Westminster visit in Feb
It's time for our annual NYC visit from VA where we stay at The Michelangelo and love to dine well in comfort and style. Le Bernadin has been our #1 choice for several years, but I'm seeking advice on other choices for our two special nights before The Garden. No Chinese, Japanese or steak houses, and Per Se seems over the top. Gramercy Tavern, Jean Georges and Daniel are three we haven't tried. We'll be grateful for help.
I think the reason you haven't been getting any responses is that your title is rather confusing. You're visiting Westminster? All I could think of was Westminster Abbey, in London. So, curious, I clicked on your post to try to figure out what it meant. Then, I see that you mention "The Garden." Hmmm.... Suddently, an "Aha!" moment. You're coming here for the Westminster Dog Show, which always takes in Madison Sq. Garden in Feb. Now that I've got that figured out...
We haven't been to Piano Due or Gilt, so I can't comment on either from personal experience. However, Gilt had a very rocky start. Poor reviews from the major papers and from many on the various food forums. Chef Paul Liebrandt was ousted after only a few months. His replacement, current chef Christopher Lee, completely overhauled the menu. Since then, there has not been much talk about the restaurant, and what little I've heard have not been raves.
Since you are staying in The Michelangelo, you might want to consider Insieme, which opened several months ago and is right at the hotel. Contemporary Italian cuisine from the same chef and owners as Hearth.
While we have been to Gramercy Tavern since Chef Michael Anthony took over the kitchen, we have only eaten in the Tavern Room. We very much liked the food there. Reports from Hounds who have eaten in the dining room are that the food is excellent.
We had the good fortune to have dinner at Daniel and Jean Georges during the same week in October. The cuisine at Daniel was superb; however, we encountered several quite serious service glitches. Thus, I can't give you an unequivocal recommendation though I know there are many Hounds who would. Our evening at Jean Georges was wonderful. Since it was the first time we'd been there, we had the tasting menu of his signature dishes. While I can't say I was wowed by every dish, most were superb. Service was flawless, and the atmospherics were extremely pleasing and very civilized.
Eleven Madison Park is our favorite NYC restaurant right now. Chef Daniel Humm's French-inspired cuisine is exquisite, the wine list is excellent, service is friendly and professional, and the space is gorgeous!
Enjoy your stay in NYC -- and the Dog Show -- and Bon Appetit!
You may know this already, but if you want a nice lunch break from the show, you could go to DB Bistro Moderne - I guess it's about 10 blocks up from MSG. I went one year after watching the Norfolk Terriers. Although I've only been once, I really enjoyed our meal earlier this year at Alto, under the new chef, and I've been wanting to try L'Impero. Also had an excellent meal at Aquavit just before Christmas, which reminds me that I've forgotten to post about it and have probably forgotten most of the details. I concur with RGR's comments about Jean Georges - had a spectacular meal there almost a year ago; it's been too long since I've been to Daniel for me to comment, and haven't been to Gramercy Tavern in quite a while either.
DB Bistro Moderne
55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
I thank you for your thoughtful response; our Westminster visit is our only NYC trek and I love to splurge for our dinners. MMRuth, I think a 10 block walk is out of the question as we are very SR and Mr P.Chowing struggles with a cane. We liked 11MP last year,though a bit brightly sterile in atmosphere as I suspect Insieme with its chrome minimalist decor might be. It looks like Jean Georges and Daniel will be our two choices unless someone endorses Piano Due with raves.
I believe your choice of Jean Georges is no doubt a great one. Definitely keep it as one of your special dinners during your visit.
With Le Bernardin and Jean Georges, I will be hesitant to recommend Daniel. While they are all great restaurants and the food they served is absolutely top-notch in Manhattan, do you really like to have 3 French dinners in a row? Don't get me wrong, I love French food, and in fact the type of ffrench food that these 3 places serve are of different styles. However, I do think that Manhattan has more than great French food to offer in fine-dining. May I suggest something different - fantastic Italian at either Babbo (more rustic and causal) or Del Posto (upscale and elegant, with a magnificent decor)? I have been to both many times and have never been disappointed by their food. Their pasta is IMO the best in the city, something that you won't be able to find in the French restaurants in your plan.
Based on your comments about EMP, I believe Del Posto will be more suitable for you. Of course, if you indeed want to go with Daniel, I am sure you will still a wonderful dinner.