In New York City we have no shortage of third-wave coffee shops, and “Farm-to-Table,” seasonally inspired, two-plus-hour tasting menus. The more difficult find is a tasting menu of high quality for less than $80 per person—which may be why Contra can be a trickier reservation to lock down. For out-of-town guests, or those of us with fluctuating schedules, pre-booking a res 30 days out at Momofuku Ko, Aska, or EMP might not be in the cards for our special occasion celebration. However, if we are perfectly honest (having dined at all of the above), the warmth of Contra’s intimate dining room, the outstanding service and very well chosen and unique wine list make it a real contender with these more refined tasting menus at a fraction of the cost. Insider tip: Contra’s more casual offshoot next door, Wildair, is another outstanding destination for wine fanatics or recommendation for pre/post-Contra. Just say yes to the tasting and fully trust your Somm and you can’t go wrong.