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Need help planning my own birthday

Hi Chowhounders,

Every year I plan my own birthday. I've gotten to the point where it's much easier to pick the places that I want to go to than to wait for my friends to come up with a unanimous decision. In fact, this works so well that I've become the planner for everyone's birthday too.

So every year, I get to go on several different dinners with different groups of friends. It's led me to some very good places in the past. And I am grateful for each and every one of them. There are just a couple of rules I follow in order to pick these places:

1. It has to be a place that I haven't been to before
2. All the places should be different in some way (cuisine, decor, atmosphere, etc) which helps prevent just having all French dinners (which is my favorite).

This year, I plan to go to the following places:

Dinner for 2 at Eleven Madison Park
Dinner for 2 at Corton
Dinner for 4 at Anthos
Dinner for 7 at Maialino

I'm having problems picking another place for a group dinner for 7. I'm thinking about maybe the Old Homestead or Scarpetta.

Does anyone have any suggestions? For any of the dinners? I would appreciate any kind of feedback. There is no price point. Though Masa and Per Se are out of the question. We live all over so anywhere in Manhattan but below Harlem is fine. We all eat anything and are quite adventurous.

And to help prevent suggestions to places I have been to: JG, Daniel, Bouley, Gramery Tavern, Union Sq Cafe, Peter Luger, Babbo, Gotham, Del Posto, Picholine, Felidia, Yasuda, Momo Ko, Marea, Scalini Fedeli, Convivio, Alto, Wolfgang's). And keeping Le Bernardin for something else this year.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. that is quite a list you have, jealous actually. When are you going to Maialino? You must report on it.

    Locanda Verde works for a group of 7. They have great round tables that should fit your group. I'm going with 6 next week.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mch

      I don't plan on going until January. I always call 1 month in advance for the best reservation.

    2. I'm thinking you are looking for something high end?

      1 Reply
      1. re: smokeandapancake

        It doesn't have to be high end. I've had birthday dinners all over including BBQ at RUB. I just want good food. I just tend to pick higher end places because my friends and I hardly eat at nice restaurants besides our birthdays. It's a nice change of pace once in awhile.

      2. Three excellent options: Veritas, Adour, and SHO Shaun Hergatt. All have superb cuisine, professional service, and lovely ambiance.

        Veritas: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        Adour Alain Ducasse: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        SHO Sean Hergatt: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        Also, if you like Indian-inspired cuisine, you might want to consider Tabla. We just had dinner there with a party of 8, and the food was delicious. We sat upstairs at a round table.

        Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!

        ETA: Of the first three I mentioned, Veritas and Adour are, of course, French. However, the cuisine at SHO showcases Hergatt's Australian/Asian-inspired style, which makes it quite unique.

        3 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          I agree with SHO. Veritas is certainly great and I have not been to Adour, but SHO is just amazing, a totally wonderful experience.

          1. re: RGR

            Thanks RGR! I was so impressed by your pictures that I'm switching out Anthos for Sho Shaun. It looks fantastic!

            1. re: tastyeating

              Glad the photos helped, t.e. :) And, yes, the cuisine at SHO is exceptional!

          2. I'm just checking out your thread for ideas for my own NYC trip, but I wanted to say you sound like my kind of person! I'm a planner too. I should do it for a living.

            1. How's Double Crown these days? The slideshow @ GrubStreet look very impressive.....at least to me......

              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

              http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2008/10...

              1. I had a great dinner at the new Oceana. Also enjoyed Marea as well as just having celebrated a bday with dinner at CraftSteak.

                1. So here's the final list:

                  Dinner for 2 at Eleven Madison Park
                  Dinner for 2 at Corton
                  Dinner for 3 at SHO Shaun Hergatt
                  Dinner for 7 at Maialino
                  Dinner for 8 at Locanda Verde
                  Lunch for 1 at Anthos (my treat to myself)

                  These dinner won't happen until January but I'll be sure to report back.

                  Thanks to everyone for their help and suggestions!

                  1. So, who pays? Do you get four free dinners at high-end restaurants?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: travelmad478

                      Yeah, my friends pay. It's a glorious time of the year! But I always return the favor when it comes to their birthdays.

                      Btw, I only break up the dinners into smaller groups because these people don't particularly like each other. In fact, they have told me that they'd rather not be around each other. I don't want to be perceived as greedy or selfish.