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Stuck Between 3 Restaurants, Help!

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I am stuck between Gramercy Tavern, Cru, and River Cafe for my boyfriend's birthday dinner this week. Any suggestions between the three? I realize that the food at River Cafe may not be up to par with Gramercy Tavern, but my boyfriend loves a nice view which is why it's on the list. We both love good food, wine, and a young, lively atmosphere.

Any help would be appreciated! And, if you can tell me if you recommend ordering off the menu or tasting menu at any of the above, that'd be great.

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  1. You're right- the view at River Cafe is fabulous, food not so much and young, lively atmosphere even less..

    1. Gramercy Tavern gets a mixed ages clientele. The Tavern Room is very lively while the formal dining room is more subdued though certainly not funereal.

      1. Cru also gets a mixed-age clientele, but with no shortage of younger diners. The food is great, the wine list is legendary, and though it is rather formal, it is lively and not stuffy. We've had the tasting menu once, and it is fine, but generally prefer to order the 3-course menu.

        1. the view from river cafe is more than a nice view. it's drop-dead gorgeous. food is pretty good. floral arrangements are stunning. guys have to wear jackets which can be a turn-off to some but not me.

          how you get there is intriguing: water taxi? walk the brooklyn bridge (one way)? limo?

          full disclosure: i sail the east coast. the battery still takes my breath away.

          1. I can only speak for Gramercy Tavern and River Cafe. Go with Tavern, definitely. Cafe has the view, but not the food.

            1. Thanks for the suggestions...any other thoughts? I feel like gramercy tavern is somewhere I have to try so I might have to go with that!

              3 Replies
              1. re: stephaniec25

                My wife and I had our anniversary dinner at Gramercy Tavern this summer. Absolutely loved it. We were blown away by the food and the service was near perfect. Really a stand out for us. However, I wouldn't call it a young, lively atmosphere. It's certainly not staid or stuffy, and there is quite a mix of ages, but it's certainly not in the category of a young scene. River Cafe's food is just not worthy of a birthday trip in my opinion. Have not been to Cru.

                1. re: stephaniec25

                  I have been to Gramercy too long ago to be helpful. Wine list at Cru may be the best in the city. I enjoyed my meals at The River Cafe last year more then Cru (my SO birthday's dinner this year). The atmosphere at both Cru and The River Cafe were warm. The River Cafe has music and views which are a nice plus. River Cafe is satisfying and delicious, not cutting edge. IMO my best meals this year have been at Robuchon and Falai.

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    edit: None of these restaurants had a young, lively atmosphere when I went. Enjoy your birthday dinner wherever you end up and please report back! fdr