Sho or Mas Farmhouse?
I've not been to Mas, but SHO is really great. I've been twice. The first time was a better overall experience because I went we with two foodie friends, and we shared everything and had a great server who added to our enjoyment of the meal. The second time was with a friend who is less into food, and our server was not well trained, but the meal was still wonderful, plus we sat at the glass wall to the kitchen so we had a fun view.
The food is very inventive and enjoyable and a really good value, especially compared to Corton, for example, where it's extremely inventive but also extremely expensive, and, at my one visit, presented as if to overwhelm rather than engage the diner. I found the servers would present dishes with twenty elements, blurt out a word or two of explanation for one item on the plate(s) and run off. We ended up trying to guess what we were eating.
SHO is more elegant and subdued with the opportunity to really appreciate each item in each dish. The tables are nicely spaced. The lighting is comfortable. The space is very modern and spare without being cold. Arriving from the street, you enter an initial lobby (part of the Setai hotel or something), take an elevator, and then walk down one hallway to the host stand and bar. It's all dark and elegant, as if you're arriving some place special. Then they walk you down another hallway into the first of the two dining rooms. I've only eaten in the second room which is the one that has the glass wall, allowing you to see into the kitchen. There are windows along one wall. It's a very nice space.
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
SHO Shaun Hergatt
40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004
Just catching up on this thread....
We have not been to Mas, but we went back to SHO for the second time in November -- our daughter and son-in-law were with us this time -- and this meal was just as impressive as our initial one in September '09. The beautifully presented cuisine was delicious, service was cordial and professional, and the very comfortable space continues to please. The cost of the 3-course prix-fixe has risen to $75 (from the $69 it had been since the restaurant opened). However, it remains an exceptional value for a dining experience that is, imo, truly wonderful.
Photos of our recent dinner at SHO can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157625750974742/
Don't you just love internet advice? I've dined at both SHO and Mas multiple times. The first thing you need to know is that they are completely different types of restaurants, and whether you love or hate each one will depend a lot on your own tastes.
I don't know why you ended up choosing between these two, but here goes: SHO is a formal, very elegant restaurant in dramatic, Asian-styled upscale surroundings. Food is beautifully presented in artistic compositions and will feature exotic and imported, as well as local, produce.
Mas is a much more casual restaurant in a cozy, cabin-like West Village setting. It has a communal table. Quite unlike SHO, it's an elbow-to-elbow, buzzy sort of place. The menu is very heavily focused on local, seasonal food, and although attractive it isn't food you want to frame.
I am sure prices are comparable - and SHO is a bargain for what it is. You will eat well at either choice, but I suggest you make a decision on the type of restaurant and ambience you prefer.
I was new to New York back in September...chose SHO out of all choices for my 40th b-day and i have regretted it ever since exploring so many other great places...the amuse at Sho was the highlight for me...fois gras croquetes were amazing and the perfect temperature...the rest of the food was a "Show" way prettier than it tasted....none bad but none wowsy... Mas looks neat and have not made it there yet...but i recomend Picholine or Modern for blow out original looking food with wild new tastes....and not much more money...and not in the spooky dead financial district after dark...
35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023
I've never been to Sho, but have been to Mas. I went for a special occassion a year or so ago and thought the food and drinks were great. The ambiance is nice, but I would warn you that if you are looking for a spacious setting you will not enjoy the place at all. You will be seated very close together with other diners, which for me was fine since if you are enjoying each other's company the surrounding conversations won't be too much of a bother.
We did the six course (as opposed to the tasting menu or a la carte) and thought the variety and quality of food was great. I would highly recommend it, as long as you are comfortable with the lack of space.
I've never been to Mas. Having said that, I've really enjoyed SHO on multiple visits. It may come down to your particular tastes/menus. Mas, from what their website says at least, seems like a French-American food while Shaun Hergatt is Australian and fuses French technique with Asian touches.
At SHO I've enjoyed both the tasting menu (~5 courses) as well as ordering a la carte. Between the canapes, amuse, and petit fours, they won't let you leave hungry. The ambiance may not suit everyone as its all the way down in FiDi and upstairs of the Setai, but I especially enjoy the long windows looking into the kitchen, which makes it seem like an open kitchen without all the noise. If you go, be sure to request a table by the kitchen if you like these things. Cocktails have been hit or miss but I've always enjoyed the wine program here.
Bread service seems standard at SHO, with two or three varieites, but the addition of a truffle butter is great, if you like truffles that is...
To end the meal, I especially love the salted caramel bon bons but the pate fruit and macarons are nice as well. If you're too full, just ask them to box them up for you and you'll have a nice treat afterwards.
The tasting menu has always contained a nice progression and includes a pre-dessert before segwaying into dessert. I've also recently eaten at SHO with their current menu and really enjoyed the Foie, Lobster and Lamb.
I've heard good things about Mas and whatever you decide on, I hope you both enjoy the special occassion!