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Need to pick one restaurant to impress

Hi all!
Some family members/friends come over to visit from all over Europe next week. I can afford one top-notch dinneing experience and can really use some suggestions.
Really want for it to be an "ultimate NYC dining experience" (two friends are coming from Paris and all they do is brag about the restaurant scene in Paris and that there is no way I can top that in NYC:)...I really want to prove them wrong!
Help!:)

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  1. I'd stay away from French and focus on places like Momofuku Ko, Brooklyn Fare, or high end Japanese.

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: fm1963

      Thank you for your reply. Any suggestions for high end Japanese?15 East, Sushi Yasuda come to mind...

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

      Sushi Yasuda
      204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

      1. re: Mila_NYC

        Masa
        Kurumazushi
        Kyo Ya
        Brushstroke
        Soto
        Kajitsu (vegetarian)

        I haven't been to any of the above places but have heard great things.

        I have been to Momofuku Ko and Brooklyn Fare, both are wonderful but the counter seating might not be for everyone.

        -----
        Soto
        357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

        Kyo Ya
        94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

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

        Kurumazushi
        7 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

        Kajitsu
        414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

        Masa
        10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

        Brushstroke
        30 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: Mila_NYC

          For sushi, 15 East and Sushi Yasuda would be fine choices. Keep in mind that sitting at the counter is impractical if you have more than four people. With a larger party, a kaiseki place like Kyo Ya would be preferable.

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

          Sushi Yasuda
          204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

          Kyo Ya
          94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

      2. If you are truly trying to impress European friends with a standout American restaurant in NYC, the obvious choice is Per Se. Next option (if Per Se is too pricey) is Eleven Madison Park. I agree you don't want to take Parisian friends to a French restaurant, but rather than go Asian, why not go with an excellent American option like one of these?

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

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

        8 Replies
        1. re: edwardspk

          +1 on edwardspk
          Those are the 2 obvious choices if you really want to impress. Don't know if you can get reservations for next week, though.

          1. re: strangemd

            Thanks for your reply! They will be staing for 2 weeks so hopefully (if I'm lucky:) will be able to score reservation at Per Se sometime next week or the following week.
            Thanks again!

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

            1. re: strangemd

              My mistake! I overlooked the "next week" part. Agree reservations at these 2 could be hard to get in that timeframe - but worth a try.

            2. re: edwardspk

              If they're accustomed to Paris fine dining restaurants, the food at Per Se and Eleven Madison Park is unlikely to impress. A glance at their wine markups might also induce aneurysms.

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

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

              1. re: hcbk0702

                Beg to differ. Most of my family lives in Paris and I go every year and dine out extensively. Per Se stands up quite well. It's clearly an American culinary style, but short of sending them to Alinea, I can't think of anywhere better.

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

                1. re: strangemd

                  I think trying something that isn't heavily French-inspired like Per Se, such as higher-end Japanese as suggested above, is a better idea. Might as well play to NYC's strengths, especially in genres not well-represented in Paris.

                  In a different direction, something like Peter Luger could go over well.

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

                  1. re: strangemd

                    I beg to differ. Per Se doesn't hold a candle to Taillevant, Guy Savoy, or Pierre Gagniere. The Parisians bring food (and service) to a whole different standard.

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

                  2. re: hcbk0702

                    I"m pretty accustomed to Paris fine dining at the Michelin 3-star restaurants, and I'm still impressed with Per Se and enjoy EMP.

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

                2. from fm1963~YOULL NEVER GET IN TO BROOKLYN FARE, 18 SEATS, TAKES RES ONLY ON MONDAYS~~IM GOING ON AUG 26TH, 1ST TIME....TO IMPRESS ID SURELY GO TO LE BERNARDIN (FAB SEAFOOD!) THEY REOPEN SEPT 4TH?REMODELING. IVE BEEN GOING TO THE FOUR SEASONS FOR 40+ YEARS...THE ROOM IS UNMATCHED IN THE CITY!, SPACIOUS TABLES AND VERY FRIENDLY OWNERS..JULIEN AND ALEX....TELLEM THE JEWELER FROM OHIO SENT YOU~ THE FOOD RELIABLE, BEST DUCK EVER, VERY CRISPY..NOT SILLY $$$$ TRUST ME GET A TABLE IN THE "POOL ROOM" REGARDS QBNCGRZ

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

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: diamond46

                    Anyone can get into Brooklyn Fare with some effort and persistence, If I could do it, anyone can.

                    Le Bernardin is closed until September 9.

                  2. How many people will be in your party? Ko only serves parties of 1, 2, and 4.

                    Since it is next week that they are visiting, it might be tough to get a reservation at a really top place.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: kathryn

                      It will be party of 4. I realize that scoring reservations at one of these top places will be hard. I think Peter Luger might definitely go over well. If not one of the high end Japanese places mentioned above will definitely work as well. My coworker just suggested BondSt. Sushi, worth trying?

                      1. re: Mila_NYC

                        Bond St is fine and the space is attractive, but I like the idea of going in the direction of steak. All of the suggestions are great places, but if you're trying to impress someone from Europe, what you will show instead is that America has restaurants that can do fine cuisine as well as anyone. Not a bad outcome, but what you need to do is hit them with shock and awe. Steaks are a how you do it. I have yet to have a decent steak in Europe or Asia. You can have beef there, but not that beautiful hunk of porterhouse that sends meat eaters into reverie. I remember going to what was supposed to be one of the finest restaurants in Berlin that was supposed to have some of the best steaks around. Looking at the diminutive 6 oz rib eye, I was just deflated. No side of hash browns or creamed spinach either, just some butter lettuce. Sad. Take them to someplace where they won’t have a bench mark to measure each dish against and quibble over who can sauté better. Bury’em in fat and red meat. Bacon to start, steak for four, creamed spinach, dem potatos, and when they’re ready to surrender hit them with dessert mit schlag, lots of schlag. God I need to get back to Luger’s!

                        -----
                        Bond Street
                        6 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012

                        1. re: Bkeats

                          OMG!I caught myself salivating just by reading this:) Thank you so much for your suggestion. Let's hope I will be lucky enough to score a reservation there!

                          1. re: Bkeats

                            No decent steak in Asia?! May not be the same style, but have you tried A5 charbroiled genuine Kobe beef, say in Tokyo or Osaka ? I would second the suggestion of Kyo Ya for Kaiseki or Per Se if the friends really prefer something like French cuisine.

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

                            Kyo Ya
                            94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                          2. re: Mila_NYC

                            15 East is better than Bond St. for Japanese.

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

                            Bond Street
                            6 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012

                        2. i think it'd be helpful to know more about the preferences of the people who will be visiting...

                          for example: i like the idea of the idea of Japanese food, because i think NYC has one of the better selections of Japanese food of any city in N.America or Europe...and i lived in Paris for six months last year and i was horrified by the lousy state of Japanese cuisine there...so far so good...but i also found that many many Parisians, people who might be extremely sophisticated foodies when it comes to other cuisines (i.e. can talk at length about various rabbit preparations, wax poetic about different varieties of cheese or oyster, or even dimsum), these same people were shockingly apathetic/ignorant/even-antagonistic when it came to Japanese cuisine (more than once, i heard a defensive variation of "It's just raw fish, so what?")...in fact, even chowhounds on the Paris board will often recommend "Japanese" places which are sub-mediocre Chinese-run shams and/or confuse various other Asian cuisines...so, if your Parisian friends want to experience Japanese food, great...but if they are lukewarm on the idea, i'd hate for you to take them to somewhere like Masa or 15 East and have them say "Yeah, it was just raw fish"...

                          ditto the steak idea...if they are carnivores, they might love somewhere like Keens...but (newsflash to the steakhouse boosters) there's a lot of great meat dishes in Paris...(and i personally think the butter-finished gruff-serviced clownshow of Peter Luger's would not be particularly impressive to Parisian visiters (though it could be fun in a touristy way)...

                          i love NYC and i love food here...but culinarily, i think it's greatest strength is it's variety...i love that i can get 10 kinds of Japanese food within 10 minutes of my house...i love that on this board we can discuss minutia of African/Chinese/Italian/etc cuisine and where to get certain dishes...and i have a couple dozen places in NYC that i love overall...but there isn't a single NYC restaurant i'd put on my Top Ten personal subjective favorites in the World...NYC is a Jack of All Trades, albeit a wonderful one...

                          My advice is not to get too caught up in wow'ing them w/ one big meal, but rather treating them to the amazing variety and some of the favorites you'll hear on this board (e.g RussDaughters, Keens, the various Sichuan places like Grand Sichuan and SzechuanGourmet, Italian places of all kinds from the various pizza joints to rustic places like Dell'Anima to high end places like Scarpetta, etc...

                          In any case, please report back afterwards also and tell us how the visit goes :)

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

                          Dell'Anima
                          38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

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

                          Masa
                          10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Simon

                            But if you have kaiseki, no one will not say "Yeah, it was just raw fish" because most of the course in kaiseki is not raw fish.

                            1. re: skylineR33

                              depends on the diner -- we can give Mila's friends the benefit of the doubt -- but my point was that many Parisians have an apathetic/defensive attitude about Japanese cuisine and might not appreciate it...

                              1. re: Simon

                                Maybe having a kaiseki is a good chance to show Mila's friends Japanese food is not only about raw fish and food presentation can be better than lots of high end Paris restaurant. It is pretty pathetic if someone still think Japanese food is only about raw fish after having a kaiseki at Kyo-Ya :P

                                1. re: skylineR33

                                  agreed...i'm not objecting to the Kyo-Ya suggestion at all...as i said above, i like the high-end Japanese idea a lot...Kyo-Ya might be the best option...as long as Mila thinks they'll be open-to/appreciative-of Japanese food...

                                  i'm just noting that the state of Japanese food in Paris and attitude of many Parisians towards Japanese cuisine is extremely "pathetic"...(cue hidden video of many wine-drenched convo's i've had w/ Parisian foodies while they ramble ignorantly about Japanese food while guzzling Bordeaux and eating cheese :)

                          2. IMO, trying to prove to anyone that "our food is as good or better than yours" is a loser's game. So much is taste, so much is issues of sociopolitical superiority, who knows>

                            My tack would be to show them what good/great NYC eating is like, period. High end, low end, bakeries and trucks and Hester Street Fair or smorgasburg. It would be much more relaxing for you -- and if they say, Oh, xxx is much better than . (the Doughnut Plant? Russ and Daughters) it could start seeming funny to those who have a sense of humor.

                            -----
                            Hester Street Fair
                            Essex St Hester St, New York, NY 10002

                            Doughnut Plant
                            220 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: yebo

                              Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I definitely plan on taking them to many different places so they can exrerience great nyc eats first hand; however, when it comes to really high end places, I can really afford just one "grand outing":)
                              Other than that I definitely selected places like Clinton St Baking Co,the Doughnut Plant,Russ & Daughters, Shack Shack (MSP), Katz, Motorino,Union Square Greenmarket, Wafles and Dinges truck, etc.
                              My friends seems to be open to pretty much everything is sounded very excited about the Japanese food. A lot of people here suggested Kyo-Ya - I think we should give it a try:)

                              1. re: Mila_NYC

                                Call Kyo Ya ASAP to reserve the kaiseki meal and hopefully you can get the tatami room.

                                At Doughnut Plant don't miss the smaller cake doughnuts -- right now I think they have blueberry and green tea as the special seasonal ones. I am fond of the blackout, tres leches, and salted peanut cake doughnuts.

                                -----
                                Kyo Ya
                                94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                Doughnut Plant
                                220 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

                            2. I hate to tell you this, but they're right.

                              As others have said, your only chance is by not allowing a direct comparison. Go Japanese.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: mahalan

                                Isn't there some irony here? I will start by saying I love japanese food. More often than not, when we're having dinner out, it will be at a japanese place. But I just find it odd that when the OP says foodie friends from Europe are coming and asks what will impress them - the resounding chorus is japanese. I mean japanese food in NYC is good/great, but don't you think its better in Japan? We tell the OP not to match french restaurants here to those in Paris. It's a strange idea to me that we want to showcase NYC food by highlighting the cuisine of another country. I would want to show them something that is great about american food. But, hey, if your guests are into it, go for it.

                                1. re: Bkeats

                                  It's indeed ironic, but which "American" restaurant would you recommend? Craft? Gramercy Tavern? River Cafe? My French acquaintances find kaiseki more interesting, if only because it's not well represented in Europe as noted above.

                                  -----
                                  Gramercy Tavern
                                  42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                                  1. re: H Manning

                                    My original suggestion was a steak dinner at Luger. Often high end american places are heavily influenced by continental cooking. Someone coming from Paris and dining out at the best that NYC offers won't be disappointed by the food, but the comparisons can be readily made and fine points about cooking style will be quibbled over. I have never been to any place in Europe that even remotely resembles one of america's temples to beef. My father spent several years working in Asia a while back and when he came back for a visit I asked him where he would like to go to dinner. I suggested some high end asian places and what he said he wanted was a big steak. He told me he had been dreaming of a steak dinner for months before coming back. The only place he could get a steak was at the restaurants of western hotels but those weren't very good. So we went to the Strip House. The way beef is used in american cooking distinguishes it for me from almost every other cuisine. As the slogan from the old TV ads went - Beef its what's for dinner.

                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                      I have to agree with this - having lived in Germany on and off for the last several years, I am always in serious steak withdrawal when I get back to America. It's hard to even buy a decent cut of steak at a butcher. I'm not sure I would take them to Luger's though - I have had some great steaks there, but the atmosphere is severely lacking. What about someplace like Keens? Nicer atmosphere and no long trek out to Brooklyn.

                                    2. re: H Manning

                                      Well, my reco's for Per Se and EMP (reservation difficulty notwithstanding) were because they ARE both American restaurants. Both chefs consider the food they serve to be American. I will grant you, however, that they do lend themselves to comparison to French technique, so I won't belabor the point.

                                      I do agree that Japanese seems an odd selection to showcase "American" fine dining. So maybe the best compromise is steak. But I can't see Peter Lugers being it. If I took my foodie French friends there as a demonstration of American excellence, I'm afraid I'd be reinforcing their stereotypes. And honestly, most Europeans would see a huge Porterhouse steak not as an enviable thing to salivate over but as another example of American excess. There has got to be a better option.

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

                                      1. re: edwardspk

                                        I would have to second pretty much everything said here. It may not be the best restaurant in the world, but Per Se compares favorably to almost everywhere your friends are likely to have eaten. EMP might be a bit less refined, but the atmosphere is extremely welcoming, the food very good, the beverage options better than anywhere else in the city, and it in many ways exemplifies what American food can be.

                                        Other places worth considering for out-of-town guests looking for food not available in their home town are Ssam Bar or Ko, WD-50 (unless they frequent Fat Duck), Minetta Tavern for great cocktails and the cote de boeuf (if you decide to try and impress with steak), or Craft for simple American food with great cocktails.

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

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

                                        Minetta Tavern
                                        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                                    3. re: Bkeats

                                      Naturally, Japan has better Japanese food than NYC. But compared to Paris (or really, anywhere in Europe), NYC Japanese is far, far ahead. For one blowout meal, Japanese is a good choice.

                                      Peter Luger is a peculiar place, so I think it would work too. But most American restaurants wouldn't impress a Parisian in the slightest. It would be best to show off NYC's variety over several diverse meals, as Simon said above.