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I want the wacky, over-the-top New York dining experience

So I can afford 3 expensive ($150 plus a person) meals a year. Last meals were at Aquavit and Jean Georges. I am moving from New York soon and I want the crazy dining experience that only NYC can provide. Considering maybe Morimoto, or Buddakan. Maybe Megu or Tao. I guess I'm think megasianfusion cuisine, but am open to other suggestions.

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  1. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
    Bar Masa
    Per Se
    Del Posto

    1 Reply
    1. re: jenniebnyc

      I agree. If you're moving to a city without an incarnation of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon,
      I would go for the tasting menu there ($190pp) or dinner at Masa proper ($300+pp).

      If you're moving to the SF bayarea, Per Se wouldn't make sense. If not, then I would put Per Se right below L'Atelier and Masa. I'd probably go:

      1. Masa
      2. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
      3. Per Se

      Pretty much every major city does asian fusion now so that may not be so unique NYC. It depends on where you're moving to.

      1. For haute wacky, Del Posto. (Can we start a board 'Haute Wacky'?)
        For theatrical fusion, Buddakkan.

        But I agree with Husky; WD50 is as wacky as they come in New York.

        - Sean

        1. over the top? easy. it starts with the three hour circle line circumnavigation tour of manhattan island. it's up to you to fill the food and wine basket.

          1. No Morimoto please! It is subpar and totally not impressive. I will third WD-50 for wacky. If you really want to focus on asian fusion, then Bukkadan is probably the choice.

            1. To stay with your "crazy dining experience that only NYC can provide" theme I'd have to eliminate both Morimoto and Buddakan since both originated in Philadelphia.

              1. Okay, thanks for the responses. I've been to wd50. Loved it. Maybe Del Posto is a good one. I'll have to search to see if people like it. I don't consider per se wacky. No waterfalls or laser light shows or giant statues.

                1. Sounds as though you're trying to go for a good deal of spectacle with dinner....the Rainbow Room might do the trick for you then....don't know about the quality of the cuisine, but it'd certainly fit the spectacle part.....

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: 280 Ninth

                    Oh god, not the Rainbow Room. Last time I was there the pomp and circumstance was only slightly entertaining and the food absolutely boring. My impression from the OP is for wacky food as well?

                    1. re: bklyngrl

                      Ha! The one and only time I dined at the Rainbow Room the good was absolutely boring...with the notable exception of dessert. I still contend that I had the best dessert I've ever had at the Rainbow Room that night.

                  2. Of all those choices, there are few that are uniquely New York. Joel Robuchon is better elsewhere, and Thomas Keller is, imo, better experienced out west. Even the chefs that started here have since built their "empires" up elsewhere.

                    WD-50 would have been the obvious choice had you not just been, and perhaps more so last year when the desserts were at least the equal of the cuisine. Le Bernardin also comes to mind as uniquely nyc, but I would hesitate about calling anything about them "wacky".

                    I submit that you may be best served going on a neighborhood crawl, especially one of the lower east side combined with the east village. Check out RGR's classic crawl for some recs, as Katz's may be one of the few places that fits most of your qualifications and some of the other places are fairly unique and perhaps a bit wacky as well.

                    1. I have to say, I've been to Tao twice, and I think it fits your bill. The food is good. Period. Yes, it's expensive, and yes, many of the menu items can be had elsewhere, but I've never had anything bad there. It is just SO over-the-top NY that I think it fits the bill. You want the high-end bar scene? You got it. You want snooty wait and host staff? You got it. You want to dine with a 3-story Buddha watching you? You got it. Don't want to hear your companions over the techno music? You got that, too.

                      I love Tao for it's complete over-the-topness. I usually walk out of there laughing, because you can't help but have a good time in an atmosphere as crazy as that.

                      1. The SO and I had a semi-wacky New Years Eve in Manhattan in ’05-‘06:

                        Stop 1 – 11am at 2nd Ave Deli (now closed) for an early lunch
                        Stop 2 – 3:30pm at DBA for a late(r) lunch (which included chicken salad sandwiches and kettle chips from the deli next door eaten at the bar).
                        Stop 3 – 7:30pm at Vol de Nuit for a light snack (Belgian frites and sour ale)
                        Stop 4 – 10:00pm at Café Bruxelle for a late dinner (I can still taste that Croque Monsieur)
                        Stop 5 – 11:55pm back to DBA

                        On second thought some may just refer to this as bar hopping.

                        1. I would go to the recently reopened Russian Tea Room. You may never get another chance.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Bugswife

                            I see that everyone likes WD-50. Is it just me, or didn't you all leave hungry? Pitiful little portions. We even ordered the $25 dessert tasting just to fill up. I got 3 tiny little bite size forkfulls. If you are going to charge high prices, fine. But please, put something on the plate! Never went back.

                            1. re: Bugswife

                              I loved WD's food at 73 Clinton. WD50? I don't know. One time I went I really liked it then I went back and did not like it so much. Then I went back again and I liked it again, so, I kept changing my mind on the place. One time there was a girl on the table next to us that started her amuse. It was the tiniest morsel of something red in color, about a 1/4 inch square. When she ate this almost invisible something she closed her eyes and slowly nodded her head as if she were saying, yes! I got it. That was the moment I said to myself, the hell with dropping my bucks in this joint and never went back :)

                              1. re: fatboy44

                                And then I went BACK again a few of days ago. We walked in around six (the place was empty). So, I did like it again, we had a bunch of appetizers and some wine and then we went for dinner to L’Atelier. I was really surprised that only 2 other couples had come in by the time we left WD. Robuchon was very busy, the food just spectacular and I will definitely need to go back (once I take out a second mortgage on my house :)!

                            2. re: Bugswife

                              Have you been to the re-opened RTR? I haven't, but from everything I've read, the food is nothing to rave about.

                              1. re: RGR

                                Yes. I was there about 6 weeks ago. I thought the food was very good. Expensive, but good. You can't beat the experience though. Perhaps go for drinks and the assorted appetizer at the bar, and then have dinner elsewhere.

                            3. Buddakan is a lot of fun I think. Definitely an experience. But the apps are so much better than the entrees, even w/a couple of drinks i don't think i've ever spent $150 each there.
                              Megu is mega-bucks but i liked it. the presentation of some dishes kobe beef you cook on river rocks, etc was fun.
                              I was disappointed with both morimoto and del posto. i thought babbo was far better than del posto. wd-50 is the definition of whacky.

                              1. Question: «Over the Top» and expensive?? Answer: Sammy's Romanian Restaurant. (Especially if you're moving to some place that has a good cardiac hospital).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bobjbkln

                                  what's wacky and over the top about Del Posto?

                                2. What about Town? 15 West 56th Street.
                                  ...Or One if by Land, Two if by Sea at 17 Barrow St | Btwn 7th Ave S & W 4th St.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: minkdreads

                                    Town's space is drop-dead gorgeous. It's been quite some time since we had dinner there, and while the food was excellent, I think there are other spots where with tood that rates even higher. For example, Chef Humm's cuisine at Eleven Madison Park is super-sensational + service is superior to Town's + the space is just as gorgeous.

                                    As regards OIBL, the consensus on this board is that the food is sub-par.

                                    Edited to note: Looking at the subject head, I seen that the o.p. mentions wanting "wacky." I don't think Town or EMP -- or, for that matter, OIBL -- fits that description.

                                  2. How about the ninja place, still in business?

                                    1. I know! Serendipity Three- the most egregious place I can think of in terms of NYC dining. The line is horrid, the staff is beyond pompous, and the food is disgusting. The decor is eclectic and almost odd. The only way this place stays in business is by its tourist draw for their huge and delicious desserts. They don't take reservations for dessert alone, which is how they get people to purchase, for example, $12 nachos (11 stale chips in a two-inch grease puddle with cheese that actually had MOLD on it). The re-opening of the Russian Tea Room, on the other hand, is a thing to look forward to. What about a great NY brunch, like Sarabeth's either on the UWS or on CPS?

                                      1. Vote for Masa, Omakase at Morimoto, Ninja for just crazy time, not food...Skip Russian Tea Room. I was not impressed. Maybe a caviar & vodka dinner at Petrossian.

                                        1. L'Atelier de what??? Usually I have all the good restaurants on my "radar", but I've never heard of this place. What is it? Just looked up in my 2006 Zagat's and I'm not seeing.

                                          As to Buddakan, if it's anything like their Philly place, skip it. The one in Philly was awful. Nothing but a place trying real hard to be a "scene". Loud music, crowded, lots of "activity".... food was ok. We made a reserve yet were seated at a cocktail size table, complete with a lamp on the table (that we could not move), that had a hole in the table for the cord, which then hung down amongst all our legs.

                                          Eleven Madison Park .... I've eaten there twice. Once it was phenomenal, the other time just OK. Maybe I didn't order the right things the second time? I will say however that both times I really like the understated service there. Just so without being over the top.

                                          Some people like Daniel. I found it way too formal and stuffy for my taste. I was afraid to cough for fear I'd "offend" the other diners... it was THAT stuffy to me. I also found the food "bland".

                                          Ate once at Fiamma Osteria. Liked it alot. Great service, and their braised short ribs were divine.

                                          Ate twice at Brasserie 8 1/2. Liked alot. Great decor, good food and service.

                                          Ate at del Posto three times. A bit formal for my taste. I will say all their pasta dishes have been positively SUBLIME. Their desserts however, especially at $10 a pop, are EXTREMELY average. I suggest that people skip dessert there, and just wait for them to deliver to your table the complimentary plate of cookies/candies that you get after every meal. ;--)

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: yippee1999

                                            L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons, Buddakan is a fun spot BTW. We walked in on a Tuesday at 6:00 PM and the joint was jam packed. I guess some people like it.

                                            1. re: yippee1999

                                              Got to disagree about Buddakan.

                                              For such a showstopper, the food has been excellent on the three occasions I've been there.

                                              First time out Uma Thurman was sitting at another table, looking amazing. This was reason enough to go back a second time. After that, it was the food, and the vibe.

                                              - Sean