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Tasting Menu - Eleven Madison Park or Jean Georges

My wife wants to take me to dinner for my birthday. We are choosing between Eleven Madison Park and Jean Georges. We will be having the tasting menu, paired with wine. Does anyone have any thoughts (food, wine, atmosphere, service)? Should we consider any other restaurants?

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

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

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  1. Close call. If you go with jean Georges, ask for the little two-top in the outcome. It is perfect for a birthday dinner for two. Trying to be objective (as personal tastes differ), the biggest difference between the two for me is EMP's far superior beer and cocktail list.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nmprisons

      I think you mean the alcove tables, where you sit side by side, slightly separated from the rest of the dining room?

    2. Both are excellent (I've been to both, but not recently to Jean Georges). Wine, atmosphere and service are better at EMP. Food is probably a toss-up.

      1. Thanks for the quick replies. Having never been to either restaurant, and only having the opportunity to go to one of them, it is a very difficult decision.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bugsatty

          Both are good enough places that it really depends on personal interests/quirks. Jean Georges is a bit more formal and a bit more traditional. Having eaten at both (though not EMP in a little while, but am going on Tuesday), my meals at EMP have been a bit better food-wise. Where else have you eaten that you enjoy?

          To answer your last question, you might look at Per Se and Le Bernardin as well. The former is a bit more expensive, but both often make truly wonderful food. I would celebrate a one-off special occasion at Per Se before any other place in the city.

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          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          Jean Georges
          1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

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

          1. re: nmprisons

            Haven't been to the city in quite a while, but we've had a great meal at Le Bernadin. My wife loved Aureole (unfortunately, I couldn't make that dinner with her).

            We've also had some very good meals at Tabla, Esca, Pampano and Tao. I know that none of these are in the same league as EMP or JG, but that's where we've eaten when we've been able to come to the city. Thanks again for your input.

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            Aureole
            135 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

            Esca
            402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

            Tao
            42 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

            Pampano
            209 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

        2. Having eaten at both recently, I agree with the other posters that it's a tough call. Both are very good in terms of food and service, with EMP possibly having the edge on wine (but not by much). I would say that the dining room at Jean-Georges is a bit more intimate (it's not as large as EMP) and that it's a bit more hushed. I also find the service at Jean-Georges a tad more formal. All of these observations are things I LIKE about Jean-Georges and are not intended as criticisms. In my experience, the dining room at EMP tends to be a little louder, and a bit more active. If i were forced to choose only one of these two, for my personal taste I would go to Jean-Georges. But honestly, I really don't think you would be disappointed in either one.

          Per Se is also an excellent choice, albeit even more expensive than Jean-Georges or EMP, so depending on how "special" you want the meal to be, Per Se may not be worth it to you. (Personally, I think Per Se's wine pairing is over priced, so if I were doing a tasting menu with wine pairings, I actually think either Jean-Georges or EMP are excellent experiences and both better values than Per Se).

          Do let us know where you decide to go and please share your thoughts on the experience. And happy birthday!

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          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          2 Replies
          1. re: edwardspk

            Thanks for your reply. I appreciated your descriptions of the dining rooms and that may help us make a decision. My birthday is not for a little while, but I will be sure to let you all know where we've decided to eat, and what we think of the restaurant.

            1. re: edwardspk

              I think this is an insightful response.

              As far as keeping tally sheets go, I prefer EMP to Jean Georges.

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              Jean Georges
              1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            2. Id say EMP hands down. dont even have to think about it.
              Service is the best we have had in NY and the food never disapoints.
              Let them know its her b-day and they will do custom menus for you, they did for me
              adds a specialness to the whole affair

              1. Haven't been to JG in a while - but my vote would definitely be EMP as well.