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40th Birthday Weekend in Manhattan

I am taking my wife to New York from Toronto for her 40th Birthday. Last time we were in New York was for our 15th Wedding Anniversary in August 2010. At that time we went to Degustation and Esca. We thought both were incredible. The prices were fine in both places. I am looking to budget $100 per person for the evening, excluding alcohol. If anyone could recommend a place for a nightcap as well, that would be great.

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  1. Weird...I was just searching for things to do on my 40th in New York in March. Stranger yet..I am from Toronto. I am trying to figure out which Momofuko restaurant to go to??? I think I am going to try the Noodle Bar and get the fried chicken dinner for 6 people. Other than that we are going to Blue Smoke that is associated with The Jazz Standard (jazz and bbq sounds good to me). We have to endorse Salumaria Rosi from a recent trip as well.

    I am going to keep an eye on this post as I am always looking forward to new experiences.

    GL and Happy 40th to your wife...New York is awesome!

    1. When is your trip -- soon or a few months from now? Is this for a weekend? A few weekdays?

      Does that $100p include or exclude tax and tip?

      Where are you staying?

      I find the private booths (with curtains) at Raines Law Room to be very romantic and the cocktails are excellent. However, it's a popular place, and they only take reservations for off nights (non-weekend). It may be a better choice for a pre-dinner drink.

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      Raines Law Room
      48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

      5 Replies
        1. re: fat potato

          That could get you the 4 course prix fixe at The Modern Dining Room or if you can go slightly over you could do the 5 course tasting at Tocqueville, both very nice places with wonderful food.

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

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

          1. re: Spiritchaser

            Both excellent suggestions, Spiritchaser. If they do The Modern, they should definitely requested a table along the windows with a view directly out to the Sculpture Gardens.

            Another slightly over the budget option ($115) is Corton. Our most recent dinner there was stellar.

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

            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

            1. re: RGR

              I am certainly open to expanding budget. I like the look of both Corton and Toqueville

              1. re: fat potato

                Tocqueville's cuisine leans traditional, while Liebrandt's cuisine at Corton is very complex and unusual.

                Tocqueville's dining room is, imo, one of the most beautiful in the city.. Many people feel Corton's space is too sterile; I find the the white walls with the white-on-white branches pleasing, and the lighting is of Goldilocks quality -- not too dim, not too bright, but just right.

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      1. All good suggestions above. I'll add a couple....

        If you liked Esca, Batali's flagship Babbo should certainly be considered - if if if if if you can snag a reservation, of course. You could also consider his fancier Del Posto for lunch - the lunch deal is a steal, at $29/pp for three courses or $39 for the "real Italian" four courses.

        For something a bit adventurous, a la Degustation, WD-50 might pique your interest. They're very different - WD isn't rooted in one particular cuisine the way Degustation is (was? Did the chef leave?) but they share similar playful approach.

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

        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        Esca
        402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

        11 Replies
        1. re: sgordon

          Yes, Degustation's original chef and his wife moved to Vermont.

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          1. re: RGR

            Thanks for the suggestions. We have it narrowed to Toqueville or The Modern dining room. WD - 50 looked incredible but by the time I could get a reservation it would be Hilary's 50 th

            1. re: fat potato

              You never did say (in answer to Kathryn's questions upthread) when your trip is taking place nor how long you'll be staying. We'll be dining at WD-50 with two other Hounds at the end of this month. The reservation was made two weeks ago. OpenTable is showing lots of availabilities on various days and at various times during the next several weeks, so I'm surprised you couldn't find something.

              In any case, Tocqueville and The Modern Dining Room are both excellent. If you choose The Modern, request a table along the glass wall with a direct view of the Sculpture Gardens.

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

              1. re: RGR

                We're in town march 2 & 3. Only time for WD-50 is 10pm, which we felt was a little late. I look forward to hearing about your dinner there.

                1. re: fat potato

                  IF WD-50 is grabbing your attention, you might want to give them a call - some restaurants hold back tables from Opentable, especially during prime hours (and there's nothing more prime than Fridays and Saturdays before 10PM) - not sure what their policy is re: Opentable, but doesn't hurt to buzz them.

                  They also have bar seating that's just for walk-ins. If you do a reserved place one night for your official birthday meal, you could always give them a try as walk-ins the other night. If they're full, it's not like there aren't 100 other dining destinations nearby - the LES (and moreso the East Village, a very short walk from there) is certainly not lacking for options.

                  But that said, Tocqueville & The Modern are certainly good choices. Not like you're going to have a bad meal at either. I'd lean towards the Modern of the two, as far as the food goes - though Toqueville is closer to more interesting neighborhoods for wandering before / after your meal. Certainly more nightcap options by Tocqueville - you've got the great East Village places (Death & Co., Mayahuel, P.D.T. / Please Don't Tell - though you'd want to make a rez for them. Also Booker & Dax, but they're likely to be mobbed as they're the "new kid" on the fancy-cocktail map.) and Raines Law Room mentioned above isn't too far a walk.

                  Around The Modern.... well, it's Midtown. Not so much that's terribly interesting. You could walk to Toloache for Margaritas, but other than that I can't think of too many good places for cocktails, aside from overpriced hotel bars.

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

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

                  Toloache
                  251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

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

                  Please Don't Tell
                  113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

                  Death & Co.
                  433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

                  Raines Law Room
                  48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

                  Mayahuel
                  304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

                  Booker & Dax
                  207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: sgordon

                    Near Tocqueville, Raines isn't very far. Neither is Flatiron Lounge. I've been hearing good things about the bar at Craft, too. Also Gramercy Tavern's bar might work.

                    Near The Modern, I'd take a short walk to either the Lamb's Club or Lantern's Keep. Theo at Lantern's Keep is amazing--he's also worked at Raines and Milk & Honey.

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

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

                    Flatiron Lounge
                    37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

                    Raines Law Room
                    48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

                    The Lambs Club
                    132 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

                    Lantern's Keep
                    49 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

                    1. re: kathryn

                      We rarely do bars, but I'm curious if you've been to and have thoughts about the Monkey Bar for cocktails. (It's in the Hotel Elysée, which is quite close to The Modern.) We had dinner in the dining room and came in and out through the bar room with its delightful monkey-themed decor and cozy ambiance.

                      Note: Access to the dining room from the hotel lobby does not pass through the bar room.

                      Monkey Bar photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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                      Monkey Bar
                      60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022

                      1. re: RGR

                        Ooh, not yet! I'd forgotten about the cocktail program at Monkey Bar. It should be very good given the resume of Julie Reiner, who also runs Flatiron Lounge, Lani Kai, and Clover Club.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Again not being a cocktails connoisseur (virgin cocktails don't count), I don't know anything about Julie Reiner's resume. But now that you mention it, I recall reading that when Graydone Carter hooked up with Ken Friedman to completely overhaul the Monkey Bar, Reiner was hired as a consultant for the cocktail program, along with Damon Wise as e.c. and Belinda Chang as G.M./Wine Director. Wise previously worked for Colicchio, and Chang left The Modern right after winning last year's James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service.

                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                    2. re: sgordon

                      Thanks for the suggestion. We got an 8 o'clock by calling. I'll post a report after dinner.

                      1. re: fat potato

                        Last night we were at WD-50.They do in fact hold back some tables from open table so it was a great suggestion to call. Although we booked at the bar, the restaurant let us sit at the chef's table in the back. Not only were we treated to a meal which delighted the senses, we got to see a wonderful ballet through the looking glass of the pass. The tasting menu was perfectly balanced and executes and the flavours married perfectly with the wine. We were pleasantly surprised by not one but two choices from Ontario. I will be looking to buy a couple of bottles when I get home. My favorite appeizer was the poached egg, ceasar dressing, lily bulb with pumpernickel. The best main was the monkfish, and the mango sake caramel and sheep's milk was the best desert. Thanks for encouraging me to call for a table, it would have been a shame to miss this.

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