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Eleven Madison Park, Brushstroke or Le Bernardin

My husband and I are going to NY for our 1 year anniversary. We want to have one great meal. Some thoughts were Eleven Madison Park, Brushstroke or Le Bernardin. Which one would you choose or do you have any other suggestions?

We were looking to spend around $150 - $200/pp.

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

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

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  1. Is that $150-200pp for just food? Or does that include wine/drinks, tax, tip? Can you give a figure for just food?

    What kind of cuisine and atmosphere are you interested in? You've named three very different restaurants. For example, Le Bernardin is an shrine to seafood and I've found the flavors to be very elegant but a little on the subdued side. Delicious, but your preferences may lie elsewhere. They've just redecorated but the room won't have, say, the stunning high ceilings of Eleven Madison Park, and I'm not sure if they have side-by-side seating available like EMP does.

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

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

    1. You can (should) eliminate Brushstroke. The other two options are in a different league.

      I really enjoy both Le Bernardin and EMP. For anniversary, however, I think EMP is the right choice. They take pride in making special meals feel special.

      Does that amount include drinks, tax, and tip? If so, and if you drink, it is going to be tough squeezing EMP into your budget for dinner (4 courses for 129 tasting for 195), though you could easily do lunch (4 courses for 75, tasting for 125). If you push that budget up a bit (heck, it's an anniversary, why not!), then you will be fine.

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

      5 Replies
      1. re: nmprisons

        I haven't been to Brushstroke yet, but have been very interested in trying it since I'm a big fan of the David Bouley restaurants. Have you been there yet or what have you heard about it?

        1. re: ellenost

          I have only had one meal there (and not their large-format menu), which I enjoyed. The kitchen excels at attractive presentations and clean flavor profiles. But it won't wow you. The best dish that I had would have been a good, but not amazing, dish at Le Bernardin or EMP. Since both those places regularly serve me food that I think is amazing, I just don't think it is worth Brushstroke over the other two. The service at EMP is also lightyears ahead.

          That said, it is slightly less expensive and so might be good for a budget-conscious diner looking for high-end food.

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

          Brushstroke
          30 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: nmprisons

            I am very interested in the $135 10 course tasting menu--some of my favorite ingredients (wagyu beef and lobster). I saw Brushstroke also has an 8 course tasting menu for $85.

            1. re: ellenost

              I've had the $135 kaiseki menu at Brushstroke and was quite pleased. As others have said, it is not in the same league as EMP or LB, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, the food and service quite good, and I would be happy to go back again.

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              Brushstroke
              30 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: edwardspk

                Thanks for the report. Definitely need to make a reservation soon.

      2. Brushstroke, although getting some good reviews, is not in the same league as EMP or Le B. Is the 150-200 pp an "out the door" price range, would that include tax, tip, and beverage? I am immediately going to say EMP but it could strain the budget if you have alcohol. Maybe you would consider an incredible, leisurely lunch at EMP which would leave you some breathing room.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Spiritchaser

          I wasn't including tax, tip & beverage. Thanks for your help! I am leaning towards EMP.

          1. re: newfood

            not including tax tip and drink, EMP's $125 four-court menu is by far the best meal for under $150 in the city. Heck, you can even do the $195 tasting and stay within your budget.

            1. re: nmprisons

              i like the fact that for 35 dollars; you can bring wine to EMP; oh, i do not like the bread at EMP.

              That said, both EMP and LeB are great places though I think that the food is a little better at Bernadin. Still, you cannot go wrong at either place.

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                Is $35 (per bottle) the new corkage fee at EMP?

            2. re: newfood

              Yes, go the EMP route unless you are both really fond of fish. Make sure they know it's a special occassion. Enjoy, happy anniversary and report back.

          2. Le Bernardin is absolutely wonderful - tasting menu with wine pairing!

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: lifeasbinge

              I agree. OP is choosing between two very good places to eat.

            2. I've never been to Brushstroke, but I've been to the other 2. I really love both immensely, but I think EMP is a bit more appropriate for an anniversary. But it's hard to go wrong. I can't remember what we spent at EMP (or maybe because I tried really hard to forget), but I think it's definitely within your budget.