I'm not saying I go to these places regularly. I can't afford to. These establishments cater to gastrocrats, that plutocratic upper-crust of the dining public that alone has the resources -- or desire -- to support them. Some are just rip-offs; these are (given the context) actually worth the fat stacks required. If you don't see a well-known, ultra luxe restaurant on this list, it's because I don't think it's worth the money.
Chefs have come and gone but a few things remain the same about Veritas: the food, French inflected but unmistakably modern, will always be very good and very grown-up; the wine program, as the restaurants name might suggest, is at its very heart and includes some of best and most obscure french bottles in the city; and the atmosphere will always be more low-key, more relaxing, and just generally chiller than the other great New York restaurants. Veritas knows what it is.
Whether you swoon for its 4 star food, or find it, as I do, somewhat over manicured, there is no question that this is one of the great restaurants in America. The room itself has a grandeur that is unmatched and the level of service is unparalelled. So is the price, so maybe come here on an expense account or with a wealthy uncle.
Masa's undisputed pre-eminence among New York sushi restaurants isn't from his regular sushi or sashimi, which are similar to Yasuda, Sushi Zen, etc. It's when the master is created his own eclectic dishes at his bar that the place truly comes alive.
For all its asian inflections and supremely elegant simplicity, the food at Le Bernardin is potent to the point of richness -- a testament to chef Eric Ripert's vision and balance. Service is impeccable and the sommelier, Aldo Sohm, the best in the country.
Daniel is a hard restaurant to characterize. It's probably the standard by which all Michelin 3-star food in New York is judged, when service, atmosphere, wine, and everything else is taken into account. The food is precise, globalist, and executed with the very utmost extent of French technical skill. But from a purely culinary point of view, I always found it somewhat disappointing. When they do the kind of glorified Lyonnais or country French food Daniel Boulud does better than anybody else, the place is unbeatable; but too often I feel that there is no real point of view. Flavors and traditions jump from course to course, and you are left without a real sense of where the kitchen is coming from -- which is not to say the food isn't delicious. But it always seemed a little overconceived and perhaps a little overelaborate. That said, this is probably the ultimate New York restaurant experience.
Precise almost to a fault, this expression of eponymous chef Jean George Vongerichten provides one of the most buttoned-up, elegant, and thoughtful taste experiences in America -- and sometimes, the most surprising.
Momofuku Ko might have been the most praised, hyped, and discussed restaurant in New York over the last ten years, and its nominal chef, David Chang, the most lionized. So it's hard to get into, but the food is really good. There is no service or comfort level to speak of.
Known, rightly, as the city's most admired Italian restaurant, the secret of Marea is that Michael White's pastas, and not the restaurant's fish entrees. How could they not be anti-climactic after the "Sultan of Spaghetti's" signature dishes?
Universally hailed as one of the greatest exhibitions of culinary genius in the USA, this small chef's counter (there are only 18 seats) showcases Cesar Ramirez's exquisite food, but it also asks a lot from its customers, who are required to sit in reverential silence for hours, barely talking, never taking pictures, etc. etc. By all accounts it's the sort of meal nobody goes to twice -- more a touchstone for gastrocrats than a meal to look forward to. At the same time, by all accounts Ramirez is a genius.