Telepan or Picholine
I'm seeing Barbara Cook at Lincoln Center in November.
Afterwards -- dinner at Telepan or Picholine?
I've been to Telepan a few times, for lunch and for brunch. I've never been to Picholine.
Any thoughts? Which to go to? What to get?
I have never been to Telepan, but i strongly disagree with the Picholine-bashers on this board. Picholine was a favorite of mine until several years ago when i felt it had become tired and I stopped going there. When I read about the renovation and new menu last year, I tried it again and have been back several times and now consider it a favorite again. The food is exceptional. The sea urchin panna cotta appetizer is amazing, as is the cheese selection. The portions are not huge but are certainly adequate. This is also a great time of the year to go because they have a selection of game dishes in addition to the regular menu. I would also highly recommend the tasting menu, which I feel offers excellent value for the price. Though some of the staff are less than perfect, I have never had what I would consider bad service.
IMHO Telepan is a wonderful restaurant where you are treated well and the food is really excellent. Price to food ratio is as good as you will get in the city. Picholine also IMHO is pretentious, the food and portions are a disgrace, and the treatment from the waitstaff is dispicable. Please go to Telepan there is no comparison.
I have to say, I just went to Picholine for the first time in 5 years (first time since they renovated and got a new chef, too), and was totally disappointed, as was my fiance (a chef) and my friend who is a foodie in that he loves to eat delicious things and is willing to pay for it. I can't remember if I posted a review of my dinner or not already, but everything was very greasy, underseasoned, or just mediocre. Seriously, I was up sick half the night from how much butter was in the food, and I do not have stomach issues or lactose intolerance (sorry if that's too much information)....
To top it off, our waiter was unbelievably rude to us as well (and believe me, this had nothing to do with us being PIAs, b/c we never complained about anything throughout the meal or asked for very much, either). He kept telling us that certain dishes were "quite nice," but couldn't tell us anything substantive about the dishes (how prepared, seasoned, etc.). So, my friend made a lighthearted comment, "Just once I'd like you to tell me it's just terrible," trying to make the guy crack a smile for once in the night, and he got very defensive and gave us what was probably a 3 minute schpeil about language barrier, and basically tried to make us feel small and like we were persecuting him for a lack of English language knowledge (and he certainly had enough of that to give us the schpeil). In any case, I wouldn't have returned before this happened towards the end of the meal b/c of the food, but under other circumstances I probably would have spoken to the manager about how customers should be treated. However, we just got out of there since (a) I was queazy already, and (b) I think in a place like Picholine they might actually fire the waiter, which I was not going for.
Bottom line, I'd pass on Picholine for the money. If you treat it as just another dinner and only get the two course prix fix for $68 (I think), then I guess it's a good meal, but I wouldn't go expecting to swoon -- I did, and was disappointed. I think it pales in comparison to the "old" Picholine.