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Lunch Recommendations for Birthday Celebration on Valentine's Day

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afrosamurai Feb 7, 2012 03:08 PM

My boyfriend will celebrate his birthday a few days after Valentine's Day, but will be out of town. We're celebrating early on the 14th when we both are off work, just the two of us.

He's picking dinner, but I need to find a spot for a birthday lunch (hopefully with little V-Day cheesiness).

I'm very into food and dining experiences in general: he is not, but is starting to explore more and be more into where and what we eat. We had a great dinner at Blue Ribbon a little while ago, and we both enjoyed Aldea. I have been to Toqueville, Ippudo and Marea recently (loved the former, very much liked the latter two restaurants). Did not enjoy The Dutch.

I'm looking to spend max $70 pp (inflated to include The Modern's lunch menu, not including tax/tip/possible beverages). Any area of Manhattan will work, or an easily accessible area of Brooklyn by public transportation. Here are a few of my ideas so far. Any neighborhood gems I should look at?

Would appreciate any and all suggestions and general guidance! Thanks!

Bouley, River Cafe, The Modern, Little Owl, Jean Georges are the first five places with availability that caught my eye.

Del Posto (although they appear to have no availability on OpenTable)

Il Buco? Any David Chang establishment with a must-try lunch?

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

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

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

Little Owl
90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

Il Buco
47 Bond St., New York, NY 10012

Ippudo
65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

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

Bouley
163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

Ippudo
321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Cheeryvisage RE: afrosamurai Feb 7, 2012 03:11 PM

    Of the places you listed, I've been to Bouley, The Modern, and Jean Georges for lunch. I definitely recommend The Modern out of the three of them. I found the food most enjoyable there and the view fantastic (ask for a two-top by the window in the center).

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

    1. r
      Riverman500 RE: afrosamurai Feb 7, 2012 03:34 PM

      Call Del Posto. If they can accommodate you, and if you can increase your budget to $75, try the Menu Tradizionale. I had it recently and loved it. You might get a kitchen tour as well, as I did.

      If you can't get into Del Posto. then Jean Georges, Bouley, or Tocqueville would be my suggestions.

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

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

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

      Bouley
      163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

      1. ellenost RE: afrosamurai Feb 7, 2012 07:51 PM

        I highly recommend Bouley since it's one of my Top 5 NYC restaurants.

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          afrosamurai RE: afrosamurai Feb 7, 2012 09:35 PM

          Thanks everyone who replied!

          I will definitely call Del Posto tomorrow AM and see if there's any availability or if I can put my name on a waiting list. The Modern is my back up plan.

          I really want to go to Bouley for lunch after re-reading the menu. I'm not sure that our planned activities earlier in the day lend themselves to a jacket required lunch though. (I know Del Posto has a smart kind of dress recommended, but no jacket required.) We will be dressed nicely, but I'm thinking my boyfriend would prefer a slightly more casual lunch feel. Ah well, I'll have to go myself sometime in the near future!

          2 Replies
          1. re: afrosamurai
            ellenost RE: afrosamurai Feb 8, 2012 03:43 AM

            You should call Bouley to ask about the jacket requirement. I've been to dinner at Bouley many times, and have seen men not wearing jackets (in fact during the summer there was a large table of men celebrating something, and not one was wearing a jacket).

            1. re: ellenost
              a
              afrosamurai RE: ellenost Feb 8, 2012 04:28 AM

              Thanks, ellenost. I'll call Bouley to check when I'm calling Del Posto.

          2. a
            afrosamurai RE: afrosamurai Feb 8, 2012 11:03 AM

            An update:

            Del Posto definitely does not have any availability, but they said I could call Sunday to see if there are cancellations.

            Bouley does enforce their jacket requirement for lunch, but I've decided we'll just bring a blazer with us to the city for the lunch. The boyfriend wears blazers pretty often anyway, so it'll be fine.

            Any final thoughts on The Modern versus Bouley for a Valentine/birthday lunch experience? Thanks again!

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

            Bouley
            163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

            2 Replies
            1. re: afrosamurai
              Cheeryvisage RE: afrosamurai Feb 8, 2012 11:23 AM

              For ambiance, I prefer Bouley for Valentine's day because the room is beautiful and romantic. The Modern's room is nice, but not as romantic.

              If we're talking about food, I definitely prefer The Modern. When I eat at Bouley, it's more like "mmmm... this is very nice and tasty," while at The Modern, it's "wow, this is incredibly, mind-blowingly amazing."

              I'd go to Bouley for the ambiance, The Modern for the food.

              1. re: afrosamurai
                ellenost RE: afrosamurai Feb 8, 2012 11:42 AM

                I've been to both restaurants, and strongly prefer both the food, service and ambiance at Bouley. I've had both lunch and dinner at The Modern (both for celebrations), and on both visits I found the food "okay" with an extremely loud noise level from their bar area that unfortunately enters the dining room due to a lack of true separation of the spaces. I've had annoying service problems at The Modern. At Bouley, which I've dined at regularly for more than 10 years, I've always had fantastic food in a gorgeous dining room and extremely attentive service. I really wanted to love The Modern, but after two visits, I think if I should return I'll have a casual meal in the Bar Room and not the Dining Room.

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