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Last Birthday Dinner in NYC - where to go?

Dear CHers - it is with some sadness that I say that I will be likely relocating to the West Coast next summer. My birthday is in late January, and typically I celebrate by going out to dinner with my husband one night, my best friend another night, and so on. As this is likely to be my last dinner-fest in NYC, I'm a bit at a loss for where to go. To make things more complicated, I am also pregnant so wine lists/cocktails are not a priority, and I cannot have raw seafood so nice sushi/crudo/ceviche is not acceptable. It doesn't have to be super-fancy, but the food must be memorable and not break the bank (no more than $100/person, excluding drinks).

Here's where I've been:
Annisa
Union Square Cafe
Strip House
BLT Steak
Le Bernardin
Tocqueville (lunch)
Jewel Bako
Vong
Felidia
Lupa
Fleur de Sel
La Cote Basque and its successor LCB Brasserie
Aureole
Veritas
Blue Hill @ Stone Barns
Palma
Eleven Madison Park
River Cafe
WD-50 (dessert only)

Places I'm contemplating:
Babbo (would probably go here with hubby)
Craft
Degustation
Bouley
Perry Street
Jean Georges

Any other places I should be looking at? Please also recommend signature dish that is pregnancy-friendly.

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  1. Of the places on your "contemplating" list, I have only been to Jean Georges. We recently had dinner there, and it was a memorable experience. Because it was our first time, we decided to do the tasting dinner of Jean-Georges's signature dishes. Although I can't say that every dish wowed me, several were truly stellar, and I think it's an excellent introduction to his cuisine. I don't think there is anything on that menu that would be verboten for you. But in any case, when it comes to dietary needs, they are very accommodating. In fact, as many restaurants do these days, they inquire about allergies, restrictions, etc. Service was perfection personified, the decor is stylishly attractive, and the overall ambiance is supremely comfortable.

    Hope all goes well with your pregnancy. Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I've heard that lunch at Jean Georges is a major deal, and I'd be willing to take the day off to enjoy a nice leisurely lunch. Would you recommend?

    2. I've been to all but Craft. I'd choose Babbo or Jean Georges. Perry Street is very good, but it's not JG. I like Bouley, but I've had uneven experiences there. Degustation is not in the same league as the others, and the cramped counter seating might be uncomfortable for you.

      1. From your list of restaurants that you are contemplating, I strongly recommend Bouley; I've always had great dinners (food and service).

        1. If it is your last dinner and you are leaving the Big Apple, wine and cocktails are not a priority. I would try to choose something that is the quintesential NY experience and good at the same time. You have certainly been to many of the great places.

          My last NYC meal would be KATZ'z deli, you can not get that anywhere else. :)

          4 Replies
          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

            My best friend lives in the LES - we are going to do a LES food crawl (and yes, we'll take advantage of RGR's guide as wel), which will include Katz's. I typicaly do a nice dinner/brunch for my birthday, so that's what I'm aiming for. I also will go to Momofuku Ssam Bar and Ramen Setagaya before I leave :)

            1. re: BaronessCore

              My wife and I now live in San DIego, on our last trip we finished up at KATZ.

              On her lat trip with out me, she however finnished up at the Magnolia Bakery.

              Good luck with your new addition.
              Let us know where you go.

              1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                Normal Heights Foodie - if and when we move it will be to San Diego! I'm leaning towards Babbo with the hubby and then Jean Georges or Bouley with willing friends and foodies!

                1. re: BaronessCore

                  You will love it here.

                  There is no need to ever shovel a driveway. The schools do not even have indoor lunch rooms.

          2. i'd recommend adding Il Giglio to your contemplating list...