HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
What's your latest food project?

Need Advice on NY from Philly hounds [Moved from PA board]

rocknroll52 May 11, 2009 09:33 AM

I'm headed up to NYC in July and looking for suggestions from trusted Philly chowhounds on your favorite restaurants in NYC! I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday on a Sat night with my family including 2 teen girls. If you were me where would you go to celebrate?

Thanks for any suggestions!

  1. r
    rocknroll52 May 13, 2009 04:52 AM

    Thanks to both Philly and NY folks for all your input. So far I'm leaning to Gramercy Tavern. From the website, the restaurant looks beautiful, though it seems like its not too formal or stuffy, did I get the right impression? The menu seems to have something everyone would like, the prix fixe is in the budget..

    Will I have a hard time getting a reservation here for a Saturday night?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rocknroll52
      LBNJNY May 13, 2009 05:03 AM

      You might have some difficulty and may have to be flexible on timing. It's popular so call soon. It is pretty much as you describe it - lovely yet not stuffy with great food choices. Nice to have a drink at the bar as well.

      1. re: rocknroll52
        Hungryin theBurbs May 13, 2009 08:06 AM

        You definitely have the right impression. We are not super-formal people and were very comfortable there. When I made a reservation, they only had a very late time, but were nice enough to keep us on a call list in case anything opened up. They did call that afternoon with an earlier time, but we ended up sticking with the original time anyway. Anyway, the point is, they were busy, but were lovely and did what they could to fit us in when we wanted. You will love it there.

      2. c
        caitlinhc May 12, 2009 11:32 AM

        Happy Birthday! My 50th just passed so I feel for you.

        Blue Hill Restaurant - A nice special occasion destination. Food and atmosphere are well suited to a special birthday!

        A place I've only read about but has gotten good buzz is Dovetail
        Looks like an attractive room and the menu has a nice but not daunting variety.

        Jean Georges has a $98 prix fixe which, is a great value. Ate here last year and had possibly the best meal and nicest dining experience of my life.
        Good luck finding just the right spot!

        1. l
          LBNJNY May 12, 2009 09:51 AM


          French: Try Artisanal, Pastis or Balthazar. All bustling, energetic NYC scenes with good food. Teens might enjoy the fondues at Artisanal. But Balthazar in SoHo and Pastis in the Meatpacking are better neighborhoods. These are more upscale bistros as opposed to fancy French so not sure if this would be sufficiently elegant for you.

          Italian: Scarpetta's the new hot place in the Meatpacking, but I know folks on this board love Babbo. I adore Felidia (Lidia Bastianich's place) and I think they'd make it special for your bday.

          American: Gramercy Tavern would be my top pick for you for food and atmosphere. Lovely. Also, while the food at Union Square Cafe is less formal, I do love that spot.

          1. h
            Hungryin theBurbs May 12, 2009 07:53 AM

            Hi rocknroll52! Another Philly 'hounder here. I highly recommend Gramercy Tavern. It's a great special occasion place. Beautiful room, superb service. I think it's in your price range. My DH and I went there for our anniversary dinner last year and had one of the best meals we've ever had. I've only eaten at XIX once, but I thought Gramercy was much, much better food.

            1. s
              sadiefox May 12, 2009 06:55 AM

              Probably under your budget but I very much enjoyed Inoteca in the lower east side.


              1 Reply
              1. re: sadiefox
                bluehensfan May 12, 2009 07:05 AM

                We had a great meal at Gotham bar and Grill last summer...

              2. l
                LBNJNY May 11, 2009 11:54 AM

                Being a Philly native I hope to help you! What are your favorite spots in Philly where you bring your girls - maybe that will help me to focus my response to you.

                11 Replies
                1. re: LBNJNY
                  rocknroll52 May 11, 2009 01:54 PM

                  Thanks LBNJNY...they moved my post over to this board...I would have posted here but your board is so busy and I haven't "done my homework"at all...in Philly I really like XIX at the Bellevue...it would be perfect for this occasion, elegant room, view, etc. but I'm guessing you can't get that in Manhattan without spending tons of $$$$ and since I am bringing the girls I don't want to be too extravagant (Per Se would be over the top)...someone in my office recommended Il Mulino what do you think of that?

                  1. re: rocknroll52
                    The Chowhound Team May 11, 2009 01:57 PM


                    We did move your thread here since you are asking about NY restaurants. However, you are welcome to post a "pointer" post on the PA board, directing posters to this thread. If you do so, please use the report function to flag it for us, so that we can lock it.

                    Thank you.

                    1. re: The Chowhound Team
                      rocknroll52 May 11, 2009 02:00 PM

                      I haven't got a clue how to post a pointer! I guess I'll just wait to see how the NY hounds respond.

                      1. re: rocknroll52
                        LBNJNY May 11, 2009 02:06 PM

                        Give us a ballpark about how much you want to spend. There are lots of options with great service and lovely atmosphere. It might not be as "elegant" as the Bellevue but I am sure we can come up with some good ideas. Places like The Gramercy Tavern come to mind but perhaps a budget idea and any cuisines you want in or out will help.

                        1. re: LBNJNY
                          rocknroll52 May 11, 2009 03:39 PM

                          $75-$100 pp

                          Prefer something in the general categories of Italian, French, American, Seafood, nothing too unusual as the teens (even though they are not picky) need to find something familiar on the menu (I think they would be scared of items like "hibiscus braised oxtail, bone marrow tart"...) I don't really want to do Asian, Mexican or anything too "ethnic"

                          Thanks for your help

                          1. re: rocknroll52
                            RGR May 11, 2009 05:47 PM

                            Re: The budget. To clarify, is the $75-$100pp your out-the-door cost, i.e., food, alcoholic beverages (for the adults), tax (nearly 9%) and tip (20%)? Or is it just for the food?

                            1. re: RGR
                              rocknroll52 May 11, 2009 05:54 PM

                              Let's say that's the food cost, not considering the wine, tax and tip.

                              1. re: rocknroll52
                                Pan May 12, 2009 03:11 AM

                                For that price, you could do Babbo, but it's notoriously hard to get reservations there.

                            2. re: rocknroll52
                              LBNJNY May 12, 2009 06:10 AM

                              I'll give you some ideas later today!

                          2. re: rocknroll52
                            The Chowhound Team May 11, 2009 02:10 PM

                            Just post a new thread on the PA board, saying that you are looking for recommendations from Philly posters for places they like in Manhattan, asking them to post on this thread on the Manhattan board if they have suggestions. This is the link to which you can direct them:


                            Hope that helps.

                        2. re: rocknroll52
                          Beulah May 12, 2009 08:54 AM

                          We've eaten at Il Mulino a couple of times and never been impressed. They put a lot of stuff out on the table (fried zucchin, peppers, etc and then it shows up on your bill!).Now if you could get into Babbo! That would be great. We really love Le Bernadin -- it's very elegant and the food is wonderful if you're into fish and sea food. We like Jean Georges and Bouley a lot too. I don't know if you could bring any of those in under $100 p/p.

                      2. b
                        Boognish May 11, 2009 11:38 AM

                        Depends on your budget. Personally, I'd try for something unavailable in Philly, like WD-50 or Tailor for molec gastro, any of the Momofuku joints, or Bar Boulud if you love charcuterie.

                        50's quite the birthday, so maybe Per Se? You might be able to get in on short notice due to the economy.

                        1. l
                          lawgirl3278 May 11, 2009 11:22 AM

                          I loved Perilla. It's a nice place to celebrate a special occasion.

                          1. hollyd May 11, 2009 10:15 AM

                            I love the Half King in Chelsea. Bar food but nicer, and a GREAT place to hang out.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: hollyd
                              MMRuth May 11, 2009 01:59 PM

                              I'll be upfront and say that I've not eaten at the Half King, though I have friends who live near by who like it, but it doesn't strike me as the kind of place to celebrate a special occasion.

                              Rocknroll - can you tell us how many will be in your party, and more or less what you want to spend? That will help us Manhattanites come up with suggestions for you.

                              1. re: MMRuth
                                hollyd May 11, 2009 03:56 PM

                                they have that lovely little garden area in the back, away from all the noise. I've had several fun nights there with friends.

                                1. re: hollyd
                                  MMRuth May 13, 2009 07:44 AM

                                  Thanks - that is nice to know about the garden. It was the construction right by the front patio that turned me off. What dishes do you like there? My friends live right down the street, and I do want to try it sometime.

                                2. re: MMRuth
                                  rocknroll52 May 11, 2009 04:10 PM

                                  its four of us (two parents and two teen girls) and hoping to keep the cost in the range of $75-$100 pp..thanks

                              Show Hidden Posts