Birthday Dinner for the Big(?) 2-5
I'm not really one to celebrate my birthday in a huge way, but I'd like to go to a nice weeknight dinner with my best friend since I'm turning 25 this March. I don't have a specific price per person, but I don't want to break either of our branks. I live on the UES and she's on the UWS, but I'm totally gung-ho to go to any neighborhood (and she'll do the same since it's my birthday). My favorite types of cuisine are Thai, Indian and contemporary American, but I'll eat pretty much type of cuisine. (Least faves are fussy/traditional French and seafood-only establishments.)
I'm of two minds in putting together my list of options. There are some nicer places I've been dying to try, but I generally like a more relaxed, unpretentious environment. Would love to hear your recs, as well as your opinions of the restaurants below!
Eleven Madison Park (which I know it's technically "French," but the menu looks delicious and I've heard raves from everyone I know who's been there.)
(Since it's a special occasion, I'm leaning towards Market Table or EMP.)
Some of my favorite places are apizz, Spice Market, Caracas Arepa Bar, Elio's, SEA (in Brooklyn), Sripraphai, Gramercy Tavern, Park Ave Winter, Rocking Horse Cafe and Essex.
I LOVE EMP. I think if you go with that, you will not be disappointed. That being said, it is a little on the expensive side, although I'm sure you've taken that into account when suggesting it. Anyway, that is a truly lovely dining experience and would definitely get my vote.
Happy early birthday!!