Where would you eat if $ is no object?
Hello! I have a first year wedding anniversary coming up, and since we both like food (and excellent service) I thought it'd be nice to go out to and *really* treat ourselves to dinner.
If money is no object, where would you eat? I'm thinking Per Se? Of course, there could be other places that I have no idea of.... we usually try to be kind of frugal in our dining.
IMHO, Per Se isn't really all *that* great. It's good, but--well, I wasn't wowed. Maybe I built up my expectations too much. For the formal dining experience, I really think you can do just as well at Le Bernardin for much less.
My favorite splurge meal is the tasting menu at WD-50, but you kind of have to like unusual food. Dishes are really interesting (some argue not always good, but in the three times I've been, I've never been disappointed) in a laid-back, but elegant setting. Service is impeccable.
Cafe Gray. Gray Kunz is the Man, and it's really not a break-the-bank experience like Per Se or Masa, either. His food is still inspired and sublime.
Veritas is a great choice also. Always a consistently underrated and overlooked place for many New Yorkers, but both the food and the wine are very good.
Other than Per Se, which I would go back anytime if money is no object ... I would also consider the following :
3. Golden Ramsey
4. Jean Georges
5. Kuruma Zushi
6. Del Posto
7. Megu (though I prefer Masa if I am paying more than $200 pp)
9. Veritas (for the wine list)
10. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (maybe every weekend ? the egg was the best I've eaten)
A few years ago the list would include "Sugiyama" which failed to impress me on my last two visits, and of course the now defunct "Alain Ducasse"
I will totally go for L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, but I won't go for the tasting menu. The tasting menu consists of almost all dishes that you can order a la carte, and ordering small plates are much better to sample more varieties. Considering the small portion size, it is easy to exceed the price of tasting menu even if you order a la carte, but you have much more flexibility to choose your dishes.
Masa, but only if you're really (not just casually) into Japanese food and a certain kind of carefully controlled vibe. If you're not, it'll still be good, but won't be worth the $500 to $600 per person tab. I'd also say you should sit at the sushi bar. Some people (many people, actually) think that sitting at a sushi bar is unromantic, but I think it's very romantic at Masa. There's such an intimacy to it, sitting side-by-side, and you can converse between you without the itamae hearing you.
I'd also suggest Le Bernardin, where I've only ever had fantastic food and service. Their two current tasting menus look pretty delicious. http://www.le-bernardin.com/menu_tast...
Thank you, everyone! this has been a really great list, and I'm touched by all your responses! I will admit I love food, but I'm definitely not the kind of person w/ such a refined palate that I could really justify paying $400 for Masa.... with that said, I would still love to eventually try all the places you recommend!
I would go to Hangawi or Candle 79 - or maybe Pure Food & Wine, just out of curiosity. I know these aren't the fanciest of the fancy, but to my meager wallet, they're definitely a splurge.
Daniel - hands down. Most superb dining experience. Treated like royalty and served incredibly delicious food. They even bring a stool for your handbag!
We went last night to Eleven Madison Park for a one-year anniversary. I thought that the food was excellent. We each had the four course menu (you can get three or four courses) and with glasses of wine for each of us, it came to about $300. We had written on OpenTable that we were coming in for our anniversary and they wrote "Happy Anniversary" on the plates. The service was absolutely perfect. The only thing I'd say is that EMP, while a beautiful space, isn't as cozy or romantic as some of the other places mentioned here, but we were there for the food. We had a really nice evening.
We (2 of us) went last night, June 29th, to EMP for my birthday (and got that same chocolate script wishing me happy birthday on my dessert plate!) I left thinking that EMP with Daniel Humm at the helm of the kitchen had finally entered the top echelons of fine dining in NYC. The entire 3-hour experience, except for the desserts, was transporting.
We were served an amuse bouche that included big eye tuna, a layered goat cheese dish, and sweetbreads embedded in a pastry shell that was spiced to perfection.
My wife then had the scallops grilled with ruby grapefruit and stacked on sping potatoes with basil. I had what, up to this point in my life, was the finest foie gras dish I have ever had - elevages perigord foie gras mille feuilles with bing cherries and pistachio, sour cherry brioche and a separate foie gras creme brulee - this was the richest, sweetest, most mouth-watering dish of the night.
The next course was another amuse - strawberry gazpacho with pork crisps and prawns - very refreshing and cleansing.
Next courses were halibut mi-cuit w/asparagus and black truffles for my wife and the world's best suckling pig for me - this was served confit style w/cipollini onions and dried plum chutney.
We finished with muscovy duck breasts for two - cooked to rare/medium rare perfection with a glaze of lavender honey and spices.
We also had cocktails beforehand and a bottle of Ghislaine Barthod Pinot with dinner. The total bill with taxes and tip was $420.00
I've never eaten at Per Se or Masa - but have eaten at most of the other Michelin starred restaurants in town - and I consider the current incarnation of EMP to certainly be worthy of 2 Michelin stars and certainly deserving of it's 3 Bruni stars.