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Solo Dining Near Columbus Circle with No Reservations


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I'm not sure I'd call Cafe Luxembourg "interesting" so much as I'd call it "reliable," but it fits the bill of what you're describing, and would be worth a one-meal investment. (I'd go there early in your trip because I think it might be a place you'll want to try a second time.)

One of our members worked there ages ago, and we had brunch there perhaps five years ago - it was better than I'd expected, and I would gladly return.

Now that I'm sitting here typing this, it reminds me a little bit of Le Diplomate, at least in terms of "feel." It has been open for thirty years!

Also, I'm not sure why I was thinking 72nd Street when Columbus Circle is at 59th (the red line express, most likely). Last time I stayed there (on 57th between 8th and 9th Street at Sasha K's (send him an email), I met Jon K (send him a PM) at Nougatine (the "low-end" part of Jean-Georges - note Sasha's recommendation of Boulud Sud in that thread). Nougatine fills up, but it's *right* there, overlooking the southeast corner of the park (note: I would wear a dinner jacket there).

Even though Columbus Circle seems like it should be dining heaven, it isn't as easy to find decent places to eat there as one might think, so you're wise to be researching in advance. I recently went to the Upper West Side Fatty Crab, but that location has since closed - someone here also said that Fairway has gone to the dogs in case you were thinking of buying some cheese, but I can tell you from experience that the Columbus Circle Whole Foods is *amazing*.

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I've only picked up a croissant from Bouchon Bakery, but there's a Bouchon Bakery and a Bouchon Cafe in the Columbus Circle "mall" (Shops at Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center where the Whole Foods is that Don mentions above).

And if you're feeling fancy, you can go solo to the Per Se lounge (salon) without a reservation.   You can see the salon menu at the end of the tasting menus on their website.  It's a la carte but still pricey.  This summer I had a solo lunch without a reservation in the salon (lunch is only on Fri, Sat, and Sun).  However, I did feel like the service, while very nice and still quite good, was not as polished as it was when I had been in the dining room.  For example, when they gave me the chocolates and other sweets at the end, they didn't identify what each one was.  But they gave me a silly amount of bread for one person (sorry the picture isn't right side up):


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