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Dec 20, 2011 06:30 PM

Bouley lunch on the 24th: change of plans?!

I've been holding a lunch reservation for this Saturday at Bouley, but it turns out they will be doing a Christmas special for $135. This is presumably in lieu of the usual $55 tasting menu, which I am interested in and is much more within budget. They did not post this info on either OpenTable or their own website, but whatever; right now I am trying to decide whether to keep the reservation, or somehow come up with an alternative.

On the one hand, maybe we could do a nice cheap dinner at, say, Marseilles, and visit Bouley for lunch in January. Places like Jean-Georges or The Modern are booked for lunch, and I'm not very familiar with the NYC culinary landscape that well, so if any chowhounders have recommendations up their sleeve for feasible options within the $50 range, I will be so very thankful.

On the other hand, maybe it will be worth it to stick with the booking. It is virtually the same price as a 4-course dinner at Eleven Madison Park, which I took my (Asian) parents and an aunt to last year. However, they did describe that experience as the best western food they've had in their lives. How Bouley would compare against that?


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  1. i'm as big a fan as any of Bouley (not counting ellen), but i'm not sure i'd pay quite that much for their holiday lunch. Marseille is nowhere near Bouley in terms of food, service, or ambiance. it's fine, but it's a totally different caliber.

    the 24th is a tough day. a lot of restaurants will impose a special menu at a higher rate. Mrs. Coasts and I will be celebrating the eve at Crispo again. we find the covered outdoor space to be warm and festive for Christmas when the fireplace is roaring. it's also not on the level of Bouley, but it's well under the cost.

    if you are looking for a special lunch, check David Burke's Townhouse. they often maintain their lunch menu during the holidays, especially as Christmas eve is a work day this year. the food is interesting, the space is fun and the price is right.

    you say Asian. which Asian? have you looked at Kajitsu?

    2 Replies
    1. re: coasts

      Thank you, your suggestions really helped clarify my own thoughts. We're Chinese and love Japanese cuisine; I've been eyeing Kajitsu for some time as well. I think it is a better value for us to sample both Bouley and Kajitsu at a later time, than spend the same amount for one single lunch on a designated holiday.

      The prix fixe menu at David Burke Townhouse looks quite attractive, I think that would work very well for Saturday. Given the shift in plans, the choices expand—Marseille, Novitá, Prune, Aburiya kinnosuke are all possibilities I'm considering. I don't live in NYC, only visiting by train from time to time, and am all ears for more possibilities!

      1. re: coasts

        > the 24th is a tough day. a lot of restaurants will impose a special menu at a higher rate

        Plus, OP is looking on a Saturday for lunch, so many of the usual fine dining suspects are closed anyway.

      2. I wouldn't go to Bouley for $135 for lunch when you can go in January. Not sure if you only want French. Would you go for Italian? Also, how many people is in your group?

        I see openings for 4 people for lunch at Cafe Boulud. They have a $43 3-course lunch. I know Bouley is $55 for 5 courses (and it's fantastic, IMO).

        3 Replies
        1. re: deepfry7

          Cafe Boulud says they will offer a special menu that day:

          "Happy Christmas Eve"-Cafe will offer three courses for lunch for $65pp,$45 for children under 12 and will offer three courses for dinner for $125pp,$55 per child under 12.

          1. re: kathryn

            Yes, for instance, in one of the articles they specifically call it a Christmas Eve Day menu. Gotta love the naming schemes advertisers come up with.

          2. re: deepfry7

            Agreed, definitely moving the good stuff to January. Italian would be great, we haven't tried any yet. I have been curious in particular about Novitá and Babbo, but they are likely booked anyways. I am content with doing simpler / cheaper fare too, given that we will be doing the nice restaurants at some future time. After all, it's totally fine that the holidays are more about the people than the food!

          3. The Dining Room at the Modern is normally closed for Saturday lunch anyway. However, Bar Room at the Modern appears to have openings on OpenTable.

            If you're open to all levels of formality, I see openings for ABC Kitchen, Boulud Sud, Telepan, and Union Square Cafe (brunch menu may appeal) on 12/24 for lunch.

            BTW, I really doubt anything can compare to EMP! :)

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              | However, Bar Room at the Modern appears to have openings on OpenTable.

              That is brilliant! Thank you for this one. Would be a plus if the art museum is open. In fact I should just go over the OpenTable listings and settle on something from there.

              Union Square Cafe I keep reading good things about, I'll keep that one in mind.

              1. re: calf

                MoMA is open until 3pm that day:

                Maybe a nice morning at the museum, and then a late-ish lunch at the Bar Room might be in order? I see openings for 1:30pm and 2pm on OpenTable.