I'd like to take out my friends for a memorable dinner because they really saved my life this year (metaphorically). I find Eleven Madison Park's menu very appealing, but is it merely solid and good, not great? And if it's still great, would you recommend the gourmand tasting menu or the 4-course which would basically be the same price with a couple of add-ons. I was originally thinking I would like a bigger portion of their more outstanding, signature dishes, but perhaps the longer tasting menu would be more fun if they showered us with special treats...these people love good food and one of them is more into smaller, more creative plates but it has to taste good too.
They've already been to Jean-Georges, Le Bernardin, Babbo, Fleur de Sel, Esca, Quality Meats; and Masa and Per Se are not in the running due to budget constraints. I was also thinking of Annisa, Etats-Unis (although it seems more of a traditional big plate/less variety kind of place), Degustation for fun, maybe one of the Boulud restaurants or Bouley? and I don't know what else. I think Blue Hill may be a little boring for them. And it seems like EMP is more consistent than the Modern or the bar room there. Would love your suggestions and opinions about said places. Thanks very much.