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Best Tasting Menu for under $150?

Hi - I'll be in New York over New Year's and want to do an epic tasting menu. Right now, I am thinking of doing WD-50 - their tasting menu is $140. Anyone have a favorite that they would rank higher?

I have yet to do the whole molecular gastronomy thing, so I am looking forward to that. However, I sure wish per se was cheaper....

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  1. Re: per se. Keep in mind that service is included in the cost. If your budget doesn't permit having the 9-course menu for $275, a 5-course menu is served at lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at a cost of $175. If you subtract the 20% service charge ($30), that brings the cost for that tasting to $145. In addition, the easiest reservation to get is lunch on Sunday.

    For other options, here are two dinner tastings I highly recommend:

    On the high end, if you've never had Jean Georges' tasting of his signature dishes, it's $148. (The seasonal tasting is also $148.)


    On the "bargain of the century" end, Fleur de Sel's 6-course tasting is $89 is a steal for cuisine of this superb quality! Plus, you get two choices for each course -- not generally the case with other tastings.


    If you want to do a tasting menu at lunch, Eleven Madison Park's 5-course Gourmand at $58 also belongs in the bargain category. Sensational!


    As for WD-50, I've never been interested in going there because I don't want the food on my plate to be a science project. But as the expression goes, "Chacun a son gout."

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      If you are around on Sunday, I would go with Per Se. When we went there, it actually was for lunch on a Sunday. Not because that was the reservation that we could get, but when our friends wanted to go. It was the best dining experience I have ever had. What was most amazing was the thought that I could spend as long as we did eating, probably 4 hours or more, and I wasn't tired because it was the middle of the day. Totally enhanced the experience. At the time we went, they didn't have set wine pairings, which I believe they do have now. It was also a 9 course meal. We asked for wine pairings, and they worked more or less within our price range. They asked if we could go a little higher, which we of course agreed to.

    2. I think one of the vest values in the city is the 10-course tasting at Degustration. It's $75. And you can do the wine pairing for an extra $65. The food was wonderful and again - it was such a great value and Im glad to recommend it.

      I also did the 10-course at ko, and while slightly more innovative, I couldn't afford to drink, and I really don't think it was worth the price tag (and the annoyance of getting that reservation).

      2 Replies
      1. re: piegirl74

        I second Degustation. Yum. It's been a while since I've been there though -- hope it's still as good as it was! A great value. Not sure I'd call it "epic" though -- certainly not on the level of Per Se.

        1. re: _emilie_

          When I was there in September I was absolutely blown away by some of the options -- especially the octopus, which might be the best thing I've ever eaten. There was some disappointments though (the salad, the croquettes), so while I am excited to go back, especially given the price, I would have to agree it is not epic.

      2. I can't remember how much it was per person, but Babbo was excellent. I would highly recommend it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rockstar14

          I third Degustation. Also, Babbo pasta tasting is $75. It's unreal.

          1. re: rockstar14

            Went to Babbo on Tuesday, I think it was just over $350 for four people including four antipasti, four pastas, two mains, two desserts, a few glasses of wine, tax, and tip.

          2. ESCA - My favorite Italian/seafood in NYC

            $75 for 6-courses is a steal!!!! It's seafood, so it's light...you wont walk out feeling like you will explode like some other restaurants offering richer foods...

            1. went to corton last night, $110. great tasting menu -- not sure if theyll do it on new years but its good

              1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573702

                And that is being very kind about WD 50. Perhaps the desserts are worthy but getting there is certainly not.
                Skip Esca, too. Cannot compete with the big boys. Babbo is better(as well as others) for a sub 100 level.
                JG, sure.
                Degustation, well, not much food for $75. Most prefer a la carte there, anyhow.
                Not sure what you want, merely the highest end food or something else but the thought of someone wasting $140 on their big load of a dinner(or lunch) makes me cringe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dietndesire

                  Consider Picholine for sure. Chef's 7 course for $125, a wild scottish game tasting for $145, and a showstopping 17 course for $195. Definitely some of the most creative refreshing inventive food in the city, and of course a cheese cart without peer.

                2. Blue Hill's tasting menu is superb...and for under $150 you can also have them do the wine pairing for each course. I think both the menu and wine with are $120.