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Best Creative Tasting Menu in New York?


LPShanet
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Yes, it seems we've strayed a bit from the task. Sugiyama is, indeed, wonderful. As is an evening at Yasuda. (And the best of Nobu is certainly something every diner should do, preferably more than once.) However, since this is an "occasion", as stated in the OP, those aren't really the kind of environment I'm going for. Shame about Venue, and let's hope that Jasper (and Paul Liebrandt) lets us know where he's headed next.

I'll let everyone know what was chosen and how it was.

And somehow we've landed in the world of (somewhat) traditional Japanese kaiseki.  Strange.

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But Kaiseki is exactly what you ask for - multi-course tasting menu of creative and delicious fare, and perfectly fresh, in the case of Kaiseki, seasonal ingredients... It's just Japanese. For all we know, they invented the idea!

I'd say Yasuda is straying because a sushi omakase is predominately sushi & sashimi, whereas at Sugiyama you'll go from sashimi to sushi to soups, agemono, wagyu beef you sear on a stone by yourself, etc. Masa the same. Megu is probably 3rd on that list.

I've gone to Sugiyama for an occasion, and it was great, we ate and drank in front of Sugiyama-san at the bar, but we could have also gotten our own table

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. . .

Also, has anyone done a tasting at Blue Hill lately?

. . .

"Creative" is such a loaded word these days. I think WD-50 best fulfills most people's expectations, at least in the direction of molecular gastronomy, but creative exists on a number of less technically obvious, but nonetheless, sophisticated levels.

Blue Hill can be exceptionally creative, but in the same soft understated vein as most of the food it serves. One can have a deep appreciation of food and cooking and still not get, appreciate, or enjoy the food at Blue Hill, but it really helps to understand food and cooking and how it's evolved recently to fully appreciate Blue Hill. Their slow cooked poached egg is a revelation and testament to dedication to technique and technical excellence. As for creative flavor, I've had that egg a number of times at Blue Hill and at Stone Barns. It's never been the same dish twice. I found it interesting the other day, that in a conversation with Blue Hill's manager, Franco, he expressed both some surprise and admiration for Juan on finding out that Juan had read McGee's On Food and Cooking cover to cover. I guess most cooks use it more as a reference book.

It's no secret that my wife and I have pretty much been regulars since Blue Hill opened and I am one of Blue Hill's most ardent champions. I really don't eat out as much as peole think I do, nor do I eat all that often at the most expensive places in town, however last year we managed to eat at Per Se, have the largest tasting menu at Daniel and an incredible multicourse, off the menu, tasting menu at Blue Hill within about a month and a half. Even we were surprised to find that the Blue Hill dinner impressed us the most, and that's not to take away from Per Se or Daniel.

At Per Se, everyone takes a long tasting menu that is spelled out for the evening. At Daniel, one chooses the number of courses, with a set price for each number or courses, and then one discusses allergies and preference with the waiter, often with an eye to the dishes on the regular menu. Far more preferrable at Daniel would be to discuss the number of couses and their composition before hand, although for the most part, I leave the choice up to them. I don't know how well this will work at Blue Hill. As I said, I'm one of their longest running diners and often send Dan long critiques on our meals. At this point they expect me to let them feed me when I arrive. It's a matter of ordering two or three dishes and dessert, or perhaps five savory courses of smaller portions and two desserts (at an increased price). I'd recommend calling in advance, speaking to Juan Cuevas, the executive chef, and seeing what could be arranged. Note only that it's a very small kitchen and that if they're working off the menu, you might expect some delays along the way. It's worth it. Just go with people whose conversation you enjoy.

By the way, no one has more perfect fresh products than Blue Hill, except for Stone Barns located right on the farm.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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