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Daniel or le bernardin?

Which one of these two do you like better? Any one of them in particular more vegetarian friendly? I enjoyed eleven madison--and that whole dining experience and I heard these two are just as great. Any suggestions of a better place?

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  1. I like them equally but they are two different experiences. Daniel showcases French sumptuosness and Le Bernadin French precision.

    1. I've never been to Le Bernadin, but I've been to Daniel twice. The first time was perfect, food, service, ambience. The second time I had that feeling of being a second class citizen in the dining room.

      After that, we went to Chanterelle, which was my favorite dining experience in the city.

      2 Replies
      1. re: johnblacksox

        Is Chanterelle the same type of dining expereinece as Daniel?

        1. re: girllovesfood

          I think not. Daniel is where I had some perfect meals while at Chanterelle only very good.

      2. Check out the wine column in the Wall Street Journal just visited both (comparing tasting menus with wine pairings) in last Friday's edition. The had a clear preference for Daniels.

        1. Le B is mostly seafood. I liked Daniel a little more than Le B and much more than chantrelle which I went to once years ago and was unimpressed.

          Per Se is the one above all.

          1. if i go to per se, i may never be able to go shopping again. :-)

            1. Hey, girllovesfood,

              Regulars here know that Eleven Madison is our favorite NYC restaurant, so I'm pleased that you enjoyed your dinner there.

              We've had several dinners at Daniel and, despite the fact that we had a few serious service glitches the last time we were there, I would still choose it (as the expression goes) any day of the week over Le Bernardin. I found Le B's food disappointing, service was so icy, they could have turned off the a.c. and cooled the room, and speaking of the room, try as they might to camouflage it, it's apparent you're dining in the lobby of an office building.

              With regard to Daniel, the cuisine is absolutely superb, and thre is a menu specifically devoted to vegetarians. Service is normally cordial and professional, and the space has very sumptuous decor.

              Another excellent option is Jean Georges. We had dinner there for the first time in October and came away quite impressed with the delicious cuisine and faultless service. The lovely decor is the reverse of Daniel's, i.e., contemporary understated elegance.

              3 Replies
              1. re: RGR

                Thank you so much for all of your help! I think Daniel it is---but I will look into Jean Georges.

                1. re: girllovesfood

                  Jean Georges has higher highs and lower lows than Daniel but overall I like it more.

                  1. re: tpigeon

                    I would choose Jean Georges as well. Perhaps I've just been fortunate but I've been there several times and every time the food and service have been incredibly good.

              2. I found Daniel more of an experience (in the sense of a major event). And while Le Bernadin only has one option in each course for vegetarians, Daniel has a full veggie tasting menu. All that said, no dish at Daniel wow'd me as much as my main at Le Bernadin.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BW212

                  I have been to Daniel and loved it. Never been to Le Bernardin but it is definitely on my must try list since I love seafood. What was your main BW212?

                  Le Bernardin
                  155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                2. le bernardin is really worth going to primarily if you are a serious seafood lover. that is what they do. they do it very well (a tad icily perhaps), but i think its worth a visit. however, if you won't eat fish, then i wouldn't bother.

                    1. re: David W

                      Well, I just did the Le Bernardin chef's tasting menu last night, and my experience was completely contrary to to one that John and Dottie from the WSJ had. I can state that it was one of the top two or threee meals in my life, and that the pairings worked for me without any problem. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and when I consider all the angst that WSJ review generated for me, I feel like a fool in allowing it to. We were not rushed, the pace was excellent, and the food and wine complemented each other in amazing ways.

                      I also went to db Bistro Moderne the night before, and it was also amazing, and I can't wait to go to Daniel just to see how it compares. My wife didn't go with the pairing at LB, since she gets trashed fairly readily when she does that, and simply went with the sommelier's recommendation for a white wine that met her needs nicely. She was able to make the glass last the whole meal, whereas I would have not gotten past the second course with it. I have done pairings at many other restaurants - Babbo, EMP, Vong, Michael Mina, Cyrus and others, and this experience was even better than them, on the whole. The fish courses were some of the most perfectly prepared dishes I have ever had, and I doubt anything before or since could match or exceed them.

                      I wholeheartedly recommend Le Bernardin, without any reservation. I had also heard the assertions that the wait staff was "icy", "haughty", "snooty" and "hovering". I experienced no such thing, and felt it was the most exemplary service I've ever had so far. I haven't been to Per Se yet, but hope to some day, just to compare the two.

                      1. re: Wallowing Gourmet

                        Per Se is close to being in a class by itself.

                        1. re: Tay

                          I've had over ten people that I dine with tell me they'd never go back to Per Se. They didn't even object to it for the price. They simply found the food very uninspired. I haven't been yet but enjoyed FR Laundry very much. One of the worst, saltiest meals of my life was at Keller's place in Vegas, Bouchon. So I haven't taken the risk (and no longer live in NY) with Per Se. See for yourself, I guess applies.

                          1. re: epop

                            Interesting. I've never read a bad review of Per Se. Nor have I ever spoken with anyone who has had a bad or 'uninspired' experience there. I suppose it's bound to happen from time to time, but I've eaten there 4-6 times and the word, 'Superlative' always comes to mind.
                            I guess that's what makes a horse race :-}

                            1. re: Tay

                              We were due to go there next week for the private room but several in the party who'd eaten there in the past month complained adamantly about having to revisit Per Se. I still would like to try it but it will have to be an either/or, without them, that is... 2/4 had been there more than once and vowed never to return. The problem for me is that Bouchon was so terrible that I lost some faith in Keller.

                            2. re: epop

                              I have had the total opposite experience. We, my husband and I, had the best meals in our lives at per se.
                              Everything was beyond perfect: the food, the wine pairings and the beautiful, unobtrusive, but efficient service.

                              We, admittedly, only dined once at French Laundry, but were quite disappointed. This food was not as good (as a whole) as the food at per se, even though the menus were very similar, with some identical, signature dishes on them. But some of the dishes at French Laundry were not very good, and actually on meat dish (lamb) was so tough that I left most of it because I had a hard time chewing it.
                              French Laundry also did not offer wine pairings, which was hugely disappointing. The service was nowhere near the class and elegance and natural friendliness of that at per se.
                              At French Laundry our waiter was so uptight (not in a professional way) that I you could literally sense stick up his ... you know what, and his spine.

                              Oh, and when we enter per se, we feel very welcome -even the first time we visited. At French Laundry we felt that the hostess really could not care less if we were there or not.

                              After per se, we have been daydreaming for weeks afterward about the wonderful food and different tastes....
                              But French Laundry left us saying: "Oh, well..." - and not feeling like we would ever want to go back.

                              I have lost count how many times we have dined at Bouchon in Yountville, but I can tell you that it is our favorite restaurant anywhere. Casual, friendly, lively - and the food is made out of such high quality, first class ingredients that you can never have that leg of lamb or duck confit anywhere else again, since you remember the perfection and (surprise=) lightness of them at Bouchon, Yountville.
                              Last summer the place was better than ever.

                              1. re: FoodWine

                                I should've clarified it, as I meant the Bouchon in Vegas.

                                I know people who live up in Napa and don't care for Fr Laundry, confirming your experience. I just happened to have had one great meal there.

                                It looks like those in our party that despised Per Se on multiple visits are winning out, leaving us to scramble for another great rsvp. thx

                              2. re: epop

                                epop, like you, I've dined at French Laundry but not Per Se. And like you, friends who have been to both insist that FL is superior.

                                1. re: a_and_w

                                  One day we'll have to see for ourselves. I'm still not convinced, most of all b/c of my horrible Vegas Bouchon experience. I wish I'd had room service at the Flamingo instead.

                        2. Not sure if you've already made your decision, but I vote for Daniel! Here's a review I posted this morning:


                          I've been to Per Se, and while I prefer Daniel to Keller's restaurant, I have heard that his vegetarian tasting menu is what will make you fall in love with him. Also, if price for Per Se is an issue, beware of wine pairings at Daniel -- though, they were delicious! We spent about the same at each restaurant (though we went a little more "all out" at Daniel then Per Se).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AriB

                            Have been to Per Se twice (in different seasons), and before the 2nd visit was wondering how the perfection of the 1st time could be matched....well, if possible, it exceeded it. Food...and service...flawless.
                            But back to the OP query...Daniel over LB, if only for variety alongside the requested veg. option.

                          2. HELLO?!! PER SE is in a SHOPPING MALL. French Laundry is in a cozy rustic building in the heart of a winery region, plus a cute garden backyard... I know the food is important but can you see, Per Se tastes like a uber end version of Bouchon at the Venetian? No?

                            Thanks to this thread I will book Daniel for dinner in 2 days! Looking forward to it!

                            Per Se
                            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: hauser

                              I'd definitely choose Per Se over Daniel. The fact that Per Se is in a mall really has no effect on the inside of the restaurant, and the food at Per Se is better than at Daniel.

                              Per Se
                              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                              1. re: hauser

                                Yes, it's in a shopping mall but really it doesn't feel that way once inside. Also, the view of central park is beautiful.

                              2. Interesting how different my opinion is now from what it was when I originally posted in March '08 on this resurrected thread. Back then, I recommended Daniel over Le Bernardin. Now, it would be the reverse. It was in Oct. '08 that we were victims of serious service faults at Daniel which totally detracted from that experience and now makes me far less enthusiastic about recommending it. On the other hand, a second dinner at Le Bernardin in the spring of '09 was better in every way from our first dinner, and though I'm still not crazy about the room, I would not hesitate to recommend it.

                                As for per se, while our one experience there in June '08 was lovely, I didn't find the food to be superior to any of the fine dining establishments we've been to in NYC or elsewhere. In fact, they are quite capable of producing a dud because the veal we had was bland and boring.


                                3 Replies
                                1. re: RGR

                                  I'm not sure how one evening with service glitches, nearly two years ago, is reason enough to constantly recommend against Daniel. How many times have you been to Daniel? I don't love the place as much as EMP or JG, but I certainly have never experienced any service problems in the 6 or 7 times I've been there.

                                  It's sort of like when you recently pronounced Carnegie Deli "blech" but turns out the last time you were there was 15 years ago.

                                  Carnegie Deli
                                  854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                                    I have just visited Daniel last week and the service I received there is impeccable. It is really some of the best at this class with my experience.

                                    1. re: skylineR33

                                      Yes, I also had the best service and then a tour of the kitchen with Daniel himself. That said, our tasting menu was only a dot above average. Years ago I had some wonderful meals there, but I would rather eat at a hundred other simpler places with better food.

                                2. I realize the original post was some two years ago but in case anyone is in this same boat.

                                  If you are comparing just the two you mention AND vegetarian is extremely important then hands down Daniel. My GF is a vegetarian, I am not, and although Le B accomodated her with 3 vegetarian dishes which she said were very very good their focus is fish (that being said my food at Le B was freakin' spectacular). Daniel on the other hand already has vegetarian dishes on thier menu and I feel more thought has gone into them.

                                  Service at both has never been anything less than wonderful.