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  1. #1
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    Fine dining experiences

    Besides the obvious pearls that are Red Lobster or Applebees, what are some of the finest dining establishments you've experienced? Fixed menu? How many courses? How did you get a reservation? Did you give the maitre 'd a tip? What was the bill? Was the $329 fixed course dinner worth it to you? Did you value the food? Did you value the experience? Would you do it again?


    I'm trying to plan a birthday trip and thinking of possibly going to NYC to try to do restaurants like Eleven Madison, Per Se, or Le Bernardin this March and want to know if its worth it/worth the hassle. It seems like these places only book reservations within 3 months or less so I'm sure they're difficult to get in a convenient time and you really have to plan it out in advance.

  2. #2
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    Best meal I had that could be be considered “fine dining” was Keystone Ranch.

    Although, I guess this doesn’t really help regarding NYC


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  3. #3
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    My only advice is to verify the tappage fee on your box of Franzia Mountain Chablis.

  4. #4
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    Dined at all 3 of your spots a few times, posted about them from time to time here in fact. I’m happy to help if you’re serious if...

    you satisfy the following conditions that my friends here with set forth below:
    I still call it The Jake.

  5. #5
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    Do you enjoy great food? Then you'll enjoy it. Is it a bit "diminishing returns" as the cost goes up? Sure.
    That said, best meal for me was 5 course tasting menu at Craigie on Main in Boston. Not only was the food and prep stunning, they riffed on each course differently for each of us based on our preferences/allergies.

  6. #6
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    If you are going to NYC, I would check out Cote. It's a high end Korean BBQ spot. Some of the best food I have ever had was at WD50 but it's closed.

    I tend to gravitate towards high end steakhouses because they rarely dissapoint. The latest and greatest "foodie" destination can sometimes not deliver on expectations. I've found high end steakhouses have their service and food down to a science.

    Some show off type places I've been to: The French Laundry, Gary Danko, Bouchon, Alinea, The Cat Bird Seat, Blackberry Farms, CIA at Greystone, Momotaro, Pinions, etc.

    All were good.

    I feel that NYC has better options that don't require 3 month advance reservations.
    "I don't pretend to have all the answers, and I think there's something to be said for that" -One For The Road

    Brain dead and made of money.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Stainless View Post
    I tend to gravitate towards high end steakhouses because they rarely dissapoint. The latest and greatest "foodie" destination can sometimes not deliver on expectations. I've found high end steakhouses have their service and food down to a science.
    This is opposite of my experience. I’d rather spend my money out at a “foodie” destination and try something new and interesting. The food at high end steakhouses is usually great, but comparably to other high end dining, I am more able to cook the same meal at home and it turn out 95% there.

    When traveling I like to look up the Michelin Bib Gourmet and Michelin Recommended (Plate) rated places. The same reviewers that give out the stars, give these other (lesser) ratings. You’ll end up at an awesome restaurant, without the advanced reservation or huge cost...
    Best Skier on the Mountain
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    Squaw Valley, USA

  8. #8
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    I get that. I just hate being disappointed after dropping 250 a head on food. I usually get Prime Rib at steakhouses now. Kind of redneck but I dont do a lot of prime rib. I really want to get the Prime Rib at TAK Room.

    Fuck. I completely forgot. The Beatrice Inn. Go there.
    Click to play.



    Cote is an experience that can't be recreated at home. The steak omakase is pretty special. 150 day dry aged, 100 day dry aged, A5 Waygu, Bulgogi. I typically choose cuts that I don't get at home.

    "I don't pretend to have all the answers, and I think there's something to be said for that" -One For The Road

    Brain dead and made of money.

  9. #9
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    The ‘21’ club...... anything less is just less.

  10. #10
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    Manhattan is a ripoff. I've been to places in Manhattan like Per Se, Eleven etc. Fortunately someone else paid. It's gonna be a struggle to convince yourself you're not getting fucked, with the wine especially.

    But if you must. Have fun and try to forget about the cost.
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timberridge View Post
    Manhattan is a ripoff. I've been to places in Manhattan like Per Se, Eleven etc. Fortunately someone else paid. It's gonna be a struggle to convince yourself you're not getting fucked, with the wine especially.

    But if you must. Have fun and try to forget about the cost.
    Keens 32oz Prime Rib and The Duck flambe at Beatrice Inn are pretty reasonable.

    "I don't pretend to have all the answers, and I think there's something to be said for that" -One For The Road

    Brain dead and made of money.

  12. #12
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    Fine dining experiences

    Of the 3 you mentioned Le Bernardin in my opinion is worth the experience and expense.
    I’m a seafood purveyor have either sold them fish or know who they buy from. Chef Ripert is a master of all things swimming and also a very down to earth person who is still open to learning new things. Unlike most chefs who act like pompous assholes. Just make the reservations and let him drive

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by m2711c View Post
    The ‘21’ club...... anything less is just less.
    19, 20, they just don't quite get it done.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellofin View Post
    Of the 3 you mentioned Le Bernardin in my opinion is worth the experience and expense.
    I’m a seafood purveyor have either sold them fish or know who they buy from. Chef Ripert is a master of all things swimming and also a very down to earth person who is still open to learning new things. Unlike most chefs who act like pompous assholes. Just make the reservations and let him drive
    Agree. My youngest sister worked for Eric Ripert for several years and introduced us a few times. Total badass but you’d never know it. Hand over they keys and let him take the wheel.

    Yo Bobby, I’m with ya, WD50 was a favorite of mine and I miss it. His shattered foie gras is something I still think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    19, 20, they just don't quite get it done.
    220, 221, whatever it takes.
    I still call it The Jake.

  15. #15
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    The head Chef and owner at Beatrice Inn is a fox too. So there's that. Just don't order the 120 day whiskey tomahawk... It's 900 bucks.

    "I don't pretend to have all the answers, and I think there's something to be said for that" -One For The Road

    Brain dead and made of money.

  16. #16
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    This place was a real find in my opinion: https://www.armani.com/restaurant/us...orante-5th-av/
    Wife and I went to NYC for our honeymoon. Had a great time, but learned as a few of you have already pointed out, that some restaurants require ridiculous advance reservations. So we gave the Armani restaurant a shot after hearing great things from some locals about it. What a great hidden gem. It's kind of funny because you go up through the levels of the store and it's up at the top. Felt like going to a restaurant in a fancy department store. Look beyond that though and we had one of THE best dining experiences we've ever had. Food was incredible. Portions perfect. Great somm service. PERFECT pacing and service by the wait staff, a rare thing, but it's part of what you're paying top dollar for with a fine dining establishment. Just everything top to bottom was incredible.

    The best part was that not only were we able to make same day reservations, but we also ended up having just about the entire restaurant to ourselves! Slow night I guess, but that's what made the whole experience even better perhaps. I hate it when restaurants are just too popular for their own good. Travel channel, Food network, etc. have made some places just obnoxious in that regard. Had some truly "meh" pizza at some of the supposed top places in Brooklyn for example with lines around the freaking block. As anybody will tell you, those are the places you DON'T want to go. Same can go for fine dining. Lots of amazing places that totally fly under the radar. You came to the right place for advice though as so many here have oodles of NYC food experience.

  17. #17
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    Consider New Orleans instead of NYC? There are some amazing restaurants there that are a lot less hassle than NYC - like Bayona, August, GW Fins. NOLA is a fun town too.

    Some of the best fine dining I ever had was in NOLA - great chefs, fantastic service, pretty easy to get a table.
    And I guess that I just don't know

  18. #18
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    I did the chef's-table-in-the-kitchen-thing at Charlie Trotter's (Chicago) back when it was the bee's knees. It was fine, but I'd have just as soon used the $ to go on a modest vacation or buy a new guitar. Had the bar taco tasting experience at Pujol in Mexico City a year or so back--three year mole, so good. That was worth the pesos, although thinking about the price in relation to the cost of the average street taco (average being fucking delicious) makes me think the whole thing is a bit obscene... Have done a handful of other really high end places, but when it push comes to shove, I guess I'd opt for a street taco over gormoundy-chichi cuisine.

    Don't get the appeal of fancy steak houses at all. Steak is the one thing I can competently and easily pull off at home; if I am going out for a special meal, I'm going to go somewhere with food that is above my skill grade.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Consider New Orleans instead of NYC? There are some amazing restaurants there that are a lot less hassle than NYC - like Bayona, August, GW Fins. NOLA is a fun town too.

    Some of the best fine dining I ever had was in NOLA - great chefs, fantastic service, pretty easy to get a table.
    Agreed. New Orleans is seriously one of the best destinations ever for foodies. SSSOOOOO many damn good options there. Been meaning to do a weekend there someday with the wife. She's still never been.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PassTheDutchie View Post
    Don't get the appeal of fancy steak houses at all. Steak is the one thing I can competently and easily pull off at home; if I am going out for a special meal, I'm going to go somewhere with food that is above my skill grade.
    I hear ya, but that's where you have to chalk it up to the overall experience. If you're getting stellar service, nice atmosphere, and so on, THAT'S what you're paying for. Then again, there are some things that I've had a hard time pulling off well at home, like Beef Wellington. Still can't make that one right to save my life. Also, sometimes they have particular selections of meat that you just won't find easily at your local supermarket or butcher.

    Now if you're talking some lame place like Ruth's Chris, then yeah. That place sucks and there's no point in spending that kind of coin for that garbage.

  21. #21
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    I’m with Stainless. Used to search out foodie places. Ive dropped 200+ a copy before drinks and tip and left wondering where the closest steak or taco place is. Sure , creative ingredients and wild prep are a cool art form. I get it but it isn’t for me after sampling high end eateries in LA, NYC, Chitown etc...
    Turns out I really just dig high quality meats, prepared perfectly, with top notch service in an inviting atmosphere. Bonus points for creativity and presentation.
    If you’re planning a restaurant tour in NYC, I’d probably hit a little of everything. Steakhouse, artsy foodie fine dining and some casual eats.

  22. #22
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    Third on Le Bernadin...

    Eaten at a number of great places in NYC, often on the company dime. Some big names are overrated for sure, and overpriced

    So many great options, depends on what you want.
    1 piece of advice. Eat at the bar.
    Often times same or cheaper menu, better service and heavier pours.
    Grammercy Tavern, Jean Gorges at Columbus Circle are just a few of the places where you will get fine dining at the bar at a discount.

    21 Club fits in here too. You want to be in the Toy room ( bar) if you make a reservation at prime time they will likely stick you upstairs, which is boring. Food is good, not great. Experience is what gives 21 its fame. Eat at the bar.

    Killer Sushi in Manhattan too, skip the overrated and priced Sushi Nakazawa..Sushi by Gari has a great omakase ( but not cheap)

    best breakfast ever http://shop.russanddaughters.com/
    bagel, schmear, smoked fish of any sort. guess they have a cafe now too, but I always just bought it and ate it across the street at the park with a cup of coffee

  23. #23
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    Overtime I go to NYC, I dine at these restaurants.
    Lobster: The Palm (always my favorite)
    Italian: Scalini Fideli
    Cool American: Odeon
    French: Boucherie Union Sq.
    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
    ― Milton Friedman

  24. #24
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    Jul 2005
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    Nothing to add about NYC I’m way too outdated on info.

    I will say, Odeon in TriBeCa? That’s French, non?

    Advice to eat at the bar is excellent. Usually easier to get in and served. Excellent place to get a chefs tasting with wine pairing and heavy pours. Also good to get feedback from the bartender but do ask if he or she has tasted the menu before you blindly trust their advice. That is one place where it’s worth a table and listening to the servers.


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  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Seattle
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    I did a 30 course tasting menu at Disfrutar in Barcelona. It was worth every penny.

    I can't help you with NYC recommendations.

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