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Inspector Picks: Five Diamond Restaurants in New York City

January 09, 2020
This is list of restaurants in New York City represents AAA Inspectors’ favorite Five Diamond restaurants in the city. The exquisite menus at these fine dining establishments are sure to provide a wonderful and memorable dining experience.
AAA/Inspector 592


77 Worth St.
AAA Inspector 592: The mood at this tiny eatery is charged with anticipation as I await a series of courses which are visually unlike anything else in town.
Each day brings another opportunity for Chef Ronny Emborg and his team to create and dazzle like few others can. A treat for all the senses, a two-hour plus tasting menu here slowly builds and excels with never before seen visual presentations and combinations. Golden Osetra caviar paired with pistachio and IPA cream is a signature dish, as is the luxuriously savory waffle with tuna and truffle. In a small dining room with a chef’s table open to the kitchen and a side dining table for a party of four, it does not get much more exclusive than this. Reservations are made weeks in advance.The build of the menu is carefully planned so that the diner does not get overwhelmed by the sheer number of courses or novel new arrangements being delivered from the kitchen. Delicate plating of halibut with cauliflower in a brown butter sauce or an artistic mackerel with geoduck ably show the natural beauty of a New Nordic influenced kitchen and a reverence for almost raw fish. The juicy venison in pear, truffle and pine might equally make a diner yearn for the outdoorsy great North. Service is highly professional, warm and personable, with enthusiasm in presenting an experience which is truly new and pretty incredible. Wines are carefully paired and include some very fine US West Coast varieties. Recommended.
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AAA/Inspector 592

Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

431 W. 37th St.
AAA Inspector 46: Pass through to the back of a typical grocery store in Hell's Kitchen and you'll find a secret, unmarked passageway to culinary bliss. Extraordinary.
Enjoy the extravagant tasting menus artistically prepared before your eyes by Chef Cesar Ramirez. In an open kitchen, his stellar team creates with a subtle blend of Asian ingredients and French technique. Precisely plated and served in an intimate, slightly austere postmodern setting, the nearly three-hour meal gradually builds. A setup of superb seafood, caviar and shellfish sourced from across the Pacific Rim culminates in a crescendo of the highest-grade Wagyu beef or squab in huckleberry. Originally located in downtown Brooklyn and attached to a gourmet grocery, this small world-class eatery moved to Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen and still employs the same novel concept. Guests walk through a grocery store like any other in Gotham to discover a slightly hard to find, very low-key and discreet backroom restaurant with a receptionist who guards the reservations made many weeks in advance and prepaid by credit card. Service is unobtrusive and highly diligent; wines tend to be French and of a very good vintage. Expect to sit at the chef's table when available, but there a few tables are available on the periphery of the room. With the prepaid tasting menu, wine pairings, gratuities and taxes, expect the tariff for two to be above $1,000. But for those who relish a highly memorable experience which will sublimely linger on as one of life’s grand culinary splurges, then it is all very well worth it.
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Courtesy of Daniel NYC


60 E. 65th St.
AAA Inspector 592: I have never felt so pampered during a dining experience from the meticulous service to the artful plating and the extraordinary flavors.
Daniel Boulud masterfully orchestrates a world-class meal in a majestic setting on the Upper East Side. Rich colors, spectacular flower arrangements and stunning architectural accents set the scene for a grand event and lavish meal. The tasting menus feature the finest items from all over the globe deftly prepared using a mix of classic and modern techniques. The formal dining room service reflects the pinnacle of refinement and sophistication.
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Courtesy of Del Posto/Del Posto

Del Posto

85 10th Ave.
AAA Inspector 93: NOT FOUND
This luxurious Italian restaurant offers a prix fixe dinner menu consisting of five or eight courses, while a lighter and less expensive lunch is three courses. The ingredients change daily based on fresh market availability, although signature items, such as the homemade spaghetti with seafood or the burnt beef prime rib are typically available. Polished service is provided by an experienced waitstaff, with an accomplished sommelier to help you pair the perfect wine to enhance your meal. The interior features an impressive two-story dining room with artful mezzanine-level seating overlooking the lovely multicolored intricate marble flooring, wrought iron banisters and rich mahogany pillars below.
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AAA/Inspector 423

Eleven Madison Park

11 Madison Ave.
AAA Inspector 592: We love a Brooklyn curveball: dining in a magnificent ornate room among New York's elite, noshing artistic snails, dry aged rib-eye and caviar.
Highly acclaimed as one of the very best modern restaurants in the country, this spot melds extraordinary culinary skill with a touch of fun and tongue-in-cheek whimsy. This is a true experience—the lengthy meal includes a parade of imaginative and classic New York dishes like sturgeon, cheesecake, and bagels with pickles and caviar. The magnificent, enormous dining room, a reclaimed Art Deco bank lobby, is something to behold in all of its elegance and glory. Servers recite meal options instead of providing printed menus. Try Chef Humm's duck, if it's available. It's a menu superstar. This is one of the preeminent dining and social spots in town for the New York super-elite who are on a first-name basis with staff. Meals can be extremely expensive, but it's a must try if you are feeling a gnawing need to lavishly splurge on the absolute finest in Gotham.
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AAA/Inspector 592

Gabriel Kreuther

41 W. 42nd St.
AAA Inspector 593: From tartares to foie gras to cheese, this restaurant offers up classic favorites, yet done with dry wit, which enhances the experience immeasurably.
Chef Gabriel Kreuther leads this modern, sophisticated fine-dining restaurant. A diverse menu that leans on chef Kreuther's French-Germanic roots includes a signature sturgeon sauerkraut tart, foie gras terrine and langoustine tartare. Even basic items such as Kugelhopf bread with soft white cheese and chives are astonishing. Much more than a meal, a visit here is a full-blown sensory event full of unexpected twists and turns. Passion and artistry are displayed from start to finish. The experience provides a kind of culinary magic many aim to achieve, but few accomplish. To really indulge here there are a good variety of prix-fixe menus available as well as the Chef’s Carte Blanche in either six- or nine-courses. If going for this option the whole table requires full participation in the courses. There is a choice of supplements to further embellish the meal. Prized golden osetra caviar, sustainably sourced, is sold by the ounce and provides a delicate oceanic finish.
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AAA/Inspector 592

Le Bernardin

155 W. 51st St.
AAA Inspector 592: NOT FOUND
Among the very best restaurants in New York, Le Bernardin creates a lasting memory of excellence. The dinner menu by chef Eric Ripert consists of exquisitely prepared seafood divided into sections titled Almost Raw, Barely Touched or Lightly Cooked. The dinner tasting menus give the full experience, while lunch can also be a splendid, and well-priced, option. Dining among New York's business elite, you’ll find the setting to be elegant and formal. The service is refined, yet warmly human. The Dover sole is majestic and satisfying, served as a filet which is paired with a luxurious and light creamy mousseline sauce. Highly recommended is the extraordinary tuna carpaccio with foie gras. An artistic signature of the kitchen, the carpaccio and its delightful plating is more akin to a Picasso artwork than to a mere plate of fish. The essential New York restaurant for any seafood lover.
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Marea/Ted Axelrod


240 Central Park S.
AAA Inspector 55: This property is the exception for diners looking to sample an exceptional fine dining meal at an affordable price.
The much-lauded fare here means you will dine with those who love fine food and wine. The Italian seafood-centric menu has selections of extremely fresh raw crudo, delicious house-made pasta and more complex entrées that artfully combine the best of the seasonal ingredients. The contemporary dining room has closely set tables but is done with a stylish sensibility and a staff that knows how to work the room with effortless finesse.
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AAA/Inspector 593

The Modern

9 W. 53rd St.
AAA Inspector 592: Magical how all the finest elements of food, service and decor come together! Absolutely love the setting among museum masterpieces. A definite wow!
An exquisite museum sculpture garden provides this restaurant a sublime, cosmopolitan and relaxed setting for a most splendid meal. The prix-fixe menus focus on seasonal, high-quality ingredients to enhance the preparation of foie gras, lobster, duck, caviar or bone marrow-crusted beef. The wine list is ample, and desserts are, like the setting, wonderfully artistic. The room buzzes with an A-list clientèle of New Yorkers and visitors, alike. Chef Abram Bissell adds his own signature New American touch while the staff is a pleasing blend of professional, enthusiastic young servers and a highly knowledgeable old guard.
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Per Se

10 Columbus Cir.
AAA Inspector 87: Sitting at treetop level, eye-to-eye with the statue of Christopher Columbus on the edge of Central Park, a majestic New York is on view from here.
This beautiful, contemporary restaurant from Thomas Keller stands among the select few legendary fine dining establishments in New York. Enjoy either five or nine distinctive and artfully presented courses made from the finest ingredients available. Guests can select the chef's tasting menu or the inventive all-vegetable menu. Service is outstanding with exceptional attention to detail. The dining experience is upscale and pricey, but the food is approachable, satisfying and highly memorable. In Midtown Manhattan, where space is at a high premium, the restaurant's beautiful dining room, designed by Adam Tihany, has a highly refined and restrained style. The tables are well spaced, providing room to breathe, with expansive, sweeping treetop views of Central Park. Reservations are accepted up to 60 days in advance and a wait list is available. The menu's high set price includes service and taxes. Enjoy the wide variety of well-selected wines by the bottle or the glass.
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