My birthday is coming up and we have a tradition where the birthday girl or boy picks a restaurant for all to dine at. I try to pick a new hot place, but am at a total loss this year. If it were your birthday and someone else was picking up the tab, where would you go and why?
In recent years we've been to Lola, Volterra, and Union to give you an idea of what kind of place I might enjoy. Doesn't have to be new, just good food, atmosphere, and one that takes reservations for parties of 6 or more.
Recently, I've had excellent meals at Crow, Crush, Lark and Harvest Vine. Although I think you'd have a great time at any of them, my primary recommendation would be Crow. Despite Crush's reputation as a great date place, I found it cramped and loud, so it might be difficult for a table of six. (I was downstairs near the bar area though, so that might have been a factor.) In addition, Lark and Harvest Vine are small plates, which in my experience is difficult if more than 3 are eating. Meanwhile, Crow had plenty of large tables, a great atmosphere and really, really good food.
I believe Crush also has a small private room they rent out. It's at the base of Lake Union rather than at their Madison restaurant. Call the restaurant to enquire.
Canlis also has a small banquet room that can be reserved. Fabulous view, timelessly classy venue with outstanding food and service.
We just had a birthday dinner (albeit for 2) at that old standby, Le Gourmand in Ballard. It had been years since we had been there, but found the food as good as ever (roast duck with mushrooms, pork in a raspberry sauce garnished with the best hazelnuts we'd had in a while) and the service quite able. A nice mixture of seasonal vegetables were served in a single dish to share, which I found to be a nice touch. The bill was sizeable, but worth it. It is a 3-course prix fixe meal. Dessert is extra. The creme brulee with brandied raspberries is unusual (the custard is not set, but is saucy) but out of this world. I do not know their reservation policy.