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Jan 11, 2008 07:11 AM

Finally have money for special dinner. Where to Go?

Hi All,

Me and my wife are huge food fans but very rarely have the money to do it up right. Within the next couple months though we may have $300 to $400 to spend on a night out at dinner. Not particularly interested in the steak house experience but we're open to anything else. Thought?


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  1. Hey, bugle,

    How lovely for you and your wife to have that opportunity! :-)

    No surprise to regulars on this board that I highly recommend Eleven Madison Park. Sensational French-inspired cuisine, excellent wine list, exceptional service, and a gorgeous space. You can easily do either the 3- or 4-course prix-fixe + a very good bottle of wine or wine pairings by the glass.

    Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

    8 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      You might also want to google the menus of Jean Georges and Le Bernardin.
      I'd say Per Se in a hot second, but I think you might be playing it too close for that.
      If you want to save a bit and still have a delightful meal, don't overlook Gotham Bar & Grille.

      1. re: idia

        Jean Georges -
        Le Bernardin -

        I'm not a fan of Le Bernardin, but we had a superb dinner at Jean Georges in October, and it can be done within the stated budget.

        Per Se? Not even close! Just walking in the door, it's $250pp. And that doesn't include wine, tax or tip.

          1. re: steve h.

            Also don't overlook Picholine. That meal still makes me happy...

            1. re: doona

              doona - How recently have you been? Tell me how great it was? I heard so much positive chatter after the revamp that we are willing to give it another try. We have a reservation because the game tasting menu got my mouth watering and they said they would make a vegetarian tasting menu for my GF.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                So, besides a stellar menu (heirloom tomato gazpacho with tomato sorbet), the service was unbelievable! There were three of us, we all ordered the tasting menu. But: the ended up substituting one of the items that wasn't on the prix-fix with something that one of us didn't care to try.

                That doesn't happen often in my experience.

                At the end of the meal, for the tasting menu, you get three cheeses per person (so the more people the merrier.) The guy brings over a cheese cart, is explaining all of the stinky cheeses, one that's soaked in brandy. My boyfriend is playing with the guy the whole dinner and asks what kind of brandy. The guy doesn't know, and then three minutes later in the middle of explaining another selection he stops, turns to my boyfriend, and starts remembering all of these details about this goddamn brandy and how its fermented so and so long and all of these details that NO ONE should be able to remember.

                It was amazing.

                Great, great meal.

            2. re: steve h.

              Oops! steve h., You're right about the tip being included at Per Se. And an additional correction. I just found out that they've raised the price to $275pp.

        1. re: RGR

          I like this recommendation for all the reasons mentioned, especially if budget is typically tight and this is a special and infrequent ocassion.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Two places I've enjoyed in the last six months:

            Aquavit - Scandavian, but I'd say more "Scandinavian influences"
            Alto - excellent, upscale Italian

            2 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              I love Aquavit. Most recent meal was at the beginning of December and it was quite memorable. Personally I feel there is something about it that seperates it from other fine dining in NYC, maybe it's the selection of Aquavits that work so well with the food. I'm not saying that makes it our favorite in NYC but it does add a great dimension to it.

              That being said, EMP is another "can't go wrong" choice

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                Annisa in the West Village (romantic, kind service, creative cooking); or sit at the counter at L'Atelier de Joel Roubechon...also a fan of Fiamma in Soho.

            2. I would add Cru to the list of possibilities mentioned above, and agree that Jean-Georges, Picholine or EMP would be an excellent choice.