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Most Impressive Restaurant in Manhattan?

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  • novah Feb 13, 2011 02:24 PM
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I am looking for the most impressive restaurant in manhattan.

In this case I am referring to the interior design/architecture/grandiose of the place.

Good food/service is a given... I am really looking for a place that gives you the "wow" feeling as you walk in. A place that has put alot of effort into making their guests feel like they are in a special place.

Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance.

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  1. Eleven Madison Park

    The space is drop dead gorgeous - double story height ceilings, an art deco classic, huge windows facing Madison Park. And superb food and service.

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      I agree. While Daniel is as Steve h. says, EMP is a stunner and I think the perfect mesh for the what the OP is looking for.

    2. Daniel is an interesting dining destination.

      You walk into a fashionable yet cozy lobby where you can sit, order a drink, decompress after a day at the office while waiting for your dinner companion. It's comfortable and inviting, not stuffy. When your companion arrives, you are seamlessly led to your table. At your table, the service and food vie for supremacy. They care about you. Solo diners are treated especially well. All this is done with practiced excellence.

      The lobby and the dining room are wonderful to be in. Ask for a visit to the kitchen to see how the attention to detail you saw in the front of the house extends to all levels in this restaurant. Three-stars from Michelin so it's not cheap. Every guest is treated like an old friend.

      Only a churl could cavil.

      2 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        I agree - Daniel is overall the most impressive restaurant I have visited in Manhattan.

        1. re: steve h.

          So call me a churl, but I will cavil. As I've talked about before on this board, the last time we dined at Daniel, there were several very serious service faults. We have not been back since the refurbishment.

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        2. Per Se, with its tiered dining room and views of Central Park.

          Lincoln is a dramatic space too.

          The Modern Dining Room is starkly minimalist but has floor to ceiling views of the sculpture garden.

          I've heard that the Four Seasons restaurant is gorgeous, but I've never been there.

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          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          The Four Seasons
          99 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

          4 Replies
          1. re: H Manning

            Four Seasons is flawless
            The Modern is a great idea

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            The Four Seasons
            99 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

            1. re: serious

              The Pool Room is stunning. Had an early NYE dinner there - fabulous Dover Sole. Only very odd thing was that they used plastic spoons for the salt and pepper.

              1. re: serious

                The Four Season's is a paen to mid-century modernist architecture and decor. It is without peer by that measure. Elegance objectified. The pool room exudes cool. IMHO one must vist FS prior to forming opinons on any worthy newcomers such as Daniel, PerSe or EMP.

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                The Four Seasons
                99 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                1. re: serious

                  second the four seasons- simple, beautiful, classic. went there for the first time at 17 (which was quite some time ago) and its a model that I compare all elegant restaurants to

              2. Visually, Alain Ducasse's Adour is a beautiful restaurant.

                1. No matter how many times we walk through EMP's revolving doors -- and I've lost count of the number -- I'm always awestruck at how absolutely gorgeous the space is. Add to that Chef Humm's exquisite cuisine, a superb wine list, and one of the best -- if not THE best -- service teams in the city, all of whom go above and beyond to make guests feel very welcome. EMP is, indeed, a truly special place.

                  Photos of EMP's space:

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

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  1. Daniel - the foyer down to the main room. It is stunning. Second would be Per Se. Third EMP.

                    That noted, there is something very precious and special about Picholine that worked for me, and I think Alto is pretty dramatic downstairs.

                    Service wise I'd say Per Se, EMP, and Picholine all go out of their way to "wow" while Daniel is professional if not "wowing."

                    http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                    Per Se
                    10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: uhockey

                      While per se does have that great view out to Central Park, the space is rather plain.

                      The decor at Picholine is totally different from what it was originally. Until the refurbishment a few years ago, the decor was Mediterranean -- quite colorful with tapestries on the walls. When I saw photos of the redo, it looked very purple and not very appealing. However, in person, the tones are grayer, and the overall feeling is quite elegant. I like it a lot but would never think of it as a "Wow!" space.

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

                      1. re: RGR

                        See - I feel that Picholine is a place that seems very authentic and to me that is wowing. You walk into this little foyer and onto this regal looking dining room - not like a banquet hall at Versailles or anything, but rather like the a small dining room in a very elegant old house. I really liked it, and even on NYE when the place was absolutely slammed full the service was impeccable.

                        As for Per Se - it feels immense, the view is amazing - to me it is everything it should be - it focuses you only on the people and food.

                        http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                        Per Se
                        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

                        1. re: uhockey

                          Per Se's views out to Central Park South, expecially when the leaves are off the trees, add another dimension to a wonderful and lengthy meal.

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

                        2. re: RGR

                          I agree. The OP said:

                          In this case I am referring to the interior design/architecture/grandiose of the place.
                          ---------------------------
                          Time Warner Center/per se just doesn't quite make it.

                      2. Del Posto is a gorgeous, grand, elegant space. Although I do not find it particularly impressive in terms of food or service.

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

                        1. This is very subjective. EMP is certainly a wow -- grand and handsome -- but Adour is equally a wow in a totally different, more intimate way, ornate and beautiful. I recently had dinner there and it was a trifecta: gorgeous surroundings (and very comfortable seating), excellent food, and very warm yet polished service.

                          1. Morimoto is quite spectacular, and I enjoyed the one dinner I had there a few years back. Warning: website is very annoying.

                            http://www.morimotonyc.com/

                            1. In addition to EMP and Per Se, I'd add Bouley to the list of "wow" restaurants. Room is gorgeous, food is delicious and service is very attentive.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ellenost

                                I would totally agree with this.

                                http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                1. re: ellenost

                                  I third Bouley. The difference between Bouley and EMP or Per Se is that Bouley is more intimate and ornate. I think the OP should consider what atmosphere s/he wants for his/her companions. For a date in early stages of relationship or a celebration with a spouse I might choose Bouley. For a fun night on the town with friends I would prefer EMP or Per Se.

                                  One thing is certain-- the OP will get a great meal from any of these suggestions.

                                  Cheers and good luck.

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

                                2. I've been to all of the places mentioned in this thread, except Adour and Lincoln, and while I think they are attractive, the most grandiose restaurant I've been to in Manhattan is Sho Shaun Hergatt. It doesn't have the soaring ceilings of many of these other restaurants, but the decor is lush, warm and over-the-top, with a lot of reds and golds. By contrast, I find EMP a little bit cold and sterile feeling. SSH also manages to feel somewhat intimate since the dining room is broken up into so many separate spaces. Virtual tour on their website: http://www.shoshaunhergatt.com/virtua...

                                  Morimoto, however, does have the best bathrooms.

                                  I don't think Picholine is ugly; the grayish purple color of the walls is actually quite beautiful. The restaurant does feel slightly dowdy to me in other ways, though.

                                  1. Le Bernardin is not in any way flashy or grandiose, but for me it's the most "high powered" in terms of atmosphere and clientele, even more so than Daniel or Per Se or EMP. The soft glowing lights, pale wood panels, and original oil paintings are quietly modern yet timeless. The magnificent service also adds to the air of luxury and exclusivity.

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

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

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: peter j

                                      At Le Bernardin, despite the attempts at camouflage, I could never shake the feeling that I was dining in the lobby of an office building -- which is, of course, where it's located. They are going to be doing a refurbishment. I'll be very interested to see if the changes will make me feel differently.

                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                      1. re: RGR

                                        To each his/her own. At EMP, I can never shake the feeling that I'm in a cavernous bank lobby, which I think it was, but probably I'm in the minority.

                                        1. re: peter j

                                          EMP fares much better in the day, when Madison Square Park is framed in the windows and sunlight reaches the far corners of the ceiling. It's an impressive space, if odd for a dining room.

                                          At night, on the other hand, the room seems a bit absurd for a restaurant of EMP's ambition. Intimate and warm it is not.

                                    2. How could I have forgotten Tocqueville?! Imo, one of the most beautiful and elegant dining rooms in the city.

                                      Photo of Tocqueville's dining room: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                      1. I was at Del Posto last week; that's a wow. Same: Le Bernadin, Daniel, or Per Se.

                                        www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

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

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

                                        1. Um, it's obviously Ninja New York. They're the only ones to have an entire "ninja castle" as a dining room... come on people.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: jzungre

                                            Haha! Really? Tell me more!

                                            1. re: michelleats

                                              it's the only restaurant that has an appetizer that emits smoke and comes with a samurai sword.

                                              A classy choice for refined tastes.

                                            2. re: jzungre

                                              Hah! Nice. If Epcot Center ever updated Japan, Ninja would probably be the restaurant they'd choose.

                                              You forgot to mention the perils of going "the hard way" upon entering.

                                            3. As other people said, there is a number of great restaurants. But for me (and other people tend to agree), EMP is the most stunning, something to be remembered for years! My second choice would be Le Bernardin I am not being very original, sorry, which is basically good, right?

                                              1. Just wanted to thank everyone for all the amazing suggestions and informative responses. CH is truly a great forum. Thanks again.

                                                1. Per Se is really beautiful as well is the 4 seasons. Both will impress whomever you bring. However you should eat before you go to Per Se. I say before because when you are done you will not have any money left..

                                                  Ciao-

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

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: bklynsausage

                                                    I agree with previous posters' suggestions but would add - River Cafe (though it's not in Manhattan but what a view of it!). Also Grand Central Station, a drink at Cipriani's or Campbell Apartment and walking into the Oyster Bar with its fantastic architecture is a wow the first time you do it.
                                                    The Boathouse makes you gasp if you sit in the window on a spring day and look out over the lake, it's enchanting.

                                                    -----
                                                    Campbell Apartment
                                                    89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

                                                  2. If you're looking for "wow" factor in a Vegas sort of way, Del Posto and Buddakan are the two most grandiose restaurants I can think of. Shame the food isn't as stunning as the decor.

                                                    Per Se is the most special meal in the City, in my opinion. The decor is minimalist in a chic sort of way, and the views are stunning.

                                                    Daniel delivers consistently with excellent food and the seasonal decor is the most sensibly beautiful. It strikes the right chord for me of being extremely elegant, without being too overwhelming.

                                                    EMP is an NYC classic for stunning architecture/decor. I don't think the food is on the same level as Per Se or Daniel, but I think you'll have others on the board argue that one to the death.

                                                    Also, I don't think I've seen others mention it yet, so take a look at Gilt as well.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: rushbikes

                                                      I disagree on EMP not being up to the level of Daniel, but otherwise this is very accurate. I haven't been to Per Se under the new chef, but when Benno was there that kitchen was cooking at a very high level, even compared to EMP or Daniel.

                                                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                                      1. re: rushbikes

                                                        The dining room at Gilt is grand and gorgeous. However, based on the so-so food we had, how Gilt got two Michelin stars is a mystery to me.

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

                                                        I have not been back to Daniel since the redo, but I felt the original decor was a bit over the top, i.e., grandiose.

                                                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                        1. re: RGR

                                                          If the decor wasn't favorable to you before the reno, you'll probably feel the same way if you saw it now. I do think the modernist update served to tone things down a bit, but the architecture hasn't changed: coffered ceiling, balustrade, etc.

                                                          Personally, I think the new decor is very tasteful. Yep, the dining room is more dressed up than most other dining rooms in NYC, and as a result gives a certain wow factor, but it's dialed back from the stuffiness of many top michelin starred French restaurants over in Europe.

                                                          1. re: rushbikes

                                                            The first time we went to Daniel in its Mayfair location was just after they moved there. They had not yet hung any fabric, and I found the basic architecture quite appealing.

                                                            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                      2. I would defintely recommend La Grenouille. It is a wow when you enter the flower filled, romantic dining room. The food is excellent as is the service.
                                                        I cannot say enough great things about this exquisite restaurant.

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

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Raisel

                                                          Yes!