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Apr 24, 2007 04:03 PM

Great food, not too formal place for a 24th birthday dinner

Have narrowed down the following for a young lady's 24th birthday dinner::

- Zee Grill ( she likes oysters but have eaten in Starfish already)
- Amuse Bouche ( one of few 3.5 stars less formal restaurants)
- Globe Bistro ( new, non-tested but heard good things about it )
- Coca ( again, fairly new and received good review but its association with the inconsistent Czeckoski makes me uneasy )

Please pick one and why?

Feed back from fellow chowhound most welcome. Thanks in advance

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  1. PS: Our first choice was Colborne Lane but they were booked solid for the next four days!!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Take her to Grande Dame...Scaramouche....for her Right of 24...she's ready...Miranda

      1. re: miranda

        Thanks Miranda.
        Birthday girl has already been to Scaramouche and a few other 'oldies'. Specifically requested less formal and/or 'up and coming stars' with emphasis on food than the 'whole package'.

        1. re: Charles Yu

          I thought Amuse Bouche was a fantastic, unexpected find. It's charming - feels like a secret. Very good for romance (great food, intimate decor).

          Coca I found quite underwhelming - food was not particularly interesting (you can search for my review) and atmosphere is nothing special.

          Haven't been to the others as yet.

    2. The food at Zee Grill in my experience has been consistently wonderful. It's a fairly casual place, so won't feel "fancy", but given the criteria, I think this would work well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        It's interesting to note that virtually every posting about Zee Grill on Mt. Pleasant is overwhelmingly positive, but it's only infrequently mentioned. What gives? Are some people keeping this secret to themselves? ; )
        I've never been, but I walk past this place regularly--it has a bit of a strange front--you can't see in. Does that keep folks from going to it? I take it that it's mainly fresh fish and seafood? Just wondering.

        1. re: Yongeman

          I think it's because it's really more of a neighbourhood joint, rather than a destination for those who don't live nearby. For us north-enders, it's like getting the quality of a "downtown" restaurant (not that all of those are great, mind you) without having to go downtown.

          And yeah, we'd rather it not become a destination -- it's busy enough as it is. :o)

          Here's the menu:

          Edited to add: about the front -- the kitchen is right at the front of the restaurant, which is why you can't see into the place.

      2. Have you been to or considered Batifole?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tara9000

          Yup! Quite a few times. The skate was the stand out favourite.

        2. I've been to Zee Grill - which is excellent, and Amuse Bouch - also very good. While I don't think you could go wrong with either of those,I think Globe is a good choice, based on my one experience there a few weeks back. you can read about it here:

          I didn't find the atmosphere to be stuffy, etiher... It seemed to me that it drew a younger crowd than Zee and Amuse Bouche. And if you want to linger after the meal and have some drinks, the front part transforms into a lounge. A good choice for a 24th birthday, imho.

          1. i'm just going to throw my thoughts into the ring since i hit your demographic.. of course barring personal specific tastes.

            but my vote is for amuse bouche.

            the setting is fantastic - tight, cozy, contemporary romantic style place. lovely service and good food to boot. i find the martini service in the small shakers endearing in a cutsey way but not saccharin trendy. i found the bartender fantastic... i never know what i want to drink and i hate it when i give them free reign and i get orange/cran/vodka in return. incredibly helpful about the port choices and even "warned" me when they were concerned my pick might not suit well. granted, all i did was the dessert tasting menu. particularly love that the place is tucked away.

            coca is all hype and zero substance. i've had much better tapas/small plates elsewhere in the city (torito and julie's cuban!) and they just couldn't even do the simple things right. my memories of beautiful horse meat was marred with overly gamey and tough tenderloins on a skewer. at their original pricepoint it was worth it, but now it's just overboard. oh, i should add that i really enjoy czehoski... completely disappointed with coca with zero intentions to return.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              For a 24th b-day, I would also suggest Wish, Fire on the East Side or Foccacia.

              1. re: LovesToEat

                as much as i want to love foccacia, i thought the experience was just good. larry, while endearing at times can also be just a bit too much.

                fire on the east side also doesn't really hit the great food mark with me either. to be honest, part of the appeal for me is that it turns into a gay club at night which adds a fun vibe only. oh, and the waiter that has the hair i'm jealous of... we always end up talking about it everytime we're there.

                1. re: LovesToEat

                  `Pitching in on Wish, I do really like the place and it's my second-most frequented restaurant (after Rosebud) but it's more of luxe setting and casual food. Great atmosphere, decent value, and fun vibe but the cuisine is enjoyable but I wouldn't call it a 'food first' restaurant.