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Mar 7, 2011 12:42 PM

Something special, something new

Hi, I would like to take my wife out for her b-day, and I'm having a hard time coming up with the right place. We don't get out much these days with two kids at home. We have recently been to EMP, and was hoping for a place similar to this. Something a touch more casual would be fine as well. Just want delicious food, relaxing atmosphere, but something that feels special. Price isn't an issue. I'm not really up to date on restaurants, but would Ai Fiore or Maialino fit the bill? Or perhaps The Lincoln?

2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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  1. Maialino is terrific. You could also consider Cafe Boulud.

    Cafe Boulud
    20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    1. Maialino is wonderful but rather casual.

      For something new with delicious food and a relaxing atmosphere for a special occasion, my choice would be Lincoln, though Ai Fiori is also a great option. Both are also not as formal as EMP.

      You could also consider Marea.

      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

      1. I'm a big fan of Maialino, but it's way more casual than EMP or the other 4-stars. And the food is more rustic as well.

        Ai Fiore is a closer fit. The food is Frenchified Italian (they're calling it "Riviera" cuisine), service is very attentive, the decor understatedly elegant, yet the overall feel is relaxed.

        Ai Fiori photos:

        Cafe Boulud would also be an excellent choice. In the Daniel Boulud group, it's second to his eponymous 4-star temple of haute cuisine, but in every way that counts, it's first-rate. Chef Gavin Kaysen is cooking some of the best food in the city right now; service is cordial and polished; the decor is lovely; and while diners do dress up a bit, the overall ambiance is more casual than the 4-stars.

        Cafe Boulud photos:

        One more excellent possibility: Adour Alain Ducasse. Superb cuisine, polished service, and elegant surroundings.

        Adour photos:

        1. Another vote for Ai Fiori - I had a great restaurant week lunch here but would be delighted to return for a special dinner. I thought the food and service were excellent.

          1. Haven't been to Ai Fiori yet although have heard all the raves. Maialino is very good but much more casual and the food is more rustic.

            If you're looking for Italian, I really love Del Posto. I've also recently had special dinners at The Modern and Le Bernardin - although neither are very new additions to the NY restaurant scene.