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Please tell me the restaurant that has blown you away within the last 6 months...

Food, experience, etc. We left the city about 8 months ago and are coming back in for a birthday dinner but really would like something fantastic and new! Thanks
Signed,
Missing NYC!

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      1. re: thew

        I was actually underwhelmed at Marea. i really liked the affogato and astice and i thought the fusilli and veal agnolotti were good. but i felt like everything else was mediocre, especially the vongole and panna cotta.

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        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: daffyduck

          I didn't love it either...and certainly nothing close to "blown away."

          1. re: daffyduck

            Me too! I enjoyed my fusilli but it was actually too rich for my blood. I haven't been craving to go back at all. Unlike scarpetta

            1. re: kelea

              Agreed. I was vastly underwhelmed by Marea but love, love Scarpetta.

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

              Marea
              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: gloriousfood

                Add me to the list of those hardly blown away by our two dinners at Marea.

                Photos with commentary here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

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

                1. re: RGR

                  I would also agree with this. There were a few dishes well above average but as a whole I was definitely not wowed. Also the service was a bit lackluster for a place with one Michelin star.

                  1. re: MVNYC

                    Agreed, thought it was ridiculously overpriced for what I got and would personally not go back. Some others at my table ordered dishes they were happier with than mine, but even they admitted that, for the price, it wasn't "mind-blowing" as it should be.

                2. re: gloriousfood

                  I had an excellent meal at Scarpetta and would recommend it, but I wasn't quite blown away by the experience.

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

              2. re: daffyduck

                I was underwhelmed at Marea, most dishes are mediocre. I am a savvy eater and cannot understand the fuss around this restaurant. My friend, a foreign food critic, was very disappointed with Marea as well. I ate at many top restaurants in Manhandle in last 8 months. The only restaurant that blew me away (3 times !!!) is Bouley were we ordered chef specials. No chef in NYC can compete with a good day of David Bouley. It is also one of the most beautiful restaurants in NYC.

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                Marea
                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: SYCRoberts

                  the implication being that if we found our meal great there we are less savvy eaters?

                  I am a savvy eater. I waas blown away by the fusili at marea

                  1. re: SYCRoberts

                    David Bouley is a great cook, a flawed chef, and a terrible business man. It's a shame that the current iteration of Bouley hasn't lived up to his culinary abilities, but under his unsteady hand, it isn't unexpected. The kitchen doesn't hold itself to the same level of rigor and discipline as the top tier restaurants in NYC and it is far too plagued by inconsistency for Bouley to be considered a legitimately great restaurant, IMO.

                    I also think there are several chefs in NYC that can easily outcook David Bouley, especially in this stage of his career.

                    1. re: hcbk0702

                      I've dined at Bouley more than 20 times in the past 10 years, and have always had flawless food (that's right--flawless), with excellent service in lovely decors. The new restaurant is among the most beautiful in Manhattan. I'm looking forward to celebrating my birthday at Bouley in 6 weeks. I guess you won't be joining my party.

                      1. re: hcbk0702

                        I agree. I have been to Bouley many times, over many years, in all its incarnations. I have had wonderful meals and I have had poor meals. I agree about the unsteady hand and inconsistency. There are better choices in NYC, and more dependable. I have also had good service there, and amateurish service. It is not at the level, consistently, of other restaurants in its peer category in NYC. Sometimes yes, but sometimes no. And yes, he is a terrible businessman.

                2. Le Bernardin's menu consistently has dishes I think are extraordinary in balance and flavor profile. I find that remarkable, especially considering how often dishes drop off the menu permanently (they usually have a 1 year lifespan at most, no "signature" dishes are kept) to be continually replaced by brand new dishes. The top kitchen in NYC IMO.

                  Dining at the bar at Kurumazushi, Sushi Yasuda, and 15 East also yields great pleasure.

                  Other than that, perhaps the very occasional dish from Per Se. I've had very good dishes at Jean Georges, Eleven Madison Park, Daniel, Marea, etc. but nothing that has "blown me away" in recent memory. Generally, I'm having better luck (at least in terms of value) at less expensive restasurants.

                  Perhaps I've become jaded.

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                  Per Se
                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                  15 East
                  15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

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

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

                  Sushi Yasuda
                  204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

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

                  Marea
                  240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hcbk0702

                    Le Bernardin never fails to impress.

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

                    1. re: ExFlexitarian

                      I second degustation. the 10 course tasting menu is amazing.

                      1. re: ExFlexitarian

                        Degustation is where I took my girlfriend for her birthday last year, and that was also a great experience. Like daffyduck, we did the 10-course tasting menu. The kaiseki at Kyo Ya was very different in style. Both dinners were multi-course tastings, accompanied by wine (sake at Kyo Ya). I would say that Degustation presented stronger tastes and Kyo Ya focused more on subtler harmonies. It's hard to compare the two meals because of the numerous differences in style, but overall, I think my girlfriend and I both liked Kyo Ya more, and to be fair, it cost more, too: Before tax, the bill was just over $300 at Kyo Ya and about $205 at Degustation. If the 10-course menu at Degustation is still $75 and the wines haven't gone up significantly, the prices are directly comparable.

                      2. Eleven Madison Park
                        15 East

                        That's about it in terms of "blown away"

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                        15 East
                        15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

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

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          EMP and Marea are also very high on my list

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

                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                            hey guts, i plan to go to 15 east sometime soon. i'm thinking about either the sushi chef tasting or the kitchen tasting. what dishes did u try that blew you away?

                            1. re: daffyduck

                              I recommend asking the chef to prepare a sushi/sashimi omakase and add an order of soba -- it's fabulous (I have had it with uni, with salmon roe and with duck and all three have been excellent -- maintaining the Honmura An quality).

                              1. re: Nancy S.

                                thanks, i went last week and had an excellent experience. like you suggested I tried the soba noodles with shiso. i really liked them. i also started with a sushi omakase and an a la carte order of live clam and santa barbara uni. i liked everything but the eel blew me away. i followed this with the squid inked risotto which was delicious, the sushi chef was nice enough to throw on extra uni on the risotto because I liked it. dessert was very good too, i had a frozen pistachio souffle with apricot compote and the rice tempura a la mode, the souffle was a much stronger dish imo.

                          2. Corton, for its ephemeral, stream-of-consciousness approach to fine dining (but note that some people dislike it for those same reasons).

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

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: fm1963

                              I really dislike the room at Corton, and I found the food extremely erratic.

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

                              1. re: gutsofsteel

                                I think the room is weirdly sterile, but when he's on, Liebrandt's food really shines.

                                One of the city's most talented chefs IMO.

                            2. Marea, 11MP, WD-50 if you order right (solicit opinions from the boards on the current menu before ordering, I'd say), Del Posto...

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

                              Del Posto
                              85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                              Marea
                              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                              1. Haven't been blown away by much lately... which were your favorite restaurants that you were blown away by prior to moving away?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Noodle fanatic

                                  i liked almost every place that was mentioned - was looking to try something new - but marea seems to be pretty low on manny people's lists. have bene to EMP and as much as i love it really wanted somethign new. used to love gramercy tavern, USQ, etc.
                                  anywhere else ? how about somethign very good - and NEW! thanks!!

                                  1. re: dloech

                                    Craft is not new but it sure is good, and in keeping with what you like...

                                2. The Modern Dining Room (spring tasting menu), EMP. I've had many recent meals that were great, but the last couple at the places mentioned really stepped up to the plate (no pun intended).

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                                    I did the Modern bar room and loved it! took my parents there and they definitely enjoyed it. quite a feat considering my dad complains about EVERYTHING he eats.

                                    another that he also enjoyed was dovetail. i know it's not 5 stars but for the sunday suppa price and the quality of food, it's definitely a win in my book. my aunt and uncle loved it so much they've been taking people there. no one thing will blow u away but the whole package is defintiely a joy

                                    1. re: Spiritchaser

                                      I went to the Bar Room at The Modern for Restaurant Week dinner last summer, and it was memorably good. (In particular, their sweetbreads were the best preparation I've had except for the treatment at Degustation.) I'm going again for Restaurant Week dinner there later this month and really look forward to it. If the place is that good for some $60/person, I'm sure that a full-on dinner there must be truly outstanding!

                                      1. re: Pan

                                        We loved a lunch we had there last summer. The food was exquisite - beautiful and delicious. Must go back soon.

                                    2. The duck at EMP continues to "blow me away". I had it last month, and it's sensational.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: ellenost

                                        Agree about EMP's duck, but there is also THAT chicken! We just had it again for the third time. Talk about minds being blown!!

                                        Oh, and also in the "minds blown away" category is the peach gazpacho I had.

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

                                        1. re: ellenost

                                          I've only been to EMP once for lunch. The dishes I tried were asparagus salad, herb-roasted colorado lamb with sucrine lettuce, garden peas, and pickled mustard seed, balik salmon, and the fregola sarda with veal sweetbreads/pickled ramps/sorrel. I also tried all of their tarts the best being the chocolate caramel but it wasnt a mind blower.
                                          Out of everything I had the fregola with sweetbreads was the only dish that wowed me. I'm not saying that EMP is a restaurant that wont blow you away, it's just that those particular dishes didnt do it for me. But I definitely want to try it again.

                                          1. re: daffyduck

                                            daffy,

                                            Go back and try the chicken for two and the bone marrow encrusted beef. Both are WOW dishes for me that I continue to crave months after eating them!

                                            1. re: ml77

                                              I think there are better and more interesting dishes on the menu, including the cochon de lait. The roast chicken for two was rather pedestrian compared to some of the other choices; the lavender honey glazed duck for two is much, much better IMO.

                                              1. re: hcbk0702

                                                i tried the Späetzle with Niman Ranch Pork Belly, Pommery Mustard and Spinach, Nova Scotia Lobster Lasagna with Lemon Verbena and Heirloom Squash ($15 supplement), St. Canut Farm Cochon de Lait with Bing Cherries, Sweet Onion and Mustard, and the Herb Roasted Colorado Lamb with Eggplant, Cumin and Yogurt. I wanted to try the chicken for two but my friend didn't want chicken. Everything was very solid but nothing wowed me. The best thing I had actually was the kouign amann cake, delicious. Their macaroons however were a bit of a letdown.

                                        2. BaoHaus! They serve bao, chinese buns, mostly to go, and their beef bun knocked me on my ass. I don't think they'd be a birthday dinner choice but they make a knockout lunch of light dinner on the go.

                                          Other than that, nothing's really blown me away in the past 6 mo. I enjoyed the hell out of the small plates at Ippudo, and had a wonderful kaseki meal at Kyo Ya, but their food is more a landscape of subtle flavors and textures, so "blown away" doesn't seem right. If you're looking for a quietly lavish experience, Kyo Ya might be the jam.

                                          -----
                                          Kyo Ya
                                          94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                          Ippudo
                                          65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                          BaoHaus
                                          137 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: flower_puppy

                                            I was in fact blown away by Kyo Ya. Yes, it's subtle, but it's not so subtle that it's just about mouthfeel or something. The meal included the best miso soup I ever had, so good that it was of an entirely different category than anything else I had ever previously know by the name of "miso soup." That's how good my meal was there.

                                            Thanks for the BaoHaus recommendation. Ippudo's ramen was too fatty for me to deal with, but I like a good bao.

                                            1. re: Pan

                                              Oh, I completely agree that Kyo Ya is phenomenal. The reason I wasn't "blown away" was purely semantic - it just didn't seem like the right turn of phrase, but that restaurant is incredible, and I've never had an experience like it. It may be one of the best meals of my life, but it's Beethoven to Momofuku/BaoHaus's Rolling Stones. I was associating the phrase "blown away" with the food equivalent of loud devil's music.

                                              -----
                                              Kyo Ya
                                              94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                              1. re: flower_puppy

                                                I understand.

                                                I haven't been to the original Momofuku but have been a few times to Momofuku Ssam Bar, and while I consider it an excellent mid-priced bar/restaurant, Kyo Ya is in an entirely different category. I have had no mind-blowing experiences at Ssam Bar but have had entirely satisfying ones. I also love Milk Bar and have gone repeatedly but wish they'd bring back their rosemary ice cream, which was the best flavor by far that I've had there.

                                          2. It may not be on a par with some others mentioned, and may not be the something special you're looking for, but Apiary is delicious every time, from appetizer to dessert. Also, Collechio and Sons was delicious and the space is beautiful, certainly birthday dinner worthy -- and I personally thought the desserts stole the show, best carrot cake I ever had and an upside down banana cake that was awesome.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: nattie23nyc

                                              I had a pretty outstanding meal at Apiary, I think in February. I wouldn't go as far as to say it blew me away, but it was damn good.

                                            2. We very much enjoyed our dinner at SHO Shaun Hergatt in May. The food was delicious and exciting. Did not enjoy the high wine prices however.

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

                                              1. Kyo Ya. I took my girlfriend there for kaiseki (arranged a day in advance) on her birthday. Every course was sublime, perfectly balanced, beautifully presented, interesting in taste and mouthfeel, and the sakes we had were also great. Wonderful, gracious service, as you would expect in an upscale Japanese restaurant, and a peaceful, civilized place with very harmonious interior decor.

                                                -----
                                                Kyo Ya
                                                94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                                1. Had the most fantastic dinner at Daniel yesterday. Comparable to my dinner at Per Se. My no. 3 now is Jean Georges.

                                                  -----
                                                  Per Se
                                                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                                                  1. KO! one of the most memorable meals I've had in NYC. I went there on my last birthday, it was the perfect choice.

                                                    In the past couple of days I've also been blown away by the new Xi'an famous foods in the East Village. Maybe not what you're looking for, but their $2.50 lamb burger is hard to beat.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: hungrycomposer

                                                      I didn't realize it was open yet. I think I'll go tomorrow. Very exciting news for the neighborhood!

                                                    2. I know this is the Manhattan board BUT this past weekend I went to Brooklyn-Carrol Gardens specifically and had one of the best meals ever at The Grocery Restaurant. An easy schlepp from Manhattan and you definitely need a reservation-tiny place with big back terrace. The food was amazing!!! I won't discuss specifics but between the 3 of us we shared many dishes and everything was absolutely well done.

                                                      1. I had a wonderful six course tasting menu at Daniel. I'll post a full review later, but I was really blown away by the warmth and professionalism of the service.

                                                        1. I am in the city about once a month now. Recently returned to Aldea and really enjoyed my meal there. A few dishes at SHO were memorable, but that was not recent enough to be helpful. Not sure if Aldea and SHO are considered "new." Falai had a change in chefs recently, so we'll have to return to see what's new.

                                                          -----
                                                          Falai
                                                          68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

                                                          1. Per Se was sensational a couple of months ago.

                                                            -----
                                                            Per Se
                                                            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                                                            1. 5 course tasting menu at Recette. As good as plenty of 2 star Michelin restaurants that charge double for the same food.
                                                              (But dying to go to Marea, waiting for an opportunity when I'm not paying for 5 other diners....)

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                                                              Recette
                                                              328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                                                              1. ABC Kitchen-wonderful food and very pretty space!

                                                                1. Mas is my favorite. The food is stunning and the front of house staff are superb. It's a gem in GV.

                                                                  1. Kajitsu - to say my meal there was a dining experience would be doing a disservice to every other component that made the night so special. the service, the setting, the stories...the smell. truly unique.

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                                                                    Kajitsu
                                                                    414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009