Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Mar 6, 2007 06:31 PM

Nervous about -db Bistro Moderne-

I've got so many questions about preparing for this dining experience because I don't want to mess anything up. This is my first time dining in New York.

I'm underage and I've got a reservation at db Bistro Moderne. I'm just wondering what kind of nonalcoholic drinks they have. Do they frown upon ordering soda? Do they have mix drinks like virgin pina coladas or strawberry daquiris even shirley temples? I don't want to sit down and sound like a fool in front of the waiter.

How is the atmosphere like? Is it quiet? Do I have to whisper? Can I laugh? Are there any people my age who eat there?

What should I wear? Business? Casual? Business casual? I've read a lot of posts saying people go before the theater so I'm guessing I should dress up. Is black pants ok for a girl? Is a peacoat a must or is a puffy jacket from Abercrombie ok? Heels a must for girls?

Gahh, I know I sound like a novice, but the only other super fancy restaurant I've been to was for prom in DC at a place called Galileo (for Iron Chef fans, Roberto Donna is the executive chef, really good food). And you know you have to look nice for prom.

I really appreciate any help I can get from frequent super restaurant goers. Thanks for everything!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good for you for trying an upscale, restaurant. Are you going in the evening? If so, I'd suggest dressing up. a skirt or dressy pants outfit, no skin between the pants and the top... heels, etc. Dress so your Mom would be proud of you. (smile)

    As for the beverages.. They will know you are underage, but I think you'd probably do best ordering sparkling mineral water, maybe with a slice of lime or lemon rather than soda. Just a thought.

    The food there is delicious! and have a great time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      Good call on the club soda w/ lime--I used to order that exclusively in restaurants when I was underage. The best part is that it often looks like a cocktail (unlike Pepsi).

      1. I have eaten there on a trip to NYC and I don't drink so I had a soda and water and was not looked down upon for that. You can always ask, most bars have the ingredients for virgin drinks, the servers should not look down on you no matter what you request. Enjoy your dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. I'm curious as to why you picked dbBistro? Are you going alone?

          3 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            No, I'm going with my boyfriend for our 4 year anniversary.

            I've been reading so many forums and reviews trying to decide which restaurant to eat at. After all that, I decided on dbBistro because it seemed to have relatively good reviews all around, and wasn't magnificently expensive, like Jean George's or something along that level. For a few days, I considered going to Babbo, but after reviewing the menu a few times over, we both decided that we weren't too interested in the menu.

            Plus, I want to try that burger that everyone's been talking about!! I've never had foie gras before so I'm kind of curious :)

            Is there another restaurant you had in mind that we should try that would fit the occasion better? We like the modern atmosphere that places like Buddakan and Morimoto have to offer, but we're kind of tired of Asian fusion/Japanese cuisine because we eat that kind of food a lot.

            1. re: mh1188

              The food at dbBistro is very good. But, then, one would not expect less from a Daniel Boulud restaurant. And the space is attractive enough. However, I've never thought of it as a special occasion kind of place.

              Since you say one of the reasons you chose dbBistro is that you want to try the famous burger (which, by the way, I have not), I would suggest you go there for lunch, have the burger, then go elsewhere for dinner.

              The place I would choose is Eleven Madison Park. Chef Daniel Humm's French-inspired cuisine is sensational! Service is friendly and professional. The large space is one of the most beautiful in the city.

              The 3-course prix-fixe is $76, which is very reasonable for cuisine of such high quality. Plus, you will be served lots of little extras throughout the meal. Overall, the costs are quite comparable to what you will pay for a 3-course meal at dbBistro. But at EMP, you will get much more (those fabulous little extras) and the food, in my view, is far superior.

              I agree with the comment that the crowd at dbBistro tends to be more mature. At EMP, when it comes to age, the clientele is very mixed. You will also find a range of dress. Some people will be somewhat casual while others will be more dressed up. There is not a hint of stuffiness, and you certainly do not have to whisper. The combination of comfort and specialness, along with the superb cuisine, makes Eleven Madison, in my view, the perfect place for a celebratory meal

              Btw, the fact that you will not be drinking alcohol will pose absolutely no problem at EMP. And none of the staff will be discourteous if you order a soda. In fact, I don't drink alcohol, I don't care for soda, and I never order bottled water. When they ask what kind of water I prefer, I tell them tap will be just fine and they are very happy to oblige.


              Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a fabulous first time New York dining experience. Congrats to you and your b.f. on your anniversary. Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

              1. re: RGR

                I completely agree about Eleven Madison. That place is fantastic and they make you feel special no matter what you're wearing, what you order or what the occasion. One of my favorites...


          2. I love your post, i think it's great that you've decided to go out to a nice dinner (which i could never afford underage) but bravo. But as for specifics of the restaurant, i went not too long ago and I have to admit that the clientele there is a bit older. I'm in my mid 20's and felt a little out of place when I went, but at the same time the waitress was great and very nice and i'm sure you'll receive the same. Don't worry about what you order to drink, just act comfortable when you do it and no one could care less. As a waiter previously, for the most part I could care less what people ordered to drink because I was too busy trying to keep everything in order anyway. I do suggest you dress business casual at least (slacks and a button down for a guy, pea coat to match would be nice but not necessary, and as ChefJune said a nice skirt or dress pants for a girl as well).

            If you're up for it, i highly suggest the db burger. I think it's about $28 and is well worth it.

            Hope you enjoy yourself!

            1 Reply
            1. re: MinhLikesFood

              Thanks, I think I'm definitely going for the burger :) It just seems so weird though, that a restaurant like has a burger as a specialty.

            2. The db Burger is WHY I go there!