Best dinner in NYC for around $150 per person?
So I'm looking to take my girlfriend out for a nice celebration dinner.
I am looking for a tasting menu (but am open to other suggestions) that will run about 100 per person not including drinks. I'm looking to drop around 300 for the evening (so if there is a menu with a pairing that comes out to around 125 per person, that would be perfect).
I saw the tasting menu at Babbo looked nice for $75 a person and a $50 wine pairing...that seems like just what i'm looking for.
I've been to Daniel, JG and Picholine recently, so I am looking to try something new and exciting...what are some nice recs?
I would highly recommend Fleur de Sel. The 6-course tasting dinner is $89. With wine pairings, it's $145 (tax & gratuity additional). It is a bit above your stated budget, but I feel it's a steal compared to costs at Daniel, J.G. and Picholine, expecially since the quality of the contemporary French cuisine is superb. The wines are excellent, and service is professional. Though ambiance is not as oppulent as the higher-enders, the small space does have understated elegant decor and a cozy, romantic feel.
Go with Babbo. The pasta tasting menu is very good, or go with a la carte if you need primarily meat and/or fish dishes.
As per your post, it wil be different from all those that you've had before.
If your girlfriend is the Chow type, try sneaking into Ko on a Friday or Saturday night. The infamous online-only reservation system actually makes it easier to get in then: compared to the million office drones at their computers every weekday at 10am, there are relatively few New Yorkers up and online on a Saturday or Sunday morning at that hour. I've never managed to get in on a weekday, but got a spot on a Friday night (logging on the previous Saturday morning) on my first try, with nimble fingers and a good internet connection.
And don't worry about the relatively spartan decor for "atmosphere": it's the dining experience most clearly etched in my skull from the last couple of years at least.
I feel like a broken record, but do Degustation. they have a 10 course tasing with wine pairing for $150 ($75 without the wine). I went for my bday and it was FABULOUS! Food is innovative and delicious and the service was great. They were very accommodating with my questions about the wines and it was a terrific night.
Seating is at the bar (though you are in regular chairs, not on bar stools) and it's very cozy!
To me, a special evening starts with a beautiful room, followed by great food. I suggest Park Avenue Winter. The winter decoration is sparkly, romantic and elegant. Service is very attentive. Best of all is the food. . We went there for dinner a few weeks ago and left feeling very happy with whole experience. Make sure you eat in the front room.
How about Tocqueville on E. 15th St near Union Square?
Wonderful food and atmosphere. You can do it for $300.00 per couple.
Does your gf have any preference for food and decor?
I think Babbo is a good choice. The only cavaet is that you need a reservation for a table. I don't think it will be a good idea to do walk in and eat at the bar for a celebration dinner, unless you and your gf don't mind.
As for food, Ko and Degustation suggested by other hounds are excellent choices. But the decor is very casual and nothing like Daniel or JG. So depending on what kind of atmosphere that you are looking for, they may fit your need.
I will put two other Italian suggestions for you. Hearth and Convivio both have a very reasonably priced tasting menu ($76 for Hearth and $59 for Convivio) so with wine pairing (not sure of the pricing) they should still fit within your budget. Both places have lovely decor and a bit more upscale than Ko and Degustation, though less upscale than JG or Picholine. I have always enjoyed my meal at these two places.
If you want French, Maze of Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel also serves a chef's tasting of $70 for 5 courses. While GR's main dining room will be out of your budget, Maze is a nice compromise with a more causal atmosphere and delicious food.
DEFINITELY WORTH THE HYPE!
If you're diligent, the reservation system is a snap. The atmosphere is actually pretty cool since you're right there with the chefs.
I was not too impressed by Fleur de Sel
I'd be very interested to hear more about Park Avenue Winter - such an interesting concept...