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Sep 10, 2012 10:39 AM

Tasting menu under $100 pp?

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!

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  1. 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

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

    2. 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, 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

        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

          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. 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. 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. 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