Veritas, Eleven Madison Park & Gramercy Tavern
I'm going to be NYC in April for a couple of nights and I have narrowed my choices to Veritas, Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern. I will be dining solo and I was wondering of the three which two would present the best solo dining experience? It has also occurred to me that EMP and GT are both Danny Meyer restaurants and so maybe choosing those two restaurants at the expense of Veritas would be redundant, Anyway, any advice concerning the foregoing would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
At Gramercy Tavern, if you dine at the bar, you will be dining in the more casual Tavern Room, not in the formal dining room, and the menu in the Tavern Room is completely different. You can see them on the website.
At EMP, the bar area is adjacent to the main dining room. I've never dined at the bar there, but I understand that the menu is different though it contains some dishes that appear on the dining room menu.
At Veritas, the bar area is in front of the main dining room. The cuisine is French, and the bar menu is the same as the dining room's, but it is a la carte instead of a prix-fixe.
As far as EMP vs GT, there is definitely no redundancy with regard to either cuisine or ambiance. The Tavern Room menu is rustic New American, while EMP's exquisite cuisine is French-inspired. The Tavern Room's vibe is high energy while EMP's is more subdued. Veritas tends to be quieter as well.
If I were choosing for myself, it would be without hesitation EMP and Veritas because the superb cuisine served at both is, imo, far superior to the food in the Tavern Room and, for that matter in GT's dining room. However, if you want two different styles of cuisine, as well as a change in atmospherics, then do the Tavern Room and either EMP or Veritas.
Here's a thought. GT and Veritas are directly across the street from one another. So, on one of your two nights, you could stop into GT first for one course and a glass of wine, then hop across the street and have the rest of your meal at Veritas. Then do EMP the other night. That way, you can experience all three.
I just dined at Veritas for the first time and was very pleased. The wine list is amazing and the sommelier's choices brought an excellent meal to the next level. I highly recommend it.
You are not necessarily restricted to dining at the bar, unless you want to do so. Solo diners can sit at tables, too.
I agree with ChefJune that you can just dine in the dining room at EMP or Gramercy Tavern (the main dining room) easily even as solo diner. I was just at EMP and GT two times each for the last 2 weeks, one time happened to be at the bar of EMP. It's really great gourmet bar food and very delicious (I will write a brief review as soon as I upload the pictures), with a few dishes that are offered on the lunch menu in the main dining room. However, it was still (very refined) bar food and you will be missing out if it is your first time to dine at EMP and just dine at the bar. I will even venture to say that you are missing out if you dine at EMP's dining room for lunch only for the first time, because most of the best dishes are on the dinner menu.
As for Gramercy Tavern, I found that perhaps just lunch at the tavern room will do it as tavern room's menu is the same all day. There are a few specials that were not present during lunch during dinner time, though you are not missing out a lot. The food at the main dining room, IMO, is not as good as EMP's, albeit about the same price point.
Therefore, IMO it is worth the splurge to have dinner at EMP, and may be lunch at GT's Tavern room.
I haven't dined at Veritas since Chef Scott Bryan left, so I can't attest to the food there now.