Midtown Manhattan can be considered the heart of NYC, and it’s where I find myself dining for business most often. Still, keeping a map in my brain of dining hotspots beyond the epicenter comes in quite handy when I call on clients in those neighborhoods. Chelsea, Tribeca, and the East Village are among these dining Meccas, but Union Square is where my current bounty of faves resides. There’s no shortage of amazing restaurants in the Union Square area, so the new challenge is to find an appropriate venue for your guest, combining amazing food and a manageable guest check. After all, the key to impressing your guests is to have them dine like royalty and be totally impressed with your sense of economy when the bill arrives.
Allow me to register three of my must-tries in the Union Square/Flatiron/Gramercy area onto your restaurant radar. Each one has nailed the foodie appeal/affordability quotient, and is sure to lure you back to their dining room for a recreational meal when the business day is through. And with the clock ticking on Restaurant Week, resistance is futile!
Very special to me indeed is Flatiron district’s CraftBar. I’ve been sipping their wine selections and enjoying their culinary offerings since they originally opened next to Craft back in 2001, and with all the other dining options at my disposal, I still love to find an excuse to return. Join my old colleague, executive chef Lauren Hirschberg and his team of highly-skilled “craftsmen” for compelling fare year round, starting with their extensive $25 prix-fixe menu to celebrate restaurant week until March 7th. Do NOT miss the ricotta meatballs….it’s like you’re eating savory clouds!
Turn a business lunch (secretly) into a little vacation at the Flatiron gem Periyali. With their incredibly gracious service and authentic traditional cooking, you’ll feel like you’re in Greece for an afternoon. Not to miss: The Greek meatballs, charcoal grilled octopus, and yellow split pea purée (all appetizers). The salmon baked in phyllo and the mousaka entrees are outstanding. A three-course lunch prix fixe is $26.
One of the most elegant restaurant settings, not just in Union Square, but in all of NYC, is Tocqueville. I would define their menu and approach as much like that of my restaurant Goldie’s by the Bridge: fresh market cuisine. Newly on board at Tocqueville is a legend in the wine world— Roger Dagorn, who heads up their wine program; prepare to be dazzled. 3-course prix-fixe lunch is $29.