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Corton or Brooklyn Fare for Birthday dinner

  • r

Deciding between these two for a birthday dinner. For those who have dined at both, is there a preference you have over the other?

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Corton
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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  1. Roughly when is this birthday dinner planned for, and roughly how large a party would be involved?

    Pragmatically speaking, the decision may be out of your hands - it may not be possible to get seats at Brooklyn Fare anytime soon. In addition, I believe that the chef and staff have a scheduled ~1 week vacation/restaurant shutdown for sometime in the next month or so.

    Also bear in mind that reservations are only taken once a week, on Mondays. Phone only, though they do permit general qs to be submitted via email.

    1. I love Corton, though I'd probably choose Brooklyn Fare (even though I haven't been yet) given the difficulty of reservations, the 20 course menu, and the great reviews.

      Even if Brooklyn Fare is fully booked on your desired date, you can still ask to be waitlisted in case of cancellations. I was able to get a reservation this way for a Friday dinner in a few weeks.

      Note that Corton is relatively formal and offers an extensive wine list, whereas Brooklyn Fare only has counter seating and is BYOB.

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      Corton
      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      6 Replies
      1. re: fm1963

        fm1963 - out of curiousity, do you mind if I ask about the size of your party?

        1. re: cellardoor

          Two.

          Brooklyn Fare now has 18 seats, and requires full prepayment a week before your reservation. ($165 for about 20 courses before tax and tip). The restaurant will be closed the second week of May.

          1. re: fm1963

            When I spoke w/them this past monday, they also confirmed that they are still very strictly BYOB. (Apparently if you want something other than tap water, you need to bring your own bottles of sparkling.)

            Also, gratuity is cash only.

            1. re: cellardoor

              That's what I was told too, though was given the option of leaving my tip on my credit card. I'll clarify that when I prepay.

              1. re: famdoc

                update: post Sifton's 3-star review, "starting in June, the price of the 20-course tasting menu will jump to $185" (again, pre tax numbers)

                Brooklyn Fare Raising Menu Price by $20 After Sifton Review
                http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/04/...

        2. Depends a lot on the atmosphere you seek. If this is an intimate dinner then the answer is Corton (and its not particularly close). If this is two old friends catching up over a meal, then perhaps Brooklyn Fare is the answer.

          Despite the rave reviews of BF, I have found the food at Corton to be more consistent and (often) better.

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          Corton
          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          1. It would definitely be useful (from a recommendation standpoint) if you could provide some more background detail wrt other preferences, eg ambiance, how much they care about wine, and so on.

            For instance, if someone in the party is going to be physically miserable in a somewhat-uncomfortable seat for a very lengthy meal, then that could eliminate Brooklyn Fare.

            As mentioned previously, they confirmed that they are still very strictly BYOB as of this week (and unlikely to change in the next :) ). (If you want something other than tap water, bring your own bottle(s) of sparkling.)

            This might be a huge negative for some ppl; others might be overjoyed at the opp to craft their own wine pairings (which Brooklyn Fare is happy to discuss with you – tho given the menu turnover speed/adjustment to availability, I’d assume that the suggestions can’t be too rigid).

            Corton is one of my favorite restaurants of all time, but everyone dining there will have to like unconventional flavor pairings and modernist food. If you have a hearty eater in your party, s/he may be less than satisfied with the portioning (this is not inherently problematic wrt the Corton experience if your wallet/other diners don’t have a problem w/your doubling up or more on the prix fixe, or stacking a prix fixe w/the tasting, for instance). Again, this may be a plus to some people (that one could order unconventionally and sample far more of the exceptional menu w/o suffering from fatigue) – but I just don’t know what your preferences/fellow diner constraints are.

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            Corton
            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            7 Replies
            1. re: cellardoor

              Thank you all for your responses. This is actually a dinner for 2 in April for my partner and I. He was able to make a reseravtion for both places and I was wondering which would be a better all around experience with the food being the most important factor. I do understand that both places are quite different in their settings, so I was just seeking opinions from hounds that have eaten at either place or both. Thanks again.

              1. re: raw

                Sorry for the delay-I can definitely opine (very +ly wrt food) on Corton, but am holding off for a couple of days, as I'll have first-hand expy w/Brooklyn Fare by mid-week. [Managed to get a single seat.] Or is your dinner for 2 in April, already nigh/early April?

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                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: raw

                    ok - will get back to you inthread later this week. commentary on Brooklyn Fare will likely be fairly impressionistic given the chef's rules re: not taking notes. (I have a decent memory, but the mind quails at memorizing, and then, um, sketching 20+courses?)

                    1. re: cellardoor

                      I heard that Brooklyn Fare's chef does not permit photos. I don't have a problem with that. But he doesn't allow note-taking either?! If that is true, imo, it's a step way too far! Even had I been considering going there -- which I haven't been -- I would immediately strike it off my list.

                      Corton banned photos for a while but eventually saw the error of its ways. Now, they only ban flash photography, which is fine.

                      Going a bit O.T but for a reason...

                      We were positively over-the-moon thrilled with our tasting menu experience at Roberta's last week with uhockey. The food was sensational! Despite the fact that he is extremely talented, the chef, Carlo Mirarchi, is one of the nicest, most humble guys you'll ever meet. No rules about photos or note-taking.

                      You can see my Roberta's photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      uhockey's review is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776120

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                      1. re: RGR

                        Roberta's tasting menu (which I had only vague inklings of previously) is currently on my personal short list* (largely due to uhockey/your comments on a thread from another forum). It seems likely irrelevant to the OP - who has already secured reservations at his/her 2 chosen restos, and is unlikely to be able to secure ST reservations/Roberta's. [It also seems as if one would need a party of 3-4, rather than just a duo – but this may again be my misread of your/uhockey’s posts?]

                        *-it actually is higher on my list than Brooklyn Fare, were I able to cat-herd enough of my friends into agreeing to go (unlikely) / tack myself onto a party of the requisite 2-3 strangers (very difficult, likely unpleasant for said strangers :P ) / and then actually get reservations (quite difficult), and so on…

                        Back to quasi-relevancy :)

                        While I do think that the note-taking rules at Brooklyn Fare are over-the-top, my decidedly degrees-removed impression (in other words, reading about what lots of regular/random people have stated online on forums and blogs, rather than just the Eater party line/etc) was that he at least seems to be doing so out of some sort of passionate-but-borderline-Asperger-ish/food geek sort of way, rather than pomposity/self-importance/etc. Sort of like taking the food too seriously, rather than taking himself too seriously, which admittedly is a fine distinction when he’s the creator of said food, but the former – taking food too seriously – is rarely something I find problematic (as long as it isn’t snobbish, overly precious, etc). I guess the displayed behavior in either case might appear ~the same, and the experience to the end-user would be equivalent.

                        Some of the comments I've read suggested that he'd be just as annoyed if one were frequently checking one's email (and not because it might be a subterfuge for note-taking on the sly :P); it was more directly suggested to me that the chef _might_ be also displeased if I were to bring a (non e-)book to read between courses (if dining alone), because the food would be presented so quickly and engagingly, I’d be distracted from the experience, etc.**

                        At any rate, I'm ill-equipped to comment (having not yet dined there, never met the chef, etc etc), and am beginning to feel as if I’m discussing, as if in a college philosophy class, whether a true misanthrope who makes equal opportunity racist comments, is somehow superior to someone who makes fewer and less hostile racist comments, but limits them to certain racial groups…all the while failing to realize that I’m actually sitting in on a disciplinary panel which has no interest in my blatherings, has strict rules-based penalties for racist comments, and has yet to determine whether either person has made any such comments. [This is entirely a commentary on the silliness of my own speculation, not that of others. Also, it’s an awfully tortured analogy.] So, full stop.

                        OP, are you going to be bothered by a ban on photo-taking and note-taking, in either sense:
                        a)you want to do some of either
                        b)you find such bans (or the note-taking ban in particular) to be objectionable/obnoxious, and would prefer not to patronize an establishment that has such a policy

                        **-Disclaimers: the “official”-ish (i.e., online food news aka gossip) sites is not really in line w/my speculation, since they seemed to suggest that he restricted note-taking due to “fear of copying his recipes” or something to that effect.

                        Also, some anonymous commentators claimed that when they had the entirely place for a private event, they were told that photos and note-taking were ok because as a private group, doing so would not be disruptive. OTOH, other factors are at play - this might be similar to the “corporate a-holes take out a private room at Per Se, their bad behavior and reenactment of a cafeteria food fight is ignored, etc.”

                        Quoted from [click to reveal the anonymous comments] comments at eater:

                        http://ny.eater.com/archives/2010/10/...

                        “my friend was able to score the entire place for us one time and so we were really happy to be there. i actually don't remember seeing a sign about no picture, note taking, etc maybe that came later? i do remember my friend asking cesar if it was ok to take pictures and he actually said yeah usually its not cuz its disruptive but since u're a private group then thats fine. in fact i had my blackbery on my table the entire night and typed in every dish i had... and cesar gave me no problems at all. yes i do remember him commenting about how he only gets the best ingredients and makes it very simple to highlight that ingredient... but i really don't remember him with the "i don't care what u think" attitude.”

                        1. re: cellardoor

                          To clarify the situation at Roberta's, Carlo is only doing the tasting dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays. He does only one table each night, and the maximum it accommodates is four people. But he will certainly do it for just two or, as in our case, three.

                          uhockey was the one who secured our reservation and worked out the dinner's detail since Carlo builds the menu around participants' preferences and avoids. Of course, this was before the word got out. Now, the problem is *getting* a reservation.

                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

            2. I've been to each of them exactly once-- and at Corton we ordered the tasting menu, so I feel the comparison is fair. I really enjoyed Corton, but I'd have to say that, of the two, I'd go back to Brooklyn Fare first. Brooklyn Fare was just "cleaner" cooking. It was definitely Japanese influenced... a lot of raw seafood. In fact the menu was about 80% seafood based (I think).

              This is not to take anything away from Corton. It's also a fine restaurant and I genuinely enjoyed my meal there-- a little over a year ago.

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              Corton
              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013