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Our Annual December "Vacation"

cutebee Nov 28, 2009 10:15 AM

For the third year in a row, instead of leaving the city for the holidays, my husband and I are planning to "vacation" in NYC during the last week of December -- by using our vacation budget to try some great restaurants...

Noteworthy places we've been to over the last couple of years: Le Bernadin, Daniel, Gramercy Tavern, 15 East, Mesa Grill, Eleven Madison Park, Del Posto, Jean George, Sushi Yasuda, Per Se, Babbo, and River Cafe.

We are planning this year's restaurant list and need your help - what do you suggest we try this year???

Looking forward to your thoughts...


  1. j
    Jane A. Nov 28, 2009 03:35 PM

    The Modern if you like their winter menu.

    1. MMRuth Nov 28, 2009 03:45 PM

      I went to La Grenouille for lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago, and I think you should go there. It's the last of the grandes dames of French cuisine in Manhattan. Our meal was superb (oysters, Dover Sole, caramel souffle) - the dishes were simple, but perfectly executed, and the service is of the tradtional style (yes, there is a line on the bill for a captain's tip), without being in the least bit stuffy. The flowers there are beautiful any time of year, but particularly so at Christmas.

      1. m
        mjl242 Nov 28, 2009 04:02 PM

        Looks like you've hit most of the best of NYC.

        For newer places, there's Corton (New French), Marea (Seafood/ Italian), Momofuku Ko and SHO Shaun Hergatt (the last two I consider New American but w/ strong Asian influence). If you like more decor, disregard Ko. And getting a reservation through the online system is always tough.

        For older spots, looks like you haven't hit Cafe Boulud Il Mulino.

        1. k
          kathryn Nov 29, 2009 02:14 PM

          How about Aldea or Scarpetta?

          1. Spiritchaser Nov 30, 2009 04:12 AM

            The Modern, Picholine, Convivio, Bouley, Public.

            Not in the same league as the others (this is not a negative comment) but also try:

            August, Klee, BLT Market

            3 Replies
            1. re: Spiritchaser
              cutebee Nov 30, 2009 05:47 PM

              Spiritchaser, we are definitely going to try Picholine this year. thanks for the suggestion! I'm surprised to see Public on your short list - its that good?

              1. re: cutebee
                Spiritchaser Dec 1, 2009 03:26 AM

                cutebee - I was actually on the fence about where to place Public because the food really is THAT GOOD and we love the "industrial meets rustic" look of the space but the service, although very personable, is not to the level of truly special dining.

                And just a quick follow up: So glad to hear you are going to try Picholine. Make sure you save room for the cheese cart, it's the best in the city.

                1. re: cutebee
                  RGR Dec 1, 2009 05:02 AM


                  As you probably know, Picholine is known for serving game at this time of year. We were there last week and had the tasting menu, which features game in many of the courses. In a word: Superb!

                  You can see photos of that meal here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

              2. k
                KTinNYC Nov 30, 2009 08:01 AM

                Of the ones you've named are there some you prefer over the others? This will give posters your taste.

                1 Reply
                1. re: KTinNYC
                  cutebee Nov 30, 2009 05:47 PM

                  Hi KT, is your question to me or to Spiritchaser???

                  If me, my favorites from my list above were: Le Bernadin, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, Jean George, Sushi Yasuda, Per Se, and Babbo. Mesa Grill is good/fun but not in the same league. I thought that Gramercy Tavern and Del Posto were overrated.

                2. i
                  ian9139 Nov 30, 2009 06:42 PM

                  maybe take a "mini-vacation" up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns for one of your dinners.

                  Otherwise, perhaps Marea or Convivio (tho some would argue that Alto is underratedly the best of these three). Also consider Ko, seems like a really special experience, and Soto if you love uni.

                  1. hcbk0702 Dec 1, 2009 10:05 AM

                    I would try Alto for high-end Northern Italian, the food is at a very high level. For seafood-focused high-end Italian, Marea is a great choice.

                    I'd echo the Blue Hill at Stone Barns recommendation; it's terrific if you want to get a little ways out of the city and explore the Blue Hill farm.

                    If you're willing to break the bank, there's always Masa. For less, perhaps Sugiyama or Kyo Ya for a kaiseki meal?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hcbk0702
                      RGR Dec 1, 2009 11:11 AM

                      I agree about Alto. The first time we had dinner there was Summer 2008, just after Michael White took over after Scott Conant left, and we were very impressed. We finally made it back there on Saturday and, again, the meal was excellent.

                      Photos can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

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