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La Grenouille or something else?

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Hi all,

I'm from Chicago planning a foodie trip. So far going to Bouley, Adour, Picholine, Gotham, and maybe La Grenouille?

I'm having doubts on La Grenouille and thinking of subbing it with Alto or Marea. I was wondering what you guys think? I've been reading other threads about it and I don't think we meet the minimum age criteria, we're in our 30s. It's sounding like it might be similar to Les Nomades, if you guys have heard of that. If it's like that we might want to take a pass.

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Picholine
35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

La Grenouille
3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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  1. La Grenouille is lovely, classic. Adour is not worth going to. I'd substitute Eleven Madison Park.

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

    La Grenouille
    3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

    1. I'd make your list like this:

      Eleven Madison Park (the best restaurant in NYC at the moment)
      Jean Georges
      La Grenouille
      Maialino
      Bouley

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

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

      La Grenouille
      3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      1. l feel my dining group is singular in not liking Marea. Rushed and poor service for miniscule portions of pretty good stuff; e.g. my fusillii with octopus had one 1 1/2 inch piece of octopus for $29. If you like Spiaggia in Chicago you might like Marea, similar style. La Grenouille was indeed classic. Service was wonderful, attentive , welcoming, and very helpful, but the food was too classic for me. Very light seasoning, far too gentle. Love Picholine. Also give Corton, SHO Shaun Hergatt, and Wallse a look

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        Wallse
        344 W. 11th St., New York, NY 10014

        Picholine
        35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

        La Grenouille
        3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

        Corton
        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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

        1. La Grenouille is classic, but it does lean towards an older, established crowd (40+). I felt like I was completely out of place dining there on a weeknight as I was the youngest person in the room.

          You should definitely check out Eleven Madison Park.

          SWS

          2 Replies
          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            I'm not sure why it matters what the ages of other patrons in the room are. Are they the focus of your attention during your meal?

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              No, they are not the focus of my meal-I was addressing the OP's concerns about age/atmosphere. Isn't atmosphere a concern when dining out? I know it is for me. The atmosphere of a room filled with 20 year olds is likely to be quite different then a room filled with 50 year olds.

          2. Your list is all Old School, proper, French-influenced heavy. I'd mix in something new and bright: Aldea, Marea, maybe an Asian.

            -----
            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            Aldea
            31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

            17 Replies
            1. re: chow_gal

              Thanks for the suggestions. Was at EMP and SHO on the last trip, also was at Bouley, but thought it was so wonderful we have to go back. Corton seems all over the place in terms of peoples' reviews. Some like it some really hate it. What do you guys think of Alto?

              -----
              Corton
              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: cotedor

                I disliked Corton. I like Alto but it doesn't wow me.

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                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  I like your description of Alto. That's my concern about La Grenouille, might not have the wow factor. Maybe we need to start a a thread of restaurants that have the wow factor.

                  -----
                  La Grenouille
                  3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                  1. re: cotedor

                    La Grenouille is a classic, old school restaurant. It's delightful. A complete apples to oranges.

                    -----
                    La Grenouille
                    3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                    1. re: cotedor

                      You want WOW! at La Grenouille? Two words: Dover sole.

                  2. re: cotedor

                    I'm not crazy about Marea. I've had much better experiences at Alto and Convivio (and L'Impero with Michael White before the change to Convivio).

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

                    Marea photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    I love La Grenouille. Though the clientele does skew a little older, I have seen 30-somethings dining here, so I wouldn't let the age thingy deter you. It is one of just two left of its kind in NYC (the other is Le Perigod), and so it is a restaurant that should be experienced by a true gourmand at least once.

                    La Grenouille photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                    Although we've had two excellent meals at Adour, I would avoid it right now. Earlier this year, the executive chef, Joel Dennis, was axed. There was a temporary replacement (Sylvain Portay) until the new e.c., Didier Elena, arrived a few weeks ago, but his own menu is not yet in place.

                    1. re: cotedor

                      I know I'm going to get pummeled for this, but if you're in your 30s, all the places you chose are Old Rich People places. Do ONE place that is different and lively: WD-50, Dell'anima, L'artusi, a Chang place, maybe even Balthazar or another McNally.

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                      WD-50
                      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                      1. re: chow_gal

                        I won't pummel you, but I love La Grenouille, and am neither rich nor old (well, at 43 I don't consider myself old). The food, as others have mentioned, is classic French, not cutting edge. I find myself craving their Dover Sole and caramel souffle quite regularly.

                        Edit: I think I was 25 the first time I went, for a business lunch, and have been there numerous (though by no means numerous enough) in the years since then.

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                        La Grenouille
                        3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Same here. Not rich or old, but I love La Grenouille. In fact I have loved it for many years, starting from when I was even younger. I agree about the dover sole, their souffles, and I think their calves liver is superb too. And I love the room.

                          -----
                          La Grenouille
                          3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I am looking forward to my first meal ever at La Grenouille in a couple of weeks (and I am not rich or old either!). A classic is a classic. Other places come and go and it seems La Genouille is perenially charming and lovely . Better to experience it while it still exists. Saying it's old fashioned is like saying a beautiful work of art, opera, or symphony is old fashioned. And how refreshing to have one or two places left where they don't allow t-shirts and flip-flops!

                            1. re: City Kid

                              Amen to that!

                              People of all ages can (and should) appreciate fine things.

                            2. re: MMRuth

                              So from what I'm hearing, you guys' wouldn't sub La Grenouille with something like Alto. So I think I might keep La Grenouille, scratch Adour and sub it with Le Bernardin. We were going to have lunch at Le Bernardin (did that last time). Though I really don't like their dining room. Ug, these are not easy choices. I'm steering away from wd-50 cause I assume it's like Moto and I'm not a fan. I thought Gotham would be lively and different. Corton does look interesting, but I can see it being a big flop too. So its now looking like Picholine, Gotham, La Grenouille, Le Bernardin and Bouley. Does that look better?

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

                              Picholine
                              35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

                              La Grenouille
                              3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                              Corton
                              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                              1. re: cotedor

                                I agree with your about Le Bernardin's dining room. And the service is rather aloof.

                                Instead, I would suggest Veritas. Chef Grégory Pugin's cuisine (yes, it's French) is sensational! And there is that extraordinary wine list. Service is excellent, and I really like the small dining room's soothing minimalist decor

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

                                Edited to add: If you haven't been to EMP, of course, that would be my first choice! :)

                                1. re: cotedor

                                  I would do:

                                  Picholine, Veritas, La Grenouille, Le Bernardin and Bouley.

                                  If you want something not French in the mix, I would substitute Alto for Picholine.

                                  (RGR, the OP did EMP & SHO the last trip)

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

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

                                  Picholine
                                  35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

                                  La Grenouille
                                  3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                                    I actually don't think of Picholine as French at all:

                                    http://www.picholinenyc.com/pdf/menu-...

                                    -----
                                    Picholine
                                    35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

                              2. re: chow_gal

                                I'd keep Bouley, Picholine, La Grenouille, skip Adour and Gotham, and add EMP, Marea, and one place that's a little more new and hip, but that's just my two cents.

                                1. re: uwsister

                                  i am from chicago so i have an idea of the dining scene there. Why not go to barney greengrass for lox and sable for lunch? That is something that is not avaialable in chicago whereas high end french cooking is.