds out the overall experience that is why JOJO always comes to mind when i think of NYC Classics!

Helpful 24 Comments (2)
robert-friedman

Wine lover, world traveler

Robert Friedman

This is really a unique gem in the New York dining scene - you said it beautifully!

Reply over 1 year ago

ashley-belin

Cheap eats to fine dining and everything in between

Ashley Belin

I'm almost ashamed I hadn't heard much of Jojo. The photos of the interior are wonderful! Excited to check this out!

Reply over 1 year ago

Upvoted by Shiloh Jackson and 12 others
163 Duane Street, New York, NY
harrison-mosher

Executive Chef at District Social / District Tap House

Harrison Mosher

Executive Chef at District Social / District Tap House

Answer found helpful by Rosa Lowe and 17 others

Restaurant Bouley is really an amazing gastronomic institution. I worked for David at the 1st Bouley on Duane Street. I also worked for him at The Danube. Both experiences were quite tough but both made a very deep impression on me. David is so genuinely forward thinking and intelligent that the restaurant continues to grow, change and yet somehow maintain its own original identity. David is a really curious person with a sharp intellect attached. It keeps Restaurant Bouley modern and current yet retaining its innate identity.

Helpful 18 Comments (1)
bill-venners

Personal chef for local families

Bill Venners

Really enjoyed this thank you!

Reply almost 2 years ago

Upvoted by Andrew Johnson and 11 others
chad-walsh

Chad Walsh

New York City

twitter.com/chadlwalsh

Sommelier at Agern

Chad Walsh

Sommelier at Agern

Answer found helpful by Ernie Gomez and 29 others

You enter down from the street, just around the corner from Bloomingdale's and the cacophony of Lexington Avenue, but are always welcomed by what your guests will imagine is a close friend (even if it's your first time there).

It may sound silly, but it is so nice to be offered a drink before even seeing a menu, and until you have your Lillet on the rocks, or Martini, or glass of Champagne, you won't even see a menu.

When you they push the aging captain out of the curtains in the back to give you one it's all classics: go for the grenouilles (frog legs) or tartare, the steak au poivre, or the sole, filleted tableside. The wine list doesn't give you a lot of detail, so if you're feeling like Cornas or Chambolle-Musigny, just say so and they will find you something. Please don't offend them by not having an Armagnac or, at least, a Poire William before you go.

Helpful 30 Comments (3)
alyssa-heitlinger

Private chef specializing in Italian, French

Alyssa Heitlinger

Loved the description thank you!

Reply almost 2 years ago

jerry-hughes

perfected the art of eating

Jerry Hughes

Fantastic service here, you did them great justice! Nicely said!

Reply almost 2 years ago

skyler-zeiger

I spend a disproportionate amount of my income of food

Skyler Zeiger

A drink before you see the menu, very nice touch!

Reply almost 2 years ago

Upvoted by Kyle Cooper and 10 others
dan-amatuzzi

Dan Amatuzzi

New York

wineforthestudent.com

Adjunct Professor @ NYU, Beverages

Dan Amatuzzi

Adjunct Professor @ NYU, Beverages

Answer found helpful by Victoria Justin and 14 others

Old Town Bar is a classic spot with a dizzying array of whiskeys and spirits in which NY's storied nightlife culture is deeply rooted. What makes this saloon in the big city still a mainstay is its unwavering approach to straightforward drinks and supplementary fare any time of day and any day of the week. It's consistent in its approach and welcoming to both the local client and the weary traveler.

Helpful 15 Comments (2)

Christina White

I love this place! Do you have a favorite drink here?

Reply almost 2 years ago

victoria-justin

Line cook, just moved to NYC

Victoria Justin

Beautifully said! Really enjoyed reading this!

Reply over 1 year ago

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