Unpretentious dinner for parents
I'd like to get my parents (a couple from Queens in their mid-50s) a gift certificate to a restaurant for the holidays. My budget is about $150 (to include two dinners, drink, and gratuity). Cuisine is flexible, but they are not fans of Thai, Japanese, or Indian. My major concern is finding a place that is not stuffy, pretentious, or overly-hip. Just a place with good food, a decent wine list, and a laid back atmosphere. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
As a wedding gift to my brother and new sister-in-law I got them a gift certificate to the Union Square Hospitality Group. (http://www.ushgnyc.com/) That way they could pick and choose from a bunch of great restaurants and decide to spend all the money on one meal or try a few places. USHG includes:
Union Square Cafe
Eleven Madison Park
And a few other spots. $150 should get them a meal at most of these restaurants, except for Eleven Madison Park.
But they loved the gift and thought it was a great idea.
Btw the link for a gift certificate is at the very bottom of the webpage. I had trouble finding it at first and had to call. The folks there are veyr friendly though.
Telepan sounds like it would be perfect for your needs. Not stuffy, but not hip in a very tasteful quiet room. The food is simple, clean New American cooking with very fresh greenmarket ingredients. I have really like everything I have gotten the times that I have been there.