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Tasting Menu at Mahattan restaurants

My girlfriend and I will be in Manhattan the last week of Feb 2011.
I want to treat her to a tasting menu for lunch or dinner. I am willing to pay $125 per person.
Where can I get the best deal. We don't drink, so wine tasting is not necessary.

Thanks

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  1. Degustation is excellent. Counter seating and an innovative menu of tasty tapas. Or, my all-time favorite, the omakase at Sushi of Gari. Piece after piece of the most creative, succulent, delicious sushi you've ever tasted in your life. Salmon with Baked Tomato, Tuna with Tofu Puree, Blowtorched Cod with Miso Paste, Toro with Pickled Radish, Diced Eel with Avocado... each one better than the last. It doesn't stop until you tell the chef you can't physically move any longer. $125 will probably get you around 10-12 pieces each, without sake or drinks. Worth every penny.

    http://restaurantbrat.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: restaurantbrat

      The Torrija @ Degustation...to DIE for!

    2. $125 per person before tax and tip? Or after?

      Any preferred cuisine? Foods you like in particular? Foods you don't like?

      14 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        And to expand on that, is that including drinks as well? Makes a huge difference.

        $125 before tax/tip = $97 menu price, with 20% tip.

        Wine by the glass can be anywhere from $10-$15, cheapest bottle in most places will be $40+ for something decent. So if you're having two glasses each, you'd have to call it a $77 menu price, give or take, if you're including drinks.

        1. re: sgordon

          You may not have noticed but the OP says they don't drink.

          1. re: ellenost

            You are correct. I did not notice. Oops. In that case, I second EMP for dinner. A four course prix fixe = 8 different dishes to taste, about the length of most tasting menus, and that way you have some input into what you're getting.

            For a "normal" tasting menu where both of you will get the same courses, either of the Babbo (Pasta or Traditional) menus are great. For something a little fancier (and an easier rezzie) Del Posto is a good option, and the only way to get the (now legendary) 100 Layer Lasagna. Colicchio & Sons now has a "Market Menu" for $95 in addition to their usual tasting menu for $135. And the third restaurant on the same block as DP and C&S, Morimoto, has a $120 Omakase - you could call them in advance and request that the suhi / raw courses be replaced with cooked courses, they're very agreeable about things like that. I actually dined there once with a friend who was kosher and they were very accomodating. Similarly, if you're a seafood fan, Esca has a tasting for $100, and though there's probably at least one crudo (raw) course I'm sure they'd be happy to switch things up for you.

            Gramercy Tavern has two tastings - Seasonal and Vegetable (though not vegetarian, just a celebration of veggies) - for $116 and $98, respectively. What's nice there is that they're the same number of courses, so you could each do one and have lots of wonderful food to try.

            Craft is currently running a very reasonable Black Truffle tasting menu at $125 (reasonable given that there are black truffles on, like, five of the courses) that looks pretty luxurious and hearty.

            1. re: sgordon

              "A four course prix fixe = 8 different dishes to taste..."

              The meal begins with a parade of amuses -- 5 or 6, some in sets of two. Plus the pre-dessert and the mignardises. So, it really does add up to a tasting menu. And let's not forget the take-home gift: a jar of delicious granola.

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

              1. re: RGR

                The granola is one of the things that keeps me returning to EMP. It is the best! Almost forgot that I still have my jar from last week.

                1. re: ellenost

                  Every time we've just about finished up one jar, we're back there and get another one. The jars themselves are great. I've got quite a collection. I've been wanting to make my own granola (never done it before), and if I ever do, those jars will be excellent for storing it.

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  1. re: RGR

                    In this months Saveur magazine Chef Humm discusses his love for granola and how he uses/used savory versions in dishes and sends guests home with the sweeter version.

                    A funny story about the granola, during our dinner a few weeks back, a man at the table across from ours pretended to make a fuss about not getting a jar for him (seemed to be given only to the women) and was subsequently presented with one for himself!

                    1. re: TheDegustationAsian

                      I've always found the EMP granola too sweet (still a nice gesture though), but it's interesting that the sweetness is deliberate.. I'll check out the Saveur article.

                      1. re: fm1963

                        Funny, I find the EMP jar of granola too savory for my breakfast cereal. I think it's a perfect substitute for potato chips.

                2. re: RGR

                  Is the parade of 5 or 6 amuses for everyone, or just those that the staff know by name because they're in for granola refills every few weeks? ;)

                  I actually (shame on me) haven't been back in awhile - the expendable income ain't what it used to be - but going in a couple weeks for my birthday. Have to poll the board for what's can't-miss on the current menu as we get closer.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    sgordon,

                    Everyone gets that amuse parade at dinner. There is a much smaller number at lunch. And, of course, the gougères land on the table a minute after you are seated -- not one of the amuses but something to nibble on while you decide what to order and, perhaps, have a cocktail.

                    By the time your birthday arrives, many of the dishes will probably be different from those on the current menu.

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                    1. re: RGR

                      Oh, I know about the amuses - I was just kiddin' around.

                      But yeah, the menu is in constant flux - I'm sure the "grid" is already somewhat different than the one on the website - so I'll see if anyone's been that week.

                3. re: sgordon

                  i dont see the black truffle tasting menu on Craft's website. do you have a link or anything of the dishes on the menu?

                  1. re: daffyduck

                    It was on menupages, but it looks like it's gone now - the menu on the Craft website is dated Feb 4th, so I assume that's the most up to date. My bad. Still ooks like a good one, though.

          2. Eleven Madison Park for lunch
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/744039

            or

            Momofuku Ko for dinner

            would probably be my recommendations if you're looking for best deal/value while getting a top end experience.

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

            Momofuku Ko
            163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

            3 Replies
            1. re: fooder

              Thanks to everyone for the comments thus far.
              It was my 1st post on chowhound, sorry I wasn't more specific.
              We are open to all types of food except sushi. The meal has got to be cooked.
              The $125per person did not include tax.

              1. re: fooder

                fooder,

                EMP does not serve a tasting menu at lunch. However, jmpdal and his gf could put together a tasting menu on their own by doing the 4-course prix-fixe, adding an additional course from the savory selections, and, perhaps, sharing the cheese that's on the dessert line. With the amuses that start the meal and the mignardises at the end, this would make for a lovely tasting menu. The price for the meal, including the costs for the added on courses, would probably meet jmpdal's $125 budget.

                Photos of our most recent lunch at EMP: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                Cafe Boulud offers a 5-course tasting dinner for $89pp. While we've not done it, we have dined there many times, and I'm sure it would be excellent. In addition to Chef Gavin Kaysen's superb cuisine, service is cordial and polished, and the space is lovely.

                Cafe Boulud photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                1. re: fooder

                  Great suggestions fooder! In addition, I would recommend Bouley's tasting menu at dinner ($125) or their $36 lunch tasting menu.

                2. Recette. 5 course tasting menu for $75 and seven courses for $125 (too much food for me). Extremely high quality for the price - reminiscent of the expense account foodie temples. Very memorable, trendy small Village space with lots of windows - nice atmosphere, hopping place. you won't go wrong. In 4-5 yrs the chef/owners be famous and will open an overpriced gastronomic palace in midtown for the expense account crowd and financiers. Very highly recommended. There has been a lot of excitement generated on Chowhound.com about this small and still relatively unknown place. Do not miss this meal. Strongly suggest you eat here - take a late reservation if it's the only time you can get in.

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

                  1. I'd suggest Tocqueville. Recently did a modified tasting at lunch there. We each got the Prix FIxe (3 courses) and supplemented it with 2 more apps and another main course. They split the apps and main for us, so we wound up with a 6 course (plus amuse, etc) that left us both stuffed, and the cost was definitely less than $125/per person.
                    We ate at lunch, and the room was not that full, and service was fantastic. The Foie gras was great, BBQ beef cheek fantastic, and their "Peking" duck was one of the best duck preps I've had.
                    They also have a lunch tasting menu, but we wanted to choose our courses, so that could be an option too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: UWSEater

                      A brilliant idea, UWSEater! We love Tocqueville and have done many of those $24.07 3-course prix-fixe lunches (though we've never expanded them). They are a phenomenal bargain for food of such high quality. In addition to the superb cuisine (loved those beef cheeks!), they do a great job with wine pairings, service is always friendly and professional, and the dining room is one of the most beautiful in the city.

                      Photos of our most recent lunch at Tocqueville: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com