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Dec 22, 2011 11:27 AM

Suggestions for 30th Birthday Dinner for Two

I am trying to pick a place for a 30th birthday dinner next week for my fiance and I. I have already read numerous other threads with suggestions on this topic, but I guess I am just looking for some fresh suggestions.

I was originally looking at some of the highly regarded places with great tasting menus like a WD-50 or EMP for instance, but it seems those are out of our price range. Looking to spend approx. $350 or so (would prefer to spend a little less, but could even go a little more if really worth it). That is including drinks (bottle of wine), tax, tip, etc..

We haven't lived in NYC that long, but some restaurants we have enjoyed recently include a couple of David Burke's, Momfuku Saam Bar, Red Cat, Flex Mussels.

A couple places under consideration include Modern Bar Room, Tocqueville and Oceana. More suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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    1. All three of the places you mention as possibilities are quite enjoyable. You will probably have to be restrained on the alcohol to comfortably stay under $350, but you will enjoy your meal at any of the three. I would say that the Modern Bar Room is the loudest, least intimate of the three (though you could do The Modern, which is still a bit loud, but much more intimate, and still get out at around $350) and Oceana the least romantic (and the most limited menu).

      Of the three, I would probably go to Tocqueville, assuming reservations are still available.

      1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

      The Modern
      9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

      120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

      2 Replies
      1. re: nmprisons

        If you request the right table in The Modern Dining Room ( 2 top, along the window wall, center) it isn't noisy at all and it's a beautiful cool space, however, it may push your budget. The food is wonderfully creative.

        Tocqueville would be another fine choice and I think your budget wouldn't be in as much jeopardy.

        For another choice you could check out Jean-George, currently making some of the best food I've ever had there.

        If you would consider lunch you could get alot more bang for your buck (but usually lunches don't have as romantic a feel).

        1. re: nmprisons

          what i like best abo 11 EMP is that they charge only 35 dollars for corkage making meals much more affordable. i second Jean-Georges it is one of my favorite places to eat period and has an affordable menu at Naugatine.

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

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

          1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

        2. Next week may be tough seeing as you don't already have a reservation somewhere. have you looked at Scarpetta or Lincoln? You could do well for under $350 at either.

          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

          142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

          10 Replies
          1. re: coasts

            Thanks everyone for the responses so far!

            Seems like most of these place still have availability. I think I am going to pass on Italian though so Scarpetta and Lincoln are out.

            I am going to look more into Tocqueville and a couple of Jean George's spots. Marea is another that caught my eye, but need to see if that will work with my budget.

            1. re: BFchowhound

              I really enjoyed my meals at Marea, but it's also Italian. It may not meet your requirement?

              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: BFchowhound

                Wait, you are going to pass on Italian, but are looking at Marea?

                1. re: nmprisons

                  I guess when I glanced at the menu for Marea it seemed more seafood oriented than normal Italian. I will have to look again.

                  1. re: BFchowhound

                    Yes, Marea is an Italian seafood restaurant. The general concensus on this board is to stay away from the fishes and meats sections. The crudos and the pastas are where Marea shines.

                2. re: BFchowhound

                  If I were you I would only consider the flagship restaurant, Jean-George, in the dining room, for a special occassion if you look at JG properties.

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    Thanks for the tip. I think I am leaning toward Tocqueville for now unless I get some other ideas...

                    1. re: BFchowhound

                      You won't be disappointed if you stick with Tocqueville. Enjoy.

                      1. re: BFchowhound

                        Tocqueville would be an excellent choice. It's one of our favorites, and we just had another superb meal there.

                        Tocqueville photos:

                        Another place to consider is Jung Sik, the new upscale Korean restaurant. With a budget of $350, the $115 tasting menu + wine + tax & tip is doable.

                        Jung Sik photos:


                        1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                        Jung Sik
                        2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

                      2. re: Spiritchaser

                        JG, assuming they have availability, is a fine choice. I looked on OpenTable for next week starting on 12/26 and most of the tables for two are around 10pm. They appear to have more availability after the new year.

                        Note that the 3 course prix fixe JG is $98 but it doesn't include dessert which is $8-12. That brings the food cost to $220 for two.

                  2. I recommend Annisa, Anita Lo's place. It's well within your price range, and the food is fantastic. I celebrated a wedding anniversary there recently, and it was likely one of THE BEST meals I have ever had in NYC (including my meal at wd-50).

                    Our limit was similar to yours ($300), and we ended up spending $310 for 2 cocktails, a bottle of Riesling, 2 apps each, 1 entree, and 1 dessert each -- including tip.

                    I cannot emphasize how incredibly delicious the food is. The chicken dish (yes, the *chicken* dish) might be one of the best chicken preps I have tasted in my entire life.

                    Pardon the hyperbole, but it was *that* good. And you may still be able to snag a rez there....

                    13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

                    1. Mas Farmhouse -- you should be able to hit right around $350, and for that you could probably get the expanded tasting menu. It's not too loud, nice room. Not as good as say EMP or Per Se, but you aren't paying that sort of price, either. Also, you could do Gramercy Tavern. $88 for tasting menu, and say a $90 bottle of wine is going to run right at $350 assuming tax and 20% tip. I much prefer Gramercy over Mas, but that is not an overly informed opinion as I have only been to Mas once.

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

                      Mas (Farmhouse)
                      39 Downing St, New York, NY 10014