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Mar 20, 2013 05:49 AM

Best Tasting Menu NYC

I know this is a question that is probably asked a lot, but since menus are changing all the time I thought it was worth asking again. What are your favorite tasting menus in the city? My friend is moving out of NYC in about a month and we would like to experience a great tasting menu before he goes. I've been to Jean Georges so that is out of the running. Looking forward to your thoughts!

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  1. What's your budget, per person before tax/tip/wine/drinks?

    Any favorite foods? I'm thinking this might away a decision if your fried loves fish (Le Bernardin), duck (EMP), aged beef (EMP), etc.

    Where is your friend moving to? If its SF, then maybe Per Se doesn't make sense, etc. Though if it is California, better eat as much foie gras as possible now!

    When you say in about a month, what exactly do you mean? By which I mean, are you already missing the 28 or 30 day booking window a lot of restaurants have?

    All their policies are different and Open Table is not always the best method. For example, Le Bernardin books for the next entire month on the first of the previous, ie all of April on March 1, but only by phone. EMP books exactly 4 weeks ahead including the current day on both phone and OT. Brooklyn Fare books the sixth week ahead on every Monday morning only by phone. Etc.

    13 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Hi Kathryn,

      Thanks for replying, I always love reading your postings!

      I think we are looking to stay below $200 pre tax/tip...some of the menus we had been looking at were Torrisi, Recette, EMP, Rouge Tomate...he is not a huge fish fan so although I am dying to go to Le Bernardin it will have to wait. I am definitely open to all suggestions!

      He is moving to Atlanta, so not exactly a food mecca. He will officially be living there by May 1st...he will be doing a bit of commuting back and forth before then, so we still have time.

      I know all about the 28/30 day booking window but the decision to move was just made so we will have to work with whatever is still available.

      1. re: Linsybee1

        BTW, EMP recently changed their hours so if you can do Saturday lunch or Sunday dinner, you might be able to squeeze in more easily.

        "For reservations, please call 212.889.0905 or visit www.opentable.com.
        We accept reservations 28 days in advance, and our reservations office is open from 9:00am–6:00pm, Monday through Sunday.

        Eleven Madison Park is open Monday through Sunday.
        Lunch: Thursday–Saturday, noon–1:00pm
        Dinner: Monday–Sunday, 5:30pm–10:00pm"

          1. re: Linsybee1

            I've not been to Rouge Tomate, but of the ones you listed, EMP is the only real "special occasion" place. If I were leaving town, that's where I would go.

            1. re: kathryn

              We are not limited to the ones I mentioned....do you have suggestions other than EMP...it can be a bit off the beaten path too...we are young, so it doesn't have to be super formal or fancy, just awesome

                1. re: H Manning

                  Hi H,

                  It's so funny you say that, I was just reading about their tasting..have you been? Was it incredible?

                  1. re: Linsybee1

                    Ko is great. I've only been there once but really enjoyed it. I tend to dine at more formal restaurants at that price point but Ko was definitely memorable.

                    For "incredible" (under $200) I would suggest Corton or Picholine but then those restaurants aren't as young and hip.

                    My 20-something friends also seem to love Del Posto and Bouley, I guess because both are grand yet accessible. If you have a more experimental palate then Ko or Corton would be my suggestions. Maybe WD 50 though I haven't been there in the past year. I also haven't tried Atera yet but you might consider it as well.

                2. re: Linsybee1

                  Been to Recette recently and we won't be running back, the food was actually good but did not like the service at all. I don't think I would do a tasting menu there regardless.

                  Rouge Tomate, just take that off your list, nothing special other than their cocktail with fresh juices.

                  Everyone knows I am a huge fan of EMP and dinner on Saturday night just proved to me once again I am a huge fan for a reason. It would be my choice for a tasting menu before leaving the city hands down.

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    Thank you so much for your reply! I am now between EMP, Torrisi and Momofuku Ko, decisions, decisions...any thoughts on those two?

                    1. re: Linsybee1

                      How much do you like foie gras? I think the shaved frozen foie with Reisling gelee and pine nut brittle at Ko is one of my favorite dishes of all time. However, it's not a very lush and comfy environment. You're seated at a wooden counter and you are typically served by chefs. The chefs aren't unfriendly per se but they aren't the warm, bubbling types either. Plus, they are usually busy preparing the dishes you're about to eat so it's not like they can stand there and chat with you for extended periods of time.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        I like foie...I'm not sure if my friend loves it or not, I will have to find out, that dish sounds amazing though! I will check out Ko right now!

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Ah you meant ko as in momofuku ko, just got that haha...yea I think the 3 contenders are ko, emp and torrisi at this point

        1. One of the best tasting menus I've had in awhile was at Marc Forgione. My partner and I had it along with the wine/beverage pairing and it was excellent. Every course was fantastic and clearly a lot of thought and testing was put into the pairing. Also, it wasn't break the bank expensive like so many higher end restaurants. I think including a very generous tip, it was about $200 per person.


          1 Reply
          1. re: NYFOODIE12

            Thanks! Great suggestion, hadn't thought of that one!

          2. Given that your friend is leaving NYC, and given that the EMP tasting is a "New York" themed menu - I can't imagine a better one to go out with. Torrisi also has a NY theme, though, so... hard to say. EMP is certainly the "fancier" experience, though.

            One nice thing about EMP is that when you make your reservation, if you tell them "my friend doesn't eat fish" or something, they'll make adjustments to their meal as needed, and usually very creative, interesting ones. Though some of the dishes (say, if they're doing the "Clambake" or the appetizing service) kind of require seafood. Not sure what they'd do in their stead.

            That aside, if they're booked solid - the other suggestions have been good. Haven't been to Corton in some time, but recent reviews have been solid. In a similar "outside the box" vein there are Atera and WD-50.

            Ko is amazing, but can only be booked one week to the day in advance, and you have to log into the website at JUST the right time or they'll fill up - so best to have a reservation somewhere else before you try.

            6 Replies
            1. re: sgordon

              FWIW - past substitutions for non fish eating diners (GF is a vegetarian) for the courses you mentioned - mushrooms, squash and she loved it.

              1. re: sgordon

                Ah, thanks for the Ko info...didn't realize that. I love Wylie but I've been to WD-50 so I thought I would try something else.

                I think EMP, Torrisi, Ko and Marc Forgione are now in my top...this is so hard!

                1. re: Linsybee1

                  Okay, do you drink? If so, ya gotta do EMP and have the Manhattan cart pay you a visit (or two) tableside. All kinds of variations on the Manhattan cocktail. Sorry, I know I sound like a shill for EMP but I just can't imagine a better place for a farewll to NYC meal and no restaurant is better at acknowledging special occassions. Now I'll shut up.

                  1. re: Linsybee1

                    If money is no object, then go to EMP. One of the best meals I've ever had. But if you'd rather not take out a second mortgage for a meal, try Marc Forgione. I don't remember exactly everything that was served as part of the menu but I do recall them asking when we ordered if there was anything we don't like so I'm sure your friend could specify that he doesn't like fish.

                  2. re: sgordon

                    Dinner reservations at Ko are now 10 days in advance.

                    1. re: sgordon

                      The Ko reservations policy has changed:

                      "ko accepts dinner reservations 10 days in advance, including the current day. lunch reservations are available 14 days in advance."

                      Don't forget that they count the current day. If you're flexible, you can start trying every morning starting tomorrow for a dinner reservation.