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Memorable 38th Anniversary Meal

So DH and I are coming into Manhatten from CT to celebrate on September 3rd. We are seeing South Pacific at the Wednesday matinee and want an early dinner afterwards. My first thought was Per Se (where we have been before), but maybe don't want to spend so much. Then I thought of Bar Boulud (haven't been yet) but have been a little put off by CH tales of spotty service and chilly reception. Could I get more recs from CHounders familiar with the area (we would like to walk to the resto from Lincoln Center). We would like a memorable but not stuffy meal. DH is originally French so we lean a little in that direction (but we are totally open to all other suggestions). Cost is not really a consideration, at least with the $1000 or so we think we'd have to drop at Per Se. Thanks.

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    1. By the way SP is fantastic! You certainly cannot go wrong with JG, but if that's too stuffy for you, I would say Landmarc in Time Warner Center. Telepan is about ten blocks north of LC and definitely gets nothing but high praise. For something a little more casual and more French, Cafe Luxembourg is fabulous on 72nd.

      2 Replies
      1. re: monasapple

        Landmarc is fine for a casual meal, but it does not sound like the place for your celebration. I second Jean George, Picholine and Telepan. I've had great meals at all three. Of the three I would say Telepan is the least stuffy, but really I wouldn't really describe any of them that way.

        1. re: monasapple

          Just to note that Telepan is not 10 blocks north of Lincoln Center. It's on 69th, b/t Columbus & CPW.

        2. I would not call Cafe Luxembourg fabulous. You would get infinitely better food at Bar Boulud. But if you are willing to spend more than the cost of an ordinary dinner (I really would not call Bar Boulud memorable), why not go to Jean-Georges, or Picholine? If you really want something informal, but upscale, and with great food, Dovetail is only 10 blocks from Lincoln Center.

          3 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            What about Cafe Des Artistes on 64th? Not trendy -- will remind you of your 20th anniversary. Lovely setting within walking distance. Or walk to 54th street and eat at The Modern <www.themodernnyc.com> (We had our 40th there -- yum. South Pacific is memorably lush-- almost too competitive with a Per Se meal.

            1. re: elizabeth2929

              Imo, Cafe des Artistes is way past its prime.

              1. re: RGR

                Agreed--food is mediocre and decor is dated

          2. i think picholine is a perfect post-lincoln center special occasion spot. had a really beautiful meal there recently.

            JG also would be apt. special, close, not quite per se level.

            but i would not bother with cafe luxembourg. its a slightly above average neighborhood spot.

            5 Replies
            1. re: vatl619

              I am very touched by all the thoughtful responses given me and have been having a great time looking up the menus of all the places you mentionned. Haven't decided yet, but right now am leaning towards The Modern or Picholine. The menu of the Modern speaks to me somehow, but everybody seems to agree that Picholine is really special. I can get DH to wear a blazer and tie, but that's about it. Don't want to be looked down at by a snobby waitstaff. Any problems with this at either place? Thanks to all.

              1. re: lattelover

                grayz 54 st 5-6 th ave...not memorable, but neither are the touts above..its good food, nice place

                1. re: lattelover

                  Picholine "requires" a jacket but not a tie, so a blazer with or without tie will be just fine. I have on occasion seen someone without a jacket, so maybe they don't enforce that. I don't think the waitstaff is snobby, but I would wear a jacket to avoid feeling out of place with everyone else wearing jackets. I've not been to the Modern, so can't comment on that.

                  1. re: rrems

                    rrems,

                    Afaik, Picholine does not require a jacket. There is nothing about requiring one on their website, and Zagat does not include it in that list. I do agree that most of the gentlemen tend to wear jackets. However, when we were there at the end of May, there was one young man at a table near ours who was not wearing one. He had on a dark, long-sleeved shirt. He and his companion received the same gracious, attentive treatment from the staff as we did.

                    The Modern does require a jacket (no tie), but since we've not yet managed to dine there, I can't say if it's rigidly enforced.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Thanks for pointing that out, RGR. I'm not sure about the website, but in the description on opentable it did say "jacket required" not very long ago. I see it has now been changed to "business casual". I guess that explains why we both have seen jacketless men recently.

              2. I love the kind of food served at Bar Boulud, and while they are still finding their way, I trust they will be up to snuff when you visit. The food is still deliciously decadent.

                What is more romantic than expertly made charcuterie and champagne?

                3 Replies
                1. re: thegreekone

                  Yeah Cafe des artistes is dated ---I said that. But when you get to your 38th anniversary, so are you. Sometimes a bit of dated decor just hits the spot, especially after seeing a musical from probably your childhood.

                  And frankly at 38th anniversary, there is nothing I would rather less eat than charcuterie -- unless perhaps you are a couple married when you were teenagers and with arteries of the younger set.

                  Meanwhile I wouldn't think the waitstaff at either the modern or picholine would care what your DH wears for an early dinner on a 38th anniv. As for the Modern, it will still be light out and I bet as the light falls on the sculpture garden, it could be lovely. Order tea and they will bring a whole cart of herbs and cut them right in front of you.

                  1. re: elizabeth2929

                    I really like the food at Bar Boulud as well, but agree that it wouldn't be a great place for a 38th anniversary dinner - too much bustle, crowded tables unless you get a booth, etc.

                    1. re: elizabeth2929

                      My comment that Cafe des Artistes was past its prime was strictly related to the food though Lucia does have a point about the decor. I feel strongly that when celebrating an anniversary, regardless of the year, the food should be memorable. In the case of CdA, imo, it is memorable only for how mediocre the food has become.

                      My choice in the vicinity of Lincoln Center would be Picholine.

                  2. Picholine is terrific -- had my 39th there -- cheese selection truly memorable, sweetie had saddle of lamb which we still rave about. DH will feel more comfortable with a tie there, but Compass on west 70th west of B'way , is a good, less formal alternative with (usually) an interesting menu which still gives you the feeling of an evening out. Wherever you go, let 'em know it's your anniversary. You'll love South Pacific. PS wear comfortable shoes, not your Manolo's -- lots of construction and messy sidewalks right now around Lincoln Center.