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Help a fellow Hounder

My wife and I have decided (last minute) to spend our Anniversary in NYC this weekend. We made reservations at Telepan, but don't feel satisifed with the choice. We batted around Babbo, EMP, Blue Hill, Modern, etc. We've been to Veritas, WD-50, Daniel, Danube in our past visits. We feel pressure to find the "perfect" place. Reservations are a concern. Please help.

Thanks in advance for you suggestions!

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  1. Since it's Memorial Day weekend, you may have more luck with reservations than on another weekend. I would suggest that you also consider the main dining room at Jean Georges - had a fantastic meal there several months ago, though negligently did not report back on it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I am looking at the website right now. Looks nice!
      Any thoughts on Telepan? Or trying our luck at the bar at Babbo?

      1. re: Late to the party

        I've never tried Babbo, with or w/o a reservation. I've been to lunch at Telepan, and thought the food was wonderful, but I don't know that it would be my anniversary destination. I v. enjoyed our dinner at EMP - see some posts today about it though - concerns about portion size - which I did "notice", but came away thinking that it was great to have a fantastic dining experience, without feeling stuffed. If you like Indian, Devi might be an interesting choice.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I would do Babbo, Jean Georges or EMP. EMP is really good with occasions - for my mom's birthday one year, not only did they comp a few drinks and desert, they also gave her a 'bday bag' with a zagats in it.

    2. Maybe opentable.com has something?

      3 Replies
      1. re: valerie

        five points?

        alta? one of the new restaurants in the Time Warner Building? any particular cuisine you'd like?

        I agree that you'll have less troubles making reservations this weekend. THe city really does clear out on Memorial Day weekend. Happy Anniversary!!

        1. re: nativeNYer

          Thanks! I forgot to mention that we went to Cafe Grey last time we were in the city. I thought it was a great experience, except that they kept our bottle of wine out of sight the entire meal.

          What is alta like?

          1. re: Late to the party

            Really great tapas, fantastic atmosphere and excellent service. It is easy to spend lots and lots of money so i recommend ordering a few items, assess how much more you can eat and then order more. the food comes out at lightening speed which makes this a viable strategy as you won't sit there hungry if you don't order enough. i've sent several of my most finiky friends to alta and they all raved the next day. in my opinon, it's similar to otto (how i love the food at otto!!) but with GOOD service... and the food is probably better at alta.

      2. If you can get a table at Bouley I would definetely recommend it. We went there for our anniversary last year and it was a perfect evening. The room is gorgeous and food and service are excellent.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Toot

          This suggestion was batted around btw my wife and I, but thought that reservations would be an issue. Thoughts?

          1. re: Late to the party

            Go to Danube instead of Bouley. Same owner, the food is just as good, but service is better.

            1. re: rdflig

              We've been and loved it. Seems a shame to go back when there are so many others to try.

            2. re: Late to the party

              If you can get a reservation at Bouley, definitely go! I was just there two weeks ago, and it was marvelous! Of your other choices, I would go with EMP if you can't get Bouley.

              1. re: Late to the party

                Well, give them a call, it doens't hurt to try...

            3. I would reccomend Cru's tasting menu and wine pairing.

              3 Replies
                1. re: Late to the party

                  I have been to Telepan for dinner and brunches, and while I like their food a lot, I think Blue Hill, which serve similar style of cuisine, is superior to Telepan. Among your choices, I personally like EMP and Babbo the most, but EMP seems to be more festive and better for anniversary celebration than Babbo (which is very causal, unless that what you are looking for) IMO.

                  Just as a note, a lot of the head chefs may not be present at the restaurants during long weekend holidays like Memorial Day. Last time my friend went to EMP on Easter weekend and Chef Humm wasn't there. He said that the food was still good, but the room was a bit "slower" than usual. I think this probably happened in other restaurants too.

                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    At this point, We are leaning heavily toward camping at the bar at Babbo and rolling the dice on a table. Has anyone given this a try?

              1. I enjoyed the food at Blue Hill a great deal, but there is something about it that makes me think it might not be ideal for a romantic celebration. It's hard to put my finger on it...It's almost like the experience was austere, maybe a little too healthy. When I celebrate, I want to let loose a little bit, maybe eat something a bit naughty. It's the one high end meal I have eaten in NYC when I still felt hungry when I was done. I haven't been to Babbo yet, but isn't the music supposed to be very loud there? Again, might not be conducive to talking and romance.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lucybobo

                  We are both gamers and can deal with a certain level of commotion. I agree with your comment about celebration. Babbo is seeming like a great fit.

                2. Have you thought about Gramercy Tavern?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ballulah

                    We went about 5 years ago. Want to try something new.

                    1. re: Late to the party

                      Gramecy Tavern of five years ago is not the current GT insofar as the cuisine is concerned. We stopped going there after a *very* disappointing tasting dinner a few years ago, which followed a few meals that were nothing special. However, when Chef Michael Anthony (formerly of Blue Hill) took over the kitchen in October, we decided to give it another chance, starting with the Tavern Room in late January. The food was excellent and certainly different in style than previously. I think that bodes well for the cuisine in the main dining room, which we plan to try at some point.

                      If you have no problem with commotion, what about A Voce? The food's delicious, but the noise level inside can reach an insane level. A way to get around that situation: Since the weather forecast this weekend sounds conducive, they offer al fresco dining on their spacious patio. The way it's set up can give it a romantic feel.


                      1. re: RGR

                        Thank you for the thoughtful repsonse. Our weekend is wide open, which is a double edged sword. A Voce may just fill our desire to relive a recent trip to Tuscany.

                        I notice a lot of hounders are "reading" you. I will be too. THX again

                        1. re: Late to the party

                          I'll jump on the A Voce bandwagon. It is, in fact, what I would have suggested, but RGR got there before I did. Don't dismiss Telepan though. It's a little cozier and a touch more casual than what you might be thinking about for an anniversary dinner, but the food is really lovely.


                          NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                        2. re: RGR

                          I really think Springtime is a wonderful time to showcase Michael Anthony's seasonal food as well. It's a very lovely dining experience, not at all the same as 5 years ago, the menu changes almost on a day-to-day basis.

                    2. I feel compelled to follow up on this posting and mention that we went to Telepan and had an absolutely great meal accompanied by great service and attention. It was perfect. My fear was unfounded.