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Daniel, Bouley or La Grenouille?

I treat myself once a year to a fabulous meal - money is no object. Can't decide between Daniel, Bouley or La Grenouille for 2008. Any comments?

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  1. Based on food quality, I'd pick Bouley over La Grenouille. I haven't been to Daniel.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Lucia

      I've not been to Bouley, but would pick Daniel over La Grenouille, much as I love it, I think you'd have more assurance of a truly great meal.

      1. re: Lucia

        I've been to all 3 and they are very different experiences, so in order. If you are looking for that cozy, well taken care of great experience it's Bouley. The food and the service are superb It's my fav in nyc). Daniel is a more regimented, somewhat snappy service (in a good way) and more of a transaction than experience, the food is of course top notch and the room is magnificent .Grenouille is an old world terriffic adult dinner party. My last trip everything was underseasoned, perhpas the older crowd likes it that way. But if you have never been to Grenouille it a once in a lifetime must, the classic dishes along with olw world service makes for an extra special treat.

        1. re: chalz

          I've been to all three - Bouley is perhaps the trendiest, he's got some pretty interesting combos going on, Daniel is very elegant, really quite over the top, La Grenouille comes in third in food but the room! If you're a fan of flowers (they spend something like $100,000 a year on them), it is non-pareil.

      2. Of the three, I've only been to Daniel. Our most recent meal there was in October, and the food was superb. However, there were several fairly serious service issues which, we felt, were due to the staff's desire to turn the table more quickly. (It was a Saturday evening.) Since we've had excellent service during previous experiences at Daniel, we would return. But after saying all that, if I were choosing amongst these three options, I'd go to La Grenouille because it is truly the last of the old Grand Dames of haute French cuisine, and who knows how much longer it will be with us? (Note: It's on my "go to" list for this year.)

        1. I'd recommend Bouley of your three choices. Food, service and decor are wonderful. I've never been a fan of Daniel -- snooty service.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ellenost

            Just to be clear, the problems we had at Daniel this last time were not related to snooty service. In fact, we've always found the wait staff to be very cordial.

            1. re: RGR

              Actually, I have had snooty service from both Daniel and DB Bistro Moderne. Glad to hear you didn't.

              1. re: ellenost

                Lots of people think the service at Cafe Boulud is snooty as well. Again, that has not been our experience. We have always found the staff there to be very pleasant. Yes, there is one maitre d' who seems snooty, but I think his nature is just more reserved, and when we've made an effort to engage him in conversation, he has opened up and been quite cordial.

                A friend of mine who has been to Grenouille commented that servers there also seem snooty, but she thinks that it's more a matter of them being "properly formal." Perhaps, in this day and age of the "Hi-I'm _____ (insert name)-and-I'll-be-your-server-this-evening" style of service, the more formal style is considered by many ,especially younger diners, to be snooty.

                1. re: RGR

                  When I was at Grenouille, our waiter was actually very friendly and not in the least bit snooty, but of course others may be.

                  1. re: RGR

                    Actually my situation was different. At both Daniel and DB Bistro the maitre'd tried to seat me at very bad tables (Daniel, between two serving stations, at DB Bistro, when it was empty, next to a family with young children who were not well behaved). After I rejected both tables, the wait staff was very nice.

            2. I can't speak for La Grenouille, (although all the posts on this thread are making me want to check it out!) but I've been to both of the others in the past year.

              I've had major attitude and service issues with Bouley. More than once.

              Daniel on the other hand was lovely. The whole staff was friendly and our server was fun. I couldn't decide which dessert to get, so he said "leave it up to me" and brought us three.

              Foodwise I'd give a leg up on Daniel.

              Enjoy your meal and let us know all about it!

              3 Replies
              1. re: BW212

                La Grenouille is the last of a breed, and you shouldn't miss it. Order something classically French, enjoy the pretty room and the formal service. The staff is very nice, and it feels festive and old world. I particularly love their foie de veau, and oeufs a la neige for dessert.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Just thought I'd link to my review - though it's from almost two years ago now:

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/231047

                2. re: BW212

                  I went to Bouley and Daniel recently.

                  Daniel by a mile -- better food, better room.

                  I thought my meal at Bouley was great but then went to Daniel was blown away.

                3. Without a doubt I'd choose Bouley. The food is superb, the service is always very pleasant and the rooms are beautiful and cozy. I have been consistently disappointed with Daniel -- the food never meets my expectations.