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Dec 28, 2010 06:25 AM

need help for birthday dinner

my bf works at a famous restaurant, so we get the royal treatment at lots of places i'd consider special if i didn't know him and that makes picking a place to take him for his bday especially difficult.

in august, we had a spectacular meal at aldea; i'm hoping wherever we end up can top that.

we're downtown types, but i'm open to a great restaurant anywhere. we both loved tailor even though we didn't know each other when it was open. he hates shellfish. we've gushed about meals at casa mono, the harrison, hearth, market table, and the breslin. we really enjoyed lunch at the bar at craft bar, even though the room itself seems tired. we love sitting at the bar or at a kitchen counter. we hated apizz, were lukewarm about marlow and sons and he really disliked otto. he tends to like to go back to the same places over and over, but i want to show him something new. i was going to take him to etats unis, but i guess i missed that it closed. similar for l'atilier as it is closed that week.

help, please.

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  1. I think Momofuku Ko would work perfectly for you (counter seating, brilliant food).

    Momofuku Ko
    163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

    9 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      that is so funny, i just popped on to make a reservation, but my day is not yet open. i was thrilled, however, to see several open times, so maybe i will get lucky and score one on the 5th.

      1. re: jrnlmkr

        I hope so. I had dinner at Ko last week, and the current menu is brilliant (so brilliant that I'll probably return sooner than usual in hope that the menu is mostly the same). Good luck and have a great time!

        1. re: ellenost

          Great to hear that the current menu's so good. I've been only once before, but I just snagged a reservation for this week. What were the highlights for you?

          1. re: wasny

            My favorites were: sweet ebi; gruyere soup with toasted brioche, bone marrow and cippolini onions--perfect for a cold night; soft cooked egg with onion subise, hackelback caviar and mini potato chips (long time favorite); cavatelli; scallop and razor clams in clam chowder; shaved frozen foie gras with riesling gelee, pinenut brittle and lychee (another long time favorite); duck breast (a return to the menu and the reason why I returned so soon); calamansi sorbet with earl grey panna cotta; and carmelized apple cake with oatmeal ice cream, diced apples and burnt applesauce. They were all winners. The chefs change the menu frequently so you may have a different menu. Have a great time!

            1. re: ellenost

              This may be heresy but I thought that previous year's duck breast with chinese long beans, water chestnuts, bean sprouts was slightly better than this year's version with the turnip and mustard greens.

              If I can remember correctly the cavatelli is made with housemade ricotta, and there's fresh horseradish, beef tongue, fried sauerkraut, and fresh watercress alongside it.

              Our dessert on Christmas Day dinner was three tiny parsnip donuts with parsnip and caramel ice cream, and hazelnut (?) crumble IIRC. Quite unusual.

              1. re: kathryn

                I have to be honest, I love both duck breast preparations. They do wonders with duck (as does Ma Peche). Thanks for filling in the detail for the cavatelli dish; I loved it. And I can see that Ko's already made changes to the stellar menu that I had the previous week. I love caramel ice cream so I'll be heading back soon for dinner. Thanks kathryn.

      2. re: ellenost

        got the reservation. will let you know how he likes it.

        1. re: jrnlmkr

          Have a great time! Please remember that there is no "royal treatment" at Ko even if your bf works at a famous restaurant, Ko is the only restaurant that I've been to that there is no special treatment provided to regulars (like me) or famous people. I hope you and your bf won't be disappointed. It's a very casual atmosphere serving great food with no "red carpet" treatment. Some people have certain expectations for service similar to EMP and are disappointed.

          1. re: ellenost

            Yes, the cooks there are serving you, but they are chefs first, and servers second. Not exactly smiling and bubbling, but a lot of people interpret the intense concentration and chefs not necessarily making eye contact as "cold." But if you ask questions and engage them, they'll happily answer and talk to you.

      3. Degustation - if he's OK with fish and not shellfish it should be fine, and you liked Casa Mono, this is open kitchen/counter style seating
        Scarpetta or Babbo - even if you disliked Otto, there are several notches above
        Craft or Gramercy Tavern - since you liked Hearth, Market Table

        Lunch at Del Posto? When is this meal, BTW?

        Gramercy Tavern
        42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        Casa Mono
        52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        Market Table
        54 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014

        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          Caution about Degustation for jrnlmkr: If you get the 10-course tasting menu, make sure to tell them that your boyfriend hates shellfish. I don't know what dishes they are featuring now, but when my girlfriend and I went almost 2 years ago, one of the courses included raw oysters. The other elements pleased us but we don't like raw oysters and would have been better off if we had told them so in advance.