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Dec 11, 2008 04:57 AM

Gordon Ramsay Alternates

A customer requested we go to to Gordon Ramsay for dinner this Monday and I'm shaking in my boots. I would love to go, but if I present the bill on my expense account I'll be fired (or wood-fired).
Can anyone recommend a place with similar cachet or at least quality, but at half (or less) the $$$$$?
If it's in the Times Square area that would be a bonus though we are mobile. Here are my (disjointed) thoughts: relatively recent and maybe almost hip (but not so much that we wont get in on short notice) not necessarily white table-cloth, not French (he's French), not Asian (he just returned from a two-week vacation there).
Arrgh! I'm sounding fussy, but you must know someplace...

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  1. A look at the menus on Gordon Ramsay's website shows that the 3-course prix-fixe is $110 and the 7-course tasting ("Menu Prestige") is $150. This does not, of course, include wine, tax & tip. So, will $60-$75pp *for food only* work? If not, please be as specific as possible as to what your expense account would allow.

    8 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      $60-75 would be workable. I'm a bit of a hick, and in my non-NY world and in today's economy Gordon Ramsay's $300-400 for two people seems high probably because I'm out of touch.

      1. re: RCPLAUT

        Check out Gordon Ramsays Maze, his more casual restaurant, the prices really good and the food is excellent as well.

        1. re: cgervais45

          Even if you are willing to spend 300-400 for two people, there are much better places in new york worth spending your money. I havent been to gordon ramsey's restaurant since it first opened, but I was extremely underwhelmed when I went. It struck me as a sad and obvious attempt at four star cuisine, but falling way too short.

          If you're willing to go downtown, I highly recommend Corton, which is currently offering a $76 prx-fix.

          1. re: cgervais45

            Have you ever eaten at the Maze or are you just suggesting it out of reputation?

            1. re: KTinNYC

              I have the same question as KTinNYC's. I have been to both Gordon Ramsay and Maze and all of my meals there were nothing short of stellar.

              I would definitely suggest trying out Maze if the main dining room of Gordon Ramsay is out of budget. It is more causal in ambiance, but the food is still delicious and very reasonably priced.

              1. re: kobetobiko

                kobe, that's good to hear because we just made reservations for Gordon Ramsay the end of January. It wasn't easy to make a reservation until the end of January so someone enjoys GR . . . Not on and had to give a credit card to hold my ressie. Not used to this much effort except for New Year's Eve. Is this a new trend or just a Gordon Ramsay thing?

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  no all the highend restaurants are requiring a credit card. Just make sure you show up or you might get a unexpected charge. Hope yall have a good meal!

          2. re: RCPLAUT

            While I agree that $300-$400 for two people isn't exactly chicken feed, that's what the best upscale restaurants in NYC will set you back -- and, depending on what you drink, upwards of that!

            I don't think it would be a good idea to take this client to Maze even if the food is excellent because he might feel insulted that you are not taking him to the main restaurant. Better, I think, to take him somewhere entirely different.

            Telepan, on 69th St., b/t Columbus & CPW, might be a fine alternative. The New American cuisine is excellent, service is professional, the space has understated elegant decor, and the noise level is conversation-friendly. The menu is a la carte, but in addition, they offer a 4-course tasting for $64 and a 5-course tasting for $74.


            If you want something more lively, I would recommend Convivio (fka L'Impero), on Tudor City Pl., b/t 42nd & 43rd St., which has ambiance that is true to its name, i.e., when it's full, convivial and noisier than Telepan. Though the menu is a la carte, the best way to go there is the 4-course prix-fixe for $59, a bargain for Italian cuisine of this high caliber. The space is large -- I prefer the smaller upper level -- with very eye-catching decor.


        2. I saw this thread while browsing the 'new threads' board and, although quite ignorant, thought I'd add a few cents...
          Just curious if the client requested Ramsey cause of the recent press and celebrity? Or because of the food?
          If its because of the food, I'm assuming you can go eslewhere for a few bucks less and he'd appreciate it ("its all about the food, baby").
          If its for the celebrity, perhaps you can suggest another (read 'less expensive') famous chef. Here's (although not limited to) where my knowledge is quite poor - I wouldn't know if Flay or Batali or Bastianich or Collechio are less expensive or, for that matter, celebrity enough.
          Just and idear...

          1 Reply
          1. re: porker

            I think Maze is a great option. I have been to both GR proper and Maze. Maze is a beautiful open space with large classic bar. GR proper is quite "formal" IMO with carpeting and cushioned arm chairs and could be described as stuffy (personally I am not a huge fan of the decor in GR). Sounds like Maze would better for your situation anyway, despite the $. Amazing food and service in both restaurants. I feel a lot of times people dismiss both these restaurants because of the TV and celebrity aspect and it's a shame because they are top notch. You will not be disappointed. Good luck!

          2. -- i'm curious about Maze too...i've never been but i liked the look of the menu when i checked it out online...depending on your client, it might be fine to take him there instead the pricier GR if you posit Maze as being the more fun, more fun way to try GR's food...

            -- another option is Scarpetta...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Simon

              Simply put, Maze is very very good. Every meal we've had has been nicely executed both service and food wise. I like the idea of seeing it as a more casual intro to GR cuisine and rest assured the staff at Maze is held to the same high standard as the main restaurant.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                i'm curious - what would you compare MAZE to in the non-gordon ramsey ny restaurant world?

                i ask because we went to a ramsey MAZE in london last week, just for a drink and a bite....and it was in a generic marriott hotel. i couldn't get any vibe at all on the place.

                1. re: mrnyc

                  Vibe wise, maybe Telepan or to a lesser extent Park Ave Winter (with the caveat of just vibe wise for PAW because food wise we hated PAW).

            2. I'm off to the formal dining room @ The London next weekend and can't wait!! I must agree with some of the previous posts that GR seems to be less discussed on CH than other fine-dining 'name' restaurants.......then again, I guess places like Balthazar are an NY institution, GR has only been open a couple of years, and it looks like Per Se is in a class of it's own in terms of CH feedback (two Michelin stars vs. three)?

              1. Wow! What great replies and nice discussion.

                I don't know why my client asked to go to Ramsay's, but I don't think he'll be insulted if we go to Maze instead. In the event we can't get reservations you all have supplied a wonderful list of alternatives which should keep me busy discovering for a quite a while.

                A friend suggested Secession, David Bouley's new restaurant on Hudson St, - she heard it's reasonably priced, with an an imaginative menu and great ambiance. I checked the board and found nothing posted on it - have any of you tried it?

                7 Replies
                1. re: RCPLAUT

                  Do NOT go there. Why would you? No need to trust hearsay besides that this place is no good. Reasonably priced, maybe. The menu is extensive, not sure about creative. The quality is not good and great ambiance is false for a business dinner, even if it is a bit on the casual side.
                  If you just need a celeb chef name, there are still tons of better options including Bouley Upstairs for a restricted budget but there are no reservations there and it is quite cramped.
                  There is enough info posted here and if you comb the web for yourself, even more, to help you avoid such a mistake as Secession.

                  1. re: dietndesire

                    Do you really think taking a client to a restaurant that doesn't take reservations is a good idea? I would never do it because what happens if the wait becomes too long and now you have a hungry client? Walk around looking for another restaurant?

                    1. re: KTinNYC

                      Excuse my clumsy writing. My point was that Bouley has better restaurants even at a medium price level(not the flagship). I pointed out the no res policy figuring this would not work for RCP. Quite an oafish communique on my part but I just could not stand the thought of someone going to Secession because someone else read something about it, which was not even a glowing review. I hoped my final statement would hit home for RCP about the plethora of better choices.

                      1. re: dietndesire

                        I thought your post was clear, concise, and to the point...

                        1. re: porker

                          I think Maze is a VERY good choice. Resonably priced, nice decor, AWSOME bathrooms, I know it sounds weird but if you have seen them you will know what I'm talking about, and I personally had a great meal and the best risotto of my life there. I think your client will like it and Jean Philippe will be seen roaming around the dining room which if you client is a fan of GR then he will know who he is.

                          1. re: cgervais45

                            I just wanted to agree: Maze is a very good option. They have small plates so you can try 4or 5 different dishes and keep within a budget. I've been to both GR an Maze and I really do like Maze. The decor much nicer than GR's, btw. So...what did you decided and how was it? Report...

                            1. re: LRS

                              Went to Maze and while we both enjoyed it and thought the food to be excellent, I think I made a mistake in how I ordered. I had one small plate - the quail which was very tasty, followed by a very nice pork chop as a larger course. The problem was that both were served with a chutney type of dressing that was quite sweet. The result was that it was too much of a good thing. The flavors were nice, the cooking was perfect, the service was top-notch, but at the end of the meal I was disappointed. My guest had three smaller plates, the sweetbreads (which I tried and thought were delicious), the quail and nice, but not terribly inspired, cod. He followed it with a cheesecake that he thought was great (but I didn't even try - having been sugared-out).
                              All in all, it was a nice experience, but after wine the check came to $300 and even in NY, I think that's a lot to pay without being blown away. My guest said he would return with his wife. When my wife and I were in town last week we went to Les Halles and loved it. Given, it is a totally different experience, but much more to my liking (and wuite a bit easier on the wallet).
                              Thanks to all of you again for the great comments.