Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Dec 2, 1999 09:44 AM

please help me choose

  • h

allright, its corporate chow time and i have to go to dinner at one of the following:

1. daniel
2. aquavit
3. le bernardin
4. tuscan square
5. le cirque 2000
6. gramercy tavern

put yourself in my shoes - which one would you go for? moneys no object.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We should all be stuck with such difficult decisions! Having eaten at Le Bernardin, Le Cirque 2000 and Gramercy Tavern, I'd put them in this order:

    1. Le Bernardin
    2. Daniel
    3. Le Cirque 2000
    4. Gramercy Tavern
    5. Aquavit
    6. Tuscan Square

    1. d
      Dave Feldman

      I *am* tailoring this post a little toward the impression I get about your preferences, always tricky, of course. And I have not been to Daniel, so there's a BIG hole, since I would assume the upside on this is very good. In fact, if I were in your situation, I'd probably choose Daniel precisely because it is the one place I haven't been. So let's talk about the other five.

      So, the first thing I'd do is eliminate Tuscan Square. This might be an alternative if you were rushing to see the Rockettes. This isn't in the same class as the others.

      Next, because of service problems, I have a personal animosity toward anything Le Cirque, so I'm not sure I'm objective. I have gotten good food there, but I think all the other alternatives have better food, and there's a chance, it could be an annoying experience, more so than any of the other choices but Tuscan Square (if you go to TS during Christmas season, you risk sitting next to a group of 60 office-mates).

      In terms of ambience, I think only Le Cirque FEELS festive. Both Aquavit and Le Bernadin feel clubby and a little cold, but are comfortable. Gramercy is homey, despite the large space. It's easily my favorite space of the six.

      Food? I love Bernadin, Aquavit, and Gramercy. Bernadin is perhaps the one most likely to make you see stars, with Gramercy second. All three are also very consistent. I wouldn't think of going to Aquavit or Le Bernadin unless you are secure that most of the folks like fish -- there are other alternatives at Aquavit, and usually one at Bernadin, and they are good -- but fish is pretty much it at Bernadin, and the star at Aquavit (particularly salmon).

      Of the 3, I think Bernadin feels the most special, but it is also dress-up/adult time. I prefer the vibes at Gramercy, and love the wine list, beer list, desserts, and wonderfully gracious service. But I've found the service at Aquavit and Le Bernadin to be superb, too.

      We should all have your problems!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Well, that is the most comprehensive response from Dave , so not much to add - I too have not been to Daniel, so that would be my choice. Love Grammercy Tavern, Love Bernadin. Don't love Tuscan Square. Hey, if money is no object, go to one for apps, one for get the drift :-)

      2. Many of your choices are listed in today's Times section called Dining Out, as places well worth the big bucks. Grist for your mill. Check it out. pat

        1. I'm not sure that you should limit yourself to that list. I haven't been to some of them for a long time, especially Le Bernardin, but there is actually a limited amount of mind-blowing pleasure at these places. I think selecting more than one restaurant would be the way to go. Off the top of my head, I would certainly opt for a seven cheese tasting plate at Picholine, perhaps pastry at Payard, fish at Le Bernardin, game at Aquavit etc. You could even expand your adventure into so-called ethnic cuisine for drinks and appetizers. In my opinion, any one meal at a choice of only one on your list would probably be very forgetable (not necessarily bad but not that extraordinary).

          3 Replies
          1. re: Stefany B.

            the trouble is that i'm the one being entertained - and mine host is giving me this list to choose from so that i can't complain about having no part in the selection process. as i've been peevish on this board about not enjoying the meal, fustiness blah blah at the 'le' sort of places, i thought i'd see if there were any strong opinions about where i MUST go and what i absolutely MUST get. for once, the company is good and money really is no object.

            1. re: howler
              Dave Feldman

              If this matters, Howler, you can get away without jacket or tie at Gramercy and probably Aquavit with no problem.

              1. re: howler

                In that case I would choose Daniel. Daniel Boulud, being both chef and owner has a passion and respect for ingredients, preparation and his clientele.

            2. My choice would be Daniel, I loved the food, ambience and service.