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Backup plan for Eleven Madison Park?

Hi All,

I'm trying to set up a long weekend in February. We have 3 nights dining out.

Two nights will be Sugiyama for kaiseki, and WD-50 for their unique and fantastic menu.
(I've eaten at both before and love them).

For the third night, a thursday, there are 6 of us, and I'd like to go to Eleven Madison Park.
I've dined there a couple of times, and had fantastic experiences.

However, with their third star and popularity, I don't think I can bank on getting a table.
And I need to wait until 28 days before to find out.

So, I need a backup plan.
I do not want Japanese (we've got that another night) or Italian.
Per Se is out, because it's just too expensive.

I'm considering the following:
-- Annisa (for me, an unknown, but the menu appeals and it gets high marks),
-- Gotham (not as 'big' and experience, but I know they are very good)
-- the Modern (another unknown)
-- Le Bernardin (never been, appeals to my classic French side, but gets very uneven reviews)

What other places might you propose?
Or do you think any of the above are a particularly good choice?

Thanks!

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  1. Of the options you're considering, I'd go with The Modern. It's one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I still think about the Squab and Foie Gras Croustillant for two that I had for lunch a week ago. It was amazing. I can recommend a number of dishes if you're interested.

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    The Modern
    9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

    1. Actually for a Thursday with a group of 6 I'm betting you'll have a good shoot at getting an EMP rez but since your question concerns backups I'll say check out Jean-George, Daniel (yes I know I hear the "boos" now), Tocqueville, and absolutely check out The Modern (dining room).

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

      Tocqueville
      1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

      The Modern
      9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

      4 Replies
      1. re: Spiritchaser

        I would say Corton, the Modern, or Jean Georges give you the best chance at a great meal in that price range. Don't give up on EMP, though. Just call first thing and you have a decent shot.

        (boo for Daniel)

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

        The Modern
        9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

        Corton
        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: Spiritchaser

          I am on OpenTable.com right now and I found 3 available reservations for parties of 6 people at EMP. Granted, they're at 5:30pm, and for Mon/Tues, but I gather the 6-tops are not snapped up as quickly as the 2-tops.

          When I called, the hostess who answered told me they currently can't handle the phone load and many of their customers will get busy signals; I think having OpenTable.com open AND redialing right at 9am is your best bet.

          1. re: kathryn

            I've been checking daily at 9AM NYC time to see what opens up.

            The thing I should add is, it's the day we fly in and to be safe, the earliest we can do is 9PM.
            Generally, I'm finding one table for 6 is available right away on opentable, at 9:45PM.
            This happens almost every day and will work for us.
            I will also call to see if we can get more like 9 than 9:45, but it will do if I can't reach them or they can't do it.

            But! There have been a few Thursdays (and this meal must be thursday!) where there has been nothing.

            Hence the backup plan...

        2. Glad you're coming back to NYC! Definitely try for EMP, but as a back up, I highly recommend either Bouley, Picholine or Corton. (another "boo" for Daniel).

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          Picholine
          35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

          Corton
          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          Bouley
          163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

          2 Replies
          1. re: ellenost

            Oh yes, Picholine, can't believe I forgot to include.

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            Picholine
            35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

            1. re: ellenost

              Hi ellenost! Yes, last time I was at EMP we were there on the same night!

              Looks like I've got some more research to do. Not familiar with Bouley or Corton.

              I have eaten once each at Jean-Georges and Picholine and, while I did enjoy them greatly, I think I'd rather try somewhere new than duplicate either of those.

            2. I don't recall if Park Avenue Autumn has a 6 top situation, but that strikes me as a good backup.

              I bet you get your EMP reservation though.

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              Park Avenue Cafe
              100 E 63rd St, New York, NY 10021

              1. LeBernardin. If it gets uneven reviews, I have no idea why. I've dined there probably half a dozen times in the past three years and each time it's been excellent. I think it's one of the three best restaurants in New York (and you've identified one of the others in 11MP).

                Of the other spots, I'd pick Annisa. Very nice. Rather minimalist, which I like, but quite well done. Freshness actually almost competes with Le Bernardin. The one fly in the ointment at Annisa is that they don't have a wine list that does their cuisine justice. A real weak spot in an otherwise very nice place.

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

                Annisa
                13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014