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May 14, 2012 09:47 AM

Prune or Marc Forgione?

Hi - I have reservations at both Prune and Marc Forgione for Thursday at 9:30 ...and I can't decide which to go with...
Any thoughts?

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  1. I've never been to MF, but I can say without reservation that Prune is absolutely delicious and delightful, and, if you go, you'll not be disappointed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: howdini

      Thanks howdini - I've read great things on this site...but I was torn!!

      1. re: MaryMelissa

        I've eaten at Prune many times, and have yet to be disappointed. I'd never tried sweetbreads before eating them there: they're well deserving of their reputation. The whole fish dishes are uniformly excellent...I could go on and on, but you get the idea!

    2. I think they're both pretty great... but I've been leaning towards Forgione more, of late. Could be on account of Prune's menu doesn't change much and I'm just a bit burnt out on their usual fare.

      Also: less cramped at MF, FWIW.

      But it's not like you'll have a bad meal at either. I'd say if you've been to one of them before, give the other a shot. If not, look over the menus and see what grabs your attention. The Chili Lobster and BBQ Oysters at MF are classics (as is his chicken-for-two, and anything with his "Sauce Proposal") - but then I could say the same about a number of dishes at Prune...

      1. Although Prune is great you should definetly go to Marc Forgione - went there last week and the food was amazing.

        1. I think Marc Forgione blows Prune out of the water. Marc Forgione was one of the best meals I have experienced. I got the tasting menu and every dish was perfectly executed. Service is terrific and friendly and the atmosphere is very cool.

          Prune was one of the most disappointing meals I've had. Looked forward to it but it did not wow me in the least. The whole roasted fish was doused with fennel seeds and the signature bone marrow appetizer didn't have much bone marrow and was served with bland stale toast. Service was also a bit sluggish.

          10 Replies
          1. re: steakrules85

            Thank you!! Based on responses, I have officially cancellecd Pruce reservations and we are headed to MF! I have requested the chef's table but regarless I know we will have a great meal. I love this site! Happy Eating!

            1. re: steakrules85

              Steak - I've never done the tasting at MF. Was it culled from regular menu items, just scaled-down, or was it unique to itself? (Also, how much was it / how many courses - I don't think I remember seeing one listed, and there isn't one listed on the website...)

              1. re: sgordon


                I actually did not remember so I had to refer to my review that I wrote from last year. Turned out it was 5 courses plus dessert, however I added a course and they even sent me out a complimentary duck dish from the ala carte menu that I had been torn over ordering. So for me it wound up being 7 savory courses plus dessert. Just goes to show you how great their service is. The tasting is composed of Marc's signature dishes from the menu.

                Also, one thing to note is their menu changes quite often, so do not go there if you have your heat set on a dish listed on the website. There are some that never change- the chili lobster appetizer, chicken for two, tomahawk ribeye (if available, which I still NEED to try but have to go with another person since it is for 2), and the awesome Halibut.

                Here is a summary from my review:

                Tasting went for $99 and I added a special kobe beef appetizer into as well for a total of what was supposed to be 6 courses plus dessert.

                First- Hiramasa tartare- I love yellowtail kingfish and this was outstanding. So fresh, clean, light. The soy type sauce it came with was pleasantly sweet and the avocado added a nice richness to complete the dish. Homeade potato chips offered a nice crunch.

                Second- Kobe beef carpaccio on a 500 degree stone with lardo and chimichurri. This was another nice little bite. Only one small piece but it offered a lot of punch. Only $6 extra which was not a biggie for me.

                Third- BBQ oyster, sea salt, pancetta powder with a beer shot. Really delicious. I loved the way they baked the oyster with cheese, bbq sauce, and the pancetta powder on top gave it a bacon flavor. Kinda like an oyster gratin. The beer shot was a playful end to the dish.

                Fourth- Chili lobster- Their siganture appetizer and it was really good. Since it was a tasting the portion was scaled down a bit but I still got nice chunks of lobster claw and tail. Loved the presentation and the sauce was incredibly spicy but someone it all worked well. They also give you 2 large slices of texas toast that were expertly grilled but still soft and chewy on the inside to provide a great vehicle for sopping up leftover spicy sauce.

                Fifth- Torellini Avanzi with chanterelles and balsamic reduction. All too often I am disappointed by tortellinis at restaurants. but this was amazing. They gave me two and I could have had 22 more. They were filled with mascarpone cheese and duck confit, topped with chanterelle mushrooms, truffles, and all came together with a sweet succulent balsamic glaze.

                Sixth- Halibut en croute, artichokes, raisins, cauliflower, hazelnuts, sauce proposal. This is his signature dish and the reason I came here. Unbelievable. The crust on the Halibut was a brioche, perfectly seared on the fish. I was told by the waiter it is called sauce proposal because women propose to him after tasting this lol. It was that amazing, yet I won't be proposing lol. The hazelnuts, artichokes and raisins were awesome accoutrements.

                Seventh- A gift from the chef! I thought i was getting ready for dessert but the waiter said I hope you have room. We have one more course before the sweets, THE DUCK. I was astonished because apparently the waiter told Marc about my interest in the duck so the chef brought it out. It came with corn, corn emulsion, bacon and was perfectly rare.

                Dessert- Banana cream pie sundae. Really? Do i need to explain how good and wonderful this was omggg best dessert I have had in a long time.

                Finally, as I went to pay the check Mr Forgione himself came out to speak to me and that was my real true honor and pleasure. I told him I was a big fan and he was so happy I loved the meal. Refreshing to see a star chef not let the fame get to him and he is still cooking in the kitchen.

                1. re: steakrules85

                  Sounds like a good round-up of his signatures, and a pretty decent price for it at that. Not something I'd order, since I've had them all (except the Tortellini - but I'll probably wait until truffles are back in season before doing that one...)

                  I wasn't as big a fan of the hiramasa tartare as many others - I found it a little bland the one time I had it, but maybe it was an off night.

                  Our usual order (if it's just us two) is the oysters, the chili lobster, one other more seasonal app, and two seasonal entrees (though occasionally one is replaced with the halibut...) - if it's a bigger group the chicken most always makes an appearance.

                  Haven't tried the steak-for-two but I've eyeballed it. It does seem a bit pricey, even for a for-two dish - at $100, that's $30 more than Babbo's steak-for-two, which is also 28-day IIRC - and pretty spectacular. At $100 I'd want a little more than 28 days on it, or for it to feed three, or come with more creative sides than pommes dauphin & glazed carrots, or something...

                  That said, I'll totally join you for it if you need a dining partner.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    Since it was my first time and I had intended on ordering the Halibut anyway, I went with the tasting since it was on the menu. For a first timer it was a great way to experience what Marc Forgione has to offer.

                    As for the ribeye, I saw the table next to me order it and knew I had to come back for it. When you think about it $50 pp for a great steak really is not that crazy. These days that is pretty much the range when getting a steak for two. Craft charges $110 for their ribeye for two. If you go to Minetta Tavern, they have recently raised the praise of their ribeye for two to an absurd $145 (even though it is one of the best steaks you will ever eat). I've never had the ribeye for two at Babbo but at $70 it sounds like a bargain. I wonder how many ounces of meat it is, because the steak for two I had at Del Posto was quite paltry for the $120 price tag 4 years ago. Babbo though tends to have nice portions so I am sure it is a good 32 ounce steak.

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      Just had the two-fer at Babbo a couple weeks ago - solid portions, beautiful char, came with a big ol' pile of sauteed ramps, and the olive oil / balsamic dressing definitely adds a little something to it, though I normally don't take my steak with any dressing or sauce.

                      I suppose you're right re: the prices, considering Craft & Minetta's - those are arguably the best non-steakhouse steaks in the city (actually, probably including steakhouses) - though on the price:value scale I'll put Babbo up there, especially given that it's half the price of Minetta at this point.

                      That said, can't really know until you dig into it. I'll give Forge's a chance at some point, he's earned it. I just wish he was more creative with the sides...

                      1. re: sgordon

                        After several lackluster experiences, I usually refrain from ordering steaks (especially extremely high-priced ones) from non-steakhouses. However, Craft and Minetta ARE two of the best. The one at Babbo does sound terrific too, however I wouldn't order that over some of their other entrees there.

                        I need to try Forge's though after seeing it. After my dinner there I have high respect for him as a Chef and based on my duck dish he knows how to cook meat to temperature. Now I just need to find a partner who likes their steak as rare as me so I can share it. Or I can just order the whole monster for myself =).

                        1. re: steakrules85

                          FWIW, I had the best NY strip I've ever eaten at Blue Ribbon Sushi/Izakaya on Ludlow last week.

              2. I went to Prune about a month ago. Didn't think anything they served was special plus I really really hated their tight seating...and I didn't care for their services either. It was in fact one of the worst dining experience this yr.
                Between my husband and I, we had roasted bone marrow, sweetbread, lamb chop and another main dish I forgot. We both didn't even like the red wine we ordered. i really wanted to like this place but the whole dining experience was really disappointing. It was a big waste of $200.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Monica

                  Thanks Monica! I'm glad we are going with MF! We only get to NYC once/year and we have hit most of the obvious get's a little tougher with the slightly more obscure choices. I am always pleased with with where the chowhounds send me!! :)

                  1. re: MaryMelissa

                    Looking forward to hearing what you think of it... Can't recommend enough the dishes I mentioned above (though maybe don't do the chicken-for two, if there's only two of you - better to get a couple different entrees to mix it up...)

                    Only downside to MF is I find their cocktails a bit too sweet for my taste. If you like a cocktail before / after dinner, Ward III is a block away, and they're great. Also the bar at Plein Sud a couple blocks South makes surpringly excellent drinks (surprising, because it's a crappy restaurant...)