This story first appeared in the May 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Midtown's restaurants will be jammed during the upfronts (May 13 to 16) with network and ad execs hitting their go-to spots. Sony Pictures Television president Steve Mosko always books a table at media hub Michael's (24 W. 55th St.), owned by friend Michael McCarty. "You can see everyone there. It's like having lunch with friends," he says. Kristian Magel, executive vp/director of national broadcast at Initiative U.S., says he's a sucker for the blackened steaks and famed hash at Smith & Wollensky (797 Third Ave. at 49th Street). Expect to catch Telemundo COO Jacqueline Hernandez grabbing a roll at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill (308 W. 58th St.). And look for Univision advertising sales and marketing president Keith Turner at Northern Italian restaurant Il Tinello (16 W. 56th St.).
For some new and off-the-beaten-path places, check out one of these winning options. Waverly Inn vet John DeLucie and his team took over the beloved Bill's Gay Nineties space and have created seafood and chophouse spot Bill's Food & Drink (57 E. 54th St.). The raw bar and cocktails are the main attractions, but as he proved at The Lion downtown, DeLucie knows what to do with prime aged beef as well. Already spotted: Ryan Seacrest and Jimmy Fallon.
On the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center -- where Telemundo gives its presentation the afternoon of May 14 -- chef Michael Lomonaco of haute steakhouse Porter House recently debuted Center Bar (10 Columbus Circle). Book a table from 4 p.m. on to enjoy craft cocktails, quick-fire dishes such as quail skewers or charred wagyu beef sashimi on a hot stone and killer Central Park views.
Located in Hell's Kitchen, chef Hooni Kim's 36-seat, dinner-only Danji (346 W. 52nd St.) is the most upscale and inventive Korean restaurant in NYC. Celebrity chef Rick Bayless is a fan of such fare as its poached sablefish with daikon. New Danji offshoot Hanjan (36 W. 26th St.) is worth a trip to the Flatiron District for a winning take on the Korean "joomak," or tavern.
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House (1221 Avenue of the Americas at 49th Street) has spawned an equally convenient offshoot, Del Frisco's Grille at Rockefeller Center. "Gotta love those signature shrimp sauces, and they make a mean martini," says Magel. "Expensive steaks, but they are worth it."
In 2012, Lincoln Center finally added a casual lunch and dinner spot when it tapped celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson to bring his Harlem magic to Alice Tully Hall. At American Table (1941 Broadway), the man behind uptown's Red Rooster has created a menu of globally inspired comfort dishes like BBQ pork sliders. And for the ABC execs getting skewered by Jimmy Kimmel at Avery Fisher Hall on May 14, there's an inventive cocktail menu to take the edge off immediately after.