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Mom passed away, need a memorable dinner for dad

So here is the deal, mom passed away 2 weeks ago. My M&D are lifelong nyer foodies. I want to take my dad out for a dinner for the two us on April 30. When I say price doesn't matter, I mean it. Anything under 1k for dinner is fine.

Now I need help. My folks literally ate anything. I have disgusted memories as a child watching dad eat a sows ear at a dominican place.

I know this is a crazy recommendation but where in the hell should I go. Masa is simply not worth it to me, and he has been to per se. We also eat cart food.

I just need help for an idea to help out dad.

Only boundary is it must be in Manhattan.

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  1. What about Eleven Madison Park? Go all out there....it's wonderful.

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      I went there two or three years ago and wasn't wowed. Maybe it has changed. I also remember dinner taking longer then it did when I was in Paris.

      1. re: bigds01

        There is a new chef since your visit (most likely). The restaurant is superb. Search here on CH for many, many posts about this restaurant.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Humm has been at EMP since 2006. The OP has had Humm's food and found it wanting. Granted, perhaps they'll like it this time around but in a city that has plenty of 3 and 4 star alternatives why not try another place?

        2. re: bigds01

          Sorry to hear about your loss.

          Re: EMP, Chef Humm has been improving over the last few years. Did you see the updated NYT review where it gained a 4th star?

          And yes, if you order a tasting menu, the meal is indeed quite long, maybe 3-4 hours. Perhaps the prix fixe would be more your style?

      2. So sorry to read about your loss. I know it's difficult.

        I would recommend Eleven Madison Park (EMP).

        It has a beautiful room, superlative service, outstanding food, and they will do literally almost anything to ensure you have a memorable/special meal.

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

        1. Blue Hill

          Blue Hill
          75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

          1. I think those are both great choices. This may be an obvious suggestion, but I think if you call and explain the circumstances you are likely to get even better service and special attention --- unless, of course, you are not into that. Am dealing with the aging parent thing myself and am sorry for your loss.

            1. I definitely agree with Eleven Madison Park. It's a great experience and they really take care of the customer.

              I haven't been, but if you wanted something that might be interesting enough to maybe distract yourselves from the sadness - why not try WD-50? Maybe other CHers could discuss it....

              50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

              1. I know you asked about dinner, but I just got back from a lovely lunch at Eleven Madison Park (yes, I'm jumping on the EMP bandwagon). The food and service were terrific.

                The reason I bring up lunch is that, having had dinner there 2 weeks ago, I enjoyed lunch every bit as much if not more than dinner. Because of the large windows, lunch just seemed cheerier to me than dinner. I'm thinking on a beautiful Spring afternoon, you and your dad might enjoy the dining room at EMP even more, and you wouldn't be forgoing anything from the perspective of quality of food or service.

                But whether you go for lunch or dinner, if you haven't been in several years, I agree that EMP should be your choice.

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

                1 Reply
                1. re: edwardspk

                  You are so right about EMP at lunch. There are those who think the cuisine is not as stellar as it is at dinner, but I don't agree. Service, of course, is always exemplary. And with the light (hopefully, sunlight) streaming through those magnificent window into that gorgeous space, it's truly magical!

                  EMP: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                2. This particular board is an EMP lovefest, so keep that in mind. It's still a great choice, though it's probably too late to get a reservation now. Doubly so for Per Se. Still, it doesn't hurt to call. I wouldn't choose EMP if you didn't like the food during Humm's tenure.

                  If you're looking for sushi, excluding Masa, Kurumazushi would probably be the first choice given your budget.

                  Honestly though, a home-cooked meal sounds like the way to go for this situation.

                  Edit: Case in point above, this thread is turning into a ridiculous EMP pile on already.

                  Per Se
                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                  Le Bernardin
                  155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                  1. Two weeks is still pretty fresh and raw. Having been in your situation myself, I would find EMP (the prevalent choice here) to be too much for me. Of course this might not apply to your father, but the food would be wasted on me as I did not have much of an appetite until many months after my mother's passing.

                    I'd say to take your dad to somewhere that has special meaning for him, your mother, and you. Somewhere that's simple and comforting and says "home."

                    And of course, if that place is EMP, then by all means, go for it (personally, I prefer Jean Georges).

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

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gloriousfood

                      gloriousfood has a point. Two weeks is still pretty fresh and raw. Familiar surroundings, a sense of friendship and comfort may be the order of the day.

                    2. The place we liked best recently was the Restaurant at the Modern. Not a romantic or fancy-schmanzy place, therefore I would think it suitable for this trying occasion (not likely to be full of courting couples, which I know I would wish to avoid under the circumstances) - just seriously wonderful food in a grown-up setting with unobtrusive service and calm decor. Excellent wine list and sommelier assistance if wanted as well.
                      Tocqueville also comes to mind, a very attractive room, good food and attentive service.
                      Have to say we were not all that taken with EMP when we went (obviously that makes us odd men out on the Manhattan board). Food seemed overly sweet - I understand the chef has a patissier background - we felt it showed.

                      1. Though it is below your budget, I would consider Degustation. The food is not as spectacular as EMP or its ilk overall, but it is innovative and some of the dishes will be a wow while others will be very good but not great. Have the 10-course tasting and if you see something on the a la carte menu that particularly interests you they may agree to substitute it if it is not normally part ot the tasting. Sitting at the counter and watching the cooks at work is a wonderful foodie experience, and the place has a warmth that is very comforting. I just sense that in this situation it would work better than something more formal.

                        1. What a sweet post. You're going to be glad you did this.

                          My suggestion is of a different sort. Rather than find the perfect dining spot, why not plan something more personal with a meaningful, pain numbing, food tour that is special, in honor of your parents. Maybe go back to that Dominican place with the sow's ear, or maybe not, but make it as indulgent as the best tasting menu, until your father can't eat another bite. Run around town, go from high end to low end, and then end your night (or day) somewhere where you all went together for a special occasion. Short of that, I think you should go for comfort food, whatever your version is, and ordering everything on the menu. Think, last meal on earth, and plan on doing it again next year, as an annual thing.

                          Let us know what you decide, and maybe you'll inspire people to do something similar.

                          1. Thanks to everyone, I reserved EMP on Friday. They only had a 9:30 but when I explained what I was doing they were going to make something earlier happier.