Luxury Travel Blog + trip

The Girl Who Plans To Eat Manhattan

Some things are worth waiting for, aren't they?

Times Square, New York
This August, our family of four is booked to fly to New York City for good times with some dear friends. It will be our first trip post-baby (she will be almost 6 months by then). This time around, I will take advantage of free babysitting from my beloved friends and travel companions to sneak away for some self-pampering. By self-pampering, I mean, eating! No more lugging around little kids and getting turned away at couture restaurants nor will there be any marginalizations into sitting at a "less formal" dining room with a different kitchen. Kids, be gone (at least for a few hours)!

And how do I plan to spend my time? Eating at restaurants I've always drooled over. I figured that I have room for 3 haute dining experiences in New York during our one-week stay. I've picked my two; will you help me pick one more? My criteria are good food, good reviews, and a good reputation. Sorry, I really meant to say, exquisite food, mind-blowing reviews, and a wicked reputation!

1) Per Se - Thomas Keller

Per Se by Joe Fornabaio NY Times
I sure hell can't fly to Yountville for French Laundry, but New York's Per Se is up there in terms of my dream culinary sojourn. Sure, the tasting menu has a $275 US price tag - the cost of my roundtrip air fare from Toronto to New York - but is it worth it? Let's just say, I've been saving up and taking on a gambler's mentality: win or lose, I am considering that money gone (therefore, no expectations). Hopefully, if the reviews are right, I will reap a sublime experience. After all, Mr. Keller is not called a mad genius for delegating chef Jonathan Benno to churn out less-than-stellar food, is he?

Check out the seasonal tasting menu here. If only for his trademark Oysters and Pearls, a dish with pearl tapioca sabayon and Island Creek oysters topped with Osetra caviar, I am thoroughly sold. It's a shame that his Gateau of Moulard Duck Foie Gras is an extra $40 US from the tasting menu, but I may just bite the proverbial bullet and fork out the money.

Reminder: Reservations can be made via OpenTable.com, upto 2 months in advance. My target date to book: June 14 for a table in mid-August 2010. Unless... can any one of my well-connected travel or food blogger buddies get me a reservation? Please e-mail me.

2) Le Bernardin - Eric Ripert

Fish creations at Le Bernardin
Well, this place can't be hailed as one of America's most influential restaurants for simply coasting by with lacklustre food. Hundreds of food critics armed with excellent reviews and some 24 years later, Le Bernardin is still going strong where others have miserably failed: serving seafood well. I heard that here is, practically, the birthplace of tartare, carpaccio, and ceviche in America - just before it made its appearance in the mainstream.

Yes, I'd like to experience seafood prepared well via their $138 or $185 US tasting menu here. Looking forward to Mr. Ripert's charred octopus starter and striped bass with corn "cannelloni" and Perigord sauce.

Reminder: Reservations via OpenTable.com are accepted for the following month starting on the first business day of each month. My target booking date: July 5th for a table in August 2010.

Anyone care to suggest a third option for the girl who plans to eat Manhattan? Taking recommendations as of now.

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