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May 7, 2012 04:32 AM

50th Birthday break in NYC...

Hi guys and gals,

We are coming to NYC and staying in the times square area in mid November for my Husbands 50th Birthday. I have found lots of great places to eat on other nights that we are staying there but for the big night of his 50th on the saturday night, i'm looking for somewhere even better. ideally, not somewhere thats going to break the bank but has a "wow" factor.

Up to now I have been advised of some of the usual suspects such as Buddakan. I would love for the night to have a big celebration dinner and then on to either a show and hopefully a great cabaret venue. If you have any suggestions for that too that would be great. We are a married gay male couple so not easily shocked.

suggestions of special things to do in the daytime also welcome... I'm completely at a loss with so many choices in such a great city.

we are visting from Nottingham in the Uk

thanks in advance for your help

Darren x

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  1. to add... a budget of up to $75 per person but less if possible

    2 Replies
    1. re: cabal101

      ...does that price include alcohol + tax/tip? Thanks.

      1. re: LeahBaila

        Not including drinks but taxes and tip yes. Just somewhere cool/fun and not too stuffy. He's a young 50 ;-)

    2. The moderators frown upon non food and non drink discussion here. If you want advice on places to eat near tourist attractions, and scheduling eating around activities, we can certainly do that, but that's all we can offer.

      I think a big dinner plus a show afterwards might be really ambitious--dependent upon the show's curtain time (8pm?) you may feel rushed.

      Also it's VERY far in advance to be planning this. What's cool and fun 6 months from now is impossible to say. I think a lot of posters here would say a place like Buddakhan is old and tired, whereas Acme, Empellon Cocina, The NoMad, etc. are new and cool. But new places open up here all the time.

      12 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        We can eat before or after a show... we did that last time we were in NYC. As for the other stuff, it was just to give the idea of what the general vibe of the evening would be.

        Also, in regards to planning ahead... whats wrong with that?

        If Buddakan is old and tired, what makes it old and tired? Is it in regards to poor service? poor menu? poor price? We are not from New York, so anywhere would be new to us. By cool, I don't mean "new and trendy". I simply mean... well... cool. A venue can still be old (so last year) and cool.

        The daytime ideas I was looking for were also places to eat.

        Thanks for the heads up.

        1. re: cabal101

          Somewhere new/interesting/great may open between now and November, just keep that in mind.

          Many people posting on this board (especially visitors) use the word "cool" to mean new/hot/trendy/of the moment.

          What does cool mean to you? What are you looking for? Can you describe it a little more?

          "Special things to do in the daytime" was a little vague--sounded like you wanted tourist activities. Maybe a walking/noshing tour?

          Here are my favorite places in NYC:

          I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:

          Maybe scoopG's self guided Chinatown tour:

          A West Village food crawl. Here's a similar food tour I put together for the West Village:

          The possible stops are:
          Washington Square Park
          Mille-Feuille Bakery for croissants
          Third Rail Coffee
          South Brooklyn Pizza on Bleecker
          Blue Ribbon Bakery Market for their housemade matzoh
          Victory Garden for goat milk soft serve
          Famous Joe's for a slice
          Grom for gelato
          Rocco's for freshly filled cannoli
          Amy's Bread
          Murray's Cheese
          Faicco's Pork Store
          Bosie Tea Parlor for cookies/macarons
          Blind Tiger for beer
          Joe the Art of Coffee
          Jeffrey's Grocery for oysters and beer
          Taim for falafel
          Magnolia Bakery for ice box cake
          dell'anima for a Negroni Sbagliato cocktail
          Chelsea Market
          The High Line

          An East Village food crawl, too, perhaps?

          Porchetta, Butter Lane, Luke's Lobster, Caracas Arepa Bar, the Big Gay Ice Cream shop, the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream shop...then when you're done you can hit up PDT, Death & Co, or Mayahuel right when they open.

          1. re: kathryn

            thanks for all these suggestions I have copied them down for further investigation.

            I suppose by cool, I mean fun, different, funky, great design, wow factor, a different take on the classic etc... doesn't ned to be the new "place to be seen".

            i really appreciate all the help. Amy's bread is already on my radar for a birthday cake.

          2. re: cabal101

            Take Kathryn's advice on Acme and NoMad.

            Buddakan IS Old and Tired. It is a big space that attracts midwestern tourists and Jersey Shore wannabes. No 'cool' Manhattanite would go. And the food is worse than you can get at a neighborhood Chinese spot, but for 3x the price.

            It was "hot" maybe 8 years ago or more.

            If that helps..

            1. re: thegforceny

              Can you recommend maybe an forward thinking Italian spot? Or fredh takes on American classics?

              1. re: cabal101

                I think you would enjoy Lincoln. Great food and interior design.

                1. re: cabal101

                  its a very different feel than lincoln, but perhaps look into Rubirosa. Its sort of old-school in its subject (italian-american, not attempting italian regional) but its pretty hip and cool which you seem to be looking for.

                  We just ate at Acme recently and while it may not have been the best meal we'd eaten in the last year, it was very interesting (in a good way) the drinks were excellent and it has an incredibly lively vibe - we were glad to have gotten an earlieish reservation, it seemed like some 2 tops got seated at a rather uncomfortable looking ledge opposite the bar, so i'd probably ask for a non-bar seat when you reserve.

                  1. re: cabal101

                    Torrisi Italian Specialty's chef's tasting menu might work. The meal is $150 and is twenty courses and has inspirations taken from New York City history.

                2. re: cabal101

                  "Old and tired" because it lacks buzz. The buzz has moved elsewhere.

                  Also, Buddakan is a place that was always, say, 80% buzz. The food was better than it had to be -- but nobody went there for the food.

                  Contrast that with a place like Balthazar, where good food was part of the buzz. It's never lost its buzz, and the food is as good as ever.

                  1. re: Sneakeater

                    Balthazar is looking to be high up there as an option for the Saturday if the budget allows. ABC Kitchen & Babbo are also two others that we might visit, time and money permitting. Being a huge novice on hear and indeed in manhattan... This site and it's followers have been brilliant.

                    1. re: cabal101

                      I'll just repeat my frequent refrain* that, if scheduling allows (it's almost impossible to get prime-time reservations), I'd recommend Minetta Tavern even over Balthazar. If you could do lunch there, perfect!
                      * I'm not particularly "in" with management there or anything. I just like the place a lot.

                      1. re: Sneakeater

                        Oh, don't worry. I'm booking ahead for sure where possible.