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Looking for feedback and suggestions on foodie vacation to NYC

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

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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

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  1. 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

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    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

      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.

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      Morimoto
      88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

    2. 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.

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      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

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

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        Per Se
        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

        Corton
        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: gutsofsteel

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

        1. 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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

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

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

          2. 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

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

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                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

                  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

                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

                  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

                    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

                    Ko takes lunch reservations 14 days in advance..

                    1. re: ellenost

                      Thanks for the heads up on that one.