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Avant-garde-ish and not stuffy

sturm Nov 30, 2011 11:17 AM

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. b
    Barcelonian RE: sturm Nov 30, 2011 11:34 AM

    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
      nmprisons RE: Barcelonian Nov 30, 2011 12:01 PM

      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. t
      thegforceny RE: sturm Nov 30, 2011 11:46 AM

      Can anyone speak to brushstroke for this?

      1. k
        kathryn RE: sturm Nov 30, 2011 11:58 AM

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

        141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

        2 Replies
        1. re: kathryn
          cubicles RE: kathryn Nov 30, 2011 04:40 PM

          +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
            rrems RE: cubicles Dec 2, 2011 02:39 PM

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


        2. erica RE: sturm Nov 30, 2011 12:04 PM

          Ma Peche.

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

          1. coasts RE: sturm Nov 30, 2011 03:52 PM

            I'll add Empellon.

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

            2 Replies
            1. re: coasts
              Sneakeater RE: coasts Dec 1, 2011 10:10 AM

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

              1. re: Sneakeater
                coasts RE: Sneakeater Dec 1, 2011 04:10 PM

                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. ellenost RE: sturm Nov 30, 2011 04:47 PM

              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
                Sneakeater RE: ellenost Dec 1, 2011 10:12 AM

                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
                  ellenost RE: ellenost Dec 1, 2011 12:10 PM

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

                2. r
                  RGR RE: sturm Dec 1, 2011 10:32 AM

                  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. Rodzilla RE: sturm Dec 1, 2011 10:45 AM

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

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Rodzilla
                      StevenCinNYC RE: Rodzilla Dec 12, 2011 07:32 AM

                      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).

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