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Delicious Dilemma Revisited

  • r

{I know there've been similar posts in the past, but not for several months. I did a search, but I need fresh opinions.}

As a thank you to Jason, a business associate of his wants to take us out for dinner to "a place we've always wanted to go to, but haven't". And, as she recently moved to NYC from Washington state, she wants to have a fantastic NYC experience. This will be expensed, and as long as the place takes AMEX, cost is no object.

Some places we are thinking of:

Nobu - I know she likes sushi, as do we
Le Cirque - I know some think the food is over-rated, but just once I need to have a Jacques Torres created sculpture/dessert
Daniel, Jean-Georges, or Le Cote Basque (Jason's thinking French, obviously)

Come on guys, fantasize!
Where would you go if someone offered to take you out, sky's the limit?

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  1. Well, since you said you like sushi, you could go to KurumaZushi, or any of a number of places mentioned on the sushi thread a little while ago.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peter
      Jessica Shatan

      Well, 2 of the most amazing meals I have had in the recent past of the sky's-the-limit variety have been at Nobu and at Bouley Bakery.
      At Nobu, I recommend doing the chef's menu, where the chef will make what he wants for you after your wait person asks about allergies, preferences, etc. I did it as a dinner and paid extra to have toro included. It was a parade of little dishes, some of them one bite! And the nice thing about Nobu is that the desserts are incredible--love the chocolate bento box--not what you'd expect from a Japanese restaurant.
      At Bouley Bakery I did not heed the advice of my foodie sister-in-law who said skip the appetizer so you can focus on the bread. I wish I had because boy was I full at the end. Have you been there? It wasn't on your list.
      I have never been to any of the Jean-George Vongerichten restaurants so that is a good idea of Jason's (JoJo, Vong, Jean-George).
      Also, I have heard promising thigns about Wild Blue in the World Trade Center, too. Arthur Schwartz on Food Talk (WOR) keeps raving about it.
      Good luck and let us know what you do!!!

    2. In the "old days" a popular thing to do among friends was to have a "progressive dinner": One where the group would progress from one house to another, for apps, soup or salad course, the entree and dessert. I was thinking what a fun way to eat at restaurants in NYC. One could plan in a specific neighborhood so that
      walking to each restaurant would be possible (and a good way to work off a few calories). I wonder if there would be a way to manage it on a credit card.
      If price is no object, that could prove to be a terrific evening (if restaurants wouldn't get testy about serving one course). pat

      1. Sky's the limit huh?
        Nobu is definitely a good pick then - order the $100+ per person omakase (chef's choice)and drink some wonderful exotic sake's (they import much of their own in from Japan). Or if Japanese is on your mind, maybe one of those kaiseki (sp?) restaurants (sorry I can't remember any names, but one or two are suposed to exquisite).
        Otherwise, you can't go wrong with Gramercy Tavern (they do have one of the best bar areas in the city, but thats another story) - they also have a great wine lists too!
        Speaking of wine, if you are into that, how about going to Veritas and ordering an incredible bottle with your dinner?
        Whatever you do, please, supress your Le Cirque craving. The food is mediocre at best, and the last time I was there (forced to go on business), my dessert was still half frozen! (no it wasn't ice cream or anything).
        Great dilemma, enjoy!

        1. If cost is no consideration, my favorite for ambience and food would be Daniel, I celebrated my anniversary there and it was a wonderful experience. Jean Georges is another wonderful experience, last but in no way least, Lespinasse is a favorite for food and service in the lovely St. Regis Hotel.
          Each of these restaurants is very special in every way, if the boss is paying it is even more palatable.

          1. The Four Seasons, no question.


            1. j
              jonathan sibley

              The two times I've had dinner at Jean-Georges, the food has been really good and the service has been quite attentive and professional (so often, poor service can detract from an otherwise good meal).

              Has anyone had the tasting menu at March recently? I haven't been there in a while, but the first time it knocked our socks off and the second time it was just very good. If it is good, these days, it could be a very nice way to spend your (I mean someone else's) money.

              10 Replies
              1. re: jonathan sibley
                Rachel Perlow

                No, we've never been to March. Could you (or anyone else out there) provide some more details, ie food style, location, etc.

                Right now I think it's between Jean-George and Nobu, and maybe March, and we'll probably let "she who is paying" make the final decision.

                Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Keep them coming, as most of these places are of the "hard to get reservations" varieties, this won't be happening for a little while.


                1. re: Rachel Perlow

                  My 2 cents: I recently had a terrific (paid for by my company) dinner at Jean Georges. Had the tasting menu & it was wonderful. Wine was great too (thanks to a suggestion from J. Gold to try an Alsatian wine).

                  However, I had been to March several years ago (to celebrate my parents 50th anniversary) & that was very, very nice. Lovely, cozy townhouse on 58th street on the east side (1st ave?). I had seriously considered going back there instead of going to Jean Georges, but in the end I opted for a new experience. You can't go wrong with either place in my opinion.

                  1. re: pam

                    "I recently had a terrific (paid for by my company) dinner at Jean Georges. Had the tasting menu & it was wonderful"

                    Hey, Pam...did you ever post notes about that meal (which some of you may remember was the subject of a monster thread a few months ago)?


                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      Guilty as charged...No I didn't. We meant to do a posting together, but didn't have enough time to finish it, & as time went by I thought no one would be interested in the details of a month-old dinner.

                      1. re: pam

                        We're ALWAYS interested!

                        1. re: pam
                          Rachel Perlow

                          Post it! Post it!

                          Your's was one of the threads I read through when researching, and I was disappointed not to see the conclusion.

                          1. re: Rachel Perlow

                            Well, okay...

                            I'll start by saying that, contrary to the experience of Brad, we didn't have any problems with service - the glasses were kept filled, the bread replenished & there were no unseemly waits between courses. They were also very accomodating when we didn't like the first table we were seated at (we were seated sort of at right angles to each other instead of on opposite sides of the table & we decided that felt awkward).

                            For that matter, they were also very accomadating about the food - we wanted to make substitutions for 2 items on the tasting menu that contained shellfish, which we don't eat. The waiter worked with us to make sure that our substitutions didn't alter the overall harmony of the menu.

                            The food: started (pre-appetizer) with a tidbit of mackeral in a citrusy sauce - my husband doesn't like mackeral in any guise - I thought it was yummy. First appetizer was duck prosciutto - which didn't have anything to do with prosciutto - this was like a pate, smooth & creamy & very tasty. Then a plate of raw tuna & yellowtail, sprinkled with baby cress - while this was very good, & I ate it all, it wasn't as great as I'd been hoping (I'm a big fan of raw fish) - so maybe a slight disappointment here. Next up, a soup - chestnut broth - this was fabulous - amazingly fragrant, with porcini mushroom ravioli floating in it. Two fish dishes - one a sea bass encrusted with spices, the other a turbot served in a white wine sauce - these were beautifully cooked & not the least bit ho-hum (white wine sauce does sound ho-hum...). And it wasn't really redundent to have the2 fish dishes - the seasonings were so completely different.

                            The final dish was squab - this had a very intense flavor which my husband didn't care for as much as I did. I thought it was interesting.

                            When dessert came, we were each faced with a square platter on which were 4 smaller square platters, each with its own medly of desserts - a melon-ball sized scoop of hazlenut (?) ice-cream accompanying a chocolate-coffee tartlet, a tiny circle of raspberries surrounding a coconut cream, etc. The only dud was a sort of fruit "soup" with a weird piece of what seemed to be tofu floating in it. We had so much dessert on the table that the lady at the table next to us (seated next to me on a banquette) wanted to know what we had ordered to get all that.

                            At this point, I was feeling like the sated restaurant customer in a Monty Python skit who is offered a "wafer thin mint" by the waiter with disasterous consequences. I had desparately wanted to order a dessert wine, but was far too full.

                            Oh, the wine. We decided to stick with 1 wine since we weren't really having a main course - we had a Zind-Humbrecht '95 pinot gris (vielles vignes). This went beautifully with everything.

                            I think that having the tasting menu was the best way to go - some of the highlights of the meal were things I wouldn't have thought to order on my own. And while some items were "better" than others, I think it was more due to our personal tastes than the quality of the cooking. I have no regrets in choice of restaurant for the evening.

                            P.S. For what it's worth, if I were to go back to March I would definitely go the tasting menu route there too (I didn't the previous time).

                            1. re: pam
                              Rachel Perlow

                              Wow, sounds great to me! Do you recall what the shellfish items you subbed for were? I would love the menu the way you had it, but Jason is really picky about fish. If you were ordering off the menu, what dish from the tasting menu would you want as your appetizer? main course? dessert?

                              1. re: Rachel Perlow

                                Can't recall the shellfish dishes...
                                I'd have the chestnut soup, one of the fish dishes (probably the turbot) & maybe the chocolate tart thingy (& I'm not usually geared to ordering chocolate desserts, but this was a winner).

                        2. re: Jim Leff

                          For what its worth (and from how it sounds, most will kill me for saying it),I wasn't overwhelmed by Jean Georges. Food was very good (but not THE best meal I ever had in NYC, like so many claim) and the service was only fair (we were constantly flagging down our waitress). Maybe it was just an off night? I'd try it again though. In that area, I much prefer Picholine (I have dreams about their cheese tray).

                  2. dare i suggest March? not one of the popular "big players", but certainly a great experience when we were there. and it ain't cheap.

                    1. d
                      Dave Feldman


                      Did you read Jonathan Gold's column about Nobu in Gourmet a couple of months ago? I've never set foot in the place, but I think it might well be my next splurge. It's a lot easier to put yourself in the chef's hands when the Amex card is in the hands of Jason's client.

                      1. Just want to second two choices:

                        Lespinasse: Christian Delouvrier has truly come into his own as the chef at this restuarant. And, it's so extraordinarily expensive that it makes the perfect choice for this particular occasion. It's also a magnificent room.

                        Grammercy Tavern: As New Yorkers come to their senses, this restaurant is sure to usurp the number one spot as the most popular restaurant in NY. But have no fear, this is one instance where popularity is matched by truly excellent (and reliable!) cuisine and unusually hospitable service.

                        1. r
                          Rachel Perlow

                          Just to follow-up...

                          We ended up going to Sushisay on 12/10/99. Everything was wonderful, I almost felt like I was eating sushi for the first time, the fish was all so fresh, clean and almost sweet tasting.

                          Some recommendations: the "special sushi deluxe" was wonderful, although next time I'd probably order a la carte, getting more of my favorites - eel and spanish mackeral with ginger paste, skipping the uni and salmon roe, which were perfectly fresh, just not to my taste. "Sashimi deluxe" was beautifully garnished. A new experience was the giant clam, its slices went so nicely with finely julienned cucumber (I've never seen such fine matchstick, no toothpick, cut vegetables which were still so crunchy).

                          For appetizers, the oshitashi (spinach with sesame sauce), was the best version ever of an old favorite, the seaweed salad is not the standard version you're used to, fresh and unique. The grilled king crab legs are not worth it though ($15 for three small pieces = about one-half of a leg).