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Jun 30, 2007 07:49 AM

Funky restaurant in NYC for Dad's 70th?

Our family is travelling from Switzerland to New York as a surprise for my Dad's 70th in August. We've never been to NYC before, and we're looking for a "funky" restaurant for a dinner he'll always remember. It can be medium-expensive price-ranged. He likes good quality food -- could be contemporary American, Asian, Italian or French. The dinner will be on a Sunday or Monday night (I realise not the "best" evening for a celebration dinner). Ideally it should be a place where we can hear ourselves talk -- there will be 9 of us for dinner, and we'll have a lot to talk about!

Thanks for any suggestions! Greetings from hot and steamy Geneva.

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  1. How about a classic steak house like Knickerbocker Bar & Grill-33 University Place.. good food (steaks), moderate, old neighborhood favorite.

    Keene's but very expensive, legendary 72 W. 36th St., at 5th Ave. (Midtown)


    Perry's St good steak, stylish place!!!! more reasonable than Keene nice atmosphere.
    176 Perry St. Not funky, the point would be no steakhouses in Switzerland well at least the last time I was there a decade ago.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lori SF

      Hi Lori

      This is a really good idea -- I see the Knickerbocker has jazz which my father loves, I've put this one down on my list! The reviews say it's good for groups. Thanks very much for the suggestion.

      1. re: Genevagirl

        there are so many choices and I am no expert but this place has so much character and feels very NY.. the food is very good. Good luck hope you find the right place for your dad.

    2. Hi Genevagirl,

      Could you be more specific when you said "funky"? It could mean different things to different people - funky decor? funky food combination (like fusion?), funky ingredients (like offals?)
      You also mentioned that you are from Switzerland, so something "funky" to your family such as Japanese yakitori or Spanish tapas may be just everyday food for natives.

      Also, since price tag in NYC in generally higher than in other places in the US, it will be really helpful if you can give us a price range ($XXX / person including drinks, tips(20% or more), and tax) that fits with your budget range.

      Without the above information, I will throw an option right away that may be what you are looking for: Momofuku Ssam Bar. It is an Asian fusion restaurant, and while they name suggests that they specialize in ssam (think of it as Korean burrito), their other options, like offal dishes, small plates, pork and vegetable dishes are much more impressive. With 9 people you can order in advance their Bo Ssam which is a whole pork shoulder for your whole party to share. With the Bo ssam you will be able to reserve a table when you place your order in advance. Although it may be noisy when crowded you should definitely be able to hear each other. Momofuku Ssam Bar will be what I consider as a NYC funky mid-priced dinner experience.

      Another more high-end option is WD-50 which specializes in experimental New American food. That means you will be eating a lot of foam, powder, and things like that in your meal which may fit the meaning of "funky" food. People either love it or hate it, and while I like it a lot, I don't know if you want to risk a birthday dinner in your first trip of NYC there. It is also pricer than Momofuku. Here is the link and you can judge it yourself:


      Of course, depending on your reply on budget and "funkiness", we should be able to give you other suggestions. We would love to have you enjoy your first trip in NYC!

      1 Reply
      1. re: kobetobiko

        Thanks very much for the suggestions, I realise I should have been more specific. I think funky was referring more to the setting. My father is quite traditional, and although I would love to try the WD-50 foam/powder approach, this might not quite be my Dad's idea of a good meal! However, the Momofuku which I haven't come across sounds like a good option. For prices, I don't really know how much it costs per head, but I realise it's expensive, and it's good to know you have to add 20% onto the price! We're really looking forward to our trip! Thanks again.

      2. Maybe Buddakan? The space is amazing and certainly funky. The food is good as well. I cant remember the noise level when I was there though.

        2 Replies
        1. re: roze

          Buddakan is over the top amazing space.. my friends recently had a great meal there.

          1. re: roze

            Thanks, this is the kind of "funky" I was hoping we would find in New York -- which you can't find anywhere in Swtizerland that I know of! I used to live in Brussels, and we had some cool places like these on a much smaller scale -- I think my Dad would love this, and the menu would work for all of us. Thanks again.

          2. No problem with celebrating Sunday or Monday night, except that some restaurants are closed Mondays. It's actually much better than being there on Saturday night, which many people call "amateur night." Weeknights are more civilized times to eat out in New York.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Pan

              Pan, that's good to know. If the restaurant we choose is open Sundays and Mondays, which one would you go for? I'm guessing Sunday, since Mondays are quite dead?

              1. re: Genevagirl

                No night is dead in New York. If you were looking for a bar scene, yeah, Monday would be the worst, but you're not looking for a place that's crowded and loud, but rather one where you can hear yourselves talk. So while I think either night is fine, if I were you, I'd choose Monday, all things being equal.

            2. Go to Del Posto on 10th Ave. What a great place to celebrate a birthday! The website is www.delposto.com

              3 Replies
              1. re: bac528

                I'd definitely consider Zeytin around W. 85th and Amsterdam for not only deeeeelicious Turkish/Mediterranean food but the atmosphere is really neat and unique and the servers aim to please.
                You can dine in or outdoors. Price is reasonable as well.
                A winner!

                1. re: idia

                  Hello, thanks for the Turkish suggestion -- wow, we are spoilt for choice! I love Turkish food, especially the sweet deserts. This is now on m shortlist too.

                2. re: bac528

                  Thank you, this looks excellent too, I can see we're going to be back in New York on a regular basis, you guys are SO spoilt for choice with all these restaurants it's unreal!