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Celebrity chef - whose got the best restaurant?

Coming to NYC in midJuly. Want really (really) good food. Will be there 4 days and want to hit a celeb chef's spot one night. 3 of us (all adult), no asian, but italian, american, etc ok. Recommendations ARE greatly appreciated.

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  1. Think Mario Batali's restaurants definitely get the best recognition and acclaim.

    1 Reply
    1. re: phan1

      And del posto's weekday lunch pre fixe is a great option, the OP could do that plus a dinner elsewhere..

    2. What would you define as celebrity chef? For myself, feels like these days almost every chef is a celebrity.

      If you mean food competition judge/combatant, one of Colicchio? Marc Forgione?

      If you mean chef cooking show (I'm thinking more public television than food network)? Le Bernardin, Felidia, one of David Changs (not traditional asian)?

      1 Reply
      1. re: villainx

        was thinking tv chef, but interesting perspective that it could be anyone (i guess that is a nyc thing), thanks for expanding my perception

      2. Thomas Keller's per se
        Bobby Flay's Gato
        Jean Georges Vongerichten's Jean Georges (Only his eponymous place; none of his others in the city are very good)
        Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin

        Cheaper range
        Wyle Dufresne's Alder
        Amanda Freitag's Empire Diner
        Dan Talde's Talde and Pork Slope (Brooklyn)

        2 Replies
        1. re: thegforceny

          Correct me if i'm mistaken but I think of the one;s you mentioned Bobby Flay and Wyle would be the only one's cooking in their restaurant.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            i've always seen jean georges vongerichten and eric ripert in chef's whites whenever i've dined at jean-georges and le bernardin.

        2. Agree with villainx. In NYC its basically the same as asking "what are the best restaurants".

          Your best chance of seeing a celebrity in action these days is Gato

          1. Bobby Flay's Gato is probably the best place to experience a recognizable celeb chef in action at the top of his or her game.

            Alex Guarnaschelli's Butter sounds great to me, but i've not been yet.

            the Batali places are uniformly good, although he's not hands-on, really. i think Lupa is the best bang for your buck.

            1. If you're coming in two weeks or so, you need to make reservations ASAP.

              What's your budget per person before tax, tip, and wine/alcohol?

              3 Replies
              1. re: kathryn

                $50 per, before tax/tip
                not including alcohol

                1. re: CaliG8

                  Look at the lunch options! Especially at that price range.

                  1. re: CaliG8

                    I think you'll have a hard time with that price range for dinner at any celebrity chef place. Maybe Lupa or one of the Eataly restaurants?

                    Personally, I'd do lunch at Del Posto.

                    Celebrity owned (Mario Batali). $39 for 3 courses/$49 for 4 courses, plus amuse and mignardises.

                    IMO, you won't do better given your criteria (that price/celebrity chef).

                  1. re: mitchleeny

                    2nd Gato. The food is a bit heavy but quite good.

                  2. Celebrity based personal TV show: Colicchio & Sons

                    Celebrity based on media appearances (no personal TV show): Ko

                    Celebrity based on recognition by the culinary cognoscenti: Marea

                    Celebrity in his own mind: Peter Luger

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      David Chang (Ko) was in the first season of The Mind of a Chef on PBS.

                      1. re: ellenost

                        But was The Mind of a Chef a personal TV show? As in, starring or centered around that one particular chef -- i.e., Bobby Flay with his various Food Network shows or Gordon Ramsay with Kitchen Nightmare. That's sort of what I was driving at.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          I believe David Chang was in all of the first season episodes of The Mind of a Chef, so I considered it "his" show.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Yeah, as mentioned, the first season was mainly his vehicle.

                            Which I didn't enjoy as much as season two, when they had shorter arcs with different chefs.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              The first season of a Mind of a Chef was a total David Chang vanity piece. Some parts were interesting but it was all DC all the time.

                              1. re: Bkeats

                                I wouldn't call it a "vanity" piece - he didn't self-produce it, after all. That'd be like calling "A Brief History of Time" a Stephen Hawking vanity piece.

                                Also, I found he spent most of the running time talking about how great other people were and being kind of self-deprecating (which he's always been) about his own skills.

                                1. re: sgordon

                                  Yes, he spent a lot of time with other chefs. But my understanding is that MoC was what DC originally had in mind when he wanted to create an app that turned into Lucky Peach. I've subscribed to Lucky Peach since its launch and basically the first season of MoC overlapped with the magazine. So in my mind (not of a chef) its a vanity piece.

                        2. Guy Fieri's place in Times Square sounds perfect for you.


                          3 Replies
                          1. re: knucklesandwich

                            oh, you sound like 18-year-old me giving directions to tourists.....

                            1. NY Hounds-> what would you recommend if the pp were doubled to $100, before tax/tip not including alcohol

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                Craft (or maybe Riverpark, Colicchio & Sons)

                                Also look at:
                                Lunch at Jean Georges
                                Lunch at Le Bernardin
                                Momofuku Ssam Bar
                                Marc Forgione / American Cut
                                Perilla / Kin Shop / The Marrow

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  I like Ai Fiori better than Scarpetta. I'm not nearly as impressed with Riverpark as you are, either. My views of Colicchio & Sons are likely to be forever affected by the piece of plastic that came in a dish my brother ordered. When he noticed it and pointed it out, they apologized profusely, took it off the bill and also gave him an extra dessert and comped both desserts, but that kind of thing should never happen. That was not too recently, at least a year and a half ago. Otherwise, lunch there was good though not great...

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    Michael White from Ai Fiori is not a celebrity chef with TV appearances the way Scott Conant (Chopped) is, though.

                                    1. re: kathryn

                                      Fair enough, though I saw Marea recommended elsewhere in this thread. I do like Scarpetta.

                                2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                  At $100, I'd say that's close to price is no real concern, so it's more of what type of cuisine and what kind of room. Unless you are talking about a hard limit of $100.

                                  I lean more for high end but not too refine if there is a price limit - Breslin, David Changs, Felidia, etc. I'm not crazy about Colicchios places (they are good, but I think lack personality).

                                  And I still would recommend looking into lunch. Le Bernardin?

                                  1. re: villainx

                                    $100 is close to price is no real concern????

                                    There are many prix fixe and tasting menus that are quite a bit more than $100.

                                    There are places where dinner for two will be nearly $1,000 after dinner, wine, tax and tip. $100 a person just gets you into the door at some places.

                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                      $100 before tax, tip, and alcohol would be fine at nearly every restaurant in the city except the tippity-top-top most expensive options. If my math is correct (it is) it would exclude approximately one half of one tenth of one percent of the full-service restaurants in NYC. Even among just the expensive fancy places, most - unless you were only going to suggest Brooklyn Fare, Per Se, EMP, Daniel, JG, etc, - have a starting point under $100.

                                      $100 AFTER tax, tip, and booze, that's a whole other matter...

                                      1. re: Bkeats

                                        The ones way over $100 are not as celebrity-ish chefs, Per Se, EMP, etc.

                                        I agree more and more of menus are hitting 100 - 150.

                                        But most of the TV celebrity chefs are a little more accessible, price wise. And now even the higher end places have lower price point options (either at bar/lounge/or casual dining alternatives).

                                        I can rarely afford $100 per person, but when I do splurge, I feel there's a lot of options.

                                        edit: what sgordon said. =P

                                        1. re: villainx

                                          I agree with everything you and sg said. My point was that $100 isn't close to money is no object. Its a fine budget, but its still a budget.

                                          Chang, JGV, Ripert et al are food celebrities in my view. They may not be on network TV, but that isn't my definition of celebrity.

                                    2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                      I would add Marea to the list, although the question remains what is considered celebrity chef. To me Michael White is a nyc celebrity

                                    3. There's a surfeit of celeb chefs in NYC, but if we narrow this down to TV celebs, e.g., of Iron-Chef fame, I have found Morimoto to be stellar.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: dndicicco

                                        Morimoto can be good IF you avoid the sushi / sashimi / tartare dishes I have found. The sushi just doesn't compare to the top places in NYC.

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          I agree, though the menu at Morimoto in general is WAY too large and unwieldy, so you have to do a bit of experimenting to find what you like. But yeah, I tend to skip the sushi / sashimi unless they've got something special and/or esoteric in, in which case I might order a few pieces as a "mid-course" between apps and entrees.

                                          Some of his more famous dishes I'm not so high on - his take on tartare leaves me kind of meh, but a lot of people love it, I know. I'm bonkers for the oysters with foie gras, though I know that's one of his more divisive dishes. And his seafood toban yaki is probably the best version of that dish I've had.

                                          1. re: kathryn

                                            I really really don't like Morimoto.

                                            Just dunno what they were thinking when they were putting together the menu. Maybe they weren't.

                                            And this doesn't even begin to touch on the execution of that menu. Words at this point fail me.

                                          2. No one mentioned Annisa. Anita Lo is a celebrity chef - she has been on Top Chef Masters (and i think something else) and i have frequently seen her at the restaurant.