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Feb 15, 2012 07:37 AM

Advice for April visit

My plan is to be in Manhattan for three days starting on Saturday March 31, leaving on April 2. In previous visits I have eaten at:

Per Se
Le Bernardin
Momofuku Ko

As well as a few other places.

This will probably be my last trip for a while as we hope that my wife will be pregnant soon, with any luck by the time we take this trip. This of course brings complications as some of the places we wanted to visit will be off the list. In particular we were hoping to visit either Yasuda, Kyo Ya, or Brushstroke. Maybe those three could accommodate the dietary restrictions of a woman in her first trimester, but I wonder how good the experience would be when seafood is the primary ingredient. So our list now looks like this:

Lunch: Jean Georges
Dinner: Corton or SHO (I am leaning towards Corton but still unsure)

Breakfast: DB Bistro Moderne (dying for the croque a trois)
Lunch: Maybe The Modern Bar room as we will be at Moma but the menu does not inspire me
Dinner: Not sure. Maybe Acme. Was hoping to fit Yasuda or one of the Kaiseiki places here.

Lunch: EMP. Trying to decide between the four course with the duck or the tasting menu.

So I am on the bubble for three of these meals. I have seen threads about Corton vs. Sho but found them inconclusive. The Modern looks ok but I have read some recent reviews that were quite negative. And as for Acme, assuming I can even get in, I do not tend to enjoy trendy/popular places but the owner has an interesting pedigree. Does anyone have any thoughts on this intinerary?

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  1. Yasuda is closed Sundays, BTW.

    Sushi Yasuda
    204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

    1. What did the negative reviews say about The Modern?

      The only negative thing I've found with The Modern Bar Room is that you must make a reservation for good service. If you get seated at one of those cocktail tables used for walk-ins, the servers for some reason have a hard time noticing you. I've sat at a cocktail table 3 times, and everytime, it took me 15-30 minutes to receive a menu upon sitting down and just as long to ask for a check. On the other hand, I've never run into service issues when seated at a normal table with reservation.

      The restaurant is actually one of my favorites in terms of food. I love their Alsatian Country Soup, Roasted Duck Breast, Spice-Dusted Squab, and the Beignets. And I adore their non-alcoholic drink concoction called Lychee Puree & Soda.

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

      6 Replies
      1. re: Cheeryvisage

        I just saw some reviews on this board and on others that said the food was not very good. Of course there have been lots of positive reviews as well which is why it is on my list, and the other restaurants on my list have had their share of negative reviews as well so the negative reviews of The Modern weigh less on my mind than how I perceive the menu choices.

        1. re: Cheeryvisage

          Are you going to the Modern Bar Room during peak dining hours (7-8:30P)? I've dropped by the Bar Room several times after 9P and have received menus right away.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Two of the times were at 5:30pm. Didn't receive my menu until 6pm.

            The other time was around 9pm. Got the menu at around 9:15pm.

            So, I've pretty much sworn off walking into The Modern Bar Room without a reservation.

            1. re: Cheeryvisage

              Sorry you've had a bad experience. I've been there at least seven times after 9P and had no issues with service.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                Yeah, I like the food at The Modern Bar Room so much that I still keep on going back regularly, just with reservations. :)

                1. re: Cheeryvisage

                  Love the Modern Bar Room as well. And I find it a pretty good value for your money.

        2. I can't see going to Yasuda or Kyo Ya or Brushstroke and telling them to hold back. Better to wait for a future time when you'll be able to have the full, unfettered experience, and use your dining $$ for places you can experience at their best, within your dietary restrictions.

          Re: Corton vs. SHO - not like you'll have a bad meal at either, I suppose it depends on whether you prefer to be locked into t tasting menu or have a bit more control over your meal. Corton is TM only (though there are two tasting menus to choose from, and on each I believe there's one course where you can pick your protein.

          I've only been to Bistro Moderne for brunch once, and I wasn't thrilled. I'm very picky with my Croques, and theirs left me less than thrilled. I like them for lunch quite a lot though - the Chicken Oyster & Escargot Fricasee is all kinds of awesome, as is the famous burger.

          Kyo Ya
          94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          SHO Shaun Hergatt
          40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

          30 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

          13 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            I had the burger in Vegas when DB still had an outpost there. I was actually not so impressed. I mean it was good but I feel it was not worth 30 something dollars. On that topic I would really like to try the Black Label at Minetta Tavern.

            As for Corton vs. SHO, I have to admit that one of the reasons SHO interests me aside from the 2 michelin stars is the 30% off the final bill via another website that I am not sure if I can mention here. All things being equal I lean more towards Corton. Corton I have heard has very cutting edge food, which for me has resulted in both good and bad experiences. That also is making this a tough choice.

            1. re: nextguy

              You can mention it - We mention it all the time. Deal's a deal, right?

              Keep in mind, though, that many choices on the SHO menu carry supplements, which they unfortunately don't list on their website - ten bucks here, five bucks there, but it's still a great deal in the end.

              I find SHO a bit bolder in his flavors, and found Corton (though I haven't been in some time) more subtle / delicate. Both great at what they do, though.

              1. re: sgordon

                SHO had raised their prices in January. Now it's 4 courses for $85 and 5 courses for $100. I wonder if the supplements still exist with the price increase. It'd make better sense for them to get rid of the supplements.

                1. re: Cheeryvisage

                  Was at SHO just this past weekend. Yep, still with supplements on the foie and the lobster. We hadn't been for a while and discovered that they stopped serving beer altogether (may not be an issue for most) and no longer do petit fours or have that chocolate/candy cart at the end of the meal. But, still got the foie/truffle tater tot amuse! SO and kid still love the food there; Chef H did stop by the table and tell us he was aiming for three Michelin stars (!).

                  1. re: Andy T.

                    Thanks for the info!

                    Are the foie and lobster the only items still with supplements? It used to be that 75% of the menu carried supplements back when it was 5 courses for $85.

                    1. re: Andy T.

                      The 30% really comes in handy when you consider wine.
                      They have quite a wine list too.

                      I've been an advocate of SHO from very early on, but if he's really gunning for a third star, they have to significantly upgrade their service. Not necessarily at the top end, but mostly their general waitstaff.

                      Although I haven't been to Brushstroke or Kyo Ya, I would think that kaiseki is doable. Raw fish is not really the main feature, and cooked fish is usually ok (in suitable amounts) for pregnancy. Yasuda would definitely not work

                      EMP: If you trust that you are better at putting together a menu with your choices, then definitely PF and add duck. Otherwise the PF and TM are pretty much the same in my view.

                      1. re: fooder

                        Lol I DO NOT trust myself to put a menu together better than they can. But the duck just looks so enticing. I have heard suggestions to ask if it would be possible for them to replace one or two items from the TM for the duck but that seems unlikely. I will ask them when I can confirm a res.

                    2. re: Cheeryvisage

                      Seems like the menu is pretty much the same as it was in December. If they're excising the supplements, I suppose the price is about the same overall.

                      That does change things, though. Their still-not-informative-enough website doesn't say which course gets left out. Maybe you can choose? I'd be happy to do a four-courser and leave off dessert, which I usually don't have room (nor the sweet tooth) for.

                      1. re: sgordon

                        sgordon: you have to choose dessert whether you do four or five courses. If the former, you can have any three of the savory courses, even one app, one fish "entree" and one meat "entree".

                        cheeryvisage: I only noticed that the foie and lobster had supplements, since that is what my SO and kid got ;) . I am a cheapskate and rarely get anything that has a supplement. That being said, I'd say that about one-third of the current menu has supplements.

                        fooder: agree about the service. Perfectly OK by me at SHO, but not even close to what is done at EMP and other Michelin threes. For ex, the young man who described the three amuses was completely incomprehensible. And, restrooms are hard to find there if you've never been, and no one volunteers to show you the way (unless you ask, of course).

                        nextguy: much as my SO loves Chef H, I'd pick Corton over SHO as well. Corton is a much more unique experience (unless you've been to Twist in Vegas).

                        1. re: Andy T.

                          Excellent comparison - though IMO: Pierre Gagnaire Rue Balzac Paris > Corton > Twist.


                          1. re: uhockey

                            I enjoyed PG in Paris but not so much for the food unfortunately. We will see how we enjoy Corton.

                          2. re: Andy T.

                            Funny thing about SHO and restrooms.
                            I went with a friend very shortly after they opened. When I asked for the restroom, the person literally led me right to the door. I thought it was a nice touch but my friend thought it was creepy. Guess others felt that way too and they've stopped doing that.

                            And regarding the accents of those describing the dishes, I've been complaining about that since the very beginning.

                    3. re: nextguy

                      If price isn't taken into factor, I would say Corton by a landslide. If you're considering price, it's more of a toss-up. The food is good at both, but I've had service issue both times I've been to SHO. If you do go to SHO, I'd opt for an earlier reservation as it seems that the waitstaff falls apart once they have to deal with multiple tables.

                  2. Corton. I haven't been to SHO but I can say without hesitation that Corton may be the most exciting food in New York right now and they only look to have improved since my last visit.

                    The Croque a Trois is fantastic. :-)

                    The Modern is also fantastic and the one really negative review lately hardly stacks up to the consistent praise.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: uhockey

                      I probably will book at Corton over SHO. Actually Corton and DB Bistro made my list when I read your reviews on your blog!

                      Off topic, enjoy your trip to Montreal which is my neck of the woods. Try not to miss the duck in a can or the foie gras poutine at APdC.

                      1. re: nextguy

                        Glad to help. Will be in MTL just after your NY trip.

                        Have heard the duck in a can is a bit "gummy" from a couple of trusted folks while I prefer what you should be ordering at EMP - that lovely crackling skin and succulent breast meat.