Fifty Best New York Restaurants
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  Cuisine: French  
  Location: Columbus Circle  

JEAN GEORGES          French Moderne

For the New York in-crowd, legendary French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's mastery of fine French cuisine is unmatched.

Of course with such a reputation in mind, Chef Mark Lapico and his team prepare their fare to exacting standards. And the result is perfection. Whether it's the Sea Scallops (with sweet caramelized cauliflower) or the Lobster (either in a Gruyere-green chili sauce or a lemongrass-fenugreek broth), the Seafood has never been more flavorful. Classic main dishes are enlivened with a fusion touch as in the Tuna Wasabi Wonton or Asian-pear-and-candied-tamarind-enhanced Squab. Freshness is a bylaw here, and well expressed in the remarkably tasty vegetables. The just-picked Morels over perfectly tender Asparagus combined with the Napa Salad, can be meal in itself. Dessert is an experience in exquisite decadence, with a rustic Apple-and-Pear Streusel Tart as the clear favorite.

From the source to plate display, this is fine dining to be sure, so it's hard to quibble with the high price. But there are prix fixe options with choices from a divine three-course ($98), or the superb seven-course ($148) menu. The extraordinary wine list is an oenophile’s dream featuring bottles that can run into the thousands, but also includes selections under $100 from most regions. The parting gift of boxed chocolates offers a simple reminder of an elegant and graceful dining event.

1 Central Park West      212-299-3900



  Cuisine: American, French  
  Location: Columbus Circle  

PER SE              American Nouveau,

With its ethereal view four stories up overlooking Central Park South, the uber-pricey restaurant Per Se offers ethereal food fare, as well. No wonder, since the restaurant was conceived by the much acclaimed chef, restauranteur, and author Thomas Keller--owner of the Napa Valley based French Laundry, a place often hailed as the best restaurant in the States. When Per Se debuted in February 2004, Keller knew he had established it as one of NYC's best restaurants in short order. With only 64-seats in the main dining room, a 10-seat private dining room, lounge, bar and remarkable wine cellar (standing like a viewable vault right before the dining area), Per Se suggests both a discreet hideaway and a place of elevated, refined luxury.

Keller's New York presence is maintained by Executive Chef Jonathan Benno, and continues to present Keller's high standards. Those standards include such succulent dishes as Coddled Eggs tipped with Black-Truffle purée and the Chef’s famous “Oysters and Pearls” (Island Creek Oysters, pearly tapioca, Osetra caviar); various unique Foie Gras based creations; and a flight of Lobster Tails poached in butter and painted with a remarkable medley of saffron-vanilla sauce, red-beet essence, or vermouth. Per Se offers two prix fixe tasting menus--there's a nine-course Tasting of Seasonal Vegetables or the nine-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, which changes daily, in addition to a shorter five-course lunch menu.

From its strict jacket/no-jeans dress code and no walk-ins accepted rule, down to the draping of the white pristine table cloths, Per Se defines the idea of an exorbitant, luxurious dining experience.

10 Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Building

Per Se


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