The Upper West Side used to be a restaurant wasteland. It seems the influence of Lincoln Center AND the pioneering efforts by Daniel Boulud are changing that in an incredibly quick pace. It used to be that you could only find an amazing meal if you were ready to drop $100+ per person on a meal. Nowadays, there are great meals to be had, even at around $10. Here are my favorite places to dine around Lincoln Center at almost ANY price point.
Indie Food and Wine: 144 West 65th Street – At Indie Food and Wine, you can start off with their delicious roast beef carpaccio (with mushrooms, mustard & parmigiano) for a mere $9. Their buttermilk-poached organic chicken breast sandwich will set you back a measly $12. The best deal in the house is their “dinner and a movie” for $25. It does not always run, but when it does, you get a sandwich, chips, and a glass of wine along with your movie ticket.
Epicerie Boulud: 1900 Broadway – I’ve become a regular at Epicerie Boulud. Sure their food is a bit pricey, but the quality of ingredients more than makes up for it. My favorites are the Bahn Mi, and all of their soups (count yourself lucky if they have the cream of mushroom). Perhaps my favorite thing is their oyster bar. In the afternoons, before catching your show, you can head to Epicerie, grab some bubbly and slurp on some Naked Cowboys.
American Table: 65 Columbus Avenue -Marcus Samuelsson’s brand new restaurant at Alice Tully Hall serves causal, yet sophisticated “American” food. Our favorites include the BBQ pork Sliders ($12) and the Lobster Roll with crispy shallots ($19). Great wine list too. Just check their website before heading over, they’ve been closed for private events a few times this month.
Bar Boulud: 1900 Broadway – While you can order a la carte, we recommend their Theater Prix Fixe for $45. It includes 3 courses and it is on from 5-7pm. Choices include the pate grand mere, Moroccan mussels, and a tarte au chocolat. They also have a great wine program. They open a rare large format bottle each night and sell it by the glass. I’ve tasted some spectacular bottles there.
Shun Lee West: 43 West 65th Street – Shun Lee has the best Chinese food on the Upper West Side, I think nobody can argue this. You will pay for it, four dumplings will cost you $10. However, your tummy will not grumble while watching the opera AND your fingers will NOT well from overuse of MSG. The service at Shun Lee West is delightful as well. This place is worth the money.
Boulud Sud: 20 West 64th Street – I did mention Daniel Boulud, right? This caps off the Boulud trilogy on the UWS. Just as good as his other properties, slightly more formal. Boulud Sud offers a $60 pre-theater menu from 5-7 pm. This gets you a main course, appetizer and dessert. Just make sure to have reservations, otherwise you’ll end up walking over to Bar Boulud just around the corner.
The Lincoln: 142 West 65th Street – This is a great option if you always wanted to visit Per Se and didn’t have the money to do it. The chef at the Lincoln is Jonathan Benno, who graced the kitchens of Per Se with Thomas Keller. The food here is Italian, the way Italian is in the middle of Tuscany – gorgeous. I recommend the tripe, but anything you get at this restaurant will delight. The restaurant offers a 3-course prix fixe for $60.