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Waitlisted at 11 Madison - need new dinner suggestion/also Momofuko vs. Ssam?

  • j

Hello, I'm an ex-NY coming in from Boston for a last minute anniversary weekend (our first w/o the toddler). I originally had wanted to go to Eleven Madison but am still on the waitlist. What alternatives do you suggest (been to Blue Hill, Grammery Tavern, Union Square, Esca, Bouley, Craft, Le Bernadin, WD50, Red Cat, Gotham Bar and Grill, ). It would be great if they had foie gras on the menu too! Plus no sushi (pregnant)
Although I would rather not eat Italian since we just came back from a Tuscany trip not too long ago (so that probably knocks out Hearth, Babbo, L'impero) - I can be convinced otherwise! :)

Am also trying to decide between Momofuku Noodle Bar or the newer Ssam Bar. If you only had one to go to - which would it be?

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  1. WHat if you showed up early at 11 Madison and duked the Maitre D?? I had no problem getting a table with a similar issue.

    1. I'd definitely go w/the Ssam bar, and go after 6 pm to get the "late night" menu. I've never been to the noodle bar, but from what I've read, there are much better noodle places in town.

      1. It might be worth noting that while both the Momofukus are really good, they're both very casual and the wait will almost certainly be insane unless you go early. I think it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other as far as the differences go, especially with the new menu. Go with whichever one is less busy--they're near enough each other to check them both out. If I were pregnant, I wouldn't want to wait an hour to sit on a stool (although the stools are comfy enough).

        I'm not sure you were thinking of the Momofukus as a replacement for 11 Madison, but it certainly won't be. I'd go with Jean Georges or Perry Street. You've eaten at a lot of my favorite places--but these are easily my two favorite restaurants in the city.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jasmurph

          I've been to Ssam bar around 7 on a Sunday and there was no wait at all. I don't think the crowds are flocking to it as they are to the noodle bar. Perry Street is a great rec for the dinner. I can't speak to Jean Georges.

          1. re: Lucia

            > I don't think the crowds are flocking to it as they are to the noodle bar.

            That's right - David Chang told NY magazine that the wraps aren't selling nearly as well as expected and that the noodle bar is subsidizing the ssam place. That's why he introduced the "late night" menu earlier than planned, then renamed it "dinner" and started serving it at 6.


          2. re: jasmurph

            I've never had to wait a long time at Momofuku. Whether I went solo or with a companion, I was seated promptly. And I don't believe the OP was suggesting Momofuku as replacement for 11 Mad; they were 2 distinct questions in the same thread.

            That being said, I think Wd50 (mentioned as an option) combines many of the best and worst features of 11 Madison and Momofuku.

            1. re: Yaqo Homo

              I tried to get into Momofuku last Friday night around 9:00P. The line was absolutely huge! Stopped by Ssam -- no problem at all.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                that makes sense... I do my what is possible to avoid trendy spots in the East Village at 9:00pm on Fridays.

                1. re: Yaqo Homo

                  I went on a Tues at 7:45, definitely a wait, though not outrageous, maybe 15 minutes (but it's in a cramped space).

          3. Go to Veritas. I'm pretty sure they have foie gras...

            1 Reply
            1. re: a_and_w

              If you are going to be in town Saturday night you may want to try 11 Madison Park again, they just called to reserve my reservation for 6:30 and they had me down for a party of 4 when we are only a party of two so there maybe a table of 2 available.

            2. Thanks for the quick replies. Just to clarify - I am planning Momofuku/Ssam on a different night. At Momofuku Noodle I was thinking about trying the other non-noodle dishes. Since they are so close, I think it is a good suggestion to check out both places while I'm down there. I have been to WD50 so I'll do some research on Perry Street. Any other suggestions?

              1 Reply
              1. re: jayk

                I agree with the suggestion of Veritas. A truly extraordinary meal.

              2. Thanks for the suggestion - I'm calling 11 Madison now. I also forgot about CRU. Probably a good alternative as well - no?

                1 Reply
                1. re: jayk

                  Definitely! Haven't been there yet but have heard it's amazing.

                2. Consider Urena. I just got back from a quick dinner. The food is pretty darn good. The room isn't the greatest (not bright like it used to be, but just not like EMP), the service is good (not great but certainly not bad) and again, the food is really good and I think fairly priced. Your foie gras needs will definitely be met. Several (3 I think) foie gras options to choose from.

                  It's walking distance from EMP, Veritas and the others (but not Cru).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dkstar1

                    I walk past Urena almost every day and want to like it. It has a great little story - young chef with a great resume, family business (wife works front of the house), no outside investors.

                    Over the last year, I've had many drinks and tapas there and could never convince myself to eat dinner there. The atmosphere is lacking, service is not friendly, wine selection is poor. For example, the tuna tapas was stringy and fibrous. Most dishes have too much sauce. Granted the dinner menu and service may be better but Urena has never convinced me to spend real money there.

                    There are too many good to very good restaurants in walking distance such as Eleven Madison, Gramercy Tavern, A Voce (overpriced and very loud), Fleur de Sel (a little jewel), etc.

                  2. Having been to all of the restaurants you cited - I'd say that Urena is in a similar league as them...with exception to perhaps Eleven Madison Park, which is in a different, grander league.

                    Fleur de Sel's room, in my opinion, is as bad as Urena's. I think the food at Urena is more creative and more expressive and more appropriately priced.

                    Gramercy Tavern needs/is getting a menu and management overhaul. A Voce is quite good though.

                    The thing about Urena is that he is creative with his ingredients, more so than Gramercy, Fleur de Sel or even A Voce.