Birthday dinner suggestions
Ok...so it's that time of year, and I'm planning a smallish (7 or so) birthday dinner for myself this Saturday night. For the past couple years, we've gone to Vespaio. I could have sworn that we were able to make reservations before 7 in the past, but this appears to not be an option. So, my questions. If we showed at Vespaio around 6:30 or so, do you think we'd have a tremendous wait? (I called the restaurant and was told that the only guarantee I'd have is showing at 5:30, which isn't an option as the SO works until 5 in Round Rock.) Sadly, I only really get to go to Vespaio for occassions like this, so my experience with them is minimal. Also, if a very long wait seems like it will be in the cards, what other places might you recommend for a great food experience (that maybe takes reservations), and some place a poorer grad student can't always afford (but at the same time has more affordable menu options for my poor compatriots). Yes, I'm asking a lot here. Uchi is out, partly because of the wait time, and partly because I love it but it's not the right atmosphere for the event.
If you want to stay with Italian, I'd recommend La Traviata downtown. Italian is good for a range of budgets as someone can order pasta rather than an entree. It's smaller than Vespaio, but the food is always good and the place has a nice vibe. Fonda San Miguel is another upscale restaurant that offers several choices under $20 and a few under $15. Have a nice birthday.