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50th Birthday Dinner - Funky and Reasonable

e
East End Eater Dec 29, 2011 06:58 PM

I have been combing websites and menus in Manhattan for a dinner for my sister in law for her 50th birthday in April. But let me start with a little background. My husband and I live in Toronto and we're going to be meeting up with his sister and her husband, who live in a tiny town in the north east of England.

As I was trying to figure out what type of restaurant she wanted to go to for her birthday, she said "well, compared to the restaurants where I live, anything would be great". And she's right, as I have been to her small town, been to about 80% of the restaurants and honestly even the pub food is lame.

So, fast forward along and I am planning this trip for us to New York. We are going to stay in mid-town but any location in Manhattan would be great. Here's the tricky part ... some of the postings that I have seen on Chowhound have recommended lovely restaurants like Daniel, Corton, per se, Eleven Madison Park which truly look like an amazing New York experience, but quiet frankly these restaurants will be just too expensive. I understand that the experience and the food would be make this a special New York evening but I can already see my brother in law freaking, which would not make for a fun birthday evening (there's not enough room here to describe standing in the lobby in an all inclusive in Mexico while he had a meltdown about the $30 buffet at the ecological park).

So this is what I have to work with.

If I had to put a price range, I would say under $200 a person and closer to $150 would be great. The wines do not have to be fancy, in fact a good food and funky food experience would be better than a 100 page wine list. The only other comment I would make is that a really loud place would be not too great either (this is my preference).

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much for your time!

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  1. k
    kathryn RE: East End Eater Dec 29, 2011 08:39 PM

    $150pp before tax, tip, and wine? Or after? It's better to give a food only budget as alcohol consumption can vary so widely.

    6 Replies
    1. re: kathryn
      e
      East End Eater RE: kathryn Dec 30, 2011 02:43 AM

      Good point, thanks Kathryn for pointing this out. I agree about the alcohol so I would say $80 to $100 pp for food only before taxes and tips.

      1. re: East End Eater
        r
        RGR RE: East End Eater Dec 30, 2011 10:48 AM

        Tocqueville is one of our favorites. They offer an a la carte menu with prices that should allow you to keep within your stated budget. The food is seriously delicous, and the elegant dining room is one of the most beautifu in the city.

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

        The Modern Dining Room's 4-course prix-fixe comes in just under your limit at $98. The Alsacian-inspired cuisine is superb, and the space located in MoMA is appropriately modern with a lovlely view out to the Sculpture Gardens.

        The Modern Dining Room photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        If you and your relatives are game to try something different, I highly recommend the recently opened Jung Sik, which is serving modern Korean cuisine. While the tasting menu @ $115 is beyond your stated budget, their 3-course prix-fixe is $80 and includes the little extras, i.e., amuses and mignardises. The food is sensational, and the dining room has lovely ambiance.

        Jung Sik photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

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

        Jung Sik
        2 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: RGR
          e
          East End Eater RE: RGR Dec 30, 2011 11:47 AM

          Thanks RGR. Look like some fantastic suggestions!

        2. re: East End Eater
          k
          kathryn RE: East End Eater Dec 30, 2011 11:12 AM

          Any preferred cuisines? Can you elaborate on what you mean by funky?

          1. re: kathryn
            e
            East End Eater RE: kathryn Dec 30, 2011 11:46 AM

            No specific preferred cuisines except I would veer away from pub food and Indian. By funky I mean eclectic - either in the food or the decor - something where after the meal they say, "wow, that was really different". In a good way, different of course! Hope that helps!

            1. re: East End Eater
              linguafood RE: East End Eater Dec 30, 2011 11:48 AM

              Annisa. It's fantastic food, within your range (if you don't go overboard on booze), and one of the best meals I've had this year.

              http://www.annisarestaurant.com/menus...

              -----
              Annisa
              13 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

      2. f
        fm1963 RE: East End Eater Dec 30, 2011 10:54 AM

        Good food, funky food experience:

        WD-50
        Ma Peche
        Wong
        The Breslin
        Tertulia
        Aldea
        Nuela

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

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

        The Breslin
        20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

        Ma Peche
        15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

        Nuela
        43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

        Tertulia
        359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Wong
        7 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

        3 Replies
        1. re: fm1963
          e
          East End Eater RE: fm1963 Dec 30, 2011 12:00 PM

          Oh my, these suggestions are just awesome. We're adding The Breslin to our list of restaurants for sure. I love places like that (check out Au Pied de Cochon if you're in Montreal ever).

          Thanks again. I am having a hard time working now as I keep checking out the restaurant suggestions (and getting very hungry).

          1. re: East End Eater
            f
            fm1963 RE: East End Eater Dec 30, 2011 12:44 PM

            The Breslin is a great choice. If you want a funky (unique) dessert experience:

            Spot
            Kyotofu
            Momofuku Milk Bar
            Cafe Sabarsky
            Lady M
            Minamoto Kitchoan

            -----
            Kyotofu
            705 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

            Cafe Sabarsky
            1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

            Minamoto Kitchoan
            608 5th Ave, New York, NY 10020

            Momofuku Milk Bar
            251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

            Spot Dessert Bar
            13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: East End Eater
              k
              kathryn RE: East End Eater Dec 30, 2011 12:59 PM

              The Breslin and Tertulia are both on the loud side, and only take reservations for big groups. So keep that in mind.

          2. j
            JDR1210 RE: East End Eater Dec 31, 2011 09:17 AM

            If you want really excellent food and great service in a funky atmosphere we just dined at Fatta Cuckoo on Clinton street. Chris, the chef, has a creative take on comfort foods that combines great ingredients with his own twists. We had terrific short ribs, excellent mussels and a meat loaf like no other. This off beat little restaurant is a great find if you want an off beat New York experience.

            -----
            Fatta Cuckoo
            63 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

            1 Reply
            1. re: JDR1210
              r
              RGR RE: JDR1210 Dec 31, 2011 10:34 AM

              I'd not heard of Fatta Cuckoo, so thanks for the tip. However, as good as the food may be, it doesn't sound like the kind of place one would choose when celebrating a special occasion like a milestone birthday. My opinon, of course.

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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