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birthday dinner conundrum

g
gnosh Sep 1, 2011 02:43 PM

I'm trying to figure out a place to take my husband for his birthday (the two of us plus our 12 year old son who likes everything but fish). I am searching for something not terribly expensive—something like $200 for the three of us (we won't drink much)—but that still feels like an occasion. I was thinking of Balaboosta (downside: too casual?) or Casa Mono (downside: I don't really like small plates myself) or WD-50 (probably too expensive, and we've been there--though not for a while). Also, I want to be able to make a reservation. We ate at Aldea recently and loved it....
Thanks everyone.

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WD-50
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

Casa Mono
52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

Aldea
31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

Balaboosta
214 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

  1. r
    RGR Sep 1, 2011 03:02 PM

    Casa Mono's "small plates" are not really so small. At least, that was the case the last time we had lunch there. The food was excellent. But to me, the place doesn't feel very celebratory, especially given the extremely tight seating.

    Casa Mono photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157626543716713/

    How about Ciano? The food is delicious, service is friendly and attentive, and the atmospherics are lovely. Casual but still feels celebratory. At our most recent dinner there, we had the whole chicken baked in a clay pot, which was sensational. It's listed "for two" but can easily feed three. We doggie bagged the leftovers.

    Ciano photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157627332687474/

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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    Casa Mono
    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

    Ciano
    45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR
      g
      gnosh Sep 1, 2011 03:48 PM

      Ciano looks great. Nice photos. That may be the answer! I didn't know Casa Mono was so cheek-to-cheek—thanks for mentioning that. My husband is very tall and a bit claustrophobic, so that wouldn't have been so great.

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      Casa Mono
      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

      Ciano
      45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

      1. re: gnosh
        r
        RGR Sep 1, 2011 04:14 PM

        Thanks for the compliment! :) Your husband will definitely be way more comfortable at Ciano.

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    2. sgordon Sep 2, 2011 11:04 AM

      WD would probably just be over your budget, yeah - three courses each would come to right around $200 before you've had a sip of anything, let alone added the tax & tip.

      Ciano is a good choice. Another Italian option, a few doors down from WD (and very influenced by Wylie Dufresne) is Falai. They do a $65 prix fixe for four courses - antipasti, pasta, secondi, & dolci - but you could three courses a la carte for around $50 to $55/pp, give or take, which leaves more wiggle room. For something more traditional, but in the same price range (maybe even a little less), Locanda Verde could be good, too. A non-Italian option I'm pretty fond of in the same range is Marc Forgione - elevated "New American" comfort food.

      For reference: $200 before tax/tip - $155 menu price, give or take. "Don't drink much" can mean a lot of different things, though. Don't drink at all means $155 to spend on food - two glasses of wine each (or one cheaper bottle) at nicer restaurant prices could knock $40 - $50 off that. It's the difference between a Falai and a Frankie's Spuntino.

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      Falai
      68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

      Marc Forgione
      134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

      Ciano
      45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

      Locanda Verde
      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

      2 Replies
      1. re: sgordon
        g
        gnosh Sep 2, 2011 04:17 PM

        Thanks for doing the math for me! I tend to have a more impressionistic (inaccurate) approach.

        Falai sounded interesting, then I checked the web site. Apparently they are closed due to "technical difficulties," whatever that means. Given the time period we're living in, I'm guessing it's the same as financial difficulties. Sad.

        I will look at Forgione.

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        Falai
        68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

        1. re: gnosh
          p
          peter j Sep 14, 2011 01:25 PM

          Falai has closed permanently.

          http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/09/...

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          Falai
          68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

      2. c
        comiendosiempre Sep 2, 2011 01:33 PM

        The tab at ciano can also add up very quickly.

        2 Replies
        1. re: comiendosiempre
          g
          gnosh Sep 2, 2011 04:18 PM

          Hate that.

          1. re: comiendosiempre
            r
            rrems Sep 2, 2011 08:57 PM

            It can, but if you are only having a glass of wine, or a half bottle for two, it can be controlled.

          2. d
            deepfry7 Sep 2, 2011 10:04 PM

            How about Danny Meyer or Tom Colicchio restaurants like Union Sq Cafe, Maialino, Craft, or Riverpark?

            If you're willing to go to the Upper West Side, there's Telepan and Dovetail.

            Not sure if this might be too fancy for your son, but if you sign up for savored.com, you can get 30% off your entire bill (no need to present a coupon to the waiter or anything like that - just book your reservation through that website) at a SHO Shaun Hergatt in the Financial District.

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            Telepan
            72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

            Union Square Cafe
            21 East 16th St., New York, NY 10003

            Craft
            43 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003

            Dovetail
            103 West 77th Street, New York, NY 10024

            SHO Shaun Hergatt
            40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

            Maialino
            2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

            Riverpark
            450 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

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