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7 Must-Try NYC Tasting Menus

By James Mulcahy
October 15, 2013

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just have some extra cash and want to geek out, foodie-style, you can’t beat a tasting menu. These chef-curated meals are the ultimate feasts that restaurants have to offer, and can stretch well past the 10-course mark. Below you’ll see some of the latest places where you can experience one of these marathon meals - just be sure to book ahead, and wear your loose-fitting pants when you stop by.

  • Juni

    Chef Shaun Hergatt’s new Midtown eatery showcases the bounty of the greenmarket presented in exquisitely composed plates. While you can order à la carte, you can best witness the chef’s artistry with a four-, six- or 10-course selection ($90, $120 or $180, respectively), and each plate will be more stunning than the next. The cuisine is vegetable-driven - eating your carrots never looked this good.

    12 East 31st St.; 212-995-8599

  • Musket Room

    When it comes to who makes the Big Apple’s most beautiful dishes, it would be tough to choose between Hergatt and chef Matt Lambert, who brings culinary inspiration from New Zealand to this NoLita gem. The cooking is ambitious and the tastings (from six to 10 courses) are the best way to see why this spot, which opened in the summer, is one of the city’s under-the-radar stars.

    265 Elizabeth St.; 212-219-0764

  • Aldea 

    We recently revisited chef George Mendes' Chelsea restaurant and thought one thing: wow. Having experimented with different tasting-menu models, it’s currently serving a rotating selection for $105 per person that takes inspiration from regions once colonized by Portugal (the chef is a native of that country), and right now the focus is Brazil. This global influence lets the chef get playful, and the sommelier's wine-pairing choices - well worth the extra $55 - highlight unique, funky labels that you’re unlikely to have seen before (bonus points for putting beer and sherry into the mix). When you make a reservation, be sure to ask for a table in the back room, where you can scope out the open kitchen and see the magic in action.

    31 W. 17th St.; 212-675-7223

  • Chez Jose

    This pop-up is one of the hottest tables in town, which isn't surprising seeing as dinner is only served two days a week in the small Williamsburg space that used to house the fish-sandwich slinger Lake Trout. The $55 tasting menu puts the focus on veggies, partly because the ingredients lend themselves to chef Jose Ramirez-Ruiz’s versatile style, and partly because meat is just expensive. Plus it's BYO, meaning you won’t be walloped by an expensive bar tab. This special experience won’t last forever, and reservations are a must, so try to nab a table while you still can - chezjosebk@gmail.com.

    160 Havemeyer St.

  • Jung Sik

    Here's an opportunity to explore fine dining, Korean-style. The TriBeCa venue’s modern take on that country’s cuisine has impressed city diners - in fact, it nabbed the title of Best Korean in our 2014 New York City Restaurants Survey. You can order à la carte (a change from the restaurant's debut, which was tasting-menu only), but if you have some dough to drop then you should spring for the 10-course, seafood-heavy selection. It doesn’t come cheap - the tab is $155 per person, and wine pairings are another $105 - but if you can get over the sticker shock you’ll see why it was voted best in town.

    2 Harrison St.; 212-219-0900

  • Contra

    This just-opened Lower East Side eatery is helmed by Fabian von Hauske, a former chef at Copenhagen's Noma, and Jeremiah Stone (Isa), and it actually represents one of the better bargains on our list, ringing in at $55 per person for five courses. It’s also the newest entry, but early reports have praised simpler presentations than what you'll find at some of the other spots from Noma vets (see the menu's terse, three-word descriptions, like “chicken, squash, almond"). You can make reservations up to two weeks in advance, and if this place lives up to the chef’s pedigree, it could become one of the hottest tables this fall.

    138 Orchard St.; 212-466-4633

  • All Good Things

    We can’t say enough good things about this TriBeCa standout, which is pretty much NYC’s best-kept culinary secret (but you already knew that). Chef Ryan Tate serves tasting menus only, bringing creative, modernist flourishes to market-driven, frequently changing dishes, and accommodates a minimal number of diners each night, ensuring each table gets the attention that really makes the whole experience outstanding. At $100 a head, you’re actually getting a great value since the level of execution is on par with some of the town’s fanciest joints - which far too often pass the $200-per-person mark. (For reservations, contact dinner@allgoodthingsny.com.)

    102 Franklin St. 

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