Your current top 5 favorite restaurants right now
Eleven Madison Park
With qualifications: The Elm [it looks like becoming less sophisticated and more casual hotel restaurant, as Liebrandt disengages...]
I say with some regret and foreboding that at half of these restaurants, my last meals were a little disappointing. Perhaps I require a new roster.
My list is slanted towards places we can visit in casual attire, and places that are generally (with one exception being Flushing) convenient to our midtown location by foot, or by easy public transport, and relatively easy to book a table.
We seem, in recent years, to gravitate to the same favorites, although have had very good meals recently at ALDER, AQUAVIT, ATERA, AI FIORI, and probably others that I am forgetting....
Do have worries about the Michael White juggernaut...that was one name that we depended on in the past; less so nowadays.
MANHATTAN CURRENT FAVORITES:
MA PECHE (although have not been in more than 4 months)
JEAN GEORGES (generally reserve for special occasion; again, last visit was about 5 months ago)
LAO DONG BEI
Standbys for last minute dining: CASA MONO and TERTULIA, althouga it has been months since we've dined at either. (HAve been on the road a lot in past year or so..not a bad thing, food-wise!!)
Still seeking that mythical eatery that even passably replicates my favorites in the many Spanish cities and towns of which I am familiar.
Old(er) Faves (mid to high):
Minetta / Balthazar
Henry's End (during the winter / game season especially)
Old(er) Faves (lower to mid):
Tacos El Bronco
Mission Chinese (RIP?)
ABC Kitchen / Cocina
Duck Hash w/ Duck Eggs @ JoeDoe
Huevos a la Esquina and Pozole @ La Esquina
Croque Madame @ Schiller's
* lists subject to change on a whim.
Yeah, my couple experiences - been meaning to write up a little review here, just haven't gotten around to it. Food is very good, but on the subtle side - it's almost the inverse of Mission Chinese. Some clever ideas on the menu, making what might be "difficult" ingredients to some more approachable (i.e. using a combination of century egg and doufu ru - two funky flavors most Westerners would be averse to - as a simulacra to blue cheese in a beet salad.)
A couple dishes fell a little flat for me (the bean terrine, though the gf liked it quite a bit, so YMMV) but overall really good.
Service was fantastic, really personable, and a well-curated beer & wine list too.
I like this thread, actually more than I thought I would. The main reason is, that there is at least one place on everyone's favorites that I haven't tried. I will be making a list of places I have to try. The list will start with places on everyone's list here.