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Avant-garde-ish and not stuffy

  • sturm Nov 30, 2011 11:17 AM
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I'm from Queens & Brooklyn, but live in DC right now. I'll be in NYC for my birthday in December. I need help finding a great place to go for dinner. The places I'd go if I hadn't been to each already are Degustation, Ssam Bar, and WD-50.

My priorities are

- Interesting/avant-garde-ish food,
- Possibly a tasting menu,
- Interesting/weird wine list, and
- An environment that leans more to edgy than stuffy

Are there any restaurants I should be considering? Ko is on my list, and a return to Degustation is as well.


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  1. Corton fits that description on your first 3 priorities for sure. The environment isn't necessarily edgy but it's by no means stuffy.

    239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

    1 Reply
    1. re: Barcelonian

      This would be my suggestion, but the "edgiest" thing I have ever seen there is some guy who played a mob boss on TV.

    2. Can anyone speak to brushstroke for this?

      1. You may be interested in Gastroarte (formerly known as Graffit).

        141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

        2 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          +1 for Gastroarte; that's definitely the one closest to wd-50. while nyc has amazing food, we are admittedly light in the molecular gastronomy department. living in dc, id say you might even have us beat, although i've heard rumors that jose andres is looking for a space up here.

          1. re: cubicles

            I also highly recommend Gastroarte. Here is a link to my report:


        2. Ma Peche.

          Ma Peche
          15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

          1. I'll add Empellon.

            Empellon Taqueria
            230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

            2 Replies
            1. re: coasts

              Other than Alex Stupak's resume, what about the classic Mexican food at Empellon is avant-gardeish?

              1. re: Sneakeater

                the design, the music, the artwork, to start...

                from the menu: pistachio, yuzu, matsutake, pumpkin, quail eggs, black kale, lobster, chanterelles...

                is this classic mexican?

            2. I love Ko, Ma Peche, and Corton. Have been very interested in trying Brushstroke since I'm a big fan of David Bouley.

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

              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

              Ma Peche
              15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

              2 Replies
              1. re: ellenost

                This is weird. Brushstroke is pretty traditional Kaiseki. Why are we calling it avant-gardeish?

                (Also, I like Brushstroke A LOT, but I wouldn't go looking for David Bouley's influence there. It seems more like JGV's relationship with Matsugen.)

                30 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: ellenost

                  Someone (thegforceny) upthread mentioned Brushstroke. I'd still like to try it regardless of whether it is avant-gardeish.

                2. I haven't a clue what "leaning more towards edgy" means. But we had a sensational meal at Corton last Saturday and, as has been said, the ambiance is not in any way stuffy.

                  Corton photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


                  1. This just comes from reading others accounts, but what about the chef's table at brooklyn fare?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Rodzilla

                      Of the places already mentioned, I would discount Ma Peche--it's hard for me to see it as molecular, but it's also super casual with shared paper napkins and condiment supplies between every two tables. I guess that could be called "edgy" but not really. Corton certainly has interesting food. I was disappointed by the service, mostly because they don't explain the food which was super complicated when we tried the tasting menu (each dish had 5-12 items, and they would only identify one, in a rush, as they dashed to the next table, with some of them being not only rushed but also speaking with an incomprehensible accent). The atmosphere though is lovely, but hardly edgy. WD-50 when I went was just intellectual and pretentious without any sensuality--really a disappointment to me. I did have a great meal recently at Adara, definitely the most molecular meal I've had in the area, but it's in Montclair, NJ: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822667. The atmosphere is also not edgy though (except that it's in NJ which makes me a little edgy at least). I've not been to the other places mentioned (though some seem like I should add to my list! Thanks to all for that).