The President has good taste in food, as with so much else, and the restaurants he's dined at over the past few years are all eminently worthy of your attention. After all, if it's good enough for the leader of the free world, it's good enough for you.
Alfred Portale helped transform food into show business at this immensely influential restaurant, where food rose up into towers and new flavors knocked out diners in the 90s. He, and it, are still around and still producing great food day in and day out. So why haven't you gone there?
It's outrageously expensive, yes, and stuffy to the point of farce, but if you want to experience great high-end northern Italian food the way the world knew it back in the day, you simply have to go here.
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.
The consummate greenmarket restaurant (well, it and Gramercy Tavern) presents a kind of zen-like simplicity in both the room and the food. While the proteins are very good, it's in the produce, all grown for the restaurant, that is the star of the show. For that reason, and given the seasonality that is almost a religion here, you'd do better to go in spring or summer.
Everyone talks a big game when it comes to seasonal cooking, but to my mind this place and Gramercy are the final word on the subject. I'm not completely in love with the room but the food is good in winter, glorious in spring, inspiring in summer, and very good in fall.
When it was announced that Daniel Humm and Will Guidera of Eleven Madison Park were going to do the restaurant at the Nomad hotel, everyone assumed it would be ultra-refinedd modernist food, as at EMP -- but no! Instead Humm has gone for an understated, urbane, and traditional menu, albeit one prepared with immense behind-the-scenes innovations. The atmosphere is swanky and the food perfect every time out. I actually like Humm's food in a more dressed-down form. The Library lounge is a can't miss drinking spot.
Swedish-born African-American superchef Marcus Samuellsen's eclectic modern take on soul food has made this chic Harlem restaurant biggest thing since The Cotton Club.