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Help Needed!! - Private dining for a group of discriminating foodies, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Howdee Fellow NYC Hounds,! Greetings from frigid Toronto,

It has been over a year since I last visited and ate at the Big Apple. Recently, I have been given the challenging task of leading a group of serious foodie friends for a two day 'culinary Blitzkrieg' this coming Summer at your fine city. Hence, I am starting to plan ahead.

Dining criteria for this group of about 12- 16 include:

- Private dining Room a must.
- Western Michelin star restaurants a must. Price not a factor. Preferably diverse & different cuisine for all four meals. NO Asian.
- Pre-arranged tasting menu with wine pairing if possible.

Due to the relatively large group size, I have to write off 'open kitchen' places like Brooklyn Fare or Atera. My 'initial' list of candidates include:

Lunch 1st day - Aquavit
Dinner 1st day - Eleven Madison Park
Lunch 2nd day - Lincoln
Dinner 2nd day - Le Bernadin

Question! Shall I replace Lincoln with say Marea? How about EMP or Bernadin with Per Se or Daniel?! Any great Spanish 'Tapas?' restaurant that can accommodate this large group. Loved the food but doubt Casa Mono can handle this size of a group?!

Your input are most welcome!! Thanks in advance!

( Oh! And a Happy Lunar New Year to you all!! )

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  1. I'd definitely keep Lincoln!

    1. Curious why "Michelin star" is a must.

      7 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Well... Read this previous discussion where several posters including myself tried to make suggestions outside of Michelin:

        With a group of this size my guess is that he's playing it VERY safe and conservative.

          1. re: kathryn

            Happy Chinese New Year to you, Kathryn!!

            You are absolutely correct! If I'm dining with just one or too close buddies, I do not mind experimenting and venturing outside the box.
            However, with so much at stake and so many people depending on my decision and guide, I NEED TO PLAY IT SAFE AND CONSERVATIVE!!!

            Better be safe than sorry!!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Scheduling for 12-16 people without actually being here sounds like a challenging exercise! Good luck!

              1. re: Charles Yu


                ... from your lips to Rob Ford's ear, Charles!

            2. re: c oliver

              Something the participants can brag about!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Another oh my.

                We're heading to NYC next week and looking forward to a crawl through Flushing. Different strokes, for sure.

            3. I am not sure if casa mono would be able to accomodate your group but here is the info to contact them about private dining:

              1. Would Bouley work for your group? Bouley has a lovely private dining room downstairs. I had a business dinner there about a year ago, and everyone loved it. It was a set dinner with two choices for each course.

                1. Rouge Tomate

                  Private dining room? ✓

                  Michelin starred? ✓

                  Pre-arranged tasting menu with wine pairing? ✓

                  1. Thank you all for contributing!
                    Decision almost 90% firmed!
                    Availability of Private Dining Room, my previous dining experiences at those restaurants and 'playing it safe' are my major and final selection criteria.
                    I'll stick with the above but most probably be replacing EMP with Per Se, due to Keller's reputation drawing more attention.
                    Lastly, one question. I've eaten at Aquavit when Samuelson was doing the cooking and enjoyed the food. How's this relatively new Chef Jernmark? Guess he must be pretty good to earn the place a Michelin star?!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      My opinion is that Jernmark can cook circles around Samuelson.

                      1. re: mitchleeny

                        +1 on that. Jernmark is one of the most underrated chefs in the city right now. He took a year or so to find his groove when he started, but it's a whole different (and far superior) restaurant than it was under Old Marcus - I mean, Old Marcus never got a Mich star...

                      2. re: Charles Yu

                        I think you should doublecheck what tasting menus are served in certain private rooms. I remember that EMP used to only serve a prix fixe in their private rooms, and while the food would undoubtedly be excellent, it wouldn't be an experience like their full tasting menu if that were the case.

                        As I mentioned on another thread, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/962854 I was at Per Se as recently as a couple of weeks ago, and while everything was excellent, it didn't raise the bar in any way (and desserts were disappointing, as kosmose7 had been warning for quite a while). If money is no option, I would see if you guys can do the extended tasting in the private room. That might be a much better experience. My non-extended meal got near $500 after supplements anyway.

                        Bouley probably has the most choices when it comes to private rooms, from the pass or test kitchen to actual rooms. The menu would probably be the same as their full tasting.

                      3. Kung Hei Fat Choi Charles!

                        FYI, Per Se's savoury dishes are still good, but its desserts have become really, really dull. This is a shame because Per Se had been offering one of the best desserts in town since its inception up until a couple of years ago. If your group doesn't mind, then it will be OK. If some of them are serious dessert lovers like myself, I am sure they will be greatly disappointed at Per Se.

                        BTW, I had lunch at Petrus here in Hong Kong last week and its desserts by new pastry chef just blew me away!

                        1. I would switch Aquavit to dinner, unless you're arranging for the normal dinner tasting at lunch - it's a very different menu. A decent lunch, but the real Mich-star stuff comes out after 5:30. I would also double-check that they'll do the tasting menu in the private dining room. I can't imagine they wouldn't if you asked, but their private dining page menu looks quite different - more like a catering/reception menu.

                          Le Bern and Lincoln are the two from your list that I think do lunches that are more indicative of their dinners. I've seen Chef Benno in the house the couple times I've had lunch at Lincoln - at many places the head chef Isn't even around until dinner hours, and leaves lunch to the B-team.