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Sep 11, 2008 01:11 PM

Mom's 60th bday, table for 2, Monday night, great atmosphere, no reservations is ok.

Mom hasn't been to NY since the early 70's and I'm surprising her with a trip to Manhattan for a week over Thanksgiving. I'm looking for a special place to take her to dinner on the Monday night, price and location are no matter.

Some insight into mom: 1) Other than sushi/Japanese, all cuisines are welcome (eg Spanish, Mexican, Indian, Lebanese etc); 2) given the choice, she'd wait for a table in a casual, lively restaurant any day, over sitting down at a structured, stuffy, formal dinner; 3) she doesn't like to be rushed and loves the idea of nibbling at several dishes, rather than sitting down with one large plate to herself.

While I'm happy to keep things on the casual side (or not so casual depending on the suggestions) I'd really like to treat her to something memorable and special. My definition of something special would be a lively (but not clubby) restaurant that is friendly, quintessentially New York, and combines fantastic food with friendly service.

The more suggestions the merrier, as we'll be in town for a week and we will likely try a number of places.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Tons of good places look at:
    degustation- excellent tasting menu
    perilla- great neighborhood feel
    casa mono- nice tapas
    lupa- great italian
    gramercy tavern- wonderful

    5 Replies
    1. re: misnatalie

      Thanks misnatalie. I think I am leaning towards GT. I'm sure I'll have a number of other questions before Thanksgiving rolls around, but getting the actual bday dinner out of the way is key.

      Thanks again!


      1. re: sf toronto

        You can't go wrong at Gramercy Tavern, let us know how it was. Have a great time.

        1. re: sf toronto

          The dinner menu in the dining room at G.T. is structured, i.e.prix-fixed, and while the atmosphere isn't stuffy, it is a bit on formal side with a fairly understated feel. From the description of what your mother prefers, the front Tavern Room would probably be more to her liking. It's very casual, the menu is a la carte, service is first-rate, and the vibe is energetic. No reservations are accepted in the Tavern Room, so the wait during prime dinner hours can be very long.

          1. re: RGR

            RGR - Thanks very much for the heads up. I have been humming and hawing over the prix-fixe idea. I still have over 2 months before said bday, so I'll keep reading, researching, and over-planning, as I tend to do. That said, I'm thinking that you're spot-on by suggesting the tavern room over the dining room.

            I suppose all plans will be out the window if we end up at a hockey game that evening. In which case it may be afternoon tea, followed by an evening at the Garden!

            1. re: sf toronto


              If you do end up going to a hockey game, you might consider having a mid- or late-afternoon meal in the Tavern Room. They serve all day, and it's usually not very busy between 2 and 5 p.m., so you can probably waltz in and get a table immediately. It won't be as lively as during prime dining hours, but I wouldn't let that stop you.

              In her post upthread, misnatalie mentioned Casa Mono, Batali's Spanish tapas spot, which would definitely suit your mom's preference for grazing. While I like the food, my biggest gripe is the extremely tight seating. However, they also serve throughout the day, and it's not too busy mid-afternoon, so the seating situation becomes, to me, less intolerable. Another place to consider instead of afternoon tea.