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Mar 11, 2008 09:20 PM

4 days 4 top restaurants

Ok the plan ( probably a slilly self destructive plan at that) is over the course of 4 days starting on a Thursday and ending on Sunday Evening is to go to 4 of the best dining experiences we can find. I am planning to end up at per se on the last night but was hoping to get some suggestions on nights 1, 2, 3. And before you ask yes I know I will probably not only break the bank but also the pants buttons with this trip. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

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  1. Ok put this up late last night so left out a little info. In general we are looking for is different meals at high quality, such as best seafood, best italian etc. I know its very hard to classify the "best" but figured this would be the place to ask. Thanks again

    1. For high-end contemporary French/American, my favorites are Jean-Georges, Picholine, Eleven Madison Park, and Cru. I'm sure you will get many other recommendations in that price range, but I think it is not necessary to spend the most money to get the best food. For somewhat less expensive but really wonderful food I suggest the following:


      5 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        I would do Babbo (Italian), Daniel (French), Le Bernadin (fish).

        1. re: bronwen

          would think daniel over say Jean Georges ?

          1. re: jwcolo

            Personally, I would do Daniel over JG. But it really depends on your preference. Jean-Georges is more contemporary than Daniel. However, I like contemporary French (my favorite meal ever is Pierre Gagnaire) and felt that some of the flavor combos at Jean-Georges just didn't work very well for me.

            I would also do something like Yasuda (if you like sushi) to lighten it up a bit. Four decadent meals of French/New American/Italian seem kind of overboard.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              ok thank you for the info it is appreciated sadly my wife is not a big sushi fan so can't really go that route. And yes I know its going to be pretty heavy eating and lol we probably will be eating simple for a year afterword but we very seldom make it into New York ( years and years in between) so want to take advantage !

              1. re: jwcolo

                That is sad, I was going to suggest the tasting menu at Morimoto, but that may rule that one out...

      2. I've done all the biggees and been happy, but one of the most memorable food-focused meals I've had was a tasting-menu meal at Telepan where the service and food blew us all away. Simple elegance. Another hint: check out the James Beard list nominees for the best NY chefs....

        16 Replies
          1. re: jwcolo

            I am assuming that you already have secured that coveted reservation at Per Se.
            Jean Georges
            Crispo (believe it or not -- you don't need to spend a Babbo bundle and the result is probably the best Italian in Gotham)
            Seafood - Milos (expensive but worth it!)

            1. re: idia

              yes on the per se reservation did it 2 months to the day in advance lol. Im about 6 weeks out now and want to make sure to get the rest of the rservations a month out from what I understand. Do you feel milos is better than Le Bernadin ? And am debating between Daniel and Jean Georges . Thanks for the advice

              1. re: jwcolo

                Milos is a Greek restaurant where the fish is simply grilled with oil and lemon Le Bernardin is French where there are different types of preparations (raw, seared, etc.) served with different types of sauces. My vote is for Le Bernardin.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  ok think Le Bernadin may be it then so that is 2 of the 4 pretty much set. Babbo sounds like it may work. Getting pretty hard to decide on Daniel or JG though from what I am hearing maybe leaning towards Daniel. Another option would be to skip Babbo but that would leave us with alot of the same sort of food I am afraid.

                  1. re: jwcolo

                    If you can't get into Babbo (which I've not been to), do try Alto for Italian - I was very impressed last fall when I went.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      thanks for the advice will find out in a few weeks!

                      1. re: jwcolo

                        I did post a review on Alto, btw - in Sept. I think - if that would be helpful.

                2. re: jwcolo

                  Though I'm not a fan of Le Bernardin, it does have many on this board. It is a NYC 4-star restaurant and the only one specifically devoted to fish and seafood. I've not been to Milos, but if I were in your position, I would not choose it over Le B.

                  1. re: RGR

                    Ahh thankyou for the insight !

                3. re: idia

                  milos: expensive and not worth it. i love greek food but can do better at home, saving hundreds of dollars for the restaurants of people that cook greatly, like Daniel Boulud or prepare phenomenally, like Yasuda.

                  1. re: epop

                    agreed, milos has some great food, but you pay for the shock and awe. The high ceilings, buckets of ice, and somewhat stark minimalist interior are not worth it.

                    1. re: ginsbera

                      exactly. I'll buy the same fish and cook it at home, thank you very much. that said, at least they introduced the idea of fresh fish to a lot of people that never noticed the difference.

                      1. re: epop

                        Very true. Last time I was there I got the red snapper, it must have been $32 a lb and the fish was like 2.5 lbs. Now I could have purchased that same fish at a market or on freshdirect for $8.99 a lb. Thankfully I wasn't paying when I went.

                        1. re: ginsbera

                          To be fair I don't think freshdirect can guarantee as fresh a fish as Milos but certainly a great fish market and the ability to spot a good fish eliminates the need for Milos.

                          I have to say I had a great greek salad at Milos, btw. It was January and the tomatoes were true gems, much like a summer ripened tomato. But I still won't go back.

                          1. re: epop

                            If we're being completely fair then I agree, just trying to prove the point, but we both's overpriced and overrated.

            2. - Degustation - if you're looking for a dining experience this is one of the best in the city I promise you
              - Tia Pol - best Tapas in manhattan, great vibe, drinks and food
              - Babbo if you can get in, self explanatory
              - Jean Georges
              - Perilla, sort of my wild card. Great food, won't break the bank that much
              - Little Owl - wonderful neighborhood spot, very very good

              You don't need to drop $150 per person like some of the other places listed here to enjoy a top notch meal, trust me.


              13 Replies
              1. re: ginsbera

                Thanks for the response Perilla is temping just because of top chef if nothing more :). have not heard of Degustation will have to look it up.

                1. re: jwcolo

                  I think Perilla is a good restaurant, but by no means a destination place. It's a good solid neighborhood New American restaurant using seasonal ingredients.

                  I second ginsbera's Degustation rec. There's a 10-course tasting for about $75 or so. The food is Spanish-influenced. It's bar seating only with an open kitchen. A great foodie experience. It would be a nice addition to your list.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Lol but the list keeps going wish I had more time or was here more often. So Babbo- italian, Degustation- Spanish, Le-Bernadin- seafood, and JG and Daniel French , Going to be very very had to pick 3 of these night 4 with Per Se is allready locked in stone of course.

                    1. re: jwcolo

                      Yes, it's definitely not easy to narrow it down. There are many great restaurants here. I think a lot of these restaurants mentioned are all great. I think what will probably end up driving your decision is what types of food you are interested in. Do you like stronger flavors or more subtle flavors? Do you like heavier or lighter food? Do you want to mix it up? The dilemmas you must be facing. : )

                      Guess Per Se is the only one that you're sure about. If I had to choose, I would pick either Babbo or Degustation and not both. The flavors are both very bold and strong. One thing is Babbo is not easiest reservation to score. You've got to be persistent calling exactly 1 month before the date. And if you can't get one, there is the option of getting there before it opens to try to secure a walk-in table. If you or your wife are not big seafood eaters, I would probably not recommend Le Bernardin. Le Bernardin's food is more subtle than Babbo or Degustation. Jean-Georges is modern French with an Asian twist. Daniel's cuisine is more traditional French than Jean-Georges.

                      Hope that helps you narrow it down. You really can't go wrong with any of them. It's just about your preference at this point.

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        Thanks again Miss Needle you have been very helpfull, If I could get a reservation to either would you think Babbo or degustation to be the better overall experience ( not just the food though that is very important but the over al experience). Now I think looking at Daniel and JG I know this is a hard question but for food which is closest to the type you may see at Per Se. Trying to figure out which to eliminate so the one is closest to per se may get booted off. thanks again

                        1. re: jwcolo

                          I agree with the downside of Babbo, the difficult reservations. I've never been to Babbo as everytime I call it's booked of course, but Degustation is a bit easier to get a spot at, although they only seat 14 people. Jean Georges is consistently rated better than Daniel, but at the same time it is across the street from Per Se so if you're looking to 'explore' different parts of the city that may be important to you.

                          1. re: ginsbera

                            Thanks for all the input. I will be trying to get the reservations when the day comes for Babbo. Speaking with the wife we may end up skipping on Le Bernardin due to her really not being a fan of un cooked or lightly cooked fish. That will open up the possibility of Daniel and JG

                          2. re: jwcolo

                            Babbo has great food, but in addition to being diffiult to get a reservation , it is also extremely noisy. so if you don't care for heavy metal with your meal, you may want to opt for a different Italian place. Maybe Lupa? but I like Maremma better.

                            imho, some of the best food in New York is at places you will never (or seldom) read about outside the city...

                            1. re: jwcolo

                              You probably agonize more about restaurant decisions on a trip than I do. : )

                              Choosing between Degustation and Babbo -- if you like Italian more, I would go with Babbo. Spanish -- Degustation. Overall -- I'd probably give the nod to Babbo because it is a more comfortable experience than Degustation.

                              And if you do decide against Le Bernardin because of your wife's aversion to sushi, you can indeed go to both Daniel and JG. In terms of restaurants from classic to modern, I would probably put it in this range: Daniel, Per Se and JG with Per Se being perhaps closer to Daniel than JG.

                              And I know that you're doing quite a bit of heavy eating on this trip and may be adverse to doing JG for lunch and another heavy hitter for dinner. But it can be done. I had no choice but to book two heavy-hitters for lunch and dinner on one trip because of circumstances beyond my control. It wasn't my ideal situation, but wanted to try both of them. I didn't finish my plates and went on a fast when I came back.

                              Curious -- what are you doing for your lunches? Salad? Skipping lunch?

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                currently planning very light lunches and have nothing at all really "planned" for them but the JG for lunch looks good just not sure on hitting another "big" one that evening. It is very tempting to do so though lol. I will be trying Babbo if can get the reservation. Degustation if not as for Le bernardin looking like a skip but if that changes could work into a dinner the evening after JG lunch but have to think hard on that.

                        2. re: Miss Needle

                          degustation, as i've said often, is the real deal and a destination spot...

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            Agreed, Perilla is not top-notch like Daniel, Jean Georges, Babbo or Degustation, but it is a place where you can kind of let yourself go and get comfortable.

                            However, if you want purely destination restaurants then pass on perilla and maybe save it for your next trip here.

                            1. re: ginsbera

                              and thanks again for the input. The people on this board have been a great help!

                      2. I not only think you're not self-destructive, I think you haven't gone far enough.
                        If you can't decide between JG and Daniel--lunch at JG is only $28 for two plates-you could go light on breakfast and have an early (12:00) lunch at JG.

                        One other thing-I don't know where you are from, or what you are used to-but since you mention that your wife doesn't like my experience, fish in NY is barely cooked at many of the higher end restaurants, like Bernardin-so if she is unhappy with undercooked fish, she may not like it either. Just a thought.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: David W

                          lol I think my clothing may disagee about the self destructive bit after this 4 day food marathon but ty for the post! The seafood being under cooked in general defintley going to make me think closely about Le Bernadin then. Two restraunts in one day though I think that would end up putting us into a food coma and have to be rolled back to the hotel :)