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Minetta, WD-50, Corton, or Aldea

Calfan Oct 6, 2009 11:24 AM

I am going out for a joint-birthday dinner with my girlfriend and am wondering if people could, which of these three would they pick for a nice dinner. Our last big night out was at Ko which we loved, but could also do something a little different (hence the Minetta pick). Thanks for the help

  1. ChefJune Oct 8, 2009 01:29 PM

    There is very little to compare between these 4 restaurants. They are four very different types of places. It all depends upon what kind of food you want to eat, and what kind of atmosphere/setting you want for your celebratory dinner.

    Personally, I would pick Corton.

    1. b
      bigds01 Oct 8, 2009 05:14 AM

      I went to wd40 recently, and it was one of the worst meals I ever had. Love chemistry food, but this was just not very good.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bigds01
        podd103 Oct 8, 2009 06:52 AM

        I went to Minetta Tavern the other night and although the service was good(great cocktails, the petite omlet was pretty good) I was very under wowed by the steak. I am not sure if anyone else has had this experience (based on previous posts it seems not) but the outside was charred almost to the point of being burned and it lacked the flavoring and buttery quality one would expect of an aged steak its price. Maybe it was an off night, but I was disappointed.

        1. re: podd103
          eviemichael Oct 8, 2009 08:03 AM

          How was your experience getting reservations? Did you have to go before 6 or after 10?

          1. re: podd103
            hcbk0702 Oct 8, 2009 09:31 AM

            The steaks tend to have a heavy char, so some people may not like that. It's intentional though.

            Which steak did you end up having? The ones that get all the praise are the two priciest ones, the bone-in NY strip and the côte de bœuf for two. Not sure how the normal steaks stack up.

            1. re: hcbk0702
              podd103 Oct 8, 2009 02:37 PM

              Yeah, it may just be a question of personal taste in terms of the char. I just found it overwhelming as opposed to complimentary. The steak at Peter Lugers is always (and remains) at the top on my list. I ended up getting reservations at 10pm. I think it may be one of those deals where after the first time as long as you chat up the management a little, they should be able to hook you up with a more direct line that makes it easier to get reservations between 6 and 10 as opposed to before/after. That was the case at least when I was there.

        2. hcbk0702 Oct 6, 2009 06:14 PM

          I think that Corton is the clear choice. wd~50 leans far more heavily into "molecular gastronomy" territory (I think that term is a misnomer, but whatever) than Corton does, but both of them could be considered more modern in style. Paul Liebrandt's style used to be more flamboyant and extreme, but he's dialed it down quite a lot at Corton. wd~50 is for those who have very adventurous palates and are interested in what may seem like bizarre flavor combinations. However, wd~50 is quite casual, so Corton is probably better for a celebratory dinner.

          Minetta Tavern has some of the absolute best steaks in NYC, but getting a reservation there is pretty difficult.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hcbk0702
            RCC Oct 6, 2009 07:13 PM

            Yep, the steaks at Minetta are very, very good.

            But the Oxtail and Foie Gras Terrine, the Lobster salad (not in their current menu), the Trout Meuniere, and the Pasta Za Za are even better. I always look forward to my next one at the end of every meal at Minetta.

            1. re: RCC
              tippytoes Oct 7, 2009 09:16 AM

              If you go to Minetta early enough you can grab a seat at the bar for dinner. I went on Fri at 6:30 pm with a friend and we didn't have a problem grabbing seats. Shortly after, it got packed and there was a wait even at the bar. If there is, tell a bartender and he/she can put you on a wait list for bar seats.

          2. e
            edwardspk Oct 6, 2009 02:58 PM

            I concur with the Corton recommendation. It's like a 4-star restaurant in pretty much every way - it just doesn't have 4 stars yet!

            1. r
              RGR Oct 6, 2009 11:51 AM

              Haven't been to Minetta yet and have no desire to go to WD-50 because I don't care to dine on science projects.

              Been to Aldea and Corton twice each. While I love both, it is like comparing apples and pears. Aldea's Portuguese-inspired cuisine is more rustic than haute and quite delicious. At Corton, Chef Paul Liebrandt serves a tour de force of dishes packed with sensational textures and flavors.

              For a birthday dinner, I would definitely choose Corton because the overall experience -- cuisine, wine, service, and ambiance -- has a much more celebratory feel, at least to me, than Aldea.

              2 Replies
              1. re: RGR
                Calfan Oct 6, 2009 01:15 PM

                Based on the menu for each, and some descriptions on other sites including opentable, I would think Corton and WD-50 have comparable styles of food, although I may be wrong. Still trying to decide, although Corton did just get two stars to WD-50's one

                1. re: Calfan
                  RGR Oct 6, 2009 02:19 PM

                  I have never thought the two styles were comparable. In fact, a foodie pal of mine, who has a much more adventurous palate than I do, had dinner at WD-50 and thought the food was pretty awful. He was quite plain that Dufresne's food is nothing like Liebrandt's, which we both love. Those two stars are richly deserved -- not only for the cuisine and wine list, but also for the very cordial and polished front of the house operation.

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