60th Birthday Dinner
My mum has always wanted to see New York and we're finally flying her out from the UK for her 60th birthday (my first time too).
I'd like to book a nice meal for the night of her birthday (Sat 24th November). This site has been amazingly useful and, based on what I read here (and in my time out guide), I settled on Blue Hill but couldn't get a reservation (except very early or very late). I tried Lupa next, but same story.
L'impero looks tempting but...I then wondered if a smaller, cosier place might be better. I've seen mention of places such as Nook, Roberto Passon…but I'm finding it hard to choose.
So, I thought I'd place myself in your hands…I'm after great food (obviously), friendly, relaxed, a good but not-too-intimidating wine list, probably Italian or new American but open to other suggestions. A nice bar area to sip a cocktail beforehand would be an added bonus. I guess I'm looking at around $200 for three of us.
We're staying in midtown (west) so within easy reach of there would be nice but Greenwich Village area is fine too and am prepared to (in fact would like to) travel to other parts of the City, as long as it's not too arduous to get there by metro/bus.
All suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I will choose one of the suggestions and I'm very happy to report back…
I am a huge fan of Telepan in UWS but you could also look into Aureole, Inseime, and db Bistro Moderne (ask for the quieter back dining room).
I don't know what time you are looking at to dine, but I hate to say this -- at this late stage of the game, and a Thanksgiving weekend to boot, I think you will have a tough time getting a reservation at almost any really fine restaurant unless it is under 6 pm or after 9.
I'd eat at Blue Hill happily at 5:30.
You might try making an earlier reservation and then checking with them to see if any later cancellations opened up.
I will also mention a particular favorite of mine in the midtown theater section: Vice Versa.
You might try www.opentable.com and see if there's anything that fits your criteria (time frame, location, etc). You never know what you might find available.
Separately, I have not been to Blue Hill, but I'm not even sure that you could dine there for $200 for 3 people so you might want to check into that.
I would not call Vice Versa average, but I do agree that Compass would be an excellent choice. The food is more imaginative and complex. I think you would be very happy with either. Some of the other restaurants you mentioned are way above your price range, so check websites for menus.