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Crawling out from under my rock--can you help me navigate new NYC restaurants?

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My husband and I used to be very up on the Manhattan restaurant scene... until we had a twin boy and girl last year. His birthday is next month and I'd like to surprise him with a reservation at a hot, new restaurant--except I have absolutely no idea what's going on out there! In the past we've gone to Scarpetta, Degustation, EMP, places of that nature for his birthday, if that helps you narrow down any recommendations. Thank you in advance!

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  1. Corton
    Marea
    Lincoln
    Ai Fiori
    Minetta Tavern
    Aldea

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    Corton
    239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

    Marea
    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    Ai Fiori
    400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

    1. Compose has gotten a lot of recent notice, if you can snag a reservation. Same goes for Ko (in terms of if you can snag a reservation) H Manning also has some great options for you.

      1. Congrats on the twins. I'm sure they have kept you and your husband very busy. So, it's no wonder you've been out of the restaurant loop.

        Re: H Manning's list. I would not consider Corton, Marea, Minetta, and Aldea new since they have all been open for well past a year, actually, two or three. Lincoln and Ai Fiori are new. . Lincoln opened in the fall and Ai Fiori just a few weeks ago. Lincoln's reviews have been mixed, so I'm not sure I'd consider it "hot." Ai Fiori is the newest Michael White restaurant and hasn't yet been reviewed by the professionals. Right now, it's not "hot," but that could change, depending on what kind of reviews it gets. That said...

        We had dinner at Ai Fiori a week ago Saturday and loved it. The food is superb, there's an excellent wine list, service is tops, and the ambiance has contemporary elegance.

        Ai Fiori photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        Btw, there have been major changes at EMP with regard to the menu format. So even though you have been there before, you might want to consider it.

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

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        1. The biggest issue is a lot of the really new (last 12 months) and trendy places don't take reservations and/or are going to be a bit loud/cramped for a birthday.

          Anything here sound good?
          http://ny.eater.com/archives/2010/12/...
          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/din...
          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/din...

          1. thanks everyone! glad i made my reservation at ai fiori in time :)