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11 Madison Park vs.Cafe Boulud

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FGS Nov 5, 2000 02:13 PM

My wife and I have reservations at both for a Sat.eve in a couple of weeks. Which should we cancel?

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    Elaine Nov 5, 2000 02:24 PM

    Haven't been to Cafe Boulud, but 11 Madison Park is distinctly nothing special. It is fairly straightforward preparations of "luxury American" (emphasis on foie gras, meats, etc.) that sometimes hit and sometimes miss. The wine list is good, but it is really one of those places where (I've eaten there 2x) you can't remember much about the meal afterwards, only that the room has dazzingly high ceilings... I'm willing to bet that Cafe Boulud will be better.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Elaine
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      Caitlin Nov 5, 2000 05:28 PM

      Well, I ate at EMP twice, too, and had two very nice meals (and I do remember what I ate; the skate in brown butter, described as a "sigmature dish" by the waiter, was quite boring, but the wild mushroom soup was one of the best things I've ever eaten). And I haven't been to Cafe Boulud either. However, I think I'd go with Cafe Boulud, too, becuse it seems more likely to be special, i.e., not what you'd get somewhere else.

      1. re: Caitlin
        j
        jpbergman Nov 5, 2000 05:46 PM

        Never been to Eleven Madison, but have friends who dine out often and were not impressed, for whatever that is worth. Been to Cafe Boulud many times and never had a bad experience there. Let me state that I go to both of D. Boulud's restaurants at least every few months, however, and am partial to his style of cooking. If you want to check out the current Cafe menu, go to www.danielnyc.com.

        Regards,
        Jeff Bergman

        1. re: jpbergman
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          Claire Li Nov 7, 2000 05:29 PM

          Unfortunately, I have never had a good experience at Cafe Boulud, tables too close together, too much salt, poor execution of otherwise wonderful sounding dishes. So far I and my friends have not been impressed with Boulud's restaurants, and none of my friends have ever wanted to try Daniels simply because they didn't enjoy his food. I haven't had any experience with 11 Madison Park, but I definitely don't recommend CB.

          1. re: Claire Li
            d
            Diane Mehta Nov 7, 2000 05:40 PM

            I also had a mediocre time at Cafe Boulud. Got an appetizer-sized portion of fish for my main dish with "vegetables" which consisted of one baby carrot. I was starving after dinner, and the entree itself was like $30 or something. Wouldn't go back.

      2. re: Elaine
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        Pepper Nov 6, 2000 11:02 AM

        My opinions always seem to be diametrically opposed to snutteplutten's, which I suppose is a useful barometer in itself. Any restaurants you've really, really hated lately Elaine? It's getting toward lunchtime.

        Anyway, I love 11 Madison, which I consider to be something of an American Taillevent, and in fact prefer it to all other Danny Meyer restaurants. The cooking is subtle--i.e., not Big Statement food--and the service is knowledgable and discreet. The all-French wine list is fine. The desserts are among the best in NY. And the NR train sweeps you there from midtown in seconds--it's a wonderful place for lunch as well as for dinner.

        1. re: Pepper
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          Elaine Nov 6, 2000 12:16 PM

          Yes, see my weekend posting on Tsampa, E.Village Tibetan! You should love it. But do return the favor by telling me what you've hated - I'll run right over. (I was trying to see where else we've diverged, but searching on "Pepper" isn't very fruitful.)

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        Aaron Tell Nov 5, 2000 05:50 PM

        It sounds like I am in the minority here, but I recommend eating at 11 Madison Park. I have had several realy nice dinners there and enjoyed it a lot. I have only been to CB once and thought it was good as well, but I had better service and enjoyed the food & wine more at EMP. Also, the sweetbreads at EMP were particularly good.

        1. b
          Bailey Irwin Nov 6, 2000 04:55 PM

          I've eaten at Cafe Boulud twice and 11 Mad once. I adored both.

          But if I had to choose, I'd take Cafe Boulud. CB has served me the single best salad I've ever eaten (the lavender and chevre salad, this summer) and probably the single best entree I've ever had (the amazing skate grenobloise, which was still on the menu as of last month). Although the desserts have disappointed me greatly at CB, all the other courses have been nothing short of magnificent. 11 Mad was not *quite* in that league. Also, the menu at 11 Mad is much less adventurous than CB, which has of the most interesting menus in NY. As someone else, pointed out, you can check it out at danielnyc.com.

          Just my two cents, although you can't go wrong with either. If decor is a major consideration, like a date or business dinner, you might give extra consideration to 11 Madison Park, which has one of the most beautiful rooms in the city.

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