Best Restaurant Service in NYC

October 25, 2016
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by Zagat Staff

In a city full of VIPs, some restaurants excel at treating every guest in the dining room like a star. Presenting the best restaurants in NYC for service, the spots worth booking when you need everything to go exactly right.

Le Bernardin
West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.9 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.9

Prepare to dine on “a higher plane” at this “dazzling” Midtown “star” where Eric Ripert’s “world-class” tasting menus highlight “transcendent” French seafood, earning it No. 1 Food honors in NYC for the eighth year in a row; a “deep” wine list, “exemplary” staff and “soigné” surrounds further justify the “sky-high” tabs, so for a “dream-come-true” meal, this is “as good as it gets.”
Bouley at Home
Flatiron · $$$$

This multifaceted enterprise by David Bouley brings together dining and education, offering nine-course dinners – drawing on French and Asian traditions – at counters arranged around cooking stations, where chefs both prepare and serve the dishes. Designed with streamlined wooden cabinets, the setting has elements of a home kitchen, while also providing culinary classes and a bakery in the same space.
Daniel
French · East 60s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

A “wow every time” , Daniel Boulud’s “luxurious” UES “icon” “sweeps you into another world” with “masterly” New French fare and a “rarefied atmosphere” defined by “magnificent” decor, “VIP” service and a “dressed-up” clientele (jackets are required); granted, the prix fixe–only tabs are “Himalayan” , but “you’ll understand why” – and the bar provides the “same stellar” quality à la carte.
Jean-Georges
French · West 60s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.8

“Time after time” , Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s CPW flagship “lives up to its billing” with “exquisite” New French cuisine that “dazzles your palate” served “with balletlike precision” in “a serene, luxurious” setting that requires a jacket; it’ll cost a “king’s ransom” to settle the tab, but those “willing to splurge” can count on an “unforgettable” meal.
Eleven Madison Park
Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

“Brilliant as ever” , Daniel Humm’s New American “knockout” on Madison Square Park is “a total indulgence” where a “spectacular” tasting menu with pairings from a “massive” wine list provides a “culinary adventure” that’s “expertly” served in a “magnificent” art deco space; the “jumbo bill” is a given, but “throw the budget out the window” “you can’t afford to miss this place.”
Gotham Bar and Grill
Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

“Longevity tells it all” at this circa-1984 Village “treasure” where Alfred Portale’s “picture-perfect” New American plates plus “savvy service” and a “gothamy” setting add up to “superior dining with no corners cut” ; longtime fans are “glad to pay the tariff” for an experience that “refuses to disappoint” , and the $38 greenmarket lunch “truly is a steal.”
Gramercy Tavern
American · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

You can rely on “top-class” dining with “no gimmicks” at Danny Meyer’s enduring Flatiron New American, where chef Michael Anthony’s “outstanding” set menus are presented by “eminently suave” staffers in an “upscale-country” dining room arrayed with “gorgeous” flower displays; it’s “not cheap by any means” , though the front tavern offers a “reasonable” à la carte menu in a “colorful” walk-in setting; P.S. gratuity is now built into menu prices.
La Grenouille
East 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

Ever “intoxicating” , this Midtown “bastion” of “fine-dining nonpareil” remains a “top-tier” source of “fantastique” French classics and “exemplary service” in a “dressy” , jackets-required setting heightened by “stunning floral displays” ; the “steep tabs” are “not for the timid” , but the consistent “level of taste” makes you “feel special.”
Gabriel Kreuther
French · West 40s · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

Prepare to be “wowed by” this French “standout” opposite Bryant Park, where chef Gabriel Kreuther produces “inspired” tasting menus with his signature “Alsatian twists” , served by a “seamless staff” in an “impressive” setting with “snazzy” “rustic” accents; though it’s “costly” , there’s also an à la carte bar menu if you’re “mindful of your pocketbook.”
Del Posto
Italian · Chelsea · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

“Hard to top” , this “magnifico” Chelsea Italian showcases the Batali-Bastianich “magic” with “inspired” cuisine and an “extraordinary” wine list in a “glamour palace” setting where “gracious” servers leave you “feeling totally pampered” ; just expect to “spend a whopping amount” , or try the lunch prix fixe for “a true bargain.”
Blue Hill
Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

A true “farm-to-table pioneer” , Dan Barber’s Village American “does a magnificent job” producing “unbelievably fresh and flavorful” American fare with “thoroughly satisfying” seasonal “integrity” ; set in a “lovely, calm” room run by an “especially caring” staff, it “isn’t cheap” but the performance is “worth repeat visits.”
Per Se
French · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

Thomas Keller’s Time Warner Center “high temple” of French–New American cuisine is “truly an event” given the “fabulous” tasting menu, “unimpeachable” service and “posh” , jackets-required surrounds overlooking Central Park; while the “through-the-roof” set price may limit visits to “once in a blue moon” , those of more limited means “love the à la carte option” in the lounge.
Scalini Fedeli
Italian · TriBeCa · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

This TriBeCa class act from Michael Cetrulo matches “marvelous” Italian cuisine with “top-notch” service in a “lovely” , “traditional” setting exuding “Old Europe” vibes; with prix fixe–only menus starting at $75, it’s “not cheap” , but “worth it for a special occasion.”
Sushi Nakazawa
West Village · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.6

The “ultimate showstopper” from “sushi master” Daisuke Nakazawa, this “extraordinary” West Village Japanese specializes in “breathtaking” omakase meals served like “a well-oiled machine” at the bar and in a “serene” dining room; scoring reservations remains a “difficult task” and the cost is “off the charts” , but an attached lounge should help on both fronts.
The River Café
DUMBO · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.5

“Is there a more beautiful setting in NYC?” swoon fans of this Dumbo waterfront “classic” whose “romantic” dining room offers “unbeatable” views of Manhattan, as well as a fairy-lit “Garden of Eden” just outside; “elegant” prix fixe–only American cuisine and “exceptional” service complete the “high-end” experience – for which an “expensive” price tag is “to be expected.”
The Simone
East 80s · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

A “class act” , this “tiny” UES retreat pleases “adults” with “exceptional” French cooking and “spot-on” wine pairings in an “elegant” setting conducive to “civilized conversation” ; though it’s “hard to get into” , “flawless service” is another reason it’s “worth the effort” – and the “splurge.”
Tocqueville
French · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

“Sophisticated” dining “to be savored” awaits at this “top-of-the-line” Flatiron “oasis” , where chef Marco Moreira’s “knockout” French–New American plates pair with a “wine list that dazzles” in a “pristine” “adult” setting; it runs “expensive, of course” , but that makes a $29 prix fixe lunch even more of “a steal.”
Cafe Boulud
French · East 70s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

A “timeless” Daniel Boulud “success story” , this “classy” UES “mainstay” impresses with “invariably artful” French fare served by an “expert staff” in “subdued” , “grown-up” surroundings; “1%ers” say the “high standards” are “worth every nickel” , though the prix fixe lunch remains “a relative bargain.”
Asiate
West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.5

“Elegant, calm” surroundings and “spectacular views” over Central Park make an “incomparable” backdrop for the “exquisite” New American cuisine at this “special-occasion” go-to “atop the Mandarin Oriental” ; the prices are equally “out of this world” (dinner is prix fixe–only), but “stellar” service helps take the sting out – and the 'express' lunch is a “steal.”