Elizabeth Menu Choice
I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to dine at Elizabeth, and I was wondering which menu (owl, deer, diamond) to choose. The choice is up to me, as long it's under $100/person. I'm wondering whether I'd be happier with the $100 owl dinner because perhaps the quality of each course would be higher, if I should just go for the $100 diamond dinner to try more courses, or whether the deer is a happy medium. I'd appreciate any thoughts from seasoned Elizabeth diners.
I had the diamond menu last fall and was pretty happy with it, but the deer menu looked tempting that night too. The deer menu seems to draw the most from the One Sister underground dining that Regan used to host, while the diamond menu allows her to go out and really play with cool/expensive ingredients. The owl menu seems ok if you really can't afford anything more, but I would think of it more as a "budget" option.
The important thing, I think, is that I would gently disagree with your assumption that less courses = higher quality of each course. Just based on my limited experience and what I've heard about other menus, the quality of all the courses was pretty consistent throughout the 3 menus. That's not to say I liked every dish on the diamond menu that night, but I do believe that the same amount of thought, skill and ingredients went into each one.
There have been some tweaks to the menu format since last fall; the Diamond menu is now a "best of" menu, drawing some dishes from the Owl menu, some from the Deer menu and some favorites from the One Sister days (i.e. the Salad Sponge course). I recently did the Diamond menu and had a great time.
The only reason not to do the Diamond menu IMHO would be if you need something less expensive (though with the recent price restructuring, the Diamond menu is far less expensive than it used to be and is an amazing value) and/or if you dislike lengthy meals (the Diamond menu often runs around 4.5 hours; personally I love long meals when the food and ambiance is nice - as it is at Elizabeth - but some have difficulty with such a lengthy meal).