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Dec 18, 2012 07:12 AM

Tasting menus at the bar?

Dining solo Thursday night and want a lengthy, luxurious dining experience that will last a few hours. I'm thinking a tasting menu (and wine pairings), but I don't have res and prefer to sit at the bar anyway. So I'm looking for quality, high-end experience (think Michelin star), where I can sit at the bar and linger over several courses that preferably have been arranged by someone who knows what they're doing; which is why I mentioned tasting menus. Doesn't necessarily have to be a tasting setup, but I don't want to eat three courses and be done in an hour and a half. I'm thinking closer to three hours.

Thought about EMP but my understanding is they don't do the tastings at the bar any more. My other choice was Le Bernadin but I would like some other options.

Price no object. Staying in midtown and would prefer recs in that area but am willing to go outside that for the right situation.

Any help appreciated, thanks.

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  1. Picholine has a variety of tasting menus at different price points, and will serve them at the bar. I've indulged myself there a few times, and often by just walking in without a reservation (week night).

    1. The full Jean Georges menu is available at the Nougatine bar including the tasting menus.

      Downtown, Babbo (which does not have a Michelin star) offers tasting menus to solo diners at the bar. They's very gracious about it and won't rush you out.

      2 Replies
      1. re: peter j

        +1 on Babbo.

        Just did it recently.

        1. re: peter j

          The JG menu is so good, I'll second that one.
          I usually only go to JG on special occasions, perhaps because its more formal and it's uptown. ( to me it's uptown). So I recommend the places I go for the tasting menu or multi courses that are great.
          Kyo Ya solo at the chef counter not a problem.
          Jungsik ( who just got a Michelin star,,,it's about time) is an excellent place to dine solo at the bar or even a table.
          Brushstroke also fantastic place to eat at the chef counter/bar.
          Of course omakase at 15 East can't be beat, and you can eat for 3 hours,, as I did just the other night.
          I guess JG would be the most "luxurious" as the OP's request.

        2. Downtown you could do WD-50, shouldn't be too busy at the bar on a Thursday night.

          Also - while not a tasting menu, at Momofuku Ssam Bar you could make a long, languid meal out of small plates, and getting a seat for one wouldn't be too hard, probably no wait at all. It's a VERY bustling scene, though, so maybe not the best place for a solo diner to spend hours.

          Babbo was a good call as well, though personally I find many of their best dishes are a la carte, and the tasting menu options leave a little to be desired. I'd certainly do the regular over the pasta tasting (just pasta / carb overkill) - or you could make a meal of three or four antipasti (portions are pretty good-sized) plus dessert.

          Back up in midtown, Aquavit has a bar area, though it's normally a seperate bar menu. I suspect they'd be more than happy to serve you a tasting menu at the bar, though, were you to call and ask. They're currently doing a special 25th-Anniversary all seafood tasting menu. They just got their first ever Michelin star this year.

          EMP -might- serve you a tasting at the bar. Again, call and ask if it'd be okay, they might even be willing to reserve a seat at it for you, given that you'd be spending a lot more than a normal bar patron. They're very accomodating.

          6 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            All good suggestions. I have already done Babbo so prob won't do that.

            I should clarify I'm not hung up on Michelin star status per se (no pun intended), it was just to give you all an idea of what I was talking about.

            Right now I'm thinking Nougatine, but still open to suggestions. It's helpful thanks.

            1. re: dicegirl

              Del Posto also serves their tasting menus at the bar. Best service, IMO.

              1. re: peter j

                "So I'm looking for quality, high-end experience (think Michelin star), where I can sit at the bar and linger over several courses..."

                I second Del Posto.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Not a bad idea. In general I prefer Babbo to DP, but the tasting is one area where I think DP has a better offering, and Babbo's is kind of underwhelming.

                  1. re: sgordon

                    Plus, the OP is looking for a "luxurious dining experience" and I think that is better had at Del Posto than at Babbo. I love Babbo, but nothing beats the luxury of Del Posto, in my opinion.

            2. re: sgordon

              My vote goes to Le Bernardin. I was having drinks at the bar at EMP a few months ago and I witnessed first-hand someone get shot down trying to order a tasting menu at the bar. I have to admit Del Posto would be more "luxurious" then LeB, but the food at LeB is significantly better imho. Someone above suggested that you could order the full JG menu at the Nougatine bar. I never knew that, but it might be worth looking into. I still say go to Le Bernardin.

            3. This is giving me so many ideas...hard to choose...

              The only reason I would say maybe not Del Posto is that I'm doing Marea on Weds night at the bar (not tasting). I don't know if I want to go that heavy on the Italian. momofuku looks great but I don't want a "scene".

              I'm still thinking hard about Le B, never been and really want to go. Not awkward sitting at the bar?

              4 Replies
              1. re: dicegirl

                Not sure if you are considering any Japanese but I would suggest the tasting menu at 15 East. It is a 3 hour extravaganza that is incredible. Best done at the bar. Not sure if they have an opening but worth checking...

                1. re: Yaxpac

                  Is Sugiyama still open ?

                  It was basically, kind of a version of Masa, before that joint entered the NYC scene.

                  How about Jewel Bako ?

                  Also, is Le Bernardin or Lespinasse still open ?

                  Thanks guys.

                  1. re: kevin

                    Sugiyama is open.

                    Jewel Bako is a pathetic shadow of what it once was.

                    Le Bernardin is open.

                    Lespinasse is closed.

                2. re: dicegirl

                  Not even remotely awkward sitting at the bar at LeB.

                  Not even a tiny little bit awkward.

                  Not awkward at all.