So...Blondie and I spent 6 days in late September eating our way through Manhattan and I thought I'd post our experiences.
Had 3 successive lunches at Eleven Madison Park, Aureole and Jean Georges.
EMP, slightly disappointing. I guess the 4th star by NYT raised the bar on my expectations a bit much. I was quite happy with my meal, the 2 course prix fixe with the main course being a Pork loin/Pork hash wiht brussel sprouts, mushrooms and squash puree. Blondie was underwhelmed. Her heirloom tomato salad, the tomatoes weren't quite fresh and her Skate with caper berries and almond sultana was slightly over cooked. I'd still rate the meal a 8.5 but with the rep it had, everything should be stellar and unfortunately it wasn't.
Aureole was superb! Straight forward New American, extremely well executed. I had a corn chowder followed by the most tender short ribs I've ever eaten. Blondie loved her branzino cooked in coconut/lemongrass broth. Dessert was a bread crumb topped baked apple pie with vanilla ice cream.
Jean Georges...we liked it alot but not as much as Aureole. First course was gulf shrimp wiht bacon and mango mustard. Entrees were goat cheese gnocchi with crispy fried artichokes and a veal tenderloin with spicy tomato jam and potatoes and spinach.
Service and atmosphere were outstanding at all 3!
First night we got in, we had a late dinner at Sugiyama. Just what we needed, something light yet elegantly and simply prepared. Monkfish liver tofu, tuna tataki, mackeral, assorted sashimi (kamachi, amberjack, tuna and squid). I'd return in a heartbeat!
In the category of better than I expected was our pre theater dinner at Blue Fin. It happened to be across the street from our hotel and I was really expecting the large Times Square restaurant experience. I had lobster/crab bisque which ws excellent and a good if not great sesame encrusted rare Tuna served Asian style with bok choy and rice. Blondie's raw oysters were so so but her scallops served over risotto was well above average. Probably wouldn't return but I'd recommend if you need a restaurant to eat at before a show.
Our splurge meal was at Babbo. 4 of us devoured the menu:
Lamb tongue salad, fried octopus, gnochi and oxtail, spicy lamb sausage raviouli, argula salad, branzino, duck, sweetbreads, goose live ravioli, escarole and some great Kerner wine. I know some board members have knocked Babbo but we found the service, food and ambience wonderful. Flavors were bold and vibrant. It was loud and the tables are far too close together but it was packed to the gills, Saturday night.
We walked around the village afterwards and treated ourselves to ice cream from Cones and pastries from Rocco's bakery
Sunday we went more ethnic and casual. Lunch at Molyvos, Greek establishment on Broadway, went for the basics...spanokopita, tomato soup, meatballs and a very fine moussaka. I'd return again! Dinner was at the Grand Sichuan in the Chelsea area. No frills, wait by the door for a open table, zero ambience but man is the food great! We gorged on cold Sichuan noodles, soup filled dumplings, SIchuan Shrimp, lobster in ginger/scallions and some baby bok choy.
Monday we went to one of Blondie's old haunts as a teenanger. Vesulka, a Ukrainian coffee shop. I didn't care for it, too heavy and deep fried as she wanted some faves from the past. I ate light as I was saving myself for Keen's steakhouse. Blondie had the filet mignon, I had the bone in sirloin. Perfectly cooked! I've been to Sparks and Gallaghers and Keen's has them beat hands down.
Our getaway lunch before our flight was Aquavit Cafe. Can't say I'm a big fan of herring but I did quite enjoy the appetizer plate. The meatballs and roasted chicken was quite good also.
Along the way, we had 'crack pie' from Momofuku, delivered pizza from Patsy's (soggy as it sat there for a while), a turkey sandwich from Carnegie to take on the plane.
All in all, a great culinary roadtrip! We look forward to our next visit to NYC