I started my search for a special occasion restaurant for a 90th birthday party early, just after New Year’s for an April party. I spoke with several restaurants and Le Bernardin was the most accommodating. I’ve been several times and, although I prefer EMP at that price point, it would be fine. After a lengthy and friendly conversation I was assured by the Maitre D that as a one time only concession, the elderly guest of honor could order just an appetizer. The remaining ten in our party would of course order the entire tasting menu. I was instructed to call at 9 am on March 1 to make the actual reservation as their system works on a 2 month cycle. I asked if I needed to call earlier and was told no.
Today, March 1, I called at exactly 9 am, and waited patiently twenty minutes on their hold system. When I finally reached a “reservationist”, which I’m sure is not a word, I was insistently, verging on rudely told that no exceptions are ever made and I am lying.
Five minutes later I had secured a reservation at Daniel, with my mother-in-law able to order whatever she likes that night. Le Bernardin will never get another dime of my money.
I don’t blame you!! It’s a significant chunk of business that you are trying to give them and for such hostility- i mean not even a “let me confirm this with our maitre d and i’ll call back later this morning” or whatever.
Glad that you didn’t go and have a wonderful celebration ruined by dealing with that the evening of your dinner.
Daniel will be lovely i am sure.
This is exactly why I love Eleven Madison Park. Oh sure, the food is amazing, but it’s more than that. Every time I eat there they make me feel important. It’s not the tour of their kitchen, or an extra dish slipped to our table, or even meeting the Chef, it’s just the way they welcome me back every time.
I was hesitant about choosing Daniel since, like @RGR , lately I prefer Cafe Boulud, but this evening is all about making the night special. My in-laws are very old school and still believe only the flagship restaurant is that kind of place.
I wouldn’t be so sure about that. I don’t know if their menu has changed or if perhaps we just had an exceptionally officious waiter, but when I took my parents to Daniel, we had issues with straying from the tasting menu. When I called to reserve i informed them that my mother doesnt eat fish/seafood and was assured that it would be no problem to accommodate her. I even called to reconfirm the day before and was told that they had it in their system, no worries. However, when we sat down to order, the head waiter acted as if he had never heard such a thing and that subbing something non-fish for the fish courses would be utterly impossible. We finally persuaded him to sub in a couple of things from the vegetarian tasting, but he was an absolute prick about it. One of several reasons I haven’t been back! Hopefully they have upped their game in this regard and will take good care of your MIL.
To be fair, Le Bernardin just called. But the odd thing is they did not have a change of heart about allowing one guest to only have an appetizer. I have no idea why they would call to see if we wanted a table when I told them our needs and they would not meet them. Very strange.
I am heading into the city early and have lunch reservations at Ma Peche, then I am meeting everyone for our big dinner at Daniel. My plan is to post about both meals in separate threads, but we’ll see.