Manhattan Whales tend to migrate between about a dozen or so bars and restaurants. These are the places where Whales eat, play, and perform courtship rituals. As a Whale Week special, here's a guide to Whale watching in New York City:Read More
A Guide to Whale Watching in New York City
Whales head to this legendary Midtown restaurant when they're celebrating their birthdays and promotions, and when elderly Whales float in from out of town. If you're granted access to the ground floor dining room (jacket, slacks, and sensible shoes required), you will spot table after table of rosy-cheeked Whales glugging Southsides, and picking at plates of chicken hash. This back room is essentially the Whale holy land — a place of deep, spiritual significance for Manhattan Whales and their spawn.
Marea is an essential part of the Whale ecosystem. The menu features a number of the aquatic delights that Whales crave, and the space is especially pleasing to female Whales during mating season.
This classic Midtown tavern is where Whales young and old like to wash down a few brewskis (or Martinis) and cut loose. If you go here on a Thursday or Friday night between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., you will spot a sea of Brooks Brothers-clad mammals chatting up the talent at the bar. The addition of the new, members-only "Sidecar" lounge makes P.J. Clarke's the official club house of Whales that work and play between 14th and 59th streets.
North End Grill
Danny Meyer and Floyd Cardoz's excellent Battery Park City restaurant is basically the Student Union of Whale University. This is a place where Whales drift to during lunch for a clam pie, after work for a few tipples of single malt Scotch, and at night for grilled Nova Scotia lobster and monkfish tail.
Nougatine at Jean Georges
Whales that make their home in the northwest region of Manhattan frequently feed at Nougatine during the week. In this safe little cove beneath the Trump Hotel, they can chomp on fancy versions of fried chicken and burgers, and slurp premium wine while their mates bellow harsh Whale songs.
Whales love sushi, especially when it's served at a tiny dining counter in a fancy shopping center. Masa's pricing is somewhat mysterious, which makes Whales feel like they're living fast, loose, and on the edge. Certain drugs provide this feeling for considerably less money.
For a while last year, these were not safe waters for New York City Whales. But, perhaps owing to the fact that Whales have very short memories, Babbo is once again a destination for the big boys and their fun-loving friends. Whales flock to pasta — especially the good stuff made with squid ink and fresh maritime proteins — and they love trying to squeeze their way into seemingly impenetrable spaces.
This is where Downtown Whales head when they need protein. At Bobby Van's, Whales can munch on aged beef and massive shrimp cocktails during lunch hour. The restaurant is conveniently located across the street from a great Whale hub: The Narwhal Street Stock Exchange.
Nello is a safe haven for older Whales who have migrated north to live out their golden years. This restaurant makes it easy for them to part with their money. If they want to be relieved of hundreds of dollars, they can get truffles on their pasta. If they want to make thousands of dollars disappear, they can simply order a bottle or two of Barolo.
Whales rarely migrate across the East River. But when they do, it's either to dine at Peter Luger or Brooklyn Fare. Part of the appeal here is that it's incredibly hard to get a table. (As a general rule, there's nothing a Whale likes more than a reservation challenge — this is why interns were invented.) Also, once that reservation is procured, all diners — including Whales — are treated to a dizzying number of seafood dishes served by a modern culinary master.
On the weekends and on summer Fridays, you might spot a Whale or two in the front room of Gramercy Tavern. But most of the time, the Whales are all clustered in the back, where it's darker, quieter, and the krill is a bit pricier. Gramercy Tavern will always be a Whale date night destination.
Older Whales often take their spawn to this restaurant on the Upper East Side to introduce them to the wonderful world of Whale cuisine. It's a rite of passage for Manhattan Whales of a certain age. Whale feasts start at $116 per person.