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October trip to NYC


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Hi NY Board, I’m looking to fill up 1 or 2 empty lunch and/or dinner slots for a mid-October trip to NYC. Restaurants I’m considering are Le Bernardin, Corton, SHO, Tocqueville, L’Adour, Craft (none of which I've been to previously), or any others that people might recommend. Currently leaning towards Corton for one slot. I have a weak preference for lunch, but I know a lot of these restaurants are only open for dinner.

I will be having meals (all lunches) on other days at Jean Georges, EMP, and the Modern Dining Room (all of which I have been to once previously and enjoyed greatly about 3 years ago). Also have a dinner reservation at L’Atelier Joel Robuchon (never been, but have been to the Paris one).

Other restaurants I’m considering and/or will likely include: I would love to eat at Per Se if getting reservations wasn’t such an issue, but I’d probably rather have my plans settled than try to go on a wait list or call for last minute cancellations. I will probably also try for a reservation at Momofuku Ko when the time is right. I had a weekend lunch during my last trip at Momofuku Noodle Bar (I think – whichever one at the time was recommended here for weekend lunch) and was just able to walk in and get a seat. If one goes at a non-prime time, can one basically still walk into Noodle Bar or Saam Bar and get seated relatively quickly?

Thanks - any advice greatly appreciated!

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I would avoid Le Bernadin. SHO is slightly expensive for what it is but is worth a visit for sure. I would highly recommend Jonathan Benno's Lincoln and Riverpark both places you can't go wrong at. As for Per Se if you can't get a reservation you can always pop into the salon and at least get a few courses.

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Of what you've listed, SHO, Tocqueville and L'Adour are barely on my radar. I haven't been to Corton but still want to go.

I've had several magical meals at Le Bernardin. They just reopened after a pretty major renovation and if I were you I'd keep it on the list.

I haven't been to Craft in years, but it was just re-reviewed by the Times and kept its 3 stars, and people I know and trust love it. We had my dad's 70th bday in their private dining space in November and the food was pretty awesome.

Last weekend I had a delicious dinner at Lincoln. The food was very good, but given the extremely high price point I'd personally give going back a second thought if I were paying.

Non prime time at Noodle Bar or Ssam Bar yes, you won't have to wait long (unless you're more than 2-3 people). Lately, I prefer Noodle Bar at lunch, but I haven't tried the duck at Ssam Bar for lunch yet, so that's up for debate.

If you're looking for any casual meals, I think that ABC Kitchen, The Dutch and Red Farm are putting out some excellent food. Oh, and Sorella is a favorite. I also love Maialino, and they do a great breakfast/brunch.

On the higher end, perhaps consider Marea. Definitely keep EMP on your list. I've never had a bad meal at the Modern, although I might ask why you want to go back to both the Modern and JG. I find much of both menus kind of predictable at this point, and I might suggest mixing it up a bit. I'm also still a huge fan of Gramercy Tavern.

If there's any way for you to get up to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, it's well-worth the trip.

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I'd definatley head to Ssam bar for the weekday duck lunch and a few pork buns. I walked in at 2pm about six weeks ago and the place was less than half full.

WD-50 is great, but if you're feeling indulgent, head to Masa, just to say you did. It's pricy, of course, but utterly exceptional.

I would give the Per Se reservations a try, it was closed when I was there but I woulld have loved to have gone.

James.

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Hi NY Board, I’m looking to fill up 1 or 2 empty lunch and/or dinner slots for a mid-October trip to NYC. Restaurants I’m considering are Le Bernardin, Corton, SHO, Tocqueville, L’Adour, Craft (none of which I've been to previously), or any others that people might recommend. Currently leaning towards Corton for one slot. I have a weak preference for lunch, but I know a lot of these restaurants are only open for dinner.

If money is no object, and assuming you can get reservations, Le Bernardin would be my #1; either Adour or Corton as #2; SHO as #3. None of them are bad choices, though. Bear in mind that Adour, Corton, and Craft don't serve lunch. The others do.

I would love to eat at Per Se if getting reservations wasn’t such an issue, but I’d probably rather have my plans settled than try to go on a wait list or call for last minute cancellations.

You should give Per Se a try; it isn't invariably booked solid, the way it used to be.

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Everyone, thanks much for the input. I am still dithering somewhat about my reservations. I called Per Se, and they did not have any openings at any point during my trip, although I am now on a waitlist – I did not think to ask, but I suppose that to the extent that opens up, it may often not be until they make their confirmations? I may also try for Momofuku Ko when those reservations open up.

So I have made a lunch reservation for Le Bernardin. My schedule is close to full now, although I have no bookings on the day I arrive (in the morning) or the day I leave (at night) or on one day in the middle (when I will do something more casual), so I still might book a dinner the day I arrive or a lunch the day I leave.

Am I making a big mistake at Le B, EMP, or the Modern by having lunch rather than dinner? (J-G’s lunch, although more expensive than the last time I went, is still a good enough deal that I want to keep that as a lunch.) The reasons I generally prefer lunch to dinner is that it is often just a tad less formal (although it’s not that I really mind formal, but lunch just has a different feel), I like the natural light (EMP and the Modern, both of which I previously had dinner at, seem like their dining rooms would be lovely, especially if it turns out to be sunny), and I like to be able to take a nice walk afterwards. Also, to the extent lunch is less expensive, that’s also nice, of course, but not necessarily the deciding factor. But if any of these restaurants’ lunch experience pales significantly in comparison to dinner, I might rethink.

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I dunno. SHO and Adour are on my radar. It's a kind of food and ambiance that's hard to get in the City these days, unfortunately. (Not that their food is similar; just a level of "fanciness" and accomplishment.)

Completely agree. Adour also welcomed Didier Elena back behind the stoves not that long ago, so his work there is probably worth checking out. In terms of SHO, I find the food there to be excellent, although the service is spotty for a place of this level (probably due to unionization, as it's in a hotel).

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Hi NY Board, I’m looking to fill up 1 or 2 empty lunch and/or dinner slots for a mid-October trip to NYC. Restaurants I’m considering are Le Bernardin, Corton, SHO, Tocqueville, L’Adour, Craft (none of which I've been to previously), or any others that people might recommend. Currently leaning towards Corton for one slot. I have a weak preference for lunch, but I know a lot of these restaurants are only open for dinner.

If money is no object, and assuming you can get reservations, Le Bernardin would be my #1; either Adour or Corton as #2; SHO as #3. None of them are bad choices, though. Bear in mind that Adour, Corton, and Craft don't serve lunch. The others do.

I would love to eat at Per Se if getting reservations wasn’t such an issue, but I’d probably rather have my plans settled than try to go on a wait list or call for last minute cancellations.

You should give Per Se a try; it isn't invariably booked solid, the way it used to be.

It's also worth checking back with Per Se closer to the date, as they do get openings pretty regularly via cancelation.

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Hi NY Board, I’m looking to fill up 1 or 2 empty lunch and/or dinner slots for a mid-October trip to NYC. Restaurants I’m considering are Le Bernardin, Corton, SHO, Tocqueville, L’Adour, Craft (none of which I've been to previously), or any others that people might recommend. Currently leaning towards Corton for one slot. I have a weak preference for lunch, but I know a lot of these restaurants are only open for dinner.

I will be having meals (all lunches) on other days at Jean Georges, EMP, and the Modern Dining Room (all of which I have been to once previously and enjoyed greatly about 3 years ago). Also have a dinner reservation at L’Atelier Joel Robuchon (never been, but have been to the Paris one).

Other restaurants I’m considering and/or will likely include: I would love to eat at Per Se if getting reservations wasn’t such an issue, but I’d probably rather have my plans settled than try to go on a wait list or call for last minute cancellations. I will probably also try for a reservation at Momofuku Ko when the time is right. I had a weekend lunch during my last trip at Momofuku Noodle Bar (I think – whichever one at the time was recommended here for weekend lunch) and was just able to walk in and get a seat. If one goes at a non-prime time, can one basically still walk into Noodle Bar or Saam Bar and get seated relatively quickly?

Thanks - any advice greatly appreciated!

To echo others here, I think Le Bernardin is worth considering, especially in light of its recent (and needed) renovation. However...and I may get stoned/crucified for this...I've often thought that Le Bernardin was slightly overrated. I have absolutely nothing specifically negative to say about it, and everything is always executed perfectly from a technical standpoint. But I've never left there with my mind blown, and my spirit excited. I just find the flavors and concepts are often familiar and not that exciting, even though skillfully prepared. I can rarely remember specific dishes I've eaten there for more than a day afterwards. It's the only one of NY's "top" restaurants I can say that about. Obviously, this is very subjective, and I may just have had weak experiences there (I've only been three times, and those over a period of many years). That said, I think it's VERY good, and certainly worthy of inclusion on your list.

As for the others, I think Corton can be very exciting, interesting and delicious, though I haven't been in over a year. If you're leaning towards it for one of your slots, I'd encourage you to continue leaning that way. It's unique, delicious and different from anything else in its category. SHO has excellent and subtle food, but certainly not as inventive as Corton's, and the service is spotty and not as strong as some of the others on your list (darn unions!). Still, the space is great, and it's one of the best values in town at this level. Craft is putting out very good food, in a more straightforward style than the others mentioned above, and seems to be over the slight slump of a couple of years ago. Tocqueville probably isn't as inventive culinarily as the others on the list, but still very good in a more classic way. However, for me, it would be at the bottom of the group you mentioned.

Also, L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, which you mentioned at the end of your list, seems to have been skipped over in most of the comments on this thread. Because it's part of a "chain", it's often skipped over in discussions of NY's top food in general, which I think is a mistake. Having eaten quite a few meals there in the last few years, I'm rarely disappointed. In terms of pure flavor and execution by the kitchen, it's among the top two or three restaurants in the city in my opinion.

Lastly, if you're thinking of taking a last minute stab at Momofuku Ko, I'd also highly encourage you to do the same with Brooklyn Fare. The food there is fantastic, and the concept/presentation is somewhat in the same vein as Ko. I'd put Brooklyn Fare right up there with (if not above) any other place on your list if you can get in. And it's easy to get to, so don't let the name deter you. You'll thank me later.

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I was not blown away by my one meal at Corton. I found it precious, and the setting is probably polarizing - some might find it beautiful or exciting. I thought it was overly theatrical and not particularly comfortable. Of course, that would apply to some of the other restaurants on your shortlist.

Big vote for Ssam Bar any day of the week.

If you're interested in good noodles, Totto Ramen in Hell's Kitchen is pretty incredible. No reservations, expect an hour wait at least.

My one meal at Per Se was fabulous, but Thomas Keller was present. There has been recent talk that he's been spread too thin with his various restaurants and it's not as consistent. The view is, obviously, incredible.

I've really gone off Craft over the years. Collichio might be another chef who is spread too thin via his various franchises. Also, the small plate concept - so original when first introduced - has been widely imitated. There's an emphasis on sweet, obvious flavors. If I wanted great steak, I'd go to a great steakhouse (or as some here would suggest, Minetta Tavern).

Finally, I think you might be missing some of the best New York has to offer by focusing on the big name Manhattan celebrity chef places. If you could extend to Williamsburg, Diner offers absolutely killer locavore food. The barbecue at Fette Sau is terrific. Roberta's in Bushwick, which I've not yet been to, received 3 stars from Sifton for their tasting menu (very difficult to get), 2 stars for normal food, but everyone I know who's been there has been blown away.

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I was not blown away by Roberta's non-pizza dishes. We ordered a la carte -- 8 savories, 3 pizzas, 2 desserts -- this past May.

Some of the dishes were under-seasoned (testa, tripe, pasta), one-note (the poached duck egg desperately needed acid), and undercooked (pink pork is fine, hard to chew rare pork isn't). Also IMO peanut butter and mint were NOT meant to go together in a dessert.

I would return only for pizza, and only if the wait wasn't long.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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