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Veritas or SHO Shaun Hergatt?

c
ChemWork Apr 14, 2010 07:02 AM

Hello Manhattan Chowhounders:

I am a one-time-per-year Manhattan visitor and I'm faced with the nice problem of trying to eat at great restaurants and trying to sample different restaurants. I have had excellent advice from this board in the past and have been guided to Babbo, Gotham Bar and Grill, Jean Georges, Eleven Madison Park, Momofuku Ssam, Minetta Tavern, Scarpetta, Gramercy Tavern, Hell's Kitchen, Pylos. The last two restaurants were good and the others ranged from excellent to stellar. I and a friend are coming to New York in a few months and I'm trying to pick some restaurants. Right now I am planning on dinners at Keens and Convivio and looking for two others. One of the two will be Veritas or SHO Shaun Hergatt. Can you please give me opinions on those two and/or a direct comparison? I would also appreciate any advice about outstanding dishes. My friend is not that adventuresome an eater, but I am trying to educate him by easing him into some higher end restaurants. I am looking only at dinner (normally I just grab something for breakfast and lunch). I will have another specific question about our fourth dinner once I narrow things down a bit. Thank you very much in advance for your assistance.

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Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

Gramercy Tavern
42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Veritas
43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

Pylos
128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Gotham Bar and Grill
12 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

SHO Shaun Hergatt
40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

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  1. famdoc Apr 14, 2010 08:02 AM

    I can't comment on Veritas, not having been there.
    But, I've been to SHO Shaun Hergatt four times since it opened and rank it among my favorite NYC restaurants. The price is right, the food fresh and inspired and the ambiance (aside from the gaudy entrance way) is very pleasant, with a comfortable noise level and attentive service. I would suggest you ask the sommelier, Emilie, to arrange a wine pairing.
    The usual prix-fixe is $69, she can do a wine pairing for, I believe, $105. You'll probably be treated to a sparkling wine, a white, a red, a sake and a sweet wine. She buys wines from small, family growers, many organic or biodynamic and can offer you some unusual and enjoyable selections.

    You might also consider trying to book a table at Corton, if you haven't already been there.

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    Veritas
    43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

    SHO Shaun Hergatt
    40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

    1 Reply
    1. re: famdoc
      c
      ChemWork Apr 15, 2010 04:07 AM

      famdoc:

      Thank you for your information, especially in regards to wine pairing. I am trying to learn more about what wine pairs well with what food and I'm always on the lookout for informative sommeliers. Corton is a good suggestion and I thought about going there, but I wonder if the food is a little too complex for my friend. I would go there on my own.

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      Corton
      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

    2. r
      rrems Apr 14, 2010 04:14 PM

      I have been to Veritas once since the current chef took over, and to SHO three times. They are both wonderful, but I found the food at SHO a bit more exciting, one of my favorites. I also prefer the atmosphere at SHO. Veritas is a bit stark. You really can't go wrong with either, so I would take a look at their menus and see which one appeals more.

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      Veritas
      43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

      9 Replies
      1. re: rrems
        r
        RGR Apr 14, 2010 05:17 PM

        Veritas has been one of our favorites for years. And never more so since Chef Grégory Pugin took charge of the kitchen. His French cuisine is exquisite! Of course, the wine list is one of the most extraordinary in the city, and they are offering a 10th anniversary discount of 25% on all bottles. Service is cordial and professional. I find the small space with its minimalist decor elegant and soothing.

        Photos of our most recent dinner at Veritas: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157623486730570/

        http://www.veritas-nyc.com

        We've only been to SHO once, and the meal was superb. (Note that the SHO's pastry chef formerly worked at Veritas.) Service was excellent, and the Asian-style decor is very attractive.

        Photos of our dinner at SHO here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157622498126890/

        http://www.shoshaunhergatt.com

        And here's major news about SHO. Fabien Beaufour has been appointed chef de cuisine. Previously, he was the executive sous chef at EMP. Many times, he was in charge of our meals when Chef Humm was away. He arrived at SHO early in March and has been intimately involved in creating an entirely new spring menu, which is now up on the website. Given his pedigree (you can read his bio on the website), I would expect the cuisine to tilt more French and less Asian. He is extremely talented, and I have no doubt that he will raise the cuisine at SHO to an even higher level. As for Shaun Hergatt, it is my understanding that he will be stepping away in order to do other projects for the Setai Group.

        1. re: RGR
          famdoc Apr 14, 2010 07:04 PM

          @RGR: It certainly sounds as if you have an in-depth knowledge of the business.
          I was just looking at the SHO web site today to see if there had been any changes in the menu since my last visit and I noticed the mention of the new chef de cuisine. I also noticed that most of the fish/seafood entrees are now locally sourced, as opposed to being Pacific, Asian or Aussie. Since SHO has really been defined by the personality of Shaun Hergatt, I wonder whether it will lose some loyal fans when diners no longer see his impressive figure in the kitchen.

          1. re: famdoc
            r
            RGR Apr 14, 2010 07:51 PM

            famdoc,

            I'm not in the restaurant business. My info in this case stems from the fact that we are regulars at EMP.

            Afaik, the restaurant will continue to bear the same name, so Shaun Hergatt's duties will still include overseeing things there for the Setai Group. However, the day-to-day responsibilities will now be Chef Beaufour's. As I said, he is extremely talented, so I have every confidence that the already loyal fans will be wowed by his cuisine, and that he will make a whole bunch of new fans.

          2. re: RGR
            r
            rrems Apr 14, 2010 08:08 PM

            Thank you for the information, RGR. The last time I was at SHO was in early February, and I have been thinking it is time to go back. It will be interesting to see how the food compares with this change. My first thought is that I will miss the French/Asian flavors if it does indeed skew more to the French, but who knows? As much as I like EMP I would hate to see SHO become a clone of it.

            1. re: rrems
              r
              RGR Apr 14, 2010 09:26 PM

              rrems,

              I don't think Chef Beaufour has any intention of making SHO a clone of EMP. This is his oppotunity to spread his wings and create his own dishes. But since he did choose to make his next move to a restaurant with a particular style of cuisine, I don't imagine he'll completely abandon it. As evidence, the new spring menu looks to be a combination of dishes tilting French and others with decidedly Asian influences.

              We've spoken to a few people who've already been there since he arrived, and they said the food's wonderful. We're hoping to get down there within the next few weeks. Really looking forward to it.

            2. re: RGR
              c
              ChemWork Apr 19, 2010 12:48 PM

              I haven't noticed a tasting menu on the SHO website. Do they have one and can anyone comment on it? Thanks for your help.

              1. re: ChemWork
                r
                RGR Apr 19, 2010 01:05 PM

                When we were there in September, there was a 5-course tasting. Don't recall the cost. Since then, others have reported the addition of a much larger tasting menu of about 15 courses costing $200+. I presume they are still being offered. Most restaurants will fax or e-mail their menus.

                Btw, not only are the tasting menus mia on the website. So is the dessert menu. Very annoying!

                1. re: RGR
                  s
                  steakrules85 Apr 20, 2010 05:29 AM

                  As always RGR provides us with some great information RE SHO.

                  And yes I agree that their website needs to include everything- tasting menus and dessert menus. It seems a lot of restaurants do not take enough pride in updating their websites (yes Scarpetta I am talking too even though I love your food!)

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                  Scarpetta
                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: steakrules85
                    r
                    RGR Apr 20, 2010 06:27 AM

                    Glad you mentioned Scarpetta, steak. Like you, I loved the food, But as I've said before, the menu section on their website is horrible -- very user UNfriendly!

          3. m
            metfan630 Apr 19, 2010 01:09 PM

            I've only been to Veritas out of the two, had the tasting menu, and I would rank it among the best meals I have had in NYC.

            Menu at SHO looks excellent, and after reading the comments here, as well as info on their website, it is certainly on my list of restaurants to try.

            -----
            Veritas
            43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

            1. c
              chewbie Apr 19, 2010 04:08 PM

              Went to SHO about 2 months ago and had the 5-course tasting menu. Thought it was very good quality and even better value. The server allowed us to make substitutions for some courses. Of the dishes we had, the venison carpaccio was immaculate and the short rib, while good, was still a short rib. I admit to having a prejudice against short ribs since I haven't had one that compares to what I had at Cafe Gray, but I digress. Given a second opportunity, I would have ventured out for something different.

              Overall, highly recommend SHO. Awesome food, nice room and cool bar area. I've read the reviews that criticized it for looking like a sterile Asian themed hotel, but I guess I personally like that. It's dim, sexy and has glass and mirrors. Perfect date night for my wife and I.

              1. thew Apr 19, 2010 09:03 PM

                as i stated i another thread (as well as my review on yelp) i found SHO to be flawless, and totally cold, soulless, and ultimately disappointing. Everything was done perfectly, and yet - there was something lacking in the experience

                here is my review from yelp:

                i've been dreading writing this review, as i'm really not sure how i feel about this place. I mean everything was pretty flawless - the decor tasteful, the service attentive, the food prepared just so - but somehow it left me a little cold - there was no soul to it, no soul to the food. 3 stars is too few, probably 3.5 isnt enough -but can i say i'm a 4-star fan?

                we opted for the 3 course menu, as there was some dishes there not on the larger menu's that we really wanted to try.

                1st was a plate of amuse bouches which were tasty, but the quail egg was refrigerator cold, which was a turn off, but the goat cheese square was delicious. there was a 3rd one, but i can't remember it. that doesn't speak well of it.

                for apps we had :

                Millefeuille Of Hudson Valley Foie Gras (pain d'epices tuiles, banyuls reduction)

                &

                Red Chili And Coconut Milk Glazed Quail ( shiitake duxelle, wilted tetragonia)

                both were prepared perfectly. and yet - it doesn't stand out in my mind a mere week later

                for mains we had:
                Three Day Short Rib( hazelnut and cranberry crust, parsnip purée)

                &

                River And Glenn" Rabbit Loins (coco beans, baby spinach, natural sauce)

                again - flawless. the loin was tender and flavorful, the rib was falling apart perfectly, the parsnip's bitterness was a perfect foil to the unctuousness of the rib.

                everything was beautifully plated.

                the wine was excellent.

                and still i wasn't wowed, like i should have been. like i often am by places of this quality

                flawless and soulless. how many stars is that?
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