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Aug 13, 2008 11:41 AM

Aunt and Uncle taking me to me choose the place

Once a year my aunt and uncle, well-heeled cooks and foodies who live on the Upper East Side, take me out for a fantastic dinner. Usually they choose the place, but this year I've been given free rein. I'd like to choose a place where the noise level isn't insane (they're getting hard of hearing) and the crowd not too young/trendy (i.e. nowhere in the meatpacking district). I like small cozy locavore-ish places myself (Little Owl and its ilk), but with them we usually do something a little more upscale more spacious. Places I've been with them include Gramercy, Bouley (their all-time favorite), Chanterelle, Montrachet (eons ago), Annisa, and Blue Hill. I'd love some new suggestions along these lines, but nothing as high-end as Per Se, and nothing straightforwardly Asian (not their thing). The neighborhood doesn't matter as long as it's Manhattan.

Please don't suggest any of Mario Batali's restaurants or anything of Jean-George's (or Daniel). They have something against these chefs and their places. I can't explain why, they just do.


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  1. Tocqueville has amazing food and a beautiful room. Picholine also came to mind.

    1. If they like Italian food, you might want to try Alto.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        Yes, I was thinking of Scarpetta, but the noise level and neighborhood would seem to preclude it. Maybe Alto or Convivio? I don't know much about either one.

        1. If Bouley is their all-time fav (one of mine too), I'd recommend Aureole and Eleven Madison Park. Both have great food and service. You'll be able to easily have a conversation.

          1. Montrachet is closed. I got engaged there and my marriage and it ended about the same time :) If budget is not an issue (except for Per Se) what about L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon? We went last night. It's quiet, French, consistent and delicious. We also had a wonderful dining experience at The Modern - Dining Room last year (I think I posted a report if you want to do a search of this site).

            1 Reply
              1. re: misnatalie

                Really? I have not heard good things about Gordon Ramsey.

                I would do Allen and Delancey, but I think it's too dark and also too youthful.

                The Modern, EMP, Alto--all possibilities. Thanks.

                1. re: equilibrist

                  It's unfortunate that Gordon Ramsey has been branded so tastelessly and it's hard for some to get passed that, but I second The London rec. I have been there twice in the past 6 months and have to say....everything was excellent and memorable. The service (from the host to the sommelier) was exceptional and among the best I have experienced in NY. The courses were perfect and paced out as they should. The wine list (mostly french and Italian) is quite extensive (and expensive). However, I strongly suggest the pairing. I don't think you or family would be disappointed. (Can't wait for my anniversary so I can go again :)

                  1. re: malibu

                    I had heard mixed reviews about Gordon Ramsey as well. I was looking for a special place to take my foodie step mom for her 50th. She's done it all Babbo, Daniel, Bouley, Gramercy Tavern, EMP, Le Bernardin, etc, etc. I got the chef's table and it was amazing. She LOVED it and so did everyone else.

                    1. re: misnatalie

                      We really enjoyed Gordon Ramsey at the London. Exec Chef Josh Emett and his staff do a great job. I'd put it on a par with Eleven Madison --maybe even a bit better.