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Looking for feedback and suggestions on foodie vacation to NYC

i
I 8 IT Mar 20, 2011 01:03 PM

Hi All,

My wife and I are taking a trip to NYC in April for a week long vacation to celebrate 2 new jobs, a new marriage, an our gluttonous love for everything food related. Below is a list of the places so far that I have been looking at booking reservations for. Cost isn't much of an issue here, its a last hoorah before settling down with a house payment. The one thing we hate is a stuffy atmosphere or snooty staff. We are from Chicago and Alinea's 6+ server team for our table was mostly overbearing and made us feel rushed the whole time, our ideal dinner is something like Schwa where it is fun and relaxed. With that said, if the food is mind blowing, we can settle for a little stuffiness if we have to. We will typically go for a full tasting menu if it is available. Looking for input and suggestions on where to go (or maybe where not to of what i have already listed), feel free to hit me with some knowledge.

Currently planned large meals in no particular order:
Per Se
EMP
Morimoto
WD-50
Momofuku Ko

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

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

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

Morimoto
88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

  1. g
    gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 01:08 PM

    I would take out Morimoto and substitute with 15 East (assuming you want sushi/Japanese). I personally find Per Se somewhat stifling. Consider Bouley or Cafe Boulud instead. EMP, WD-50, and Momofuku Ko are good choices

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

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

    Cafe Boulud
    20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

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

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

    Morimoto
    88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

    Bouley
    163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel
      i
      I 8 IT Mar 20, 2011 04:28 PM

      Thank you for the feedback, Morimoto was on that list because we are Iron Chef fans, but I'm open to looking elsewhere if consensus is that it is not worth the cost for the Omakase. My wife is very interested in seeing what Scott Conant can put out at Scarpetta so we may look at going there as well.

      -----
      Morimoto
      88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

    2. p
      peter j Mar 20, 2011 02:37 PM

      Per Se isn't stifling or overbearing at all. For me the service strikes the perfect balance between friendliness and efficiency.

      Instead of Morimoto, why not consider Corton, which I think you will enjoy given your adventurous palate.

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

      Morimoto
      88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      Corton
      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      2 Replies
      1. re: peter j
        g
        gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 03:00 PM

        I fins Per Se stiff. And I really did not enjoy Corton.

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

        Corton
        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: gutsofsteel
          thew Mar 20, 2011 05:47 PM

          i didn't find per se stiff at all. we let the staff know we were willing to be goofy with them, and they were happy to play along, w/out ever dropping the level of service down a bit.

      2. y
        yebo Mar 20, 2011 03:07 PM

        Degustation - tasting, unusual layout (counter with chefs inside)

        1. p
          peter j Mar 20, 2011 03:11 PM

          GOS - you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but given the OP's tastes for Alinea and Schwa, Per Se and Corton would be better choices than Cafe Boulud or Bouley. Cafe Boulud is dull and underwhelming, and Bouley, while good, is fairly traditional.

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

          Cafe Boulud
          20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

          Corton
          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          5 Replies
          1. re: peter j
            g
            gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 03:34 PM

            He/She has Momofuku Ko and WD-50 on his/her list - both god choices, as I said. Based on her listing EMP and Per Se, I think he/she is also intereted in French/Continental-influenced cuisine. Bouley, by the way, has many "modern" twists in the menu, and Cafe Boulud also. Cafe Boulud is, these days, putting out marvelous creative food. When were you last at Bouley and Cafe Boulud? Have you looked at the menus recently?

            I understand very well what Corton is aiming for - they simply miss the mark. By a mile. And the room is ugly and unpleasant.

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

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

            Cafe Boulud
            20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

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

            Corton
            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: gutsofsteel
              p
              peter j Mar 20, 2011 03:37 PM

              I was at Cafe Boulud and Bouley last month. When were you last at Corton? The room isn't ugly at all, especially compared to sterile interior of Cafe Boulud.

              -----
              Cafe Boulud
              20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

              Corton
              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: peter j
                g
                gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 03:40 PM

                I was last at Corton about 4 months ago, it was my 3rd visit. I find the room at Cafe Boulud to be lovely. I find the room at Corton harsh, and completely unwelcoming. Actually I feel the same way about the food there.

                If you were at Bouley and Boulud last month, what do you mean by "traditional," and what did you eat?

                -----
                Cafe Boulud
                20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: gutsofsteel
                  p
                  peter j Mar 20, 2011 03:44 PM

                  I had the tasting menus at Cafe Boulud and Bouley. Corton's tasting menu was much more creative and delicious.

                  -----
                  Cafe Boulud
                  20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                  Corton
                  239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: peter j
                    g
                    gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 03:47 PM

                    We'll have to agree to disagree. I found Corton's tasting menu extremely disappointing.

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

          2. bobjbkln Mar 20, 2011 04:16 PM

            Did anyone notice that the OP was looking for an April trip? Per Se and Ko are probably unavailable.

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

            8 Replies
            1. re: bobjbkln
              g
              gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 04:22 PM

              EMP too - although I actually prefer EMP for lunch, and that's an easier reservation to get.

              1. re: gutsofsteel
                i
                I 8 IT Mar 20, 2011 04:31 PM

                We are likely looking at EMP for lunch as well. I spoke with them last week and they currently take reservations 28 days out so I'll be calling there in the next few days to work on that reservation

                1. re: I 8 IT
                  g
                  gutsofsteel Mar 20, 2011 04:38 PM

                  EMP is spectacular at lunch, with the light streaming in the huge windows. And it's leisurely and delightful in every way. I just had lunch there this past week, was lovely. And extremely delicious, and service could not have been more pitch-perfect.

              2. re: bobjbkln
                i
                I 8 IT Mar 20, 2011 04:25 PM

                We are going in late April, calling Per Se for reservations would start tomorrow being 30 days out, and we will likely be doing lunch, so it shouldn't be too big of a problem. From my understanding Ko only does reservations 10 days out and we are trying for a weekend lunch for the longer tasting, i've seen those spots open fairly consistently when i've been checking their site.

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

                1. re: I 8 IT
                  r
                  RCC Mar 20, 2011 04:34 PM

                  I hope you do get a table at Per Se. In my view, it's easily the best at combining impeccable food and un-matched exemplary service in the city today.

                  At the end of your meal, you WILL feel like you did celebrate. Congratulations on your reasons for having to celebrate.

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

                  1. re: RCC
                    i
                    I 8 IT Mar 21, 2011 09:10 AM

                    Happy to report that I got a rez at Per Se.

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

                  2. re: I 8 IT
                    ellenost Mar 20, 2011 05:09 PM

                    Ko takes lunch reservations 14 days in advance..

                    1. re: ellenost
                      i
                      I 8 IT Mar 21, 2011 09:10 AM

                      Thanks for the heads up on that one.

                2. uhockey Mar 20, 2011 05:44 PM

                  .....I don't even know how to make a recommendation to someone who finds Alinea's staff "overbearing" - but I will try.

                  Skip EMP. Skip Per Se. Don't consider Daniel, Le Bernardin,or Jean-Georges. Bye Bye Bouley.

                  Scarpetta, Babbo, Momofuku Ko, Momofuku Ssam, Corton, Compose should all be looked into.

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

                  Babbo
                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                  Momofuku Ssam Bar
                  207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

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

                  Corton
                  239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: uhockey
                    i
                    I 8 IT Mar 20, 2011 06:56 PM

                    Thank you for your recommendations. I will have to head back to Alinea at some point as maybe I didn't have the experience that most others have there. If I am laid back and portray that to the staff, I expect them to try and tone it down a little, it should be a privilege to have me as a diner, not make me feel like they are doing me a favor and allowing me to drop $1000 on a dinner there. The staff constantly hovered by my table and repeatedly bothered my wife about taking notes in a small pad so she could piece all the dishes together later on (never had anyone hassle her about this at any other restaurant we have been to). We went when they still had the Tour and were pushed through it in just about 3 hours, I didn't even have time to breathe in between courses. One of the staff even had the audacity when my wife asked if there was a specific way to eat a certain dish to tell her "I think its fairly obvious". Again, maybe just an off night, but I've had better service at many other places, L2O blew them out of the water.

                    1. re: I 8 IT
                      uhockey Mar 21, 2011 03:29 AM

                      That is really shocking - I'd honestly write them to make them aware. I've been there twice and had a completely opposite experience despite pictures and notes.

                      The places I noted will fit your liking for Schwa, though.

                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                      1. re: I 8 IT
                        d
                        DGresh Mar 21, 2011 07:50 AM

                        "I think it's fairly obvious"?
                        Wow. I would be absolutely apalled.

                        1. re: DGresh
                          i
                          I 8 IT Mar 21, 2011 08:03 AM

                          Yeah, it wasn't good, but we were celebrating getting married, our wedding was a few days before we went, and I didn't want to throw a fit about it and completely ruin it. The food was still fantastic there, you can't take that part of it away.

                    2. o
                      ospreycove Mar 21, 2011 08:18 AM

                      For "mind blowing" regional chinese look up Queens Asian restaurants. Whatever style, region, specific ingredients(mutton, live fish, housemade tofu, etc. it is available there. Much more authentic variety than Chinatown in Manhattan.
                      Momofuku ko is very good also. The obligatory Del Posto should be a consideration too.

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

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ospreycove
                        uhockey Mar 21, 2011 10:51 AM

                        Skip Del Posto. There is better Batali in NYC, especially for folks who enjoy Schwa-style service.

                        http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

                      2. LABANGIN Mar 22, 2011 06:57 AM

                        If you can get the reservation at Per Se its definitely a life changing experience. EMP is also very good. WD-50's plates are visually appealing and a lot of work goes into making them. Although, I personally don't like eating a plate with fragmented pieces of food all over it. KO is just another overrated gimmicky restaurant.

                        Amazing food without Stuffy Service:

                        Marc Forgione

                        Hearth

                        Sushi of Gari (counter on UES)

                        Le Bernardin although Jacket is required I didn't find the service here to be too stuffy but I can't say the same about the surrounding fossil patrons

                        Marea ( Michael White is so much better than Batali when it comes to Italian)

                        Il Mulino Although they don't have a tasting menu or prices on the menu its still a fine choice

                        Annisa

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

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

                        Il Mulino
                        86 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012

                        Hearth
                        403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

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

                        Annisa
                        13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

                        Marc Forgione
                        134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

                        Marea
                        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: LABANGIN
                          uhockey Mar 22, 2011 08:30 AM

                          ....wow. Le B service not stuffy? They make Alinea and Per Se look like a casual place to dine.

                          ...and Marea, while the service isn't stuffy it also isn't that great.

                          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

                          Marea
                          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                          1. re: uhockey
                            o
                            ospreycove Mar 22, 2011 12:35 PM

                            Il Mulino, so familiar, I overlooked including it in th above response for visitors to NYC. It has been a favorite of mine since the mid 80s. For all this time, the brothers from L'Aquila have offered regional dishes that are truly abruzzese. We are quite fond of Fernando and his brother, as we have a vacation home in Sulmona, Abruzzo. I can not think of a dish we did not care for, the lamb preparations are a true reflection of the region.
                            One thing that irks the brothers, are guests who would dither, snapping photos of their dishes instead of digging in when the plates are served. Fernando once said, "Eh, so what is this room? A museum??"

                            -----
                            Il Mulino
                            86 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012

                        2. a
                          AYSConsulting Mar 22, 2011 04:08 PM

                          I had a great time downtown at Beauty and Essex. Great food, really fun atmosphere and we definitnely had great service. Stanton Social, for that matter, is also just as good. Maybe not as fun atmosphere. I also highly recommend Colicchio and Sons. Food was amazing and the service was on point (and definitely not overbearing or stuffy).

                          -----
                          Stanton Social
                          99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

                          Colicchio & Sons
                          85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                          Beauty & Essex
                          146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AYSConsulting
                            m
                            mtr Mar 24, 2011 09:04 AM

                            Lunch reservations at Ko are not so difficult to get and the meal at lunch is more extravagant than the one served at dinner. Service isn't in the least pretentious and the chefs, who are standing right in front of you, are happy to talk to you about the food. I never thought of the food as gimmicky, if you want that than head to WD 50, if anything what they serve is a lot more straight forward than a lot of high profile places.

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