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Aug 18, 2012 09:50 PM

Lincoln VS La Grenouille VS Daniel VS Bouley

It's my mother's birthday, and here's what I'm thinking thru:
-she likes seafood and beef. Food with clean flavors really appeals to her. Can't deal with excessive salt
- Looking for French or Italian
- a lovely atmosphere for her 60th would be great!
- Don't want to do a full-on Per Se multiple-course offering. 3-course max.

Any ideas which of these options would be better? Thinking Lincoln, La Grenouille, Daniel, or Bouley...


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  1. I haven't been to Lincoln myself, but several friends have, and I get mixed reports. One or two of them enjoyed the food and the experience; most thought the food wasn't special enough to justify the high prices and excuse the snooty service.

    In the Lincoln Center area, I've had excellent meals in Daniel Boulud's two local eateries, the Bar Boulud for a light meal (outstanding charcuterie, a memorable coq au vin) and Boulud Sud around the corner for a proper dinner Mediterranean style. The prices are upscale but well below Lincoln's.

    1. Highly recommend Bouley. Celebrated my 53rd birthday last night at Bouley, and it was exquisite. While I had the multi-course tasting menu, Bouley also offers an a la carte menu. Bouley is French food, in a most beautiful setting, with friendly and attentive service. The Bouley website has recently been updated, and now provides their current menu on-line.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ellenost

        We must be birthday twins! Celebrated my birthday with their always-lovely lunch.

      2. I think ah will love LaGreoulle. It is soooo pretty with magnificent flowers done by Charles himself.
        They will prepare the food to your liking. When you enter the room, it is dazzling.

        1. "Clean flavors" and Haute French don't really go together in my head, as it tends to be quite rich, heavy on the butter and reduction sauces, etc. Italian tends to be a "cleaner" cuisine in that sense, as far as letting the ingredients shine. So for that reason I'd go with Lincoln, of the above four - also, I think Chef Benno probably has the lightest salt-hand of the group. Certainly lighter than Bouley, whose food I occasionally have found skirting the edge. Daniel I haven't been to in some years, since I kind of hate the place, but the times I went I found the food overly rich / heavy-handed (and the service awful, to boot.) La Grenouille I haven't been to in some time, either, so I won't weigh in on them. It's not the most creative food, but for what they do they do it well, I suppose.

          So, I guess I'm saying Lincoln of the four. Bouley would be my second choice, the other two I can do without.

          You could also look into some other high-end Italian options: Del Posto (nice atmosphere - on paper it's four courses, but they're not HUGE so it's more like a normal three in terms of overall amount of food.) or Scarpetta (which is a la carte) perhaps. Though excellent (and for my money the best Italian in the city) Babbo might feel a little too casual/boisterous for the event, given the places you're currently considering.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            If going with alternatives, I'd say Le Bernardin has the "cleanest" flavors in the City (if Mom can have just seafood and no beef).

            1. re: Sneakeater

              Of the "Big French" joints - yeah, I'd agree, Le B is definitely the cleanest.

              1. re: Sneakeater

                Yes. The cleanest. lightest, and most pristine. I'm a big fan of Le B.

            2. Not been to Lincoln but love all the others. They are particularly good choices for your mother's birthday because they all have rather a feminine appeal. I'm not sure when Picholine is reopening but it has a lovely atmosphere.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bronwen

                IF Picholine is reopening . . . .