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Per Se is closed...

I am so sad. We'll be in town from August 6th-13th and Per Se will be closed the whole time. Why me? While we were in Napa last year, French Laundry was closed. Same week! Apparently, Thomas Keller hates me.

Anyway, now that I've mourned for a week, I need to find a suitable replacement. I need a GREAT meal to celebrate my 30th birthday with my husband. We're staying in Midtown (I think...Le Parker?), but we'll travel anywhere. I'd like it to be romantic-ish, but the food is really the main attraction for us. We'll do any price range. I would prefer no Indian or Asian (sushi is ok though.) cuisine. If I don't have to eat true French food, I'll be pretty happy, but if you say it's great, I'll try it. Thank you!

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  1. Jean George. It will blow you away. They also have 2 tasting menus so you can pick the one that's less French. No shortage of romantic and amazing restaurants here in NYC. Spend the $ you would have spent at Per Se on better wine and have fun!

    3 Replies
    1. re: JeremyEG

      Try Eleven Madison Park.....high level, food has character, grand space.....the experience should cure your sadness.

      1. re: JeremyEG

        I will second JG. I like emp too but thing JG is better. Their signature egg dish is as good as the signature oyster and pearls dish at Per Se. Per Se is the best but JG ain't a bad substitute at all.

        1. re: JeremyEG

          I will third JG. Many dishes to choose from (From beef, Foie, lamb, duck, and numerous fish dishes. $98.00 for a 3 course meal. If you go. The Butternut Squash Soup is heavenly!

          No, Mr. Keller doesn't hate you. :)

          Everyone gets a week off for vacation in August. So he shuts both TFL and Per Se down. (I read this somewhere)

          Where ever you go...enjoy!

        2. I highly recommend Aureole, Bouley and Eleven Madison Park. Great food, service and decor at all three restaurants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ellenost

            Jean Georges! My husband and I just ate at Per Se again last weekend, and it was phenomenal (of course). We've eaten at JG a few times and while it's not the same, it's definitely wonderful. Bouley is definitely more romantic, but we did not have a great experience there. I haven't had dinner at EMP lately, so I can't comment on that one. But the room is quite lovely.

          2. Sorry to hear you'll be missing a TK restaurant twice. I can definitely understand how you'd be upset.

            In terms of Per Se's style, I think Eleven Madison Park and Jean-Georges would probably be the best bet. Jean-Georges is a bit more of a refined experience than EMP, but I prefer the food at EMP. Contrary to most of the posters on this board, I don't really sync with JG's style. The food is prepared very well, but the flavor profiles just don't work with me. You may also want to think about L'Atelier at the Four Seasons. They do have tables, but it's really fun sitting at the bar.

            1. EMP, Bouley, Daniel, or a very recent favorite, Picholine.

              Any one of these would be a fantastic choice for slightly different reasons.

              1. Daniel is an excellent restaurant.World class in every respect.Eleven Madison Park is also a great choice but I would say just a cut below.River Cafe in Brooklyn is a good special occasion choice.Food and service are very good,although not at the same level as some other restaurant already mentioned,but has a nice view of Manhattan and romantic atmosphere.

                1. I'd do Daniel. I'd also recommend Picholine, Four Seasons (very underrated on this board) and Gramercy Tavern (a bit more informal but great food).

                  1. We recently had our first dining experience at Per Se. While there is no denying that the cuisine there is superb, I can now say with complete confidence that Chef Daniel Humm's exquisite cuisine at Eleven Madison Park is, in every respect, the *equal* of Per Se's.

                    EMP's wine program, under the direction of Sommelier John Ragan, just received this year's James Beard Award and deservedly so. Service is very cordial and attentive. And the space is gorgeous!

                    EMP is not only our favorite Danny Meyer restaurant, but our favorite NYC restaurant. It is, in my view, the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.

                    Happy 30th Birthday in advance and Bon Appetit!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: RGR

                      Daniel is my rec for a special occasion. Emp is great but not as intimiate as Daniel. Enjoy!

                      1. re: samiam123

                        I don't think there is anything intimate about Daniel. Also, the last time we were there, service fell down badly during the latter part of our meal. The only reason we would go back is that we've been there before when service was excellent. However, at a restaurant of Daniel's caliber, serious service issues -- and there were several -- should never happen!

                        1. re: RGR

                          While I don't think of the room at Daniel as being intimate, per se, I do think that it has a more intimate feel than EMP does. To me, EMP is more modern, a little minimalist, stunning modern floral arrangements, very high ceilings and the big windows, while Daniel is elegant in a more traditional way, somewhat warmer way. I'm not much for "romantic", but of the two, I think Daniel is more so.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Put the way you do, I can't disagree, MMRuth. No question the two restaurants' interior design and decor couldn't be more different. I tend to think of EMP's space as being Art Deco in nature with contemporary elements, rather than strictly modern minimalist. As for Daniel, it strikes me as gussied-up Grecian, probably because of the columns.

                            1. re: RGR

                              Yes - on Daniel's website they describe it as "neo Grecian". Sort of reminds me of grand European hotel restaurants (for which I have a soft spot!).

                          2. re: RGR

                            we also had shockingly bad service at Daniel, and do not plan on returning.

                      2. So sorry about Per Se!

                        I agree with the comments above, especially with EMP. I remember quite a wonderful meal at Jean Georges, too, but that was quite a while ago.

                        What about Le Bernardin? 'Course, you'd really have to like fish and the like.

                        Happy birthday, in advance!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: drummergirl

                          I think EMP will a very good restaurant but IMO is bit overrated on this board (lets not debate why) but another idea would be to revisit Danny Mayer's former great restaurant Gramercy Tavern (its just won the Beard award for best restaurant 2008)....However, what I would really do is leave the city and go to Blue Hills Stone Barns...its close and very special...read this


                          1. re: Cpalms

                            So, how far is this place from NYC? And do I know anyone with a car willing to go out there?

                            Yum. And I've already stuffed myself with lunch, mind you.

                            1. re: drummergirl

                              its a little more than an hour by car or you can take the train...do a search it's discussed in great detail on the boards here as to the particulars...its a great day trip, walk the grounds, etc....

                              1. re: drummergirl

                                As has been mentioned, you can get to Blue Hill Stone Barns by railroad and taxi. One of the managers told me that depending on when you go, it can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half each way. Info on the website: http://www.bluehillstonebarns.com/bhs... . (We went by car from NJ.


                                P.S. There's been lots of discussion about BHSB on the Tri-State. board

                                1. re: drummergirl

                                  Blue Hill in the city on Washington Pl. wonderful too

                            2. well truly, per se is per se. but for the money you would have spent there go to: eleven madison park, le bernadin, and then book a car and go to blue hill stone barns. frankly, out of all of these places, per se included, the best meal i've had was at stone barns. dan barber is fabulous. don't miss the sunset, and allow extra time to meet your dinner, as it were.

                              1. I think Le Bernardin would fit the bill or Babbo, depending on what your tastes veer toward. Both of these restaurants provide great food that is quite creative and perfectly prepared. If you are both seafood people, I would recommend Le Bernardin.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: offthebeatenpath1

                                  I love both Babbo and Le B but neither fits the OP's request, particularly Le B which as all of the ambiance of a Hilton hotel conference room...Babbo would have been perfect for my 30th, however I love frenetic restaurants that crank the Stones and could not give rats ass about romantic settings...

                                  1. re: Cpalms

                                    I'm great with the Stones and busy places, in fact we're planning on trying to go to Babbo, but I wanted one romantic dinner since my 30th is also our 5th anniversary (gotta make it easy on the husband).

                                2. We always hit J-G and Daniel when we're in town, and have never been disappointed. J-G might score a bit higher on the food points, but Daniel wins on atmosphere. Daniel also has the best bread of any restaurant I've eaten in, world-wide.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    Jean Georges for sure. It is the best in the two things you are looking for, a romantic setting and excellent food.

                                    1. re: oceans

                                      My recent meals at Jean-Georges have been disappointing. And I don't like the new decor.

                                      I would definitely choose EMP as your Per Se substitute. The wine program and service are spectacular, the food is sophisticated and bright, the room is beautiful and casually elegant. I think it's the best restaurant in NYC at the moment.

                                      Daniel is very formal - but more important - the food is tired. Bouley is erratic at best, and way past its prime.

                                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                                        I am shocked that you can have a bad meal at Jean-Georges. In my opinion, you can't even compare j.g with emp in the same sentence, paragraph, etc. Jean Georges is superb, and a wonderful place to have a celebratory meal. EMP is a pretender, Jean Georges is the real thing: wonderful, memorable food with great service. Why consider anyplace else

                                  2. I highly recommend Il Bucco on Bond Street. Ask to be seated downstairs in the wine cellar, although it is a little more quiet (some may say looses the atmosphere) is is VERY romantic!!!

                                    I ate there last week with my boyfriend and we were seated downstairs and had one of our best dinners to date!

                                    The service was impeccable and the food to die for!

                                    1. Chanterelle is always a good bet. Fine food, charming staff, romantic room.

                                      1. When you are on your trip try Bouchon Bakery in TWC for a little taste of Tom. Don't forget the bkery stand near the rest rooms.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rkaene

                                          Agreed. The Grilled Cheese and Heirloom Tomato, the CB&J with Banana Chips, the TKO, and the Nutter Butter are all heavenly.

                                          For a meal suggestion, EMP was good but Gramercy Tavern (imo) was better.......and then there was Babbo......quite possibly the best meal experience of my life.

                                        2. Definitely Daniel. Simply the best fine French cuisine outside of Paris. Babbo is my favorite restaurant in NYC, try that also.

                                          Blue Hill Stone Barns is out of NYC,great but not if you want to stay in the city.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: bistro66

                                            Have you been to Tokyo? To Lyon? To Alsace? To Geneva? I think calling Daniel "the best fine French cuisine outside of Paris" is quite a stretch, to put it mildly.