Dinner with the Folk(s)
I'm looking for a last minute special occasion dinner recommendations appropriate for my sweet but southern and not too adventuress mother and her friend. I need to be able to still book a table for Saturday and I'd like the venue to lean more towards old school and quaint, than new, loud, and trendy. Mom sometimes shows up in suntan knee-highs and rayon, so no fashionista/scenester venues that would make her uncomfortable (or I might have to take out the hostess).
There in from out of town so I'd like it to be an experience outside of what she could get in Atlanta.
You don't mention if your mom and her friend have any particular cuisine preferences or if there are any budgetary constraints. That info would be helpful. However, I'll take a crack at it and suggest Keens, which has been in its 36th St. location since 1885. So, in addition to delicious food and good service, there's unmatchable old NY ambiance -- walls filled with memorabilia and rows of old clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings. Obviously, not a new spot and definitely as far removed from trendy as you can get. A really comfortable place with a conversation-friendly noise level where nobody will give two hoots what your mom is wearing. I'm not familiar with the dining scene in Atlanta, but I'm sure that even if there is a place serving good steaks and chops, guaranteed it won't have Keens' signature mutton chop on the menu -- no other NYC steakhouse does either! -- nor will it have Keens' special charm.
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You don't mention price. But how about La Bernadine. Classic New York french seafood in a comfortible (if sedate) atmosphere. For something a bit newer, but still classic feel, Fleur de Sel, or they would probably love Union Square cafe.
(try opentable and see what is availible)