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Special Dinner for 2 - Jungsik? Bouley? Picholine? La Grenouille? (vegetarian included)

Bouley and La Grenouille have been on my list for ages, but we have never made it to either. I have a reservation at Jungsik for now, and also one at Blue Hill (we have only eaten at Stone Barns, but loved it). The twist is that I am a vegetarian, and while I think each of these is a solid choice for non-vegetarians, I don't want to be relegated to the second (or third) tier dishes. I love that La Grenouille has a vegetarian menu, but I don't know how those offerings compare to their main menu. I think their current main offering for vegetarians is mushroom risotto, which makes me nervous because I have never actually been impressed with a restaurant risotto. The souffle at La Grenouille is always nearly enough to sway me in that direction. Nearly. Same for Picholine - I appreciate that they have a separate menu on offer, but I don't know how strong it is in execution. I can say their vegetarian menu sounds delicious. I am waiting to hear back from Jungsik on whether they can accommodate me, and I know Bouley will. My husband, by the way, eats anything. We have two children and do not get out much anymore, so we really try to make it count! Our last meal out was in early August at Pok Pok (we live nearby), and I think Lincoln before that around April. In the past, we have really loved Daniel, EMP (pre-menu change -- haven't been back yet since) and Per Se. We also loved Stone Barns. I was a little disappointed in Jean Georges and neither loved Babbo (some great dishes, more than one severely oversalted on the pasta tasting). I'm still a bit tired from the new-ish baby and can't think of others to give a sense of what we enjoy. Thanks tremendously in advance for any thoughts.

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  1. I love Bouley, Picholine and Jungsik, so you will have a great time at any of these three restaurants. Bouley has a vegetarian tasting menu.

    1. If you liked Daniel, Per Se and EMP you would love Picholine.

      1. It inexplicably flys under the radar but my recommendation would be Picholine. My GF (a vegetarian) has always been treated very well there.

        1. If I remember correctly Jungsik does not have much vegetarian dishes. I would strongly recommend the vegetarian tasting menu at Brushstroke or Kajitsu.

          1. I've never been impressed with Blue Hill in the city. I've heard the same from my other non-vegetarian friends. I think my main course was a slab of slightly crunch cauliflower. If I'm just looking for fresh and simply, I much prefer ABC Kitchen and North End Grill, though neither is as upscale as you seem to be looking for.

            Picholine was great when I was last there (around 3 years ago). You may want to consider Cafe Boulud, which is very vegetarian friendly.

            1. My dining friend was very happy with the vegetarian dishes she received at Jungsik last weekend. The restaurant was also kind enough to allow me to order the tasting menu at the same time. However, I do think that the vegetarian menu that was offered by Bouley was more satisfactory and original. I also love Kajitsu.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jewelin

                But it is important to note that Kajitsu is ONLY vegetarian.

                1. re: Spiritchaser

                  Kajitsu is vegan. For that alone it is amazing.

                  (this is their recipe for a thin and a thick "worcestershire" sauce: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/mag...)

                  1. re: calf

                    I will second Kajitsu, if it's vegetarian you want. I will add that Bouley's Brushstroke, has an excellent vegetarian tasting menu. Forget Jungsik for vegetarian. Le Grenouille for French.

              2. If you wan't classic french with modern sensibilities try LePerigord at E52nd & First. Less snobby than Le Grenouille and better service. I've never been dissappointed. Beautifully decorated without pretense.

                1. Thanks so much for all of the replies! It looks like Bouley and Picholine get high marks, including for vegetarian offerings. There is availability at both still so we will think on it for a few more days before deciding.

                  We have eaten at Kajitsu, before the chef left. We liked but didn't love it, and found some of the dishes a bit bland. I imagine this varies depending on the menu on the night you happen to visit. Love ABC kitchen, but we did want something a little more special.

                  I still do want to get to La Grenouille one of these days for souffle. We will also definitely hit Jungsik for a future meal. I think it sounds unique and interesting.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Olive123

                    I am also vegetarian and was impressed with La Grenouille, it is an experience not to be missed.

                    1. re: lavendula

                      Can I ask what you had at La Grenouille that you would recommend? We ended up at Bouley, but my husband was not blown away (or particularly impressed) and while I enjoyed my food, I enjoyed our last trip to EMP more. Picholine and La Grenouille are back on our lists for next time we can get out of the house sans kids, but I would love some insight into the La Grenouille menu from a fellow vegetarian.