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Quick NYC visit - is this the best itinerary?

canida May 1, 2013 04:45 PM

I'm a SF-based foodie planning a quick visit at the end of the month (tacked onto a business trip) and want to hit some of the top NYC restaurants with a modern/molecular gastronomy slant. It's been a few years since the last time I've been on a food tour of NYC, so lots of new stuff has come up and I'd love the Chowhound take.

Here's my itinerary - all places I've never been!

Wednesday dinner: Atera
Thursday lunch: EMP (pending reservation!)
Thursday dinner: Corton

I've read the chowhound boards pretty thoroughly, but is there anything I'm overlooking or you think I should skip/swap? On recent visits I've eaten at WD-50 twice (underwhelmed on 2nd visit, as it seemed Wylie wasn't pushing the envelope too hard any more), and Ma Peche (the Momofuku family is a fall-back in case of reservation problems.)

For cross-reference, I love beautifully-executed modern food (Alinea, Manresa, Coi) but also value a menu that's challenging and even a bit rough around the edges as the chef tries something unusual (Schwa, sometimes Atelier Crenn.) Being able to watch the kitchen in action is a huge plus.

Thanks for your help!

  1. c
    canida May 2, 2013 03:57 PM

    Booked for the following:

    Wednesday dinner: Atera
    Thursday lunch: EMP
    Thursday dinner: Aska (thanks sgordon!)

    About 8 hours of tasting menus over 2 days, plus a pile of business meetings, should be challenging. Thanks for the advice, and I'll be back with a review in early June!

    2 Replies
    1. re: canida
      ellenost May 2, 2013 04:26 PM

      Very interested to read your reviews of Atera and EMP. Interested to know what's on the menus.

      1. re: canida
        sgordon May 2, 2013 06:15 PM

        Just remember to pack the Lipitor!

      2. b
        Beloved1 May 2, 2013 04:40 AM

        How about Alder, Wylie Dufresne's new place, after EMP?

        I haven't been, but my understanding is that its more casual and its all ala carte. If you can get in, you can tailor your order to your level of fullnesss.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Beloved1
          canida May 2, 2013 03:55 PM

          Thanks for the suggestion! We went with sgordon's suggestion of Aska, but I'd like to try Alder on another visit.

        2. sgordon May 1, 2013 05:03 PM

          EMP and Corton in the same day would be... difficult. Unless your dinner reservation is very late and your lunch reservation is very early. Even still, might be overkill - three tasting menus in two days? I understand the excitement of wanting to try a lot, but you might want to put one of them off until your next trip.

          I'd say if you don't get the EMP rez, take that a sign - do Momofuku Ssam for lunch and get the duck over rice and a side or two.

          If you Do get the EMP rez, maybe drop Corton and do something more casual for dinner. Momofuku Ssam would be a pretty good option for that as well, actually.

          In fact, I might ditch Corton altogether. Nothing against them, but it sounds like you might be more interested in Aska - "rough around the edges" meets "challenging" and "unusual" basically describes them. They're about as interesting as any restaurant in the city right now. Actually, were you to want to do two tastings in one day, they would be probably be the best counterpoint to EMP - very, very different places. Not as rich and heavy, they hew closer to Claus Meyer's "New Nordic Manifesto" than any other place in town, arguably (less focus on fats, butter, etc - more on brightness, acidity, bitter notes, char/smoke...)

          Tough to say, though. Very little compares to EMP, it's absolutely decadent, so any tasting menu you have immediately after that - interesting as it may be - might suffer in comparison. Aska might come off a bit austere after the lushness of the afternoon.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sgordon
            canida May 1, 2013 07:39 PM

            We've actually done literally back-to-back tasting menus before, a late lunch plus early dinner with a 30-minute commute between restaurants. But yes, I take your point - especially if EMP is that amazing, it's not fair to another restaurant to follow directly on its heels. We'll see what happens, and as you say, take it as a sign. :)

            Aska sounds interesting! My husband has scandinavian roots, so that could be a big hit.

            1. re: sgordon
              canida May 1, 2013 08:44 PM

              Also, aside from EMP, how would you rank-order Aska, Atera, and Corton?

              1. re: canida
                sgordon May 1, 2013 10:36 PM

                Haven't been to Atera, so can't comment on that.

                Aska vs Corton... it's hard to rank since they're completely different. Aska is more avant-garde, "rustic modernist" (if that makes any sense) while Corton is a more traditional (at least in comparison) "luxury" experience. And while Corton isn't dated or anything, Aska is very much "on trend" right now. Aska is definitely more adventurous - Chef Berselius touches on two trends at once, both the very modern techniques and the use of esoteric, obscure ingredients. Aska's an experience - and like many bold ventures, who knows if they'll still be around on your next trip here? Corton most certainly will be.

                1. re: sgordon
                  canida May 2, 2013 06:04 AM

                  Excellent points all!

                  And I got the EMP lunch reservation, so will probably be dropping Corton. Adventurous, avant-garde, rustic-modernist sounds like a perfect counterpoint.

                  1. re: canida
                    sgordon May 2, 2013 08:00 AM

                    Cool. Looking forward to your reviews. Wondering how Aska (or really any place) will come off in the afterglow of EMP.

            2. t
              thegforceny May 1, 2013 04:49 PM

              If you don't score the EMP rez, try The NoMad.

              Did you know Wylie has a new place? Alder

              This Board loves Louro.

              1 Reply
              1. re: thegforceny
                canida May 1, 2013 08:44 PM

                Thanks for the suggestions!

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