Let me start by saying thanks to everyone that gave advice and helped me pick out some good food.
I will only review the dinner spots we went to, as the lunches were not super eventful . . .
Friday July 10 Dinner - Eleven Madison Park
This was our first night in NYC and was planned as our best meal/anniversary celebration meal. We went to Eleven Madison Park and I have to say the meal, service and overall experience was spectacular.
The service alone made the choice of EMP well worth it, we had informed them it was our anniversary and when we sat down we were congratulated by the wait staff and at the top of our menus they had specially written Happy Anniversary (I thought a nice touch). After our greeting and little surprise on the menu they delivered an unexpected appetizer consisting of Foie Gras, sweet breads, and a clam quiche tart all very delicious and a nice way to start. This was followed by an amuse bouche of Lobster and Carrot bisque which was fantastic.
Dinner and our ordered appetizers were perfectly cooked and flawless in presentation and taste - I had the Hawaiian Prawns and the Lamb and my wife had the Gnocchi and the pork. My lamb dish consisting of lamb tenderloin, sweetbreads and lamb stuffed vegetables was out of this world good - the lamb was tender and well seasoned/prepared, the appetizer prawns were subtle yet still very flavorful and very clean on the pallette.
The wine list is extensive and offers something for everyonne, they have a great Cotes-de-Rhone and chateauneuf de pape selection as well as a wide slection from California and Southa America. Dessert was fantastic and was followed up by complimentary macaroons and cognac.
We were also visited by head chef Daniel Humm which was a treat in itself, he is extremely engaging and very humble.
Overall the whole experience was amazing. I have had several great meals before and this ranks very near if not at the top but what really seperates this meal was the service - it was impeccable from start to finish, the attention to detail and the attention lavished on us made us feel very special. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough - if you have not been please go NOW!
Dinner Saturday July 11 - DB Bistro Moderne
Let me start by saying that any dinner after EMP save a trip to Per Se or Jean Georges etc. would not compare to dinner on Friday. We chose DB Bistro because we were catching a show (In The Heights) later that evening and were interested in trying out one of Daniel's restaurants.
The food was decent - I had the flank steak which was well prepared and a mozzarella/tomato salad - again well prepared. Overall the food was good but not spectacular and for the taste a little overpriced.
What I didn't like about the restaurant was the hurried and rushed feeling the entire time (I understand it is in the theatre district and maybe that is how service is there) but I felt the entire time that the food was not the focus rather they were focused on getting as many customers through the door as possible. IT almost seemed they weren't looking to gain repeat customers but rather looking to cash in on first time/only time customers and move them through as fast as possible. The service was lacking and our waitress messed up two tables orders beside us - we were not affected but it still showed that the service was wanting.
Overall an ok experience, I would not return and would not recommend it.
Dinner Sunday July 12 - Barolo (in Soho)
We were looking for something casual and relaxed and it was suggested we check out Barolo by our concierge at the NY Palace. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed sitting in the back patio area, it was quite busy and loud but in a good way.
The food again was nothing spectacular but was overall satisfying - I had a smoked salmon and asparagus pasta and a nice mushroom. strawberry and almond salad to start. The service was decent nothing fancy but not really lacking. Like I said the atmosphere was good and relaxing.
The food was a little pricey for the quality but overall a decent experience. I am sure there are better italian restaurants to go to, but we just left Sunday dinner wide open because we did not know what kind of mood we would be in. So relying on a recommendation from the hotel we gave it a shot, overall it was a decent meal - I would not encourage others to go,but if you went it would probabkly be an alright experience.
As a quick note we had good lunches at Square Meal in the upper east side and at Diner in Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
Overall I would say that everyone should try EMP, that you should probably pass on DB Bistro and that Barolo was a toss up.
Again thanks for all the help