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Jul 6, 2009 11:02 PM

Birthday dinner-- Telepan, Corton, Mas or Gramercy Tavern?

My parents are fussy, somewhat. Over-wrought food won't work for them. Nonetheless, it's my birthday and fortunately I get to choose. These are the places that I'm thinking. Definitely want something seasonal/ingredient driven. Special, without being stuffy.

Which of these would you go to? Any other suggestions? I know Blue Hill fits, but it's not in the running. Long story. Thoughts?

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  1. We have been to Telepan, Corton, and G.T., and of those three, no question for me that I would choose Corton. While the food at Telepan is very good, I didn't find it rave-worthy. We had a very unexciting, disappointing dinner at G.T. a few months ago, so I would not choose it for a celebratory dinner.

    Given Paul Liebrandt's reputation for food that is, shall we say, "unusual," I was a bit leery of Corton. However, as it happily turned out, his cuisine really bowled me over. So creative with delicious flavors and textures. I don't drink, but my husband had ecstatic praise for the wine pairings. (We did the tasting menu.) Service was very cordial and attentive, and I found the space to be much more attractive and pleasing than I thought it would be based on photos I'd seen.

    Eleven Madison Park, our favorite NYC restaurant, always makes my list of special occasion restaurants.

    Veritas is another of our favorites that you might want to consider.

    We just had dinner at the new Aldea. It has been open for less than two months, but it's definitely got its act together and is humming along very smoothly, Chef Georges Medes' Portuguese/Mediterranean cuisine is superb, the wine list includes some interesting selections, service is friendly and efficient, and the space has very appealing contemporary decor.

    Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Thanks so much for the feedback. I too love Eleven Madison and went for my annual fancy birthday dinner 2 years ago. I've heard too many people talk about Telepan being lackluster and I think that Corton and G.T. are slightly out of budget this year. Not to mention if Gramercy wasn't wonderful I don't want to do that and after looking at Corton again I think it's "too much" for my finicky parents.

      BUT, Aldea looks perfect. Thanks so much for the suggestion. Both the menu and the space look wonderful and not over-priced or over-done. I'm really looking forward to it.

      1. re: jdream


        I'm pleased that my feedback was helpful, and I feel confident that you -- and your finicky parents -- will really enjoy Aldea. A few suggestions. If you like foie gras (I'm an addict), the terrine with its fig accompaniments is sensational. The Arroz de Pato -- a paella-style dish made with duck rather than seafood -- is seriously delicious. And for dessert, the Sonhos "Little Dreams" are not-to-be-missed!

    2. I just had one of the better meals i've had in Manhattan in a long time at Mas. I love their laid back, customer first approach. Quite impressive and accommodating is the fact that, for their four-course $68 price fix tasting menu (one app, two mains, one dessert), you can pick anything from the menu.

      If you wind up going, here's a rundown of my favorite's off the menu as of two weeks ago.

      YellowfinTuna l’Occidental -
      It’s their signature dish and the only item that’s been on the menu since Mas’ inception. It’s not your typical tuna dish either. The only cooking on this sashimi grade tuna is done by the hot butter that is poured on it. That’s right, you heard that correctly. This is good stuff and the perfect way to kick off your farmhouse feast.

      Prime Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio -
      Served with all kinds of goodness including broiled quail egg, aged balsamic vinegar and black summer truffles, this was arguably the best dish of the night. A perfect conglomerate of flavors and the other must order appetizer.

      Roasted Sea Scallops -
      Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to scallops and this dish exemplified that theory. Served with red onion puree and English peas in a garlic pesto, these little guys were spot on.

      Braised Flying Pigs Farm Pork Belly
      This was easily the tenderest piece of pork I’ve ever eaten in my life. Not sure if this was slow cooked or what but it triumphantly melts the second it hits your mouth. Also, the potato puree with red wine onions and beet greens in a bay cream acted like whipped cream on top, or in this case underneath, the pork belly.

      1. Of the four, I have not been to Mas.

        Corton, despite all the chatter, I found to be mediocre. The service was confused and the food forgettable.

        GT and Telepan score equally well for food. I especially liked the Pea Carbonara and the Heritage pork at Telepan. Telepan's service was much warmer and a better overall experience.