Four Nights in New York - Results
About a month ago I posted a request for dining recommendations for four nights in New York. Based upon chowhound advice and my own reading, last week we flew to New York from Los Angeles and ate at Babbo, Le Bernardin, Bouley Bakery and Grammercy Tavern. We got lucky with the weather (18 degrees and sunny hey at least it wasnt snowing) and pretty lucky with the food too.
All in all, we were very pleased with meals that we had. Our favorite meal (hands down) was at Le Bernardin and our least favorite was Bouley Bakery. I wouldnt say that we found New York restaurants to be cheap by any means, but we felt from a price value standpoint they were very reasonable. Our meals were from $180 at Babbo to $350 at Le Bernardin. The wine choices were universally more varied than in Los Angeles and I was particularly pleased with the wine prices, especially at Babbo and Grammercy Tavern.
I have posted the reviews in individual files because theyre kind of long.
Thanks for the excellent reports, Jeff. One can't help notice that despite your specific descriptions of each dish you ate, how much service contributes to your overall appreciation of the meal. I think this reaction is almost universal.
I think one of the secrets of Gramercy Tavern is something you mentioned -- how you are bombarded with friendliness the moment you enter. The coat check and front desk personnel are the most gracious I've encountered at any upscale establishment, so usually you are in a good mood before you ever touch food or drink.
Thank you for your descriptive and informative reports. I enjoyed reading each report. Did you take notes throughout the meals?
I've had the pleasure of dining at Gramercy Tavern many times, Le Bernardin several times in the distant past. Have not been to either Babbo or Bouley Bakery (which, for some reason, I seem to have no desire to visit). Like you, I really like GT, and for all the reasons you describe so well. I like Le Bernardin also, but I think of it as more formal than GT. Perhaps that's because all the meals I had at LB were business-related, whereas I've had both business and personal meals at GT.
And I also had the exquisite pleasure of a tasting menu at Charlie Trotters in Chicago a couple of years ago, a meal which I have since used as a barometer against all other fine dining experiences.
I'm pleased you had such a wonderful time in our fair city. I'm also glad you enjoyed our fabulous dining scene to the extent that you did. Perhaps I will be asking your advice on LA restaurants soon.