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Dad is Coming to Town - Need a few Swanky Spots

I live in Manhattan - I'm normally a Little Owl, Smiths, Po - type of diner - however my father is coming to town from CA in a couple of weeks and he wants to eat at the fancy spots with all the pomp and circumstance. He loves extreme service and amazing decor. Last time he was here I took him to Mas and he didn't "get it" or like it. We need spectacular restaurants.

I've been scouring open table and have reservations

Cafe Gray

However we are on the UWS and I don't think dad is going to want to trek to Tribeca twice - so which should I choose - Chanterelle or Danube?

As for the other night - maybe something on the UES or Midtown? How's the Carlyle? I've been to Cafe Boulud, but didn't love it.

He also loves a great view. last time he came he really liked Asiate. That's why I booked Cafe Gray, but it's sounding like that's too informal for him. Thoughts?

Also could use some lunch ideas - did Jean George last time and he liked that.

Help me Chowhounds!

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  1. I went to Cafe Gray about a month ago and I didn't really love the food. It wasn't awful but I wasn't swooning over the food. The view is mostly taken over by the kitchen believe it or not, you'll see a partial view when you're seated in the main dining room so it takes away the awe of CP.

    I haven't been to Chanterelle or Danube so I can't vouch for either but I heard good things about Danube around here.

    I don't know if your father's into tapas but I really loved Degustation when I went there for my birthday. It's a small, intimate place with a casual atmosphere and watching the chefs preparing the dinner in front of the diners was interesting.

    I also would recommend Eleven Madison Park for either dinner or lunch. Gorgeous, stately decor, Danny Meyer's trademark with service and hospitality, and Chef Humm's food is delicious. I think many 'hounders would agree with this...

    I hope this would help you out a bit.


    1 Reply
    1. re: chocokitty

      Have to disagree here.

      While Degustation has good food, it has no "pomp", "circumstance", "extreme service" or "amazing decor" that the OP is looking for. It is not at all grand of "spetacular". I do not recommend taking your father there at all. Maybe a date.

      EMP has all four elements above, but I did not enjoy the food at all. Frankly for the money I'd rather go to Jean Georges or Daniel (or spend more and go to Per Se).

    2. I would add Picholine to these suggestions. It is in the right location, the food is great, and it should be fancy enough to satisfy him. Compass is also wonderful and on the UWS. It's not terribly expensive. If he judges restaurants solely on the most expensive being the best he may not like it. I went to Chanterelle years ago and have not been back (nothing terribly wrong with it, just not very interesting food). I have not been to Danube but have heard good things about it and am planning to try it soon. Between Chanterelle and Danube I would choose Danube.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        If you're going to trek down to Tribeca go to Bouley instead of Chanterelle or Danube, especially since you mention the need for extreme service and decor. Overall I find the food there is just better than the other two and the room's very unique.

        1. Per Se is the gold standard for what you are describing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tay

            I hear ya on the Per Se - but no way I can get a resy in the next 2 weeks right?

          2. The best meal I've had in a long time was a couple of months ago at The Modern - on West 53rd. I think the dinner prix fixe is $85., and as far as I was concerned, worth every penny. You'll have a bill at close to $150 pp including tip, but if that's OK with Dad, I'd go for it. If you're going way downtown, I'll second the suggestion of Eleven Madison Park.

            1. For gracious and elegant service, I don't see how you can beat Jean-Georges. It spoils you for real life, though. I haven't been to Daniel but I expect the service is in the same league. So is Cafe Boulud. (Le Bernardin might be too, I haven't been there.)

              Hats off to your Dad!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brian S

                thanks all!

                but what can I get resys at in the next 2 weeks? Don't you have to book Per Se a month in advance? I looked on Open Table no lunch reservations available for Per Se until 12/30...

                I love Telepan - went there Friday, but it isn't grand enough for Dad.

                I can get Picholine - is that better than Cafe Gray?

                As I said - I want one Tribeca, one UWS/Col. Circle and one elsewhere (maybe UES or midtown).

                What abour Le Cirque? Dad has money - so we are not looking to get a deal here.

                Of course these all need to be spots where I can actually get a reservation. :-)

              2. Hi mnmadhok,

                There are a lot of great suggestions and I will post my thoughts here as well:

                Since your dad like Jean George last time, Cafe Gray should not be too formal for him. If Cafe Gray is considered formal, more so is Chanterelle. Among the 3 you listed, Cafe Gray appears to be the better choice, though I will frankly pick something else instead of the 3.

                I think Brian S.'s suggestion on Cafe Boulud is excellent. This is a place that I consider perfect for bringing parents to have lunch or dinner.

                On the UWS, Telepan is a great option, and they have a bargain prix-fixe lunch btw Wed (?) - Fri. Check their website and you will get more details on the menu and offerings. Also at Time Warner Center, you may be able to score a lunch table at Per Se. Dinner is probably impossible to get now unless someone cancels their reservation, but lunch is a lot easier to get, so you may want to give it a try.

                If he liked JG for lunch last time, why not bring him to dinner this time? He will not be disappointed.

                Eleven Madison Park is cetainly great for dinner as well. I will pick EMP for dinner over lunch as the dishes (the duck for two and the pig) are only available at night.

                I will not recommend Degustation this time. While I love this restaurant and frequently dine there, I don't think it fits with your dad's liking based on your description.

                4 Replies
                1. re: kobetobiko

                  If his pocketbook can stand it, there is no question but that your Dad will want to try the highest rated Michelin 4 star Per Se. You could even opt for lunch.
                  Also, Le Bernardin should be considered highly.

                  1. re: idia

                    Dad likes the formal - looking for more formal not less than Jean George.

                    1. re: mnmadhok

                      My dad adores Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle. Spectacular restaurants are Daniel, La Grenouille (dad and I went a few weeks ago and loved it), Four Seasons. He'll love Keen's too and take him to the Oyster Bar at GCS because it has such a wow factor.

                      1. re: bronwen

                        How was the food at La Grenouille? We went about a year ago, and while we have always loved the place, we came away somehow slightly disappointed - though I think it was more certain service/timing issues than the food. I'm often on the verge of recommending it, and then look at my old post, and don't.

                        And I agree about Bemelman's.

                  1. re: howboy

                    I agree Bouley is more approrpiate than Danube for downton. Danube seems like more of a date place than Bouley and I find the food and service to be great at both.

                    What about L'Atelier Joel Rubochon for uptown. It is not old school pomp and circumstance, but it certainly is interesting.

                  2. swanky and amazing.... Eleven Madison Park. Lure Fishbar. Fiamma. A Voce. The Modern.

                    1. My vote is for The Carlyle .....or have you looked into Park Avenue Winter. Just went and it was very good...an all around great place for food, decor and service.

                      1. If he likes traditional, no frills food and is looking for the glamorous "New York dinner experience" with unbelieveable service and decor, go to the Four Seasons.