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Daniel, Blue Hill, maybe somewhere else?

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  • roze Aug 23, 2007 10:05 AM

Okay I posted before About my b-day dinner that's coming up. I was trying to decided between Blue Hill and Annisa. My SO doesn't want to do Annisa since he is already going there for a dinner with relatives coming up. But then he started talking about Daniel! That thought never even crossed my mind- but hey he's paying!

Anyway - now I'm trying to pick the best place. We want to do a tasting menu.

About Daniel. Is the food worth the price? Is Blue Hill better than all of these. Is there something even better? Thinking Bouley, Gilt, etc

FYI- we've already been to EMP which I thought was great but wasn't blown away. My favorites places right now are Degustation, Cru & always the tavern room at Gramercy Tavern.
Thank for any help!

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  1. I'm not a fan of Daniel; I don't like the service. I would recommend either Aureole or Bouley for a lovely birthday celebration. I went to both last week for my birthday, and had a fabulous time at both. I adore the tasting menu at Aureole. (Now I'm on a diet).

    6 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      I'm not a fan of Daniel either. we had stuffy, obnoxious service there, and the food just wasn't memorable. i'd recommend Jean Georges instead.

      1. re: twiggles

        Wow! I'm really shocked by both of your responses! Did the wait staff act superior or something? I would hate that.

        What was the tasting menu like at Aureole and Jean Georges?

        1. re: roze

          Just to post a contrarian view - I've had lovely, gracious service and fantastic food at Daniel, though it's been a while.

          1. re: roze

            it's a bit of a long story, but i had ordered a darjeeling tea at the end of my meal at Daniel, and the tea arrived very over-steeped. When i said so to the waiter, he scoffed, and said 'i don't think you realize this is a 2nd flush darjeeling'. and i said 'oh yes i do, i drink 2nd flush darjeelings all the time', which is the truth- i know what the tea should taste like, and it was much too bitter. he sniffed, and took it away. no apology. we didn't see much of him again after that. i was shocked that a place like this would give a customer such attitude. even if he thought i was wrong, he should have said no problem, and given me something else. soon after that, we had plates put in front of us (we thought maybe they were giving us something to apologize?), but then nothing ever showed up (just the check). as i mentioned, the food wasn't anything to write home about either, which was really surprising. we went with 2 other couples, and they all felt the same way.

            I just did the 3-course set menu at JG last time, but they also have a more extensive tasting menu that looked great. sorry, i can't remember the specifics.

            1. re: twiggles

              He shouldn't have steeped your tea until just before he came to the table, or let you steep it. What a strange response, any coffee bar in the city would have comped you or given you a replacement.

              My friend the chef adores Blue Hill, so he'd steer you there.

            2. re: roze

              Aureole has a delicious tasting menu. You can check it out at charliepalmer.com. The problems I have had at Daniel and also DB Bistro Moderne are pretentious maitre'd. At Daniel, he tried to seat me at a table that was written up in NY Magazine as the worst table in the house; at DB Bistro Moderne, the maitre'd tried to seat me (even though the restaurant was fairly empty) in the more casual front area next to a family with young children who weren't behaving. Both times I was with my mom. I guess the theory at Daniel is that if it's just women, seat them at the worst table possible. Both times I refused the table, and was seated elsewhere. I never have that problem at Aureole, Bouley or Eleven Madison Park, which is why they are my favorite restaurants. Also the food is wonderful at each of them.

        2. I absolutely love Daniel- one of the most memorable dining experiences of my life. "Read-your-mind" service, beautiful, polished presentations, and a gorgeous dining room- I felt like I was at a ball.

          1. Check out Blue Hill.....my wife and I had one of our best dining experiences there. The food was fantastic and the service was out of this world.

            1. Thanks all! I've nixed Daniel in fear of the attitude. Now I'm thinking either Blue Hill or Bouley. Bouley has their tasting menu on the website. Can anyone tell me what is usually on the Blue Hill tasting menu?

              4 Replies
              1. re: roze

                We had the tasting menu at Blue Hill on Tuesday night and it was fabulous - every course was a winner. We started with a salad of heirloom tomatoes, tomato sorbet, grilled watermelon, and micro greens. Second course was a beautifully coddled fresh egg (from the farm that morning) served over mushrooms, purslane, and toasted gnocchi. Berkshire pork followed - four or five slices of perfectly done shoulder and a thick slice of belly, all served over a bed of cranberry beans. I have to confess that I can't remember now what the first of the two desserts was, but the second consisted of a baked peach served with champagne sorbet over fresh peach slices.

                I haven't yet dined at Daniel (though I am going there tomorrow night) so I can't comment on it, but must say that I loved my meal at Blue Hill. It has been pointed out elsewhere on the board that all the tables for two are spaced quite closely together along the banquets and this is true, so that might perhaps be a consideration if you're looking for a more intimate experience.

                1. re: slcorlis

                  Wow- thank you so much for your report. Did not know about the banquets and that is something to consider. Did the tasting come with any fish or anything or just those courses which you listed?

                  1. re: roze

                    The tasting menu on Tuesday night didn't feature any fish courses, and none of the amuses contained fish either (fresh cherry tomato with a shot of tomato water, and grilled bread with a trio of spreads: white eggplant, pureed farm greens, tomato). This was the first time I've done the tasting, so I can't comment on how often fish dishes show up, but I did notice that there were several fish dishes on the a la carte menu.

                    Three last comments: service was absolutely professional, courteous, and on-point, and my very critical dining companions could not find any fault with it at all. Also, portion sizes for each of the courses were, to my mind, quite sufficient, and I left feeling pleasantly full but certainly not over-stuffed. Lastly, ingredients are really the hallmark at Blue Hill. Preparation for each dish may not be as involved or inventive as at other higher end restaurants, but you really can taste the freshness in every ingredient.

                    1. re: slcorlis

                      Thank you so much for your thoughful comments! I hope you enjoy Daniel and maybe post back to compare the two if you have time. Thanks again!

              2. I have eaten at Blue Hill once, and was very disappointed. Heavy on root vegetables, not my thing at all. Atmosphere did not suit for the price. And I love Danel, and would go back in a hearbeat.
                Recently at Jean George - heaven, great menu with fabulous variety. And always love Gramercy Tavern and 11 Madison Park. But not Blue Hill. I found it bland and lacking in elegance.