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Eleven Madison Park, Jean-Georges, Del Posto, or Corton? Or something else?

  • j

A couple of us husbands are taking our wives with birthdays a day apart out for dinner together, and I wanted to scope the opinion of chowhounders on the choices in the subject line - if you had to pick one of those, where would you go? "Fabulousness" was requested, and deliciousness is of course a top concern. Thanks!

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

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

Corton
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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  1. When choosing among high-end restaurants with well-established reputations, like your list above, the risk entailed in making a choice is comparatively low. You'll have gobs of fabulousness throughout your meal at the above restaurants, so really the risk is yours to make. Were I to venture such a risk, I might opt for EMP over a place like Per Se, but it's only a personal predilection and not anything more refined than that. Whatever risk you make, I hope you enjoy it!

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    Per Se
    10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

    1 Reply
    1. re: 280 Ninth

      Thanks for responding to my inquiry, but I have to respectfully disagree about generalized statements about "high-end restaurants with well-established reputations." Some such restaurants may have better qualities than others for partcular circumstances. Some may have "well-established reputations" based upon the past rather than present conditions, and some are just overrated. Partly for reasons having to do with time and partly for reasons having to do with money, I don't get to eat at restaurants like this very often, so when I do I want to assure that it's going to be worth it (which has not always been the case in my past experiences at high-end restaurants). I have consistently found the collective chowhound community to be the most trustworthy source of information toward this end, by the way, so I appreciate your tip about EMP and any others that might be posted.

    2. Jean - Georges and Per Se are truly great with Per Se, in my opinion, coming out on top. Have not yet been to EMP or others you note although they are on my list to get there asap!

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      Per Se
      10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

      1 Reply
      1. re: 3crazydogs

        All three are great but EMP is the one that's still trying to get to the top of all the reviews. As a result, I think you'll find (in a pleasant way) that the restaurant makes a little more effort to try to please you in all aspects from food to service.

      2. For a wonderful celebratory dinner, my vote is for Eleven Madison Park. I just (last week) had a fabulous dinner at EMP. The new dinner format works beautifully. I've already made another dinner reservation for two weeks from now to treat my sister to her "big" birthday celebration. BTW, I agree with you that not all high-end restaurants are equal.

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

        4 Replies
        1. re: ellenost

          Indeed, I would concur that not all high end restaurants are equal. But the gradients of difference will depend more on the diner's taste than it would the objective quality of the food itself. You wouldn't send a steak lover to Le Bernadin and expect a rave review. The point is that when you're choosing among EMP and Per Se, it's not like there's such a stratospheric difference in outcomes (except maybe in the wallet). CHs will quiibble ad nauseam about the merits of one over the other, but I do not see the OPs query as a particularly difficult challenge.

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          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: 280 Ninth

            i just had a great dinner at Corton, and I really like Bernadin and Jean-Georges; between these 3, i cannot see how anyone can go wrong. But taste is individual, and i cannot predict that of the OP.

            While i have not eaten at Del Posto, I can note that the NY Times site shows that posters there are not that happy as a group giving it a 3 star average rating which was much lower than the posters thought of jean Georges or Le Bernadin for example.

            but what can i say when i have not eaten there.

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

            Corton
            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: 280 Ninth

              I disagree with you on this point. While I would agree that there isn't a huge difference between EMP and Per Se, there is a huge difference between EMP and Daniel (both 4 star restaurants): the service at EMP is flawless while the service at Daniel is haughty and arrogant (I went twice to Daniel--never again because of the service). Also you may have read some of the CH threads comparing the 4 star restaurants, and with all of the nasty exchanges among the Hounds where the CH moderators have to step in and delete the personal attacks, the other Hounds get fighting mad about which 4 star restaurant is better.

              1. re: ellenost

                Thanks, ellenost. Indeed, CHs do get fighting mad about these sorts of things. I'm fine agreeing to disagree. And it is certainly true that bad service would just completely ruin an otherwise sublime dining experience!

          2. I would go for either Per Se or EMP when it comes to a celebration or "fabulousness". I find that places like JG, Daniel, and Le Bernardin tend to still be stuffier, and catered to suits on business dinners.

            I haven't been back to Corton since it opened, but I would worry about consistency there, and while I haven't been to Del Posto, I don't trust Sifton at all.

            My dinners at:
            Per Se http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/681732

            Daniel http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7152...

            for comparison

            1. I have celebrated events at all of the restaurants you mention as well as Daniel and I would celebrate an event such as the birthdays at Del Posto. The room is very nice downstairs as well as upstairs. Mr. Batalli has an outstanding menu and the service is wonderful. Daniel is excellent IMO but it is more upscale and less friendly than Del Posto. I don't like to celebrate an even like yours having to watch my manners too close. At Daniel I'm always afraid I will knock over a glass of wine or spill something. I feel more comfortable at Del Posto. I like Babbo and Del Posto to me is similar in that it is busy and noisy. Daniel is quiet IMO. My experience at Per Se does not warrant another return visit. But I will return to EMP, Jean George's, Babbo and Del Posto. Actually I like Felidia but most here do not. Most here don't like Del Posto IMO but I do. I mentioned the room which is spacious and the piano is nice also. I hope you have a great celebration regardless of your decision. Good luck.

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

              1. I know this is a little late, but maybe my comments may be helpful for the future.

                I have visited all of the restaurants you have listed, some more than once. They all are very different from each other, and notes on each are listed below

                Corton - Very modern fare, small, white-on-white modern space. I find the room nice,- even serene - especially when it is full. Others may find it austere, and even depressing. It very much depends on your vantage point. PS - service is not nearly as good compared to the others

                Jean Georges - The food is french with asian influences. The goal/philosophy of the restaurant is making traditional french food lighter, which is often achieved through japanese flavors and technique. The room is fairly small, which is most notable for its iconic lighting fixture.

                Del Posto - Traditional Italian. On my first visit i felt like the room was almost factory looking, but on my most recent visit I actually fell in love with the space. There was a huge christmas tree in the center of the room, and what i thought was a great touch was that there were candles on either side of the steps on the stairwell. The food is pretty good, i just wish the pasta courses were larger. They also hire a pianist, which is really lovely.

                Eleven Madison Park - Wonderful. My favorite of the four, maybe my favorite restaurant period. The food is amazing, and they really seem to customize each experience. It seems like when dining here you are really having an experience, and my dinners at EMP are always memorable. I also really love the space, especially if you dine from sunset to later on. During the dinner service, the room even seems to glow in a strange way.

                Food - Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges, Corton, Del posto
                Atmosphere - Eleven Madison Park, Del posto, Corton, Jean Georges
                Service - Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges, Del Posto, Corton
                Value - Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges, Corton, Del Posto

                Overall Experience - EMP, JG, posto and corton are tied.

                **I am visiting corton on saturday, and i really want to like it, so hopefully my opinions change.

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

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

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

                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                1. Eleven Madison Park.

                  Per Se has stellar service, but the food is not very interesting or special. Corton is exciting from a food perspective and the decor is great, but the food is the main event and it's a bit overwhelming. I went to Jean-Georges precisely once--menu doesn't appeal to me and the atmosphere is cold. Not a birthday place.

                  Eleven Madison Park has great service, they know how to make you feel special, plus the food is incredible, especially the 11-course tasting menu. The decor is more lavish and impressive than any of the others. They make sure that you have a great time. Can't comment on Del Posto, but my impression is that it's not really in the same category as your other choices.

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                  Per Se
                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

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

                  Corton
                  239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: StevenCinNYC

                    I second everything that Steven said, aside from the decor at EMP. It is probably less lavish(and ostentatious) then per se's decor. Nonetheless I like the decor at EMp better