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Special Dinner in Manhattan-Want to try the "big names"

I could really use some recs as I'm coming into NYC from Philadelphia, and have not tried some of the "big" name restaurants. Who knows whether I'll get a reservation at this point, but it's worth a try. I'm considering Daniel, Jean Georges, Babbo, Craft, Le Cirque and whatever other recs you give me! Please tell me...where should I go???

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  1. Jean Georges & Craft are a good start.
    Per Se and Masa are the other 2 that should be mentioned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: idia

      thanks so much for your recs!

    2. You may also want to consider Eleven Madison and Gramercy Tavern. Gramercy has space reserved for walk ins.

      1. When are you coming? How expensive are you willing to go? Is it just you, or will you be dining with others?

        8 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          I will be there Dec. 8th-9th with just my husband. I'm willing to spend a good amnt of money--looking for once in a lifetime experience.

          1. re: Lotus7

            Daniel - hands down. The total package from start to finish, the restaurant, the service, and most importantly THE FOOD. Show up early, sit in the lounge for a drink and then take a few hours to enjoy the tasting menu. Without a doubt one of your favorite places to dine - anywhere.

            1. re: Spiritchaser

              Sounds spectacular--thank for you for the rec. Any hints on how to get a reservation? For Daniel as well as Jean Georges and I have to call exactly one month in advance. I'm assuming phone lines will get tied up immediately starting at 9 a.m. I'll be disappointed if I can't go to either--esp after reading your opinion!

              1. re: Lotus7

                I would choose Daniel over Jean George, for the whole package, while the food is comparable Daniel has more of a "wow" factor interms of the restraunt itself. Jean George is wonderful but a little more subtle.

                definetly go for Babbo over Craft....
                and Gramercy Tavern is also a really great choice.

                Just call early and often and keep calling...also be a pest and call the closer to date you want to go and check for cancellations.

                1. re: jvish

                  For Babbo, it's also 1 month out and the phone lines tie up in advance.

                  Definitely do some other scouting on OpenTable these next few days to see what tables restaurants put up at midnight so you know what to expect.

                2. re: Lotus7

                  You can try opentable also BUT I highly recommend calling. Just FYI - the 30 day rule is not hard and fast. If all else fails you could probably do a walk in to the lounge area but IMO not the full affect as the main room.

                  1. re: Lotus7

                    Hey, Lotus7,

                    Reserving at Daniel via OpenTable is not your best option because the restaurant restricts the majority of their tables. It's far better to call directly. They take reservations one month out, so if you call on Nov. 8th, you should be able to get a table on Dec. 8th. However, it may still be difficult to get prime time because it's a Saturday. So, if you truly have your heart set on Daniel, you may have to accept a very early or late reservation.

                    http://www.danielnyc.com

                    Jean Georges is not on OpenTable, so you must call directly. The good news is that you don't *have* to reserve one month in advance though you'll probably have a better chance of getting a good time slot if you do. We recently dined there, called on a Monday for that same Wednesday, and snagged a 9:45 p.m. table. We arrived early, were seated at 9:30, had a tasting dinner, and were never rushed. In fact, two tables were seated after our arrival, one of which was at 10:15!

                    Having recently experienced both restaurants, I must report that while service at Daniel started out very well, during the latter part of the meal, there were several glitches. Nothing super-serious, but they still should not happened at a restaurant of Daniel's caliber. Service at Jean Georges was faultless!

                    Since both Daniel and Jean Georges are closed on Sunday, if you are looking for another sensational dining experience, I highly recommend Eleven Madison Park, which regulars on this board know is my favorite NYC restaurant. Chef Daniel Humm's French-inspired cuisine is exquisite, there's a terrific wine list, service is perfection personified, and the space is gorgeous!

                    http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com

                    Enjoy your weekend in NYC and Bon Appetit!

                    1. re: RGR

                      Thank you so very much for the helpful information and advice. My stress has been a bit alleviated about making reservations after reading your post! I want to make a really special night for us so I'm eager to make reservations. I did check out the menu at Eleven Madison and it looks divine. I may have the oppty to go late Friday night or perhaps a Sunday brunch. Thanks again.

            2. Definitely Babbo over Craft.

              I'd go with Jean Georges for sure.

              Then Blue Hill is probably a typical "New York" type restaurant that you are looking for.

              1. Jean Georges is a very good choice. I have never been to Daniel so can't say if it's better. I also love Cru, Eleven Madison and Picholine. Not as expensive as JG but IMO every bit as good. Cru has a superb wine list and they also give you more canapes and amuses bouches than most others, making the meal more interesting and varied. Picholine has game birds from Scotland at this time of year in addition to the regular menu, and their cheese selection is excellent. Babbo is very good, but reservations are difficult. Exactly one month in advance and phones open at 10 AM and you have to redial until you get through. Frankly, I don't think it is worth the effort. I recently had an even better meal at l'Impero, which was just given 2 stars from the Times. Alto, with the same owners and chef got 3 stars in the same review. Alto is a little more expensive than l'Impero, but it sounds wonderful and I hope to try it soon.