Craft vs Aureole vs other
I'll be in NYC the nights of Nov 2-6.
Typically I like to cruis in and out of restaurants sitting at the bars, grabbing and a glass of wine and moving on to the next place.
I would like, however, to scrap this on two of the nights, and eat two tasting menus while there with my wife.
WD-50 is the one place I definitely want to experience.
A trip to NYC has been a long time coming for me as a former cook/chef living in St. Louis. There are many places I've always wanted to eat...Union Square Cafe, Jean Georges, Gotham etc, but I don't have time to do them all.
My Craft vs Aureole is my love of the culinary philosophy of those two guys. Obviously they're not in their kitchens anymore (especially Palmer).
I have a map with points plotted for places I might check out:
Thoughts...suggestions...I have to call and make the reservations in a couple days.
WD-50 is a must.
Craft is a solid choice but if you are looking for a dinner tasting menu I would opt for 11 Madison Park. I have had the tasting menu twice since Daniel Humm (formerly of Campton Place in san francisco) became the chef this year and both meals were excellent. A signiture dish off of the 3 course menu is the muscovy duck.
If you can swing it, the best meal (and perhaps best deal in fine dining) is Jean Georges at lunch time. Note that the Nougatine room is not at all the same and I would advise against eating there. At lunch the prices are significabtly more reasonable and even better the diner has the option to choose amongst more than a dozen dishes and craft your own tasting menu of as few as 2 courses or as many as you can eat - the pricing is 2 courses for $28 and each additional course is $12. The squab is sensational. I had a corn ravioli dish there not long ago that was also praiseworthy. During the day you get the light streaming in the windows from Columbus Circle and it is magical. Wonderful at dinner too but for me the lunch there is tops!
Aureole I find to be tired and past its prime. Gotham Bar & Grill is fine but also not an essential stop (although better executed than Aureole).
I know I'm in the minority, but go to Aureole for the tasting menu. Dante Boccuzzi's cooking is wonderful! My sister and I took a cooking demo class with him last week, and his food is marvelous. Service is great (not at all pretentious; just warm and welcoming). The wine director, Scott Brenner, will help you select the best wine to go with your dinner.
Thanks for the replies thus far. I wasn't done compiling the list yet. I was plotting them out, because my only concern with the trip is eating. Like a dork, I figured I could then plot the "must do" things of my wife, and try to plan days around that fact.
A couple of the places on the list like wichcraft were more to possibly eat lunch at, or just to check out.
A couple further still, like Gotham are on there just because I want to see them. I'm only 29, but was inspired by people like Portale when I was a young cook, and having heard so much about them for so long, I'd at least like to poke my head in.
I forgot Le Bernardin was even on there. I don't want to drop the cash to do it right there, just like I don't want to drop the cash at Per Se for instance.
The things I'm especially curious about, but haven't had a great deal of luck finding are coffee houses (as I'm a huge addict) and wine bars for things to do at night.
Also, any suggestions on cheese? Obviously there's artisinal, which I believe is on my map, but I'm sure there are others that are great.
On your list:
A Voce: I was underimpressed. Peasant, Lupa, and Babbo, though very different, are better choices for Italian
Aureole Restaurant: haven't been in years but my chef's tasting there was very memorable
Babbo: haven't been in a few years, but it is very good and worth trying. Of course, Lupa is a nice substitute.
Buonitalia: plenty to see here. A nice shop to look around in
Chanterelle: again, haven't been in a few years. Dinner was more memorable for the extremely gracious service than the food
Craft Bar Restaurant: a decent neighborhood place, but I wouldn't waste my time if I were just visiting
Danube: excellent, though a bit snobby
Le Bernardin Restaurant: very good, but didn't live up to expectatiions
Lupa Restaurant: definitely worth a try for food and fun (though packed) atmosphere
Park Bistro: underimpressed
Peasant: great place
Union Square Cafe: simple but good food with very good service. I wouldn't go out of my way.
wichcraft: fine but overrated.
Great list. I actually think you mix up the new and old nicely. You are missing something Asian though. If you had to subtract anything I'd say Matthew's (unless you are in the media business and want to lunch there for some reason? It's the de facto cafeteria for the power scene of that industry.) And Park Avenue Bistro isn't really a must.
Go to Craft! At, Aureole the food is very good, but the vibe and presentation is kinda pretentious. Perhaps a by-product of its location and clientele? Craft keeps its simple,
and wows on the plate. I've never had their tasting menu, but based on my previous meals there, I bet it's an excellent idea.
BTW, I checked out your list of places to check out. Looks like a great trip, although some of the choices are a bit "old school". I guess it depsnds on your motivation for going there (perhaps it's a place you always loved when visiting) and personal taste, but you have a lot of places that attract an older crowd: Chanterelle, Le Bernardin, Danube, etc. I'd suggest updating the list, throw in a Cafe Grey, or a Blau Gans, or some sushi? Just a thought.
The 3 spots on your list that I think you should DEF go to are 11 Madison Park,
Veritas & Peasant. Amazing each in their own way.
I would say skip Les Halles, there are many better Brasseries in NYC now.
enjoy your trip!
I have not been to Craft, although it is on my to-do list. I have been to Craftbar, and been very unimpressed. I know they are not the same restaurant, which is why Craft is still on my list.
WD-50 is definitely a great choice. Wiley is really going out of his way to do some great things with food down there, and is definitely worth a stop.
I would recommend against going to Aureole. I was there early this year for the five-course tasting menu. While the service and decor were great, I found the portion management to be all wrong (all the portions were way too big, filling me quickly). Additionally, at the time, the tasting menu was rhubarb-inspired, with each integrating rhubarb into it on some level. There is only one dish I can recall where it worked on any level, other than that, I thought it was nothing more than garnish for all of the dishes. In all fairness, the dessert menu was very, very good, and the desserts that my date and I had were both superb.