Very special occasion Manhattan restaurant

I only wish I had to make this kind of choice more often :grin:

So I have to get this right. My top choices for a spring Saturday night party of ten are Le Bernardin or Daniel. Per Se and EMP are off the table, but any other suggestions?

I haven’t been to Le Bernardin but I would choose Jean Georges over Daniel if you’re looking for famous chef French.


11 Madison Park is always a nice option.

Any other criteria you’re using to set up this party?

(And if you have an extra seat just let me know - that’s my kind of list to be choosing from).

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EMP = 11 madison park…


Are you set on something french? Take a look at Aquavit. It’s a seafood heavy menu and although creative not in an experimental/weird way. Actually, since the dinner would be in the spring i strongly suggest you go and order a few dishes a la carte from the bar area or take advantage of the lunch pre fixe.
Or momofuku ko has a private dining option, for dinner it’s a $3k min, (potentially beyond your price point) or if lunch is an option it drops to $1500.

+1 for jean georges

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The last time we had dinner at Daniel, I wasn’t bowled over by the food. And I don’t think you can do 10 in the main dining room. Café Boulud may be his second-tier restaurant, but the food there, I feel, is superior to the flagship. We’ve been to C.B. often and have never been disappointed. Polished and cordial service. Lovely ambiance. You might be able to do 10 in the dining room.

You can do 10 in the dining room at Bernardin (we attended an anniversary celebration for our daughter’s in-laws there and we were 11 at the table). The cuisine cannot be faulted (as long as your party likes seafood). However, I’ve always found that the reception when arriving lacks any feeling of welcoming. And service, while professional, is remote.

Two others you should definitely consider: Gabriel Kreuther and The Modern Dining Room. We go regularly to both, and the quality of their cuisines and service are on at par with EMP. Wonderful ambiance as well. I’m not sure they can do 10 in their dining rooms, but it’s very well worth inquiring.

Here are some photo sets from Kreuther and The Modern:

Kreuther here and here

The Modern D.R. here and here

Note that the menus at all upscale restaurants will be entirely different come spring though at Jean Georges, the tasting menu of his signature dishes is always available. Our last visit there was too far back for me to voice an opinion re: current cuisine quality. However, there are many in the foodie world – including friends of ours who have been there more regularly – agree that the recent demotion by the NY Times from 4 stars to 3 was deserved.

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I am not a JG fan - my first experience years ago at JG when it opened was horrendous - long story, and after my letter we were invited back comped. And the Inn at Pound Ridge - wow. That has gone downhill, IMO. They have gotten to big for their britches, methinks!

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Well, preliminary calls for information have left Le Bernardin and The Grill ( former 4 Seasons ) as front runners. If anyone’s been to The Grill, let me know what you thought.

That’s unfortunate. We’ve found JG to be pretty reliable, and his tasting menu to be arguably one of the better values in Manhattan. Unfortunately I can’t bring myself to set foot inside a Trump property ever again.


@seal, Mr. RBI and I have been to The Grill twice. We had never been to the Four Seasons (the reasons are complicated), so this was the first time we’d seen the landmarked interior space. Gorgeous! The food was delicious, and service was excellent.

As far as ambiance goes, Le Bernardin and The Grill couldn’t be more different. Bernardin is quite sedate while The Grill is very lively. I didn’t find the noise level too high (one of my pet restaurant peeves). But we were there during the summer when restaurants in the city tend to be quieter. However, after Labor Day, and especially after Wells dropped his 3-star review, booking The Grill became difficult and, I’ve read, it’s become more boisterous and loud.

The lighting at The Grill made taking good photos difficult. That said, you can see the photo sets of our two meals on my Flickr here and here.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2