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Mom and Dad's 40th Anniversary

l
lorax14 Mar 14, 2010 04:25 PM

So my sister and I were planning to treat my parents to a celebratory dinner this coming Saturday, 3/20. Our original plans fell through, and now we are scrambling for a new option. Please do not criticize my lack of detail -- I know I can get killed on Chowhound for vagueness, so I'm trying my best to be clear about what matters.

Criteria (from most to least important):

1. Available (if it's on Opentable, that's a good sign -- we're looking for 3/20 at 8 or 8:30)
2. Good energy -- we like to converse, so not too noisy, but we're also not a rowdy group and will benefit from a room with a lot of buzz.
3. Ambiance = simple elegance. They would be fans, for instance, of wooden farm-style tables.
4. Good service -- it's for their anniversary, so hitting the right notes on service will be important.
5. Italian, French or American baseline cuisine. Food should also be slightly inventive (they eat out a lot and will appreciate a classic dish prepared with fresh and familiar ingredients in a novel way) but not "out there." It goes without saying that if you're recommending it, you personally like it.
6. Manhattan (east side preferred) or Brooklyn.
7. Cost is not a huge issue, but I would say we don't want to spend more than $100/pp total (inc. tax/tip/wine) for six people.

  1. bobjbkln Mar 14, 2010 09:06 PM

    In Brooklyn, Saul has availability and meets all your other requirements.

    1. r
      rrems Mar 14, 2010 05:46 PM

      Checking Opentable I see there are many places I would otherwise recommend that are fully booked. Of what is available, here are some ideas:

      Cru
      Marseille
      Park Avenue Bistro
      Perry St.
      Tabla (but the earliest is 9:00)

      If you were considering La Grenouille (which will NOT fit your stated budget) you might consider Picholine.
      .

      5 Replies
      1. re: rrems
        g
        gutsofsteel Mar 14, 2010 08:29 PM

        I don't think you can get out of Picholine for $100/pp including wine, tax, and tip.

        1. re: gutsofsteel
          r
          RGR Mar 14, 2010 08:49 PM

          You're absolutely right, gos. But as rrems points out, La Grenouille was under consideration, and there's no way to get out of there for $100pp either. Well, maybe if you do the two-course prix fixe for $78 and drink only "Chateau Bloomberg." That's, of course, during prime time. If you go between 5 and 6 p.m. and after 9:30 p.m., there is the $59 Theater Menu, $79 with wine pairings. At Picholine, there is no such comparable option..

          1. re: RGR
            r
            rrems Mar 14, 2010 09:02 PM

            That was my point exactly, RGR. Thank you for explaining it to guts.

        2. re: rrems
          r
          rrems Mar 14, 2010 09:23 PM

          I should have mentioned that aside from being over your stated budget, both La Grenouille and Picholine are the antithesis of "simple elegance". They are both quite formal.

          1. re: rrems
            r
            RGR Mar 15, 2010 08:40 AM

            With regard to formality, La Grenouille requires jackets, but Picholine does though I've noticed that most men do wear a jacket there.

        3. l
          lorax14 Mar 14, 2010 04:26 PM

          Also, as a point of comparison, we were thinking about 10 Downing and La Grenouille, but can't get a table for 6 at either on this short notice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lorax14
            g
            gutsofsteel Mar 14, 2010 08:26 PM

            La Grenouille is not inventive, and it is in no way "simple elegance."

            But if you're interested in French, and La Grenouille was an option, you could consider L'Absinthe. On E. 67th St.

            http://www.labsinthe.com/

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