One dinner, High End French
Coming to NYC for several nights and would like 1 high end, French restaurant to take my wife. Some of the names that seem to be the most highly regarded are: Bouley, Daniel, Per Se, La Grenouille, Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park and Jean Georges. Is there any one that stands out among them or are they all great?
Not all the restaurants you listed are strictly French. Per Se and EMP are American cuisine. JG has Asian influences. Le Bernardin is French but also seafood focused. So it's a bit of comparing apples to oranges on your list. Also, what are your preferences in terms of service, decor, atmosphere?
When are you coming? Per Se and EMP are not easy reservations and book about a month in advance. Le Bernardin books on the 1st of the month for the following month.
Per Se stands out i.t.o. food, ambiance and impeccable service over the rest in your list. It's not strictly French. The tasting menu prices are higher than any in your list, but is reflective of the excellent dining experience.
Daniel is one of the best, if not the best, high-end French dining establishment in the city. The dishes are well executed and the service is still quite stiff, but comfortable. They have just a tad more "pedestrian" wines, particularly in terms of pricing, than Per Se.
These are the 2 that I would pick if looking for a truly high-end dining experience in NYC.
Among the restaurants that use haute or nouvelle cuisine techniques, Per Se is the grandest and probably the most formal, La Grenouille is the most traditional, Le Bernardin is the lightest and most pristine, Jean Georges is sort of global fusion, and Daniel is the most accessible.
As a benchmark, Picholine would most closely resemble L'Espalier in Boston especially with regard to the cheese course.
My long-time favorite high-end French restaurant is Bouley. Last week my company hosted a 30+ person dinner party in the Red Room, and it was sensational! My sister was so jealous, that I've already made a dinner reservation for the two of us for next month.