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Toronto Hound needing help with Michelin star 'Luncheon' selection.

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Toronto Hound, party of four, will be making a short two days stay at the Big Apple. Would like to savour two Michelin calibre lunches. So far have narrowed down choices to the following:

- Eleven Madison Park
- Marea
- SHO Sham Hergatt
- Gramercy Tavern
- Le Bernardin

Only criteria is exceptional tasty food!!

Please help us in selecting two. Would also love to hear 'other' recommendations,if any! BTW, Per Se will be out, since we will be arriving on a week day. Thanks in advance!!

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  1. Of those 5, only two are 3 Michelin stars, and coincidentally, only those two restaurants (Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin) have lunch service comparable to their dinner service in terms of food in my opinion.

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

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: fooder

      Hello fooder,

      If it is just a matter of choosing Michelin 3 stars, then the task will be pretty easy. However, based on my experiences, 3 stars meal might offer a degree of sophistication and total package ( food, service, ambiance, wine... ) worthy of the establishment's stature, however, the food might not necessarily be the 'tastiest' when compare to some of its lesser stars brethrens!!

      I included the 'only 1*' Gramercy Tavern to the list because I was told that their 'food', though less sophisticatedly presented, tastes amazing! This, I truly believe in since during my two years stay in Paris a while back, the best tasting meal I had was not at any of the palatial stalwart 3 stars but at a fairly humble 1 star.

      Also, the last time I visited NYC, my meal at Cafe Boulud was actually more enjoyable than my meal at Daniel??!!!

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      Cafe Boulud
      20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

      Gramercy Tavern
      42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

      1. re: Charles Yu

        My response was not about choosing the restaurants because they had 3 stars.

        My comment was that those were the only two restaurants where the lunch service was closest to their dinner service. In most restaurants here in NYC, lunch is much more limited in both scope and scale than dinner. You're often not getting their A game. Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin are the two on the list most likely to have a lunch representative of their A game. It just so happens that they are the restaurants with three stars. If you had asked about dinner, I would have probably said Eleven Madison Park and either SHO/Marea depending on your cuisine preference.

        Gramercy Tavern has been awful every time I've tried to eat in the main dining room. I actually love their comfort-oriented food in the tavern area, but have been beyond disappointed by their fine dining attempts in the main dining room.
        I think the only regular on this board that shares my level of dislike for Gramercy Tavern is RGR.

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        Gramercy Tavern
        42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

    2. In addition, can any fellow chowhounders also recommend a great 'Spanish Tapas' restaurant for a relatively late supper. Obviously not Barcelona or San Sebastian standard but something close to London's 'Fino' or 'Barrica' would be great! Thanks!

      12 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Txikito and Tia Pol are my favorites for Spanish tapas in NYC.

        As for your original question, I agree with fooder - Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernadin would be two best, obvious choices. I've had many great lunches at EMP (back when their lunch used to be a steal!) and while I've only had dinners at Le B, their lunch menu is similar to their dinner menu and includes most of their best dishes. I haven't been to Le B since the re-vamp, but it doesn't sound like the quality of their food has wavered in any way.

        I haven't been to SHO or Marea so I can't comment on them, but the one and only time I dined at Gramercy Tavern, I found the food to be very average and forgettable. I wouldn't bother.

        -----
        Tia Pol
        205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Txikito
        240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Tertulia or Txikito would be my picks. Note that Txikito is more Basque influenced, whereas Tertulia is known for their custom grill, and is modeled after a cider house.

          -----
          Txikito
          240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

          Tertulia
          359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: kathryn

            My daughter just told me she had one of the worst meal in NYC a few months back at Txikito!!! Mediocre food and expensive!! Wasted her whole valuable evening! Will Tia Pol or Tertulia fare better?! Or shall I just avoid Tapas in NYC and look for other form of food, like Mexican instead?! Any Mexican food that is of 'Rick Bayless' quality?!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              The food at Txikito is very simple, so your daughter's experience might just be a matter of misdirected expectations.

              For upscale Mexican, try Empellon or Yerba Buena Perry.

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              Yerba Buena Perry
              1 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

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

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Skip "Mexican" and do Tapas at Batali's Michelin Starred Casa Mono.

                http://endoedibles.com

                -----
                Casa Mono
                52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: uhockey

                  Will do ' Chow-Master'!! Will I be bumping into Gwyneth Paltrow at Casa Mono?!
                  Wonder if I have room to squeeze both Casa Mono and Tori Shin into one night??!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    I was going to mention Tori Shin as a NYC highlight for North American Japanese. But I don't think it's lunch offering is the same as what's available for dinner.

                    Are you going for lunch or dinner?

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      I didn't bump into anyone - just sat at the bar and had a great meal.

                      http://endoedibles.com

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        While you may not bump into Gwyneth Paltow at Casa Mono, if you are seated at a table, you will practicallyt be bumping into the persons at the adjacent tables because tables are *very* tightly spaced.

                        I do agree with uhockey that the food is delicious.

                        Casa Mono photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                        1. re: RGR

                          I sat at the bar - watched the team - got hit by the door and about 100 people. :-) Still loved the food and had fun. It was New Year's Day and I'd eaten at Ko for lunch and then spent the day at ESPNZone Timesquare watching football. To say the least the crowd was a big part of the fun at Casa Mono that night.

                          http://endoedibles.com

                    2. re: Charles Yu

                      I liked Txikito's food, but I thought it was overpriced for what you get. $15 for a tiny portion of offal and beans is too expensive. Would understand those prices if there was some cushion on the seats or tables were far apart. But you sit on hard seats with your neighbor inches away, you'd expect the prices to be a few bucks less.

                      My favorite tapas place in NYC is Casa Mono. Perhaps not as traditional as Tia Pol (haven't been to Tertulia), but very tasty.

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Perhaps she ordered poorly and didn't try the fries with cod mayo, the blood sausage bundles, the suckling pig, the foie toast, the chorizo and egg toast, cod croquettas, or the kitchen had an off night. I find Txikito to be on par with some of the places I visited in San Sebastian in the Parte Viejo.

                        Perhaps Tertulia will be better for you. I find the cooking there more consistent than Casa Mono, and slightly less oily. At Tertulia, I like the padron peppers, broken egg toast, jamon croquettas, iberico rib, grilled bivalves, etc. However, the cooking there also tends towards the simpler and hearty.

                  2. I've eaten at Marea for lunch twice. Here's my report of the first time, if it helps: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805785

                    -----
                    Marea
                    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                    1. Hi Charles. It's been a while since I saw you on the Hong Kong board. Nice to see you here.

                      I personally would choose Eleven Madison Park and Marea if I have to pick only two.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kosmose7

                        i would choose jean-george for lunch, another 3 star michellin restaurant. For dinner, 11 Madison has a 35 dollar corkage fee which makes dinner very attractive if you like great food and great wine and have budget constraints.

                        i like 11 Madison and dine there frequently, but i do not think that 11 Madison blows JG or Bernadin out of the water.

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

                      2. On that list the only one I've not been to is SHO and EMP absolutely blows the rest out of the water.

                        For the second choice I'd personally skip all of those and go to The Modern Dining Room, but Gramercy Tavern would be a nice second choice as well.

                        http://endoedibles.com

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

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: uhockey

                          I had a great lunch at The Modern Dining Room a week and a half ago, and I would say it's definitely worth a trip, but I've only been to EMP for lunch out of your list, and that was pre-menu change, so I don't have much to compare it to.

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

                        2. Thank you ALL for your helpful inputs!

                          Isn't it fun to be a part of the chowhound fraternity?! A simple requests for luncheon recommendations brought out ideas from fellow foodies with proven track record that can be totally in agreement on the one hand and totally diversify and opposite views on the other!! I refer to 11MP and Gramercy Tav.,

                          After a family meeting, we've decided on 11MP and Marea. The latter, a special request from my son, since he wanted to try the Uni with Lardon and the Crab/Uni pasta desperately!! As for dinner, we will be doing some 'small plates' hopping. Yakitoris..etc at Yakitori Totto, some Tonkatsu Ramen from Ippudo and some tapas from Tia Pol?!

                          Lastly,@ Cambridedoctpr: Thanks for your JG suggestion. I know Jean George is a 3* and I've eaten his food, But somehow I am not that keen about his 'Asian fusion' creation. Lemongrass almost in everything?! Ha!! Here in Toronto, we have Susur Lee ( Shang fame ) who also like to practice such approaches. However, my experiences with his food were also more negative than positive!

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            It is uni with lardo - and the Crab/Uni pasta at A Voce is better.

                            http:///endoedibles.com

                            -----
                            A Voce
                            41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

                            1. re: uhockey

                              Oops! Typo!!! Of course its Lardo!! I must be subconciously thinking of the calves liver with 'lardon' and red wine reduction I had the other night?!
                              Which A Voce? The Madison or Columbus one? I'm not at all surprise to hear your comment! A few years back, I ate at the A Voce Madison location. I believe ex-Boulud protege Andrew Carmellini was at the helm. Great rustic dishes with 'intense' flavour!! IMO, tastier Italian than Batali's Babbo.
                              ( BTW, I used to live in Calgary. The other day, to see Boston scoring 9 on them almost made me cry!!!).

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                While I've personally never been, Tocqueville gets a lot of love on this board too, and has an uni pasta as well. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794795

                                Andrew Carmellini left A Voce quite a while ago. He has two restaurants now, Locanda Verde and The Dutch.

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

                                Locanda Verde
                                377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                                The Dutch
                                131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                                1. re: fooder

                                  Had the uni pasta there on Saturday. It is a far cry from the version available at Le Bernardin.

                                  1. re: fooder

                                    Tocqueville gets our love too! Was in both at Gramercy Tavern n Tocqueville over the week.Hard to believe one can get a 3 course fine dining menu w wine pairing w each course for $42.07 in NY!

                                  2. re: Charles Yu

                                    Missy Robbins is now the chef at A Voce and while I dined at the Columbus Circle one I've heard both are excellent.

                                    Having been to all of Michael White's spots (both now and prior with Convivio, Alto, Marea, Ai Fiori, and Osteria Morini all accounted for) I was actually most diappointed with Marea - very expensive for what you get and the service is a bit snooty. If I were you I'd also call them to find out if the Ricci (Uni/Lardo) is offered at lunch - it is not on the lunch menu and I've heard they will only do it at dinner these days.

                                    http://endoedibles.com

                                    -----
                                    Marea
                                    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                2. re: Charles Yu

                                  Charles, you might be aware of this already, but the lines for Ippudo are notoriously and outrageously long. Of course, the usual tip is that you swing by earlier same day, and make a reservation. Works out pretty good the couple of times I did that.

                                  Went to 11MP recently too, pretty amazing stuff. If you want to get the duck, I'd call ahead and ask for some clarification about that. Went there and wanted it. Server insisted it was with the participation of the entire table. I heard it was duck for two. I did try to point it out but to no avail, and didn't argue too hard and enjoyed whatever else was on the grid choices. So kind of no harm but also no fowl. But in hindsight, since a lot of other two tops got the duck, I really wished we could have tried it.

                                  -----
                                  Ippudo
                                  65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                  1. re: villainx

                                    No harm but no fowl. I love it!

                                  2. re: Charles Yu

                                    Maybe sub Tori Shin for Totto, seems like you travel to HK, I would skip Ippudo if you been to Butao, Ippudo is like a downgrade.

                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                      The uni pasta at Le Bernardin is significantly better than Marea's version.

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

                                    2. If you are talking about dinner options, and assuming you have time to work the reservations, Roberta's (in Brooklyn) is suppose to be featuring a killer and special dinner option.

                                      1. I know one is Italian and one is French. However, when it comes to seafood, is ESCA the next best thing to Le Bernardin?!