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Apr 7, 2009 09:56 PM

Special occasion dinner ideas

I am looking for suggestions for a restaurant to celebrate the end of paying for college!! We want to celebrate our daughter's graduation with a very special dinner. We will be six in total, with daughter's good friend who is also graduating and her parents. Two are vegetarian, so I need a menu that will satisfy everyone's taste. My daughter would like to dress up and have a real evening out. I would love to try Per Se, but don't feel comfortable suggesting it due to the price. From reading older posts I am also looking at Daniel and 11 Madison Park. I am hoping that there might be a few more ideas to consider. Thanks

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  1. We love Gordon Ramsay at The London Hotel. You will not be disappointed.
    (not sure about the veg options there however)

    1 Reply
    1. re: malibu

      I've been disappointed by Gordon Ramsay at the London both times I've gone. Maybe I ordered wrong, but I found the food very ordinary - as in, superbly prepared, boring food. I also find the decor quite corporate and dull.

      Daniel would be a great idea - the food is phenomenal but approachable, bright, interesting and as fun as a top-tier restaurant can be, if that's saying much. But you also might want to try some places that aren't necessarily in the four-star stratosphere but are maybe more festive. Maybe Alta? Bouley? Le Cirque?

    2. Despite the fact that EMP is our favorite NYC restaurant, when it comes to the menu, I actually think Daniel is the better choice for a party that includes vegetarians because they have a specific vegetarian menu, while at EMP, you would have to speak to them about special arrangements for the vegetarians.

      However, to be honest, I hesitate about recommending Daniel because, unfortunately, service is not always on the excellent level one would expect of a restaurant of that caliber. The last time we were there, there were several serious glitches. And friends of ours have also experienced problems in that regard. So, caveat emptor!

      Oddly enough, Cafe Boulud, Chef Boulud's second-tier restaurant, always provides polished, faultless service. The cuisine is superb, and one of the four menus, Le Potager, is especially for vegetarians. Not big and as fancy as the flagship, but elegant in an understated fashion And it does get a dress-up UES clientele.

      Congrats to the graduates and Bon Appetit!

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR

        I personally love Daniel and didn't have a problem with the service. I thought Cafe Boulud was great, too, although I still like Daniel's food more. I went to both of these places in my mid-20s and I think my husband and I brought the average age in both restaurants from 60 to maybe 58. If I was 21, these are not the types of places I would want to celebrate at. There are other high-end restaurants with a younger crowd (maybe not 20s, but at least a few people in their 30s). EMP has younger folks, but still strikes me as very business-y. I'm still in my 20s and to not feel like I'm only amongst retirees, I prefer places like Bouley, Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Gotham.

      2. I would strongly recommend Gramercy Tavern; they have both nonvegetarian and vegetarian tasting menus, the service is terrific and I ate there quite a few times in my 20s and always felt really welcome, which I decidedly did not (and, in fact, sometimes still do not) at Daniel.

        1 Reply
        1. re: craig_g

          Note that the "vegatarian tasting menu" is really a Vegetable Tasting Menu. It can be made vegetarian upon request but it is not truly vegetarian by default. But it is delicious.