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“Sublime. Unforgettable.”
Review of Daniel

Daniel
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Ranked #3 of 13,681 Restaurants in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Cross street: Park Avenue
Transit: 68th Street stop, #6 Train.
Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Sublime. Unforgettable.”
Reviewed August 15, 2014

I've been shying away from writing this review. How can I do this restaurant justice?

From the moment you walk through the door, you are just completely aware that you are in one of the world's great restaurants. We got the sense that we were welcome, that they were delighted to have us as their guests, and that they wanted to make the evening (my wife's birthday) as special for us as we could.

I'll start with the service. The team who looked after us (drinks waiter, bread waiter, head waiter, maitre d') were just the essence of service. Attentive without being intrusive. Polite without being stuffy. Friendly without being familiar. They made it an occasion every time they brought something to the table, but not in an ostentatious way. It felt like the were really pleased to bring us something they thought was very special - and they were right. As an Australian, tipping is not a custom I am familiar with, but by the end of the evening I absolutely felt that a very substantial tip was justified. These guys were amazing.

The environment was also excellent. Too many restaurants - even "good" ones - cram just a couple too many tables into the dining area, because obviously the more places you have, the more diners you can accommodate. Not the case at Daniel at all. The tables were far enough apart that we felt like we were the only ones there, and everyone else was just a background extra. No doubt they felt the same. There was never any threat of being overheard, and never any moment when we felt that someone else's celebration was intruding on ours. The lighting was also ideal - low enough to be intimate and special, but sufficient that there was no need to squint, and we could enjoy the presentation of the food. The decor is tasteful modern; good and comfortable, without "reaching" for a theme.

Next, the food itself. Quite simply, this was the most extraordinary meal I have ever eaten. We had meals from the prix fixe menu (if you love seafood, try the scallops with caviar. I think that's what heaven tastes like), but were encouraged to try tasting trays of several different foods first, along with a range of piping hot bread rolls. The mains were every bit as good (I mean seriously, how does one make rabbit, of all meats, taste that extraordinary ... and rack of rabbit? an amazing concept and an amazing taste experience). Honestly, it's not just advertising - the food was genuinely world class. Oh, and we left feeling sated. How often do you have dinner at a great restaurant then need to eat again when you leave? Not this time.

Finally, the price. I notice quite a few reviewers objected to the price. Dinner for two, with drinks tip and tax, came to about US$400 for us. To put this in perspective, that's not a whole lot more than we paid for two tickets for decent seats at Yankee Stadium. Was it worth this amount to spend an evening, on a very special occasion, dining at one of the world class restaurants?

Yes. Absolutely.

I used to be that guy who said "How on earth can you ever justify spending that much on a meal?"

But now I get it. I hope one day my wife and I get back to New York City, and have the chance to visit Daniel again.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Anthonyzzyz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
    Food
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Brought me to tears”
Reviewed August 14, 2014

It is very rare, well, actually, it has never happened that an experience in a restaurant would bring me to tears, happy tears. My husband and I experienced the 7 course tasting menu and paired it with wine. Extraordinary is an under statement. You can't even imagine what the experience it like unless you do it yourself. It is perfection from the moment you walk in the door. No other restaurant compares, not even in Paris. What brought me to tears you ask????? The Waygu beef and the Madeleines at the end of the meal that *just* came out of the oven. I believe everyone's experience is unique and special so I will say no more other than each ingredient has a purpose and will explode in your mouth. It is a culinary extravaganza to say the least. And Daniel himself came over to the table to make sure we were having a great time. Have I said the meal was perfection yet??

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank kissjill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
312 reviews
212 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
“High class and excellent service”
Reviewed August 13, 2014

If you want to experience a super premium food art this is the place. Very nice courses.
The service was exceptional good. The atmosphere in the restaurant is more business oriented than cozy love couples.
Very nice (but expensive) wine list with sommeliers who knows a lot. The wine list will get 9 out of 10 (9/10)

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Andrew18985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
68 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“perfection”
Reviewed August 10, 2014

this was our first time here and it was simply perfection. the champagne mojito was out of this world. we got four courses and each was fabulous. started with crab wrapped in melon--light and flavorful; and curried cauliflower soup--rich and delicious; crispy shrimp--great seasoning; and tomato salad with octopus terrine which was again rich but not too heavy. the halibut was cooked to perfection and the duo of beef was the best thing my husband has had. dessert was a chocolate lovers delight and my husband had the vanilla peach. warm and fabulous. the only bummer was the tea. the service was great and oh the brioche bread is a must. we will be back every time we visit the big apple. it is very pricy but worth every penny!!!!! well done.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank havefun135
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bucharest, Romania
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not worth it”
Reviewed August 10, 2014

"Daniel" turned out to be the least exciting part of the US holiday...
The short story: had way finer dinners in places with no Michelin* and of course I had high expectations for one with a constellation of them! (And no, I'm not the kind who thinks my mom's steak with chips is the greatest food out there, although my mom is a great cook.)
The long story:
The food was decent, but not delicious.
The place was fancy (in terms of location and intent), but conventional and unremarkable in terms of design and feel.
The waiters were exceedingly numerous (to the point one would get dizzy if trying to observe their complex ballet around the room) and rather well trained, however they were not wearing gloves at any moment as you'd expect at this level.
The crowd was just what you'd expect in an expensive place
around the world: the old ugly guy all over the young, pretty, fancy cuttlery-confused, bun-biting escort; the old, nearly asleep (doziness induced way before starting the champagne bottle) regular house guest relaxing her feet out of the shoes; the noisy business party, spicing up the atmosphere with the ridiculous loud laughter of a corporate director; the Japanese high-rank corporate team, including a big boss, very discrete and polite, paying hommages to the famed French chef in his native language... (ok, the last part you'd probably not see anywhere :) )
The only point where the place felt different and better than any other (and I bet this is not what you'd expect): the cuttlery - probably the most complex I have seen used in a restaurant and mind you, it was correctly placed! Cute, but not enough to make the night.
The price per person exceeded 200 USD. We also offered a 10% tip. At that point, will never know if out of gratitude or disappointment with the tip ratio, one of the supervisors came to ask if we were really happy. We answered politely, but not return really...

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Virgo_traveller_A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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