Martin Holiday Weekend 2009

Christmas on Wall Street has arrived! My parents made their way to NYC for our annual holiday celebrations — my birthday and Christmas in New York. Like any other Martin visit, we ate our way through Manhattan, this time by way of the Union Square Hospitality Group. First off, Joel and I spent my actual birthday at Blue Smoke; my favorite low-key restaurant in the city.

The following night, Joel, my mom and I enjoyed a fantastic meal at The Modern Bar. The food and service were just what you’d expect from a Danny Meyer restaurant — The ambiance was exciting and loud which made for a fun atmosphere and meal. We indulged in such meals as the tarte flambee — a delicious combination of creme fraiche, applewood smoked bacon and onions. Also amazing was the homemade Alsatian country sausage — an incredibly fresh and light sausage served with tangy sauerkraut and whole grain mustard.

Friday night marked the arrival of my father and our annual holiday meal at the always incredible Eleven Madison Park. Although our regular and favorite server was off that night, we still indulged in the best meal of the year! Top notch service, delicious wine and champagne, as well as impeccable meals made for yet another well spent special occasion. To make the night even more superb, I was treated with a gift of a whole wheel (!) of the most sublime cheese ever made, Aria. The night couldn’t have been any better!

Our last meal of the weekend was Gramercy Tavern. The night didn’t start off well with a bad table and a terrible experience trying to change tables — The front of the house was downright rude. Our server was knowledgeable and nice and the food was substantial, almost making up for the beginning of the night. Unfortunately, the front of the house manager ruined the evening once and for all when he came over to our table after the meal. Not only was his arrival odd (no introductions, we had to ask who the strange man standing at our table was), but he ended a very awkward and uncomfortable conversation with “what can I do for you?”. We responded with “I don’t know” and he looked offended — as if we should be telling him how to fix the experience. He then turned and sped away; no apologies, nothing to rectify the situation, just an swish of air of where he once stood…

Needless to say, we will never make our way back to Grammercy Tavern and I recommend that you don’t either. I will, again and again, highly recommend Eleven Madison Park. It is the restaurant that all other restaurants should strive to be!

The rest of the weekend with the family was amazing. We had a lot of good conversations, did a bunch of holiday shopping and drank a lot of hot cider! Another fantastic Christmas in new York City!

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