Marea (New York, NY) [2]

Marea
240 Central Park S
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/9/17

DSC05568

I’ve been to Michael White’s seafood-focused Italian restaurant once a couple of years ago. I recall having a good meal there; in particular, there were some memorable pastas. The restaurant is known to have some of the best pastas in town, which was one of the primary reasons for returning (another was that it was so close to the hotel on an evening with scattered thunderstorms). The restaurant still holds two Michelin stars and is still one of the busiest fine dining establishments in the city.

While a la carte and custom tasting menus are an option, I imagine most people go with the 4-course prix fixe at $102 for dinner. That menu offers a lot of variety – diners can choose from almost any appetizer, pasta, main and dessert for that price. That’s exactly what we did here.

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Eleven Madison Park (New York, NY) [2]

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
Dining date: 9/26/16

EMP

This was my second time dining at Eleven Madison Park. There aren’t many restaurants more highly regarded – the Michelin three star restaurant continues to climb the list of the world’s best restaurants, currently at #3 in the 2016 list. I think my expectations were a little too high in my first visit and have been wanting to give EMP another try.

Dining Room

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Le Bernardin (New York, NY) [2]

Le Bernardin
155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/26/16

Le Bernardin

I’ve been to Le Bernardin once, dining on the chefs tasting menu in the main dining room. This time, I came to try more of Eric Ripert’s seafood-centric cuisine in the bar/lounge area.

The restaurant serves the full menu in the lounge, as well as a ‘City Harvest menu’ for lunch. This fixed menu offers three courses (two options for each) for $49, with $5 of that going to a local organization called City Harvest (which helps feed the city’s underprivileged). Given that $49 could be the price of just one entree in the main dining room, this seemed like a great price point to drop in for lunch on a few courses.

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Per Se (New York, NY) [2]

Per Se
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/25/16

Blue Door

I’ve dined in Per Se’s dining room once, but this was my first time dining at the restaurant’s lounge, called the Salon.  In the Salon, right outside the main dining room, the restaurant offers an a la carte version of that day’s tasting menu. Desserts are also offered a la carte, as well as a dessert tasting menu priced at $70 for 5 courses. I picked out a few items from the evening’s menu – one appetizer, a fish, a meat and a dessert.

The Salon offers the same view as the main dining room.

Columbus Circle

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The Modern (New York, NY)

The Modern
9 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/24/16

The Modern

This was my first time dining at The Modern, which just re-opened a day prior after a full kitchen remodel. The restaurant’s been abuzz in the last year, as one of the most prominent NYC restaurants to move away from tipping (they call it “hospitality-included”), a pricing model that many others are contemplating. The restaurant also garnered two Michelin stars in the 2016 guide, an elevation from its previous one-star status over the past few years.

The current dining room menu offers four courses for $158 and a $208 eight-course tasting (the bar serves a more casual a la carte menu). I went with the four-courser after having a late lunch at Xi’an Famous Foods earlier in the day.

Bar

Dining Room

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Daniel (New York, NY)

Daniel
60 E 65th St.
New York, NY 10065
Dining date: 9/10/15

Daniel

Daniel Boulud is one of America’s most notable chef/restaurateurs with 16 restaurants in 4 countries around the world. I’ve tried a few of his restaurants with mixed thoughts, feeling like he’s spread himself fairly thin. However, I’ve always wanted to try Restaurant Daniel – Boulud’s flagship restaurant in New York City.

Since opening in 1993, Daniel has been regarded as one of the top restaurants in the city. Recently, the restaurant has lost some of its top accolades. It started in 2013 with a downgrade in the NY Times from four stars to three. Food critic Pete Wells cited very different dining experiences between the restaurant’s regulars/VIPs and other customers. Last year, Michelin dropped Daniel from the three-star ranks to two, something it re-affirmed in the latest 2015 guide. Michelin referred to inconsistency and a decline in food quality. Less importantly, the restaurant also dropped for the fifth straight year in the world’s best restaurants list, a precipitous drop of 40 spots down to #80 in 2015.

I was very indecisive on whether to invest a meal at Daniel. Would I be trying a restaurant on the downhill? Or a restaurant with a renewed focus on its food and service?

Bar

Dining Room

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