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Family visiting for brother's birthday - restaurant suggestion?

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My family is planning on coming into town in a week, and I'm trying to find a restaurant for my brother's birthday. My father was a restaurant reviewer (not in NYC) for 12 years, so we can be kind of tough to please. My brother is obsessed with Lidia Bastianich. We need a place where I can make a reservation for 7 on Feb 5th or 6th (so that leaves out the Batali/Bastianich's places, as far as I can tell). I live in Chelsea, but it definitely doesn't have to be in the neighborhood (I'm kind of sick of my hood's choices, to be honest). Help please!!

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  1. what atmosphere and price range are you looking for? only italian? other cuisines?

    scarpetta and palma are two good choices. scarpetta might not do big parties you can check.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mch

      Atmosphere: It's for a birthday, so festive. I'd like to show my Philly-based family that Manhattan isn't completely full of snobs, so nothing too snooty. We're all adults, so it doesn't need to be kid-friendly.
      Price range: For the out-of-towner, Manhattan can be quite the sticker-shock. Since I'm likely not paying (thank heavens), $40-50 pp would probably be upper limit.
      Other cuisines definitely work. Though my brother is in the midst of re-discovering his Italian roots, we are very open-minded.

      1. re: babydr

        $50 is before drinks, tax, tip?

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Eeek, I know we sound cheap, compared to you CHers (good lord, how is it that ALL of you have been to Per Se?) but yeah, that's as much as I want to force my journalist-parents to spend. Unreasonable?

          1. re: babydr

            It's going to be very tough to keep under $50 including booze, tax, and tip at any reasonable place. Even Alta. Go on menupages and look at the menu, and then double the food cost.

    2. Try calling Felidia. They might be able to accomodate you for an early-ish seating. The food is great and the atmosphere is definitely suitable for a birthday celebration. The restaurant has a $65 four course tasting menu - a bit above your limit, but worth it.

      1. $50 is not unreasonable. Perhaps you should go to alta. This way you can share a variety of dishes in a great atmosphere.

        trust me we haven' t all been to per se.

        1. For Italian, I think Da Andrea would be perfect. It fits your budget easily, the simple northern Italian food is delicious, service is friendly and efficient, not a bit "snooty", and they take reservations for larger groups, which they can accommodate now that they've moved to bigger quarters. Oh, and you can order wine by the carafe, which is a good deal.

          1. What do you guys think about Del'Anima?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Edwin E.

              I haven't been there but I have looked at the menu and I think it would be difficult (impossible?) to keep within the $50 range unless they don't drink and only eat pasta.

              1. re: Edwin E.

                Like the food very much, but it can get loud.