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i am becoming a citizen of the u.s.a, and ..

  • h

.. want your ideas of what a celebratory dinner ought to look like.

my parents-in-law will be driving up from washington d.c., and i thought of taking them to dinner somewhere symbolic (so dosa hutt in queens doesn't work, but one if by land just might).

an idea is to rent the boathouse in central park and call a whole bunch of friends ... but then who should cater it? i'm taking this very seriously and i hope you will too.

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  1. Congratulations!!!
    We are a nation made up of nations...Must it be catered? Why not ask your friends to bring the most authentic dish of their immigrant ancestors, and you bring the dish that you feel most symbolizes yours!!

    1. Congratulations! Can't make a restaurant rec., but will say this. My husband became a citizen during that huge snowstorm a few years back and despite the weather, my local fish guy actually had fresh scallops in the shell! I made a sort of Scallops Rockefeller and woven fish (salmon and sole, I think) with Frenched potatoes. Champers, of course. At the ceremony, the ladies' auxilary served tea and cookies and the county sherrif sang American folk songs and played guitar. It was so much fun. Who knew the government could be so human? Enjoy the experience.


      1. Congratulations. My first thought was the restuarant at the WTC, as that is (sorry....was) a prominent symbol of the U.S. Now, getting past my initial sadness, I am thinking of the restaurant at Rockefellar center - another symbol of achieving the Ammerican dream ,as Rockefellar did.

        One if by Land is a great idea, in regards to symbolism. I've never been there so can't comment on the food.

        If you want to rent a place and cater, I would suggest a place that has great views of the city rather than the boathouse. I wouldn't think the boathouse is particularly nice this time of year. Here is a link to a loft space that i just read about that might work for you.

        hope this helps.

        Link: http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile...

        1. Not sure if you're looking for a place that's the "most American", whatever that means. But, if you want the name of the restaurant to have "America" in it:

          For upscale, there's "An American Place" at Lex and 50th. I've never been there, but it's got a good reputation.

          There's also "America" on 18th near bdway. A little more casual. I think there's a huge flag inside.

          Corny ideas, but what the hey.

          If you're specific about a neighborhood, cuisine type, desire for view, or whatever else, I'm sure people here will have more specific suggestions.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Uncledave

            I had a chance to go to Le Cirque 2000 for a celebration for about 15 people in an upstairs room-prearranged menu- and it was highly disappointing except for the dessert (Jacques Torres was still there at the time). Could be OK in the downstairs rooms with a smaller group. Have also been to An American Place for lunch with a group of about 8 and it was pretty good.

          2. Well I've never been but have only heard that Le Cirque is one of the most celebratory type places in NYC. It's totally not the type of place I'd usually go to celebrate(that would be the Union Square Cafe or if I'm paying New Green Bo)

            It sounds like the type of over-the-top experience you'd be looking for. Symbolic, well isn't Cirio an Italian Immigrant who made a success for himself based on hospitality.


            2 Replies
            1. re: iron frank

              Unfortunately, the food at Le Cirque is pretty awful these days. I've eaten there 3 times in the past year and the meals have ranged from uninspired to inedible. I don't think you've been missing anything, Iron Frank.

              1. re: Elaine(Snutteplutten)

                Sorry to hear that. I guess I'll have to pick a new over the top, 'just won the lottery' type place now if Le Cirque is no good and Nobu was disappointing to me.

                Thanks for the warning Elaine.

            2. What's more American than steak, steak and more steak. How 'bout Peter Lugar's?

              1. m
                Marion Morgenthal

                I don't know anything about the quality of their food, but there is nothing much more symbolic than the recently re-opened Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. It dates from revolutionary times, and is where George Washington gave his farewell address to his troops.

                1. Howler

                  Welcome to the family! Glad to have you on board (and thanks for the posting on the Wilton's comment! Glad you liked it.)

                  Cannot comment on caterers--they spring up ilke mushrooms after a spring rain and, as quickly, die. Others have given you excellent suggestions (the notion of several dishes from various lands is automatically appealing--although you take a risk on quality, that is, after all, part of the fun. I like the Peter Luger steak idea as well--straighforward, honest and wonderfully excessive.) and I am not sure I can improve on any of this.

                  In my day in Manhattan we had several spots we'd go to for Special Occasions--most are gone now but Le Perigord survives. This is, obviously, a french restaurant and it has always been--shall we say "idiosyncratic?" Lovely place, still has the frou-frou of the Classic Style but has been changed to meet the changing times (as much as they care to change.) Food critics are never comfortable there (good!) and folks often just do not know what to make of it. Well, I like it. I can still see my father seated in pontifical augustity at his favorite spot, enjoying everything about the place.

                  So, that is one suggestion. But! and this is an important thing..... Go by and see it before you decide to book on it. Might not be the right thing for you or, more importantly, for this Grand Event.

                  Let us hear what you decided to do--and what it was like........

                  1. d
                    Dave Feldman

                    Does this mean that Simon won't have you to kick arond anymore? I sure hope so.

                    If your family does like steak, Peter Luger does sound like a good idea. But I doubt if you could go wrong at Gramercy Tavern or Craft, either. Both are celebrations of American food.

                    1. p
                      Pat Goldberg

                      Congratulations, Howler!

                      I like the idea of the Boathouse, since that allows you to have kids present without worry, as well as raucous toasts, etc. But of course, catering is always a problem.

                      You might therefore want to look into whether any of your favorite restaurants have private facilities that would work. I know that Picholine has a room that seats max 14 that would be a possibility. Eight years ago, we took over Montrachet for a rehearsal dinner, and at that time they were also prepared to set aside just one room. Grammercy Tavern is constructed in a way that would also permit this, but I don't know whether they are willing to do it. If they are, it would be a superb choice. Slightly more downscale, but certainly a possibility, is Scaletta's, near the Museum of Natural History, private room. And what is more American than Italian?

                      Pat G.

                      1. seems to me you've got three tacks you could take. I'll put them in order of descending conventionalness:

                        1. do the lavish New Yorkesque soiree. Boathouse in Central Park certainly fits that bill; I really like the atrium in Prospect Park, myself (and their house caterer is pretty good). Xavier's, 45 mins upstate, is better yet (awesome food, ambiance, service). You'd definitely want to hire a jazz group to play in any of those venues.

                        2. go super-american. go to a place like Grange Hall or Gage and Tollner or Lundy's in Brooklyn. Wear red white and blue suspenders, etc, etc. Patsy's Pizza in Harlem has a great room for this, and it's BYO (lots of wines go great with pizza, as you know).

                        3. do a melting pot dinner. rent a bus or minivan and driver, and start at Dosa Hutt for a bit of rava dosa, get some quick dumplings at Sweet and Tart, stop by the Asian shopping mall for some shabu shabu (and let the kids--and adventurous adults--play "Dance Revolutuon"), see link below, then a cafe con leche at Broadway sandwich shop in corona (you're moving west the whole time), down to Corona Hts. Pork store for slices of fresh, fluffy mozzarella, chalupas at Taqueria Coatzinga, and, finally (time it right) Arepa Lady for dessert. Then to Donovan's, a cozy, friendly Irish bar for awesome Guinness stout (or whatever).

                        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          I have to agree that the party room at Patsy's seems like it would be a fun place to have a party. And I always wonder if anyone does. Thanks for reminding me about this, Jim.

                          1. re: Elaine(Snutteplutten)

                            caveat: it's a musty, no-frills (but by no means gross) room. The waiter is not a pro. nice guy, but all the standard pros/cons of really really not professional people. He'll try to not let you bring wine. Buddy-buddy him, offer corkage and tastes and you'll be ok. Don't forget to tip Jose, the genius pizza chef (long story with him and Frank Sinatra, I'll tell sometime).

                            sounds like I'm euphemistically warning people away, but I've thrown great parties there, and a wine-tasting with a famous and very stiff British wine expert, and everyone's always left happy.

                            Just want to be clear.


                        2. What wonderful news, howler! Thanks for sharing-we're lucky to have you "officially." As a non-New Yorker, but with deep family ties to the city (and a 4th of July birthday in Philly for patriotism), I think anything at the Plaza would be deluxe, iconic and memorable. Private room, Oak Room dinner, or tea at the Palm Court? I stil think of 59th and Fifth Ave. as the heart of Manhattan.

                          1. How about checking out one of the dinner cruise operations: Spirit Cruise or Bateaux New York? They both have websites. Bateaux runs out of Chelsea Piers, and I think it's quite a bit more "upscale" than Spirit. I don't know how the food is for either one, but I have heard great things about Bateaux.

                            But IMHO, it can't get much better than a champagne toast to your new citizenship while you are cruising past the Statue of Liberty.