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Help me knock out one restaurant: Urena, Eleven Madison Park or WD-50

I'm a San Francisco Chowhound coming to visit in June for two nights -- I come to New York at least twice a year for some combination of business and pleasure. To give you an idea of my taste, some restaurants I've enjoyed on previous visits include Babbo, Felidia, Accapella, Tabla, Momofuku, Craft, Blaue Gans, Landmarc, Kittichai, The Modern and Hearth, among others. I've narrowed down my dinner choices this trip to three restaurants: Urena, Eleven Madison Park and WD-50. But since I have only two dinners free, which of the three should I drop, and why? Price and location are no object- the food's the thing for me. Also if you think there is a restaurant that I should consider other than these three, please let me know (much as I hate to expand the list!). Many thanks.

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  1. I haven't been to EMP, but there will certainly be raves about it shortly from others.

    Of the other two I would honestly say drop Urena. I've been to both WD and Urena. It was very good, and I feel bad about saying to drop it. But WD was probably more memorable and interesting. Sure, there were some things that didn't work, and I'm not sure how much more of this "molecular" stuff I can take.

    But if you haven't been to a place like it, then you should go at least once. I would say I've had 15-20 different things there, between apps/entrees/desserts, with sharing and tasting menus combined. I probably liked 12 of them.

    1. i personally did not enjoy my dinner at emp. i highly recommend david burke and donatella, the food is amazing and very innovative.

      1. I'd drop Urena. WD-50 challenges the senses; the last time I was there, several courses had me laughing out loud, they were so unexpected. I'm not as big a fan of EMP as many posters are, but it's a grand setting, and the food is very good, if not quite as innovative as some other places in town.

        I know you're not looking for more choices, but if you haven't been to Jean-Georges, you should consider it.

        1. I really enjoy Eleven Madison Park. The food, decor and service are great!

          1. Drop Urena. My dinner there was completely boring. I've never been to WD-50, but boring is the last word that could be used to describe it.

            The service at EMP is always so spectacular. I would go back there in a heartbeat.

            1. Hi - I find it interesting that most people seem to say drop Urena. I've eaten there twice - one of those times was last week as a matter of fact, and I find the food is pretty good. The atmosphere does leave a lot to be desired though - you have to focus on the food. I did NOT like WD-50 - the portions were ridiculously small for the price and I didn't think they were particularly yummy. I also like most of the restuarants you mentioned though. I really recommend A Voce - the food there is AWESOME.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Charmaine

                emp: corporate dinning and dinners, despite change of chef. you could be anywhere in the usa. urena and wd50 are uniquely nyc and the cooking certainly not dull.

                1. re: Charmaine

                  If you're a Babbo fan, I don't think A Voce will satisfy. I found the atmosphere unpleasantly loud, the wine service to be really snobby and the food to be oddly seasoned (I remember a lot of sugar). Many do like it though, just my experience.

                  1. re: JeremyEG

                    EMP all the way!! the food is truly amazing, new chef is a superstar!!

                    1. re: JeremyEG

                      Hey Jeremy - Give A Voce another chance (No, I don't work there :). I'm also a huge Babbo fan and I had some great meals at A Voce. Maybe it was an off night...which happens!

                  2. Keep Urena...A world class chef in a modest enterprise...Be among the first to sample his creative, flavorful cuisine. In the right venue, this guy could rate 4 stars...give him a few years and he'll be there.

                    1. I'll be the opposite of helpful and add Cru to your mix. I have the same problems when I make my semi-annual return visits.

                      If you've been to Campton place while Humm was there, maybe you'd want to pass on EMP?

                      It also depends on how keen you are on molecular gastronomy. That could help you decide on whether or not to keep WD-50.

                      Enjoy! I'll be making those same tough decisions in a couple of months. So far, I'm thinking Yasuda, Cru, Babbo but I never leave town without visiting Yasuda and Babbo.

                      1. I'm a big Urena fan, but you might also consider Insieme, the new restaurant of chef Marco Canora (Hearth).