Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He produces the Café Concerts series and the podcast/show Conducting Business. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
Top Five New Pre-Concert Restaurants
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Pre-concert dining can be a harried and sometimes uneven affair, but several new restaurants around Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall are providing fresh options for a variety of tastes and budgets. Here are five newcomers.
1. Special Occasion: The most buzzed-about opening in New York this fall is Lincoln, a new 150-seat, high-end restaurant housed at Lincoln Center in the transparent wedge under the sloping lawn roof across from the Juilliard School. The restaurant is the product of some high-profile talent: Former Per Se chef Jonathan Benno and the architects Diller Scofidio and Renfro, who designed the $20 million space as part of their redesign of Lincoln Center. In a preview, The Wall Street Journal praised the "plush banquettes, an undulating ceiling and expansive glass walls” and its seafood-centric, modern Italian menu. The foodie blog Eater was even less restrained, noting that despite “the potential to be flashy, overpriced, overhyped” it is “spectacular.”
Lincoln (opens September 24)
142 West 65th Street
2. Cape Cod in New York: The recession claimed several longtime fixtures of the Lincoln Center dining scene including Cafe des Artistes, Tavern on the Green and the Irish pub O'Neals. Now, the latter space has been taken over by mega-restaurateur Steve Hanson, who recently opened Atlantic Grill, a branch of the Upper East Side fish house. With its focus on sushi and seafood it has something to offer most tastes and critics have admired its eye-catching “monster of a space.”
Atlantic Grill (Web site)
49 West 64th Street
3. Pre-Concert Noodle Joint: If it’s Japan’s greatest comfort food you crave -- and not the Styrofoam cup variety that makes up the stereotypical college-student meal -- consider a visit to Totto Ramen. The small space, a few blocks from Carnegie Hall, might be a culinary complement to that venue's JapanNYC festival taking place later this season. Here you can dine on countless versions of the soup including a critical favorite: the creamy soup known as paitan ramen. The narrow, below street-level space is designed for quick meals -- always a bonus for those 7:30 pm curtain times.
Totto Ramen (Web site)
366 W 52nd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues
4. Decadent Desserts: After a caloric evening of Strauss or Puccini, consider a stop by Bomboloni, an upscale doughnut shop and café on Columbus Avenue. As The New York Times reports, the spot serves up Italian filled doughnuts called bomboloni, which feature a variety of fillings, including pistachio, roasted chestnut and peanut butter cup. David Ruggerio, who owns the neighborhood restaurants Lansky's Old World Deli and Sushi a Go-Go, opened the space to resemble a small Italian café. For those without quite the sweet tooth, also offered are paninis, soup, pasta salad, gelato and espresso drinks.
Bomboloni (Web site)
187 Columbus Avenue near 68th Street
5. For the Vegetarians: It's not glamorous but Soomsoom Vegetarian Bar is kosher, Israeli and easy on the wallet, with most dinner options under $10. Falafels are the specialty here, served up crisp, with fluffy pitas and a choice of toppings. Also worth a try is the Soom Sandwich, a pita with hard boiled egg, eggplant, potato, hummus and a choice of toppings and sauce.
Soomsoom Vegetarian Bar (Web site)
166 W. 72nd Street, near Amsterdam Avenue