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Birthday Dinner: Scarpetta? Perilla? Others?

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Ok, I tried this before, but now I've done some research. Looking for a place (downtown) to take dh for birthday dinner. I want nice, but nothing too "posh"--it's not really his style. I don't mind spending money, since it is his birthday, but things are a LITTLE tight right now, so if we can keep it under $150 (not counting drinks or tip) or so, that would be a plus. (Probably unrealistic.) So far I've checked out sites for Perilla, Scarpetta and Good. I thought about and rejected Minetta Tavern because I don't think we're cool enough to get in and I don't want a restaurant that's heavy on steak (it's all Bruni talked about in the review). Also, I think it might be out of our price range. If it's any help, our favorite restaurants in Manhattan are Babbo and Craft . Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. If you and the dh like French, I would recommend Allegretti. Delicious Provencal-style cuisine, excellent service, and lovely ambiance without being "posh."

    http://www.allegrettinyc.com

    1. Perilla and Scarpetta are great choices and will definitely fit your budget. Good is not that great. Some other thoughts:

      10 Downing - similar to Perilla in cooking style and ambience, though larger.
      Bar Blanc - trendy with excellent food
      Cru - formerly expensive, now more moderate, great service, a bit more formal but not really more so than Babbo, food is superb and the wine list is phenomenal, and you don't need to order an expensive wine, the cheapest ones on the list are still wonderful.
      Convivio (not downtown but if you can handle midtown, it's worth it) - Similar in style to Babbo, IMO equal or better in quality.

      1. Ahhh, you've named not only my two favorite restaurants at the moment, but also where I've gone for my last two birthdays. I really think you can't go wrong at either Perilla or Scarpetta. That said, Perilla's a bit less expensive (this goes for the wine list/drinks as well)--so even though you can do either one within your budget, you'll come in further under your budget at Perilla. Neither is "posh", but Perilla has a bit more of a neighborhood feel than Scarpetta. I'd give Scarpetta the edge on the awesomeness of the food, but Perilla is very good.