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Native New Yorkers moving to Austrailia - Need recs for fun Farewell Dinner

After scrolling through hundred of posts and nearly an entire Zagat's i am still at a loss for where to bring my favorite couple for their Farewell dinner before they leave for Austrailia. It will just be four of us (two couples) but i am looking for a memorable meal, with great wine and food and a lively, but not too loud setting. One of us is a non red-meat eater, the rest are open to anything.

Price-wise, i would like to spend no more than $80/pp including drinks. Any neighborhood in Manhattan would work.

Chowhounders - please help!

Thanks in advance:)

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  1. You could consider taking them to a restaurant they particularly love and will really miss (presuming it fits your budget). As far as other possibilities go, even though you say your are open to anything, to help narrow things down, what are this couple's favorite cuisine(s)?

    1. I think if I were leaving NY for Australia, I would go for Babbo, Gramercy Tavern or Eleven Madison. Of course, this is assuming you don't wish to dine at DiFara, Grey's Papaya or Katz's that night.

      1 Reply
      1. re: offthebeatenpath1

        Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern's dining room will not fit the proposed budget of no more than $80pp, including drinks. In both cases, the 3-course dinner prix-fixe is $82.

      2. Thank you both for responding. While i did tinker with the idea of taking them for a hot dog (we all spent many a late night at Grey's) i was thinking of something a little nicer for this dinner.

        they are both indian so i would rather avoid indian restaurants b/c i know they have their favorites already and i don't want try to compete. I would preferably like to stick with American, Italian or French. He LOVES steak - but she doesn't eat red meat so the restaurant would have to have some options for her as well.

        I thought about Blue Hill and Little Owl - any thoughts on those?

        2 Replies
        1. re: rregal

          If they've never been to Keens, I think it might be a good choice. It's been in its 36th St. location since 1885; therefore, in addition to delicious food, there is unmatchable Old NY ambiance -- walls filled with American memorabilia and rows of old clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings + pipes belonging to famous people dating back to the 19th century in display cases in the vestibule. With regard to the non-meat eater, the menu includes fish and seafood. When we were there a while back with my husband's brother and his wife, she ordered salmon and was very pleased with it.

          http://www.keens.com

          1. re: rregal

            blue hill and little owl are great restaurants, but the homey fare made with good ingredients is a theme that has caught on in bigger australian cities as "modern australian" fare. i'd think about doing something they can't get there as easily.

          2. Sorry, I didn't see including drinks. How about Balthazar?

            1. Ouest might be to your taste(s), rregal. It serves well made classic and new French cuisine. (Just don't go on a Sunday, if you can help it. The only bad meals I've ever had at Ouest were on Sundays when the A team has the night off, presumably.) Great wine list, great red meat preps, and good poultry / fish preps. Should fall safely within your price range as long as you don't order a very expensive bottle.

              Bar Americain might also be of interest. They have very good steak and a good raw bar--and of course they have that whole American cuisine thing going. I don't actually remember much about their wine list other than the fact that they have one and it appears to be long. Potent mixed drinks (which is in part why I don't remember much about the wine list ;).

              I personally wouldn't go to Keen's since steakhouses aren't that hard to find in Australia and the signature item on the menu is lamb chop ("mutton chop"). Australians do lamb a lot better than we do.

              Cuisines that are easier to find here than there include Mexican, microgastronomy, haute. There's plenty of Italian, Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai), and Indian, there.

              3 Replies
              1. re: cimui

                I've never been to Australia, so I accept what you say about steakhouses there. And, yes, the signature dish at Keens is the "mutton chop" (now saddle of lamb), but the steaks are fine, and rregal did mention that the husband *loves* steak. Taking all that into consideration, a major reason to go to Keens is the iconic Old NY ambiance, obviously, not to be found in Australia.

                I am not a fan of Bar Americain. As I've noted a number of times on this board, we went there once, and the food was awful.

                When it comes to Mexican food in Manhattan, I think there are only a few places that do it well. The one we like is Pampano, which specializes in fish and seafood. It would be a good fit for the wife, but I'm guessing not so much for the husband.

                As for haute cuisine, the budget does limit the options.

                1. re: RGR

                  Pampano is a great suggestion.

                  I think we've previously agreed to disagree about Bar Americain. :)

                  1. re: cimui

                    You're probably right, cimui. I've agreed to disagree with many Hounds about Bar Americain.

                    Glad we agree about Pampano. If they're doing the farewell dinner soon and the weather cooperates, they can sit on the charming 2nd floor terrace.

                    http://www.modernmexican.com/pampano

              2. I've been to Keens many times and I think its a great "old" New York restaurant,and the whole pipe thing adds to the ambience.Posters are right,their lamb is the best Ive ever had,but steaks and seafood very good as well.ill bet if shes a vegan,theyd make up a vegan meal for her-have fun