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Jean-Georges (dinner) or Momofuku Ko (lunch) for birthday?

sundropforever Mar 5, 2012 08:58 AM

I'm turning 25 and that's as good of a reason as any to visit a fine NYC establishment. My girlfriend and I are new to the NYC restaurant scene - the only notable places we've hit so far are Eleven Madison Park and Marea. EMP was so good it took several people to convince me to at least try something else instead of repeating.

Here I am, thinking Ko would fortress me out, holding 2 reservations (I know, CH, I know. I'll give one up very soon, and will not hold them until the last minute [of the cancellation policy]). We're horribly indecisive. We like everything except olives. We love ethnic food of all sorts (that doesn't contain olives.) I'm a gastronomy dork. We love seafood. And foie gras.

Sigh. Any opinions or notes or great posts are welcome. Otherwise, thanks for letting me vent!

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

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

  1. ellenost Mar 5, 2012 09:12 AM

    Happy Birthday! I've dined at both Jean-Georges for dinner and Momofuku Ko for lunch, and I highly recommend Ko over JG. Both restuarants have excellent food, although I do find the food at Ko to be more creative. The atmosphere and service at the restaurants are at opposite ends of the spectrum: JG is formal (need to wear your finest clothes); Ko is very casual (don't wear a jacket or you'll be overdressed). BTW, I detest olives, and I doubt you'll find olives on the Ko tasting (but do let the chef know that you don't eat olives). As you may know, Ko is a set meal for everyone and has 16 (smallish) courses. Lunch does take about 3 hours. It's one of my most favorite ways to spend an afternoon. The shaved frozen foie gras with Riesling gelee, lychees, and pinenut brittle at Ko is a classic, and is so popular it is the only dish that is served at both lunch and dinner.

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: ellenost
      sundropforever Mar 5, 2012 11:32 AM

      do you recommend lunch at ko over dinner at ko?

      i've read your ko-boosting posts and they were quite informative.

      1. re: sundropforever
        ellenost Mar 5, 2012 11:55 AM

        I'm glad my posts have been informative. While I loved both the lunch and dinner at Ko, I have started preferring the dinner because the dinner has the fabulous soft cooked egg with hackleback caviar, onion soubise and fingerling potato chips--very addictive! The lunch at Ko is very special since there is only one seating, the restaurant is yours for the afternoon. There is nothing lovelier than spending 3 hours in food heaven, and taking a nice walk over to Milk Bar and getting some soft serve or compost cookies (my favorites). Unfortunately, after dinner I usually don't take the time to do anything but find the First Ave. bus to take me home since I have work the next day.

        Momofuku Milk Bar
        251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

      2. re: ellenost
        foodwhisperer Mar 5, 2012 06:22 PM

        Ellenost, i read your other post , where you had Ko in your top 4 restaurant picks. Based on what you say I have to try Ko again. I was there once when they first opened, I was not thrilled. On the other hand , I think Jean Georges is has the best food in the city. I will report back on Ko. But for the moment, I say to the OP, go to Jean Georges. Marea is not in the same league.

      3. r
        Riverman500 Mar 5, 2012 09:26 AM

        I'd choose Jean Georges over Momofuku Ko. The foie gras, tuna ribbons, scallops with caramelized cauliflower, and turbot with Chateau Chalon sauce are some of their best dishes, I also prefer their tasting menus to EMP's.

        Ko is good but (in my opinion) not as consistent as JG.

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

        1. l
          lexismore Mar 5, 2012 10:18 AM

          You'll probably have great food at both.

          I'd think the real question is, which is more fun for you as a birthday celebration:

          A classic formal jackets-required dinner, or a more casual sitting at a kitchen counter lunch?

          I personally am more comfortable at a place like Ko, but I imagine you'd find JG closer to EMP and Marea in terms of dining style.

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