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Way Downtown, Way Special for My Foodie Mom's 70th Birthday?

We're taking mom to the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park for her 70th birthday and want a dinner that's either within walking distance (not very likely) or a short, easy cab ride. To give you an idea: we'd do something like Eleven Madison or Daniel, but they're deemed too far away; we'd consider Bouley, which is sufficiently close, but we did that last year for dad's birthday. Need something totally memorable for a foodie.

So far, that leaves us considering:

-SHO Shaun Hergatt
-Corton
-Del Posto
-Scarpetta
-Perry Street

Any of those jump out for anyone? Any other ideas?

Thanks!

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  1. i would recommend the tasting menu at forgione on reade street. in my opinion it was leaps and bounds better than my meal at bouley which left me underwhelmed (perhaps an off night?)... this place is decidedly more laid back and less of an affair, but very memorable and i believe they just got a michelin star. shouldn't be more than 5-10 min by cab.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bern1

      That does look really nice. Interesting menu and sounds like a very solid place. Thanks for the suggestion!

      If it were for me, that'd be more than enough. But I think we gotta bump it up to a bit more fancy-shmancy...

    2. I really liked both SHO and Corton. Haven't heard many positive reviews of Del Posto, and have heard great reviews of Scarpetta, but it seems more like a night out with friends place than a special occasion place.

      SHO's cuisine is more Asian-inflected French (reminded me a bit of Jean-Georges' style), and Corton's is more avante-garde (reminiscent of but not as extreme as Alinea and Pierre Gagnaire). SHO's interior is ultra-luxe and Corton's is spare but attractive. Both have great Burgundy and excellent but unobstrusive service. Definitely worth checking out the menus of each to see what suits your mom's palate best.

      1. For this particular occasion, from that list, I would do Perry Street. The food is lovely with Asian accents (it's JGV), the room is airy and pretty, the service professional and helpful, and the noise level is fine. I found SHO utter soulless with erratic food (generic upscale Asian-influenced - see the link I posted below) and spotty service, and I found the food at Corton too fussy, and the sparsely decorated room felt like a medical facility. After two hours we were dying to get out of there. Scarpetta is a bit too casual for this occasion. Del Posto might be fine, it's certainly festive and a nice room, but I've read too many reports of inconsistency to recommend it for an important occasion, plus the food is somewhat traditional and your mother may want something more "foodie-ish."

        You want a room that feels festive, but also comfortable where you can sit an enjoy good food and each other's company. Sho feels like a dark hotel lobby restaurant in any Asian hotel in the world.

        1. SHO and Scarpetta stand out to me in your list for food. I do think that the atmosphere of Scarpetta might be too loud for your mom though. What about Scalini Fedele (might have spelled that wrong) or Valbella.

          8 Replies
          1. re: taboo

            Some of my feelings about SHO were echoed in this NY Times blurb:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/din...

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              I'd say SHO or Del Posto from that list.
              I ate at SHO recently, and the comments about asian themed hotel bar seem off to me. I thought the room was structured very nicely, plenty of rooms between tables, and the wait staff was great. Our server was fantastic, and the bartenders mixed fabulous cocktails. The wine list was a bit over marked up, but the food is a fantastic value. Not everything was spectacular, but I thought it was all pretty high caliber.

              1. re: UWSEater

                It is high caliber. Generic, high caliber, Asian influence fancy hotel food with no soul. What the Times said - fancy dining for the sake of fancy dining. And the wine list markups (for any decent quailty) are extreme.'

                About Del Posto - the birthday woman is a foodie. She wants a foodie wow experience. Del Posto is not that.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  The wine list was absurdly marked up, but I wound up with a great cocktail (manhattan) and some nice sherry (manzanilla) with desert. I thought some of the dishes had great technique and plating, and strong flavor profiles, nothing bordered on bland while I was there. While I thought it was semi fancy, for the price the level of service was fantastic, on par with the service I've had at Jean George, just below EMP.
                  I haven't been to Del Posto in a year and a half or so, but when I went I was very impressed with everything we had. We had about 10 different canapes and amuses, and pieced together our own tasting menu with a number of primis, a secondi or to and 4 or 5 pastas. We took a break mid meal, and even got a tour of the kitchen, wine room, and the private dining rooms. It was one of the better meals I had that year. Service was top notch, from captain to bus boy. Not sure if it has degraded that much from then, but I've sent a number of people there, and no complaints yet.

                  1. re: UWSEater

                    I know someone who held his father's 75th birthday party at Del Posto and they loved it. I'm just saying that if one of the requirements is "foodie-ness" it might not be right, just because it's fairly traditional cooking. It's very good food, I agree. And it is a festive, fancy enough place for this.

                2. re: UWSEater

                  We found SHO to be Zen like. The cuisine is French Asian. A thread with my experiences:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/642544

              2. re: taboo

                Ooh, now you're complicating things. Often walked by Scalini Fedeli at my old office and wondered how it was, but never looked into it until now. Seems to be very well-regarded, and just formal enough. A new leading contender! Valbella also sounds amazing, but not sure -- mom's pretty hip-and-cool for an almost 70something, but not sure she's *Meatpacking District* hip-and-cool. (Same issue with Scarpetta. Man, I gotta get out more and try these places myself, birthday dinner or not!)

                1. re: fmogul

                  Scalini Fedeli is not a foodie wow place, although I like it. Valbella I have no idea but then again I am generally allergic to the Meatpacking District :-)

              3. How about Locanda Verde in TriBeCa?

                2 Replies
                1. re: glutton

                  Noise level is not okay for this type of occasion.

                  1. re: glutton

                    I was not wowed by Locanda Verde. To be fair I went once and for lunch.