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Dec 2, 2008 02:09 PM

HOUNDS PLEASE HELP...Need a recommendation for party of 10 at a restaurant similar to Eleven Madison Park

Couldn't get a reservation at Eleven Madison Park but would like a place with similar ambiance (high ceilings, round table, roomy, on the quieter side).

The cost per person can be similar or slightly above Eleven Mad.

The food can be anything...Italian, American (steakhouse), French, etc.

I already tried and failed at Gramercy Tavern, Striphouse, and Gotham.

Thanks a ton,

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  1. Tabla?

    i was also inclined to suggest A Voce, but i've heard it's very noisy.

      1. re: misnatalie

        Picholine does not have the spacious feeling of EMP and, iirc, their round tables. including the one in the private wine library, only seat up to 8.

      2. For 10 people, you can probably book a private room at many of the top eateries.
        I am speaking of Per Se, Daniel and the likes.
        Not saying which is better and also, the minimum might be 12 or 14 but worth a try.
        The high ceilings might not be matched but there are very excellent alternatives.

        14 Replies
        1. re: dietndesire

          The small private dining room at per se , which has a view facing Central Park, seats up to 10. The cost is a flat $2800 regardless of the number in the party. That price includes the 9-course menu, the gratuity, and non-alcoholic beverages.

          1. re: RGR

            I'd try for Per Se as RGR suggested If not available, another place not mentioned yet is Adour at the St. Regis. Was there last week and it was vg... below the level of Per Se, but solid. They have 3 private rooms... I'd check out the largest "wine room" (not sure of the name) which would be the perfect size. Not sure if there's an up charge for the room or pricing...

            1. re: WineAG

              There is no way we'll get a reservation on short notice at Per Se and it is definitely over the budget. I love the suggestion though. Perhaps, we should stay within the Eleven Madison Park budget.


              1. re: mkad

                While I would agree with you that getting a normal reservation at per se on such short notice is near impossible, in this case, we are talking about the private dining space which *might* be available on short notice.

                Re: budget. $2800 at per se gets you the 9-course menu + all the little extras = all non-alcoholic beverages + the gratuity is included. With 10 people, that's $280pp. At EMP, the 11-course Gourmand is now $175. Add a 20% gratuity to that = $209. I fully realize that EMP has two other less expensive prix-fixe options, but if you choose the Gourmand, the difference between the two restaurants is at most $71pp. If you happen to prefer bottled water or want other non-alcoholic beverages, there will be an additional charge at EMP, which would decrease the difference even further.

                Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the difference is only pennies. But it isn't hundreds either.

                1. re: RGR

                  RGR...I trust your recommendations as I have been a hound for years, however, my boss will never allow $2800 before alcohol to fly. Just wasn't a good enough year. We prob wouldn't choose the Gourmand option @ Eleven Madison so the argument is weakened.

                  That said, since I trust your recs, please give me 5+ places closer to the less expensive pre-fix options.


                  1. re: mkad

                    Why not just give a budget? It is getting hard to compare when you say, like 11 Mad but then NOT this menu or that.
                    Basically, if someone says in the range of 11 Mad, I assume $125-150.
                    But if under 100 that is a big difference.
                    There is The Modern, Daniel, I assume Gordon Ramsay.
                    Picholine, Le Bernardin, Bouley.
                    Those are the closest matches to 11Mad, I can think of.
                    Of course, there are others, Blue Hill, Del Posto etc. but maybe not considered in the same class in terms of the room/food combo. One has this, the other that. Tough to go to the top of the top with a tight budget.
                    I am not stating which have the best food and on and on(I could if you like) but that seems like a fair number of passable choices. Not that I would choose all of those.

                    1. re: mkad


                      I'm flattered that you trust my opinions, and I'm happy to provide some suggestions. However, you will probably have to forego one or more of the preferences you've listed. The round table is especially problematical since even if a restaurant has them, they rarely accommodate 10 diners. The other is space. While there are many restaurants with very attractive -- even eye-catching decor -- they may not have the high ceilings found at EMP. All that said....

                      We have only been to Jean Georges once, but that experience was exceptional in every way. Though the dining room is not excessively large, I thought it had a spacious, airy feel in addition to the kind of understated elegant decor I favor. I don't remember if there are any round tables.


                      Though we had some serious service issues at Daniel when we were there last year, I would still return and recommend it because (1) the cuisine was top-notch and (2) we've been there twice before that and had excellent service. The large main dining is on two levels. There has been a complete change in decor since we were there. From photos I've seen, they've dispensed with the uber-glitz in favor of contemporary sleekness. I think max at their round tables is 8.


                      We hadn't been to Picholine in ages, but we went back there for dinner a few months ago and had a sensational tasting menu. The refurbished interior decor is much nicer in person than in the photographs I've seen. They have round tables, but I don't think any of them can seat more than 8.


                      Tocqueville generally flies under the regular radar. But Chef/owner Marco Moreira's cuisine is delicious. And the dining room, which has understated elegant decor, is in a space with a soaring ceiling. There are no round tables.


                      Veritas has had a new executive chef, Gregory Pugin, since the summer. We were there once after he took over and had an absolutely stellar dinner. The dining room is small with a high ceiling and soothing minimalist decor. There are round tables, but I think they seat a max of 6.


                      Fleur de Sel is another restaurant we've been to countless times because we love chef/owner Cyril Renaud's cuisine. If your boss is looking to economize this year, the 6-course tasting menu @ $89 is a terrific bargain. (As a comparison, EMP's 3-course is $88 and Veritas's is $90.) The small, cozy space has attractive decor. There is one round table, but it accommodates a max of 6.


                      1. re: RGR

                        Thank you RGR...I am going to look into these options tomorrow but we might just wind up going to Ben & Jacks, which I know offers big round tables, is not too noisy, and has availability.

                        1. re: mkad

                          Yikes! Really?

                          All this great info and you end up at Ben & Jacks? I've had two terrible experiences there. And if you get stuck in the back room (which is likely for a large group at short notice) it can get real ugly.

                          You may have had better experiences there, but i can honestly say I wouldn't ever put Ben & Jacks in the same category as EMP.

                          1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                            I have been to ben & jacks 3 times...once it was less than memorable (probably because we were a bachelor party). Look, we can go make this a post on steakhouses, and I know B&J's gets mixed reviews, but not worth it. My preference is striphouse, but they have nothing available. Again, the large round table thing is very important.

                            1. re: mkad


                              Since you are now saying the round table is "very important," you should have told us from the outset that it is your #1 priority. Though I don't mind offering suggestions, this has put me in the silly position of recommending restaurants which don't have what you need.

                              If you are looking at steakhouses, I would recommend Keens. While I don't think the round tables in the main dining room can accommodate 10, you could inquire whether they can set up a round table for 10 in one of the smaller private dining rooms. Of course, there may be an extra charge for that, which could put it beyond your budget.


                              1. re: RGR

                                sorry boss is driving me a little insane and I apologize. I don't think he really wants anything like Eleven Mad except the ambience, and that is where the confusion lies. What started as a fun project has turned into something of a nightmare...again, all apologies.

                                I think he wants a big round table, that is not too stuffy, and the food should be excellent (but perhaps not per se, daniel, etc.). I think the budget should be around $150 per person including beverages.

                                I thought about Keens, and may go that route, if he concurs.

                                Ever been to Brasserie?

                                Perhaps we can start over???

                                1. re: mkad

                                  Yeah, bosses can do that sometimes, Matt. Apologies accepted.

                                  $150 *including* alcoholic beverages? Are we talking big drinkers? Cocktails and wine?

                                  I've never been to the Brasserie.

                                  You might consider Compass. In the past. they've had two large round tables which can accommodate 10 - 12. However, I've not been there since their recent complete redecoration, so I don't know if they still have them. The one thing I can say is that the dining room is very spacious, and from the photos I've seen on their website, they've maintained the contemporary style of decor.

                                  They've also completely renovated the menu so that it's now focused on fish and seafood with some items for carnivores. Despite the revolving door of chefs through the years, we've always liked the food (not on the same level as EMP, Daniel, etc.), but our last dinner (pre-menu change) was a disappointment. However, iirc, rrems, a Hound whose opinion I value (we generally see eye-to-eye), has posted about very recent excellent meals there.


                                  1. re: RGR

                                    including alcohol...i think we'll order a few bottles of wine, maybe some cocktails. not a big drinking crowd...last year we had 2 bottles of wine or so and round of drinks.

          2. Have you tried Alto? It seems to meet all your criteria, they have a nice private room upstairs, or plenty of large round tables dowstairs.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Spends Rent on Food

              Have not tried Alto yet...have read mixed things on chowhound. Please sell me.

              1. re: mkad

                There's plenty of good info on Alto out there. We went twice earlier this year, based on these two Bruni reviews:



                Our meals were impeccable, the polenta was the best polenta I've ever had, and the duck breast for two is the best I've ever had duck prepared. There's your sell.

                For what it's worth, I prefer Alto to Babbo or Del Posto, not just for the food, but for the atmosphere as well.

            2. There's a great table at Forge that seats 10-12. I found the New American cuisine to be quite good:


              1 Reply
              1. re: LeahBaila

                Where did you end up going? I am looking for a round table for ten. Thanks