Living in New York City means parting with painful amounts of money on a daily basis. Beyond the astronomical cost of necessities like rent and transportation, luxuries like tasting menus beckon from all corners of the city — there is no shortage of places to spend a cool $500 on a Monday night, and many say the quality of those restaurants are worth the money.
But there’s a way to experience that splendor while spending less. Whether it’s going at lunch or sidling up to the bar, here’s how to eat at storied, Michelin-starred venues such as Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin for less.
The luxe meat temple that is the Beatrice Inn is full of decadence and splendor — think tableside flambeed duck and a 160-day whiskey aged Tomahawk ribeye — at a very (very) high cost. But at the sceney bar on Sundays and late night, chef-owner Angie Mar offers a three-piece buttermilk fried chicken with spicy honey snack for $15. Plus, splits of Gosset Blancn are half off. It’s available Sundays from 5:30 p.m. to close and all other evenings from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
285 West 12th St. near West Fourth Street, West Village
At $175 per person (service included), Eleven Madison Park’s bar tasting menu is certainly no where near cheap, but it’s at least a more affordable way to experience the former “world’s best restaurant” — considering the full tasting runs $315 per person. The five-course menu doesn’t slouch, either, offering such indulgences as caviar, lobster, foie gras, and lamb. “But what made the bar so exciting for me was the lack of tableside pomp and performative kitchen visits, more common to the longer menu. The bar experience lets the diner focus on Humm’s modern European-American cuisine with fewer distractions,” writes Sutton. Walk ins are welcome, but there may be a wait. Open daily at 5:30 p.m.
11 Madison Ave. at 24th Street, Flatiron
Chef Eric Ripert is widely regarded as one of the world’s best seafood chefs. His accomplished Le Bernardin has racked up three Michelin stars, four stars from the Times, and loads more accolades. While dinner starts at $160 for four courses, in the lounge diners can drop by for a la carte offerings. Sidle up to the bar for a salmon rillette or some fluke ceviche alongside cocktails and wine.
155 West 51st St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, Midtown East
Dinner at upscale, two-Michelin-starred omakase restaurant Sushi Ginza Onodera is a no-joke $300 — at minimum. But diners who visit the Tokyo import at lunchtime can go for a third of that, scoring an appetizer, 10 pieces of nigiri, miso soup, and dessert for $100. It’s still an expensive lunch, but a comparative steal considering the fish is almost exclusively wild-caught and mainly imported directly from Japan.
461 Fifth Ave., between 40th and 41st streets, Midtown East
This two-Michelin-starred Scandinavian venue in Williamsburg requires a pretty big commitment: It sells tickets on Tock, requiring a minimum non-refundable prepayment of $185 for the 10-course tasting menu. Eater critic Ryan Sutton calls that meal “creative and challenging,” and says that at Aska, chef-owner Fredrik Berselius “shatters some of the stodgy norms of fine dining.”
But diners can get a taste of that innovation at the downstairs bar, where drinks and snacks are available a la carte with no reservations. The menu changes regularly, but has included oysters with pickled currant and juniper oil, as well as pancakes topped with pesto, sour cream, and dry-aged beef. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Note: Aska is closed until September 5.
47 South Fifth St., between Wythe and Kent avenues, Williamsburg
Correction: August 23, 2018, 5:44 p.m.
This article was corrected to show that Masaki Saito is no longer the chef at Sushi Ginza Onodera.