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My mom's 60th birthday...intimate lunch...recommendations?

healaeats Mar 30, 2011 06:56 AM

Hi there! My brother and I are taking my mom to lunch for the big 6-0. Any recommendations for a really great lunch in Manhattan? It can be a little on the fancy schmancy side :)

  1. f
    fm1963 Mar 30, 2011 07:10 AM

    Which day of the week? Here are some lunch options that would be suitable for a special occasion:

    Le Bernardin
    Jean Georges
    Picholine
    Bouley
    La Grenouille
    Tocqueville
    Ai Fiori
    Lincoln
    Marea

    If her birthday falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you could also look into Per Se, which offers a 5 course lunch menu in addition to its regular 9 course menu.

    -----
    Jean Georges
    1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

    Tocqueville
    1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

    Le Bernardin
    155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

    Picholine
    35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

    La Grenouille
    3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

    Marea
    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    Bouley
    163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

    Lincoln
    142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: fm1963
      ellenost Mar 30, 2011 08:24 AM

      Bouley is a wonderful suggestion. There have been some recent lovely reports about the lunch at Bouley. Bouley has a 5 course tasting lunch for $45. I plan to celebrate my mother's birthday at Bouley this summer since the reports are so favorable.

      1. re: fm1963
        e
        Elizabeth E. Mar 30, 2011 08:37 AM

        I have been to both Ai FIori and Marea for lunch recently, and, while I enjoyed both, found there to be too much of a business/working lunch atmosphere for your occasion. I agree that Picholine's a good possibility.

        -----
        Picholine
        35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: Elizabeth E.
          Spiritchaser Mar 30, 2011 09:26 AM

          I'm going to have to agree with Elizabeth E on this one, Picholine, IMO, will have the perfect vibe for what (I think) you are going for. I would add that you at least look into EMP (Eleven Madison Park) although I think the soaring ceilings may make you think it isn't intimate enough but food, service, and decor to die for.

          -----
          Eleven Madison Park
          11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

          Picholine
          35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

          1. re: Spiritchaser
            r
            RGR Mar 30, 2011 09:54 AM

            If, by intimate, one means small and cozy, none of the restaurants suggested fits that description. However, I agree that Picholine comes closest, especially if you sit in the rear dining room.

            Picholine photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157622875676042/

            I was less than satisfied overall with our two experiences at Marea and agree that the atmosherics are wrong for this occasion. And while we've had two superb meals at Ai Fiori, I agree that at lunch, it would feel too business-like.

            Although I liked to food at Lincoln a lot, I didn't find the ambiance, i.e., sloping ceiling and lack of tablescloths, particularly to my liking. I wouldn't make a special trip to eat there, but we will definintely be going back when we go to the ballet at Lincoln Center in June.

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

            htt://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

      2. c
        City Kid Mar 30, 2011 07:52 AM

        I can think of no more intimate and lovely a setting for such an occasion than La Grenouille.

        1 Reply
        1. re: City Kid
          g
          gutsofsteel Mar 30, 2011 11:18 AM

          I would recommend La Grenouille or Eleven Madison Park.

          -----
          Eleven Madison Park
          11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

          La Grenouille
          3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

        2. healaeats Apr 6, 2011 12:08 PM

          ok, so we made a res for le grenouille...will let you know how it goes!

          2 Replies
          1. re: healaeats
            healaeats Apr 14, 2011 09:03 AM

            OK, so we went to La Grenouille and dined on the second floor--we actually all had the $32 3 course meal (chef's choice--we had no choice) offered for some reason only on the second floor, and it was lovely--my brother and I were picking it up, and I think my mother wanted to order frugally and my brother and I don't exactly make a lot of money, hence our choice, and my decision not to splurge on the souffle for either dessert or first course (the cheese souffle--some other special occasion hopefully!)

            First of all, the waiters highly recommended this less expensive meal which was the cheapest option, and that speaks to what was a full 2 hours of overall impeccable, extremely gracious service.

            And the second floor--wow! Absolutely stunning--maybe the most beautiful restaurant based on this alone. It actually has a sort of "secret" entrance behind the coat check, and all of a sudden you feel like you've been whisked away to another time, age of innocence area, private dining hall. Gorgeous.

            The food itself was lovely--a first course pork terrine, served with all kinds of accoutrements that went very well with it, followed by a real *wow* bass--cooked perfectly, served with rhubarb over what I believe was farro (?), ended with a lovely nut-filled nougat glace. then there were lots of little sweet "treats" from the kitchen, beyond the little cookie selection served at the end.
            Might be one of the best deals if you can handle losing your choice to the chef.

            Really the perfect spot for my mother's 60th. Thank you all for your recommendations!

            -----
            La Grenouille
            3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

            1. re: healaeats
              c
              City Kid Apr 14, 2011 02:23 PM

              So glad it was a success...nice that you and your brother put so much thought into it!

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