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Daniel Boulud is my enemy.

biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 07:51 AM

I called Daniel today for a 5/10 reservation and found out that they're closed for a private event. ARGH!!!!! This throws a big wrench into my carefully crafted restaurant itinerary for my parents' visit, which looked like this:

5/7 Dinner at Olana

5/8 Lunch at Jean-Georges
Dinner at home (brand new kitchen, Dad wants to try it out)

5/9 Lunch on Arthur Ave.
Dinner at Epices or Kefi (before the opera)

5/10 Lunch on LI (Wine country)
Dinner at Daniel

5/11 Dim sum in Flushing
Dinner at Del Posto

Unfortunately, the only other possible day for Daniel (due to theatre tix) is 5/8, but I really don't want to do JG and Daniel on the same day. We can't do JG any other day without scratching the trip to Arthur Ave, which my parents are really looking forward to. So, now the itinerary looks like this:

5/7 Dinner at Olana

5/8 (Lunch at Jean-Georges - will likely cancel/change)
Dinner at Daniel

5/9 Lunch on Arthur Ave.
Dinner at Epices or Kefi (before the opera)

5/10 Lunch on LI (Wine country)
Dinner at home

5/11 Dim sum in Flushing
Dinner at Del Posto

This is not the end of the world, since it might be nice to stay home and relax after a long day of wine tasting (and we will likely have some fun ingredients to cook with after our trip to Arthur Ave. on Friday), but I still am not sure about JG and Daniel in one day. Is there any other worthwhile, non-French restaurant that you all can think of that we might try out for lunch on Thurs.? It needs to be relatively close to my office (55th and 6th). We've been to the Modern (loved it) - I wouldn't mind going back but it would also be nice to try something new.

Any ideas, hounds? Or are JG and Daniel sufficiently different that it won't be a problem to do them both in one day?

  1. minkdreads Apr 12, 2008 10:11 AM

    Ooh, lucky you; you're rich. Seriously though, a note on Compass- we loved their ability to improvise at a large party we hosted there. Several of our party were somehow on the topic of innovative cocktails, and the possibility of a beet martini came up. Within minutes it was beetinis all around- very nice of the staff, and a wonderfully interesting drink too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: minkdreads
      biondanonima Apr 12, 2008 11:30 AM

      Ha, hardly. Nor are my parents; however, since they NEVER eat out at home (why would you when the best options are Bennigans or Red Lobster?), they don't mind blowing their dining budget for the year on trips to NYC and Chicago. And I don't mind going along for the ride!!!

    2. DarthEater Apr 11, 2008 02:18 PM

      JG and Daniel in one day is a nice luxury to do.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DarthEater
        b
        brooklyndude Apr 13, 2008 02:25 PM

        I think it wouldn't be too hard to have lunch @ JG without it being too heavy, I've definitely had lunch there and then eaten a tasting menu without feeling bad.

        1. re: brooklyndude
          biondanonima Apr 13, 2008 02:32 PM

          Thanks Brooklyndude. That problem actually resolved itself the other day when I found out I was able to get tickets to La Fille du Regiment on Thursday night (which is JG day), bumping Daniel to Friday night. Now JG only has to compete with Kefi or Epices!

      2. biondanonima Apr 11, 2008 11:19 AM

        Oh good LORD! My father is my real enemy. Mario Batali thwarted me by offering a fixed menu at Del Posto on Mother's day, which my parents didn't want to do. So, I got a few other ideas and made a Sunday reservation at Babbo (plus a just-in-case Saturday res at Del Posto). Of course, as soon as I accomplished all of this, my father decided that he would rather go to Aquavit for dinner (in place of Del Posto) and keep JG for lunch before Daniel. So, the final layout looks like this:

        5/7 Dinner at Olana (unless parents are running late, backup is pizza at Angelo's or some non-crappy restaurant in the theatre district)

        5/8 Lunch at Jean-Georges
        Dinner at Daniel

        5/9 Lunch on Arthur Ave.
        Dinner at Epices or Kefi (before the opera)

        5/10 Lunch on LI (Wine country)
        Dinner at home

        5/11 Dim sum in Flushing
        Dinner at Aquavit

        Thank you VERY much to everyone who posted on this topic - I had completely forgotten about Aquavit and I'm sure they will enjoy it very much. I am going to miss Mario Batali this time around, but I'm hoping Olana will make up for that!

        10 Replies
        1. re: biondanonima
          Brian S Apr 11, 2008 01:35 PM

          Glad it worked out. I hope you post a report a month from now on how the food was (especially dinner at Daniel)

          1. re: Brian S
            biondanonima Apr 11, 2008 01:40 PM

            Ooooooh yes! I will be posting full reviews of everything - I too am especially looking forward to Daniel. Luckily my boss is out of town that week so I'll have plenty of time at work to post!

          2. re: biondanonima
            Ora Apr 11, 2008 08:13 PM

            Epices on 70th?? Very cute place, very average and unremarkable food.

            1. re: Ora
              biondanonima Apr 11, 2008 10:02 PM

              That's the one. I need something very close to the Met, but we're not looking for anything too pricey/multi-course. I had considered Dovetail or Telepan, but I think we want something a little more casual. Kefi is my preference, but since we can't make reservations I wanted to have a back up in case the wait is too long.

              1. re: biondanonima
                Ora Apr 12, 2008 07:02 AM

                What about Compass? You don't have to eat in the dining room. Many times I just eat in the bar, which is upscale casual and far better food than Epices.

                1. re: Ora
                  r
                  rrems Apr 12, 2008 08:23 AM

                  Compass also has a 3-course prix fixe for $35. One of the great bargains for higher-end food.

                  1. re: rrems
                    biondanonima Apr 12, 2008 09:07 AM

                    The menu at Compass looks great - I will definitely keep it in mind for a UWS option. The prix-fixe is way too limited for our purposes, though, and in this case I think we need to mix up the restaurant itin a little with something ethnic. I'm really hoping we can get into Kefi. If not, we'll do Epices and if the food is bad, we'll just have extra dessert afterwards at Fiorello! Ora, what have you tried at Epices? Many of the reviews I've read say that if you stick with the Moroccan/Tunisian dishes, they're pretty solid.

                    1. re: biondanonima
                      d
                      David W Apr 12, 2008 11:29 AM

                      Epices: I've enjoyed the brik, the Mediterranean salad, the b'stilla and the tagine...not earth-shattering, but decent. It can get crowded, though, so it may not be the best back up for Kefi.

                      The closer to the 5:00 opening at Kefi you are, the better off you'll be.

                      1. re: David W
                        biondanonima Apr 13, 2008 09:17 AM

                        Thanks David. We'll probably try to get there around 5:30-6, and it will be on a Thursday night, so hopefully it won't be too much trouble to get into Kefi. Glad to know that you've enjoyed your meals at Epices, just in case!

                      2. re: biondanonima
                        Ora Apr 13, 2008 09:10 AM

                        Yes, I have eaten at Epices. It wasn't anything special. The tagines looked interesting though, but we didn't have that. My friend didn't love her dish either though, so we both wrote it off as nothing special. It is very cute though.

            2. The Chowhound Team Apr 11, 2008 06:14 AM

              A discussion about where to eat lunch in Long Island's wine country has been split to the Tristate board. You can follow it here:

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/508283

              1. Ora Apr 10, 2008 10:37 AM

                Not the same level I know, but what about keeping JG and doing Bar Boulud for dinner?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ora
                  biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 11:00 AM

                  I had considered that, but my parents REALLY want to do the 8-course grand tasting at Daniel, so that one's not really negotiable. Darn stupid rich important famous people taking over the restaurant when I want it open for me! ;-)

                2. h
                  Hurner Apr 10, 2008 08:51 AM

                  If you're fortunate enough to schedule Jean-George for lunch and Daniel for dinner on the same day, please do so. They're completely different experiences in my opinion. Enjoy!

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Hurner
                    biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 10:12 AM

                    Thanks Hurner. I ran it past my dad and he says he doesn't mind JG and Daniel in one day, so we may just go ahead with it. I'm glad to have a couple of other options at hand though, just in case!

                    1. re: biondanonima
                      Brian S Apr 10, 2008 10:23 AM

                      I think you should do that, and have a blow-out day! You're allowed to order as few as two courses at Jean-Georges lunch, and if you do that you'll have plenty of appetite left for Daniel.

                      1. re: Brian S
                        biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 12:58 PM

                        Thanks Brian! I had just made up my mind to do just that when my father emailed and said he'd been wanting to go to Aquavit, so now I'm waiting to hear back on which he prefers for this particular trip. Parents can be SO exhausting!

                        1. re: biondanonima
                          Spiritchaser Apr 11, 2008 07:31 AM

                          If you opt for Aquavit make sure you are reserving the dining room, the cafe is very good but the dining room is much more special.

                          1. re: Spiritchaser
                            Brian S Apr 11, 2008 08:28 AM

                            and if you're saving room for dinner with your "enemy" Daniel, beware the temptation of the bread basket -- a mountain of different kinds of delicious breads and a yummy house-made spread.

                            1. re: Brian S
                              MMRuth Apr 11, 2008 08:35 AM

                              Yes - the bread is wonderful. I would say though, in response to Spiritchaser, to me, the two restaurants at Aquavit are very much two different places. To me, the cafe is a place to get often delicious Scandinavian specialties, whereas the dining room is an "high end" dining experience, with the food reflecting some Scandivanian influences.

                          2. re: biondanonima
                            biondanonima Apr 11, 2008 08:32 AM

                            Thanks Brian! Unfortunately, Mario Batali is now my enemy! I just called Del Posto and they're doing some silly Mother's day 5 course tasting, with no option to order from the regular menu. GRR! So I had to move that reservation to Saturday at 6, which may mean cutting wine country a little short. I'm about ready to scratch Del Posto altogether and see if I can get Babbo on Sunday instead. Argh!

                            1. re: biondanonima
                              Deenso Apr 11, 2008 05:18 PM

                              Biondanonima, please do consider scratching Del Posto completely. My husband and I were just there on Sunday evening and both of us came away feeling like it was a case of 'the emperor's new clothes.' The place is absolutely gorgeous, I'll give it that. The service was rather quirky, though - a strange cross between oblivious and hovering - hard to explain. The celebrities and the folks who were drinking $200+ wines got quite a bit more attention than we did. And the food was, well, a little pretentious, a little over-ambitious. It was incredibly expensive, although we knew that going in, but truly not worth the money. In general, I felt that it all came down to management's statement back when the place was in planning that the aim was to earn Michelin stars. They did - two of them - but seem to have lost the Batali/Bastianich soul.

                              My recommendation for a fabulous Italian meal would be A Voce, Andrew Carmelini's place on East 26th Street/Madison Ave. It's much more casual than Del Posto in atmosphere, but the food is so much better, the service is flawless, and you get a lot more bang for the buck.

                              1. re: Deenso
                                biondanonima Apr 12, 2008 06:02 AM

                                Thanks Deenso - with all the special menus and private parties, we've got a whole new itinerary worked out that doesn't include Del Posto at all. I'm sure we'll get there eventually - and hopefully the service will be better than what you experienced when you were there! My parents really want to try it, even if it's just one of those "well, we've been to Del Posto, seen what it's all about, now we can just go back to Babbo." LOL!

                      2. re: Hurner
                        Miss Needle Apr 10, 2008 01:01 PM

                        I agree. They're not the same at all -- both upscale, but very different style of foods. When I went to Paris last fall, I had the same dilemma as you. Because of scheduling issues, I had to do two heavy-hitters in one day. I was really, really full by the end of the day but happy.

                      3. biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 08:23 AM

                        Asiate is another contender I forgot to mention in my original post - their lunch prix-fixe looks like a great deal! Has anyone been?

                        1. r
                          rrems Apr 10, 2008 08:22 AM

                          You may want to consider Perry St. for lunch. Even though it is a JG restaurant, the food is lighter and not particularly "French". It's also a better deal than JG at $24 for 3 courses, with good bottles of wine for $20. The atmosphere is less formal but elegant nonetheless, and the light streaming in through the walls of windows is very pleasant.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rrems
                            biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 08:26 AM

                            Perry St. would be great, but unfortunately we need something midtown-ish - BF and I are working that day and I believe my parents are going to spend the day at MOMA, so we don't want to travel too far. The menu looks delicious, though - I'll keep it in mind the next time I'm down that way!

                          2. MMRuth Apr 10, 2008 07:57 AM

                            What about Aquavit for lunch?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: MMRuth
                              biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 08:13 AM

                              Ooh, I hadn't thought of Aquavit - that could be interesting. I've always wanted to try it. Do you recommend Aquavit or Aquavit Cafe?

                              1. re: biondanonima
                                MMRuth Apr 10, 2008 08:15 AM

                                I've only had lunch in the Cafe, not the dining room, though I've had dinner there. I guess, b/c you will be having dinner at Daniel, I'd say the Cafe. Maybe take a look at the menus online. I love the herring sampler .... They are quite different though. The Cafe has much more of a Scandinavian menu.

                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  biondanonima Apr 10, 2008 08:18 AM

                                  Mmmmm, both look great to me. The prix-fixes involve a little too much fish for my mother, I think, but we could just order off the menu either way. I think you're right about the cafe vs. the main dining room for our purposes. I will have to run this one by my dad!

                                  1. re: biondanonima
                                    MMRuth Apr 10, 2008 08:29 AM

                                    The aquavits are wonderful too by the way, in case you are able to sample in spite of work.

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