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Tasting menu under $100 pp?

bobabear Sep 10, 2012 10:39 AM

Hi Manhattan Chowhounders!

My husband and I visit NYC once a year in October / November for work and stay an extra weekend. This year we're coming the first week of November, which is exactly between both our birthdays! I've read the past 7 pages of threads and have some good ideas of tasting menus, but since we just bought a house (and are being a bit more fiscally conservative), I wanted to get some suggestions!

Considerations for a tasting menu as our birthday celebration dinner (Fri or Sat night):
- $100pp or less (doesn't include tax/tip/drinks)
- Very good / must have (not just your run of the mill tasting menus!)
- Any type of food - you'll see below that I have varied ideas
- Very good chance I can get reservations (I have almost 2 months...)
- In Manhattan

Some ideas I had and thoughts about them:
- Kyo Ya's kaiseki menu (but I'm having trouble finding out how much it is since they don't have website and no one explicitly mentions it on Yelp)
- Babbo: both the pasta and traditional tasting menu sound awesome, but I'm very concerned I won't get a reservation even if I call in the exact 1 month in advance!
- EMP: tasting menu is now $125pp, but I've also read they are more molecular gastronomy now. We've had some molecular gastronomy places in SF Bay Area where we live and it's just not something we prefer/appreciate as much as regular tasting menus.

If it helps, the other restaurant we've chosen for our other night of dinner is Public. They let me make November reservations already :)

Thank you in advance!

  1. s
    sockster Sep 10, 2012 10:44 AM

    If you subscribe to Babbo's Twitter feed, they announce same day (and sometimes next day), table openings. There seems to be a table or three available every day.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sockster
      bobabear Sep 10, 2012 10:48 AM

      Thanks, sockster! I will add that as an option if I don't get Babbo reservations in advanced :)

    2. k
      kathryn Sep 10, 2012 10:44 AM

      EMP's prix fixe **was** $125pp. That's the price for the former 4 course meal. They have now eliminated that option. EMP's tasting menu is now $195pp.

      IMO, you are better served at Babbo by ordering a la carte and not either tasting menu.

      According to Menupages.com, Kyo Ya's cheapest kaiseki option is $95pp. Perhaps another CHer can confirm. I would call them to confirm, especially if your budget is really tight.

      Another option to consider is to not do a tasting, but rather, a nice, 4 course prix fixe meal.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn
        bobabear Sep 10, 2012 10:47 AM

        Kathyn, thanks for the heads up. They haven't updated that option on their website yet.. Definitely out of the ballpark for us!

        1. re: kathryn
          cambridgedoctpr Sep 16, 2012 11:24 AM

          i call EMP; they will still serve you at the bar, and you will not have to endure a 4 hour lunch or dinner.

        2. s
          Scott_C Sep 10, 2012 10:58 AM

          EMP's tasting menu is $195pp, so I think it's out of your price range.

          Bear in mind that Babbo's traditional tasting menu is mostly poultry (no meat or fish). If you can't get a reservation at Babbo, try Lincoln (5 courses for $90, upon request), Scarpetta (6 courses for $89), or Esca (6 courses for $75), or check Babbo's twitter page for same day cancellations which they tweet at around 3:00 pm daily.

          1. c
            calf Sep 10, 2012 11:03 AM

            Kajitsu's menus are $50 and $75. Aldea has a 6 course chef's tasting for $85.
            I like both restaurants, but haven't been in a while. If I go again I'll be sure to report back for you.

            1. f
              foodwhisperer Sep 11, 2012 09:22 PM

              You can share a $155 10 course tasting at Jungsik. Or you can choose 4 small courses each ( which will be enough food) since they will throw in an amuse and petits fours. You will be very happy with the food and service

              1. Peter Sep 13, 2012 05:54 PM

                Hearth. 7 courses for $76.

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