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I've Got a Problem...

Okay, so I am a 16 year old boy (I know, I know, just please read!) . I have ALWAYS wanted to go to an upscale, michelin-starred restaurant in NYC. I live in New Jersey, and am 1 hour away from the city. My mother told me I could pick a restaurant to go to Labor Day weekend for my birthday. I had settled on Daniel Boloud's restaurant. I asked my mom, but then we encountered a problem.

We NEVER drive to the city because of all of the traffic and congestion because it scares my mom. She said driving was out of the question. As all of you (I hope) know, Daniel is a Jacket Required restaurant, so I'm assuming a jacket is required. We can't take suitcases or garment bags, because it would be too much trouble, especially if we might not even stay in a hotel at all. Is there any way I can transport a jacket in a small bag that I can take on a ferry and taxi to take to a hotel?

If there is no solution for that, (I am open to anything right now!!) can anyone suggest a restaurant where I would be able to wear a nice button-down shirt with a tie and get away with it? Preferably well-known and michelin-starred if possible.

Please help!

Sincerely, Mike

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  1. Mike, I am very impressed with the maturity of your letter as well as your request. When my husband travels, he wears a blue blazer with a rolled tie in the pocket. If it gets warm, he'll just carry it over his shoulder. At destination, he'll button his oxford cloth shirt and put on the tie. Voila! He's ready for almost anything. I guess I must not understand your question because it does not seem to be a big deal.

    Have you thought about calling the restaurant asking if their Jacket Required policy is in effect for the holiday weekend? That would be my first suggestion. Back in the olden days, many restaurants kept a discreet selections of jackets for patrons who arrived without the porper attire. You may be pleasantly surprised at how your request is handled.

    Happy Birthday wishes for a marvelous experience and please, let us know how this turns out.

    EDIT: When you call the restaurant, ask if they would hold your jacket, tie and extra shirt until your arrival for dinner. You could drop it off when you arrive in the city. That way, you'd be free of it during the day which seems to be your major concern.

    1. We've traveled to Europe and other places and my husband just wears his jacket, stuffs it into the overhead and then puts it back on. I'm confused as to why you can't just wear and/or put it over your shoulder while making the trip. Am I missing something?

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        Well, I guess the problem is that we are taking the ferry to the city, maybe going to a museum or something along those lines, then going to a restaurant. We can't take a car, so I can't hang a suit in the car, and it would be extremely difficult to carry a garment bag/suit around Manhattan.

        I was looking at Corton, if I wore a nice button-down shirt with a tie there would it be acceptable?

        1. re: epicdude17

          Obviously, depending on the temps, one should be able to wear a blazer/jacket to many pre-dinner events.

          Last trip to Restaurant Daniel, we were at "Phantom," and then had drinks at the Inter-Continental, prior to dining, and even on the train from Queens, the blazer was not out of place.



      2. I'm confused. If you are staying in a hotel, why can't you bring a garment bag or suitcase on the ferry?

        If you are not staying in a hotel, why can't you just wear or carry a jacket or transport it in a messenger bag or backpack? Do you have a jacket that won't wrinkle?

        3 Replies
        1. re: LeoLioness

          No, that's the problem. The Jacket will wrinkle if I put it into a backpack.

          I'm looking at Corton now. It looks like you don't have to wear a suit there. Am I correct or is the clothing predominantly suits?

          1. re: epicdude17

            Why not phone the restaurant and ask them?

            1. re: LeoLioness

              They were closed when I called them today. They aren't open on sundays or mondays, and I wanted to make a reservation fairly soon.

        2. Maybe there are rental lockers somewhere that you can hang a garment bag in.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GH1618

            If it's near your other locations (museum, etc.) the restaurant itself may even let you drop your coat off there earlier in the day.

          2. First, it is so refreshing to read such a well written post by an up and coming ChowHound. We will look forward to your review.

            I guess, I am with everyone else, in that I cam confused that you can't just wear the jacket, with the tie rolled into a pocket, and at least sling it over your shoulder, when you are hot. It's just a small deal considering the wonderful place you have picked out. Sad that you would miss out because you didn't try.
            Do call them ASAP (see if you can leave a message, if they are not open) and ask. You will ost likely be pleasantly surprised how much they will work with you to help.

            Depending on what museum, you visit, look for a locker or a coat room.
            Trust me, small problem. Try being a woman having to wear heels all day, for the evening out.

            1. First, I highly recommend Restaurant Daniel (I would place it up with Per Se and Le Bernardin).

              Now, I travel the world, and always have at least my blazer. When the planes do not have hangers, and closet space, I just fold it, inside out, with the inner shoulders pulled out, and place it atop my briefcase, in the overhead compartment. A good wool, or wool & silk blazer will stand up nicely to that.

              At Restaurant Daniel, I would definitely wear a jacket. Even if they allowed you to dine without one, you would be MUCH more comfortable wearing one. In NYC, and a few other cities, I also don a tie, even where not required.

              Now, I greatly admire you your choice. I just toasted you with a glass of the Silver Oak Napa Cabernet 2004, for your decision, and desire.

              I started doing fine-dining in New Orleans, when I was about six. I always traveled (we took the train from the MS Gulf Coast to New Orleans in those days) with a jacket, and usually a tie. One trip, somewhat later on, I forgot the tie, and when my hosts arrived at Antione's, they gave me a "paper tie," which I had to wear. That walk through the main dining room was about as painful, as it gets for a 13 year old. I never, never made THAT mistake again, though ties in New Orleans rather passed from the "required list," some years later.

              Traveling with a jacket (or even a tux) can be a test. Most men's stores have plastic "suit bags," that fit a suit, or jacket, on a hanger. That can be helpful, when traveling, and I have several Tumi versions in rip-stop nylon, just to get my suit, or jacket to the country club, or similar. I have also had to change into my tux, in the back of a limo speeding from Dulles International Airport (IAD), into downtown Washington, DC. Traveling with "good clothes" is not easy, especially if one must pop out of the car, looking good for the press, and others.

              I hope that you can pull it off, and that you enjoy the experience greatly. Last time at Restaurant Daniel, we dressed and took the train from Queens (by JFK), then hired a limo to get us back (got to see the NYC Christmas lights on that trip). Like your mom, I would never have thought about driving into the City. Just not something that I would consider fun either, and I really love to drive.

              I'd work out the jacket, rather than scale the choice back. Go for what you want, and let the "hat-check lady" take care of your "suit bag." Tip them $ 1.00, and smile. They will be happy to help you.

              Enjoy, and Happy Birthday!


              7 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                And that epicdude17, is the best advice by the most gracious Gentleman posting here on CH or anyplace else. You would do well to take it and follow it.

                1. re: Quine

                  Please report back in great detail about your experience. Have a wonderful birthday and an incredible meal. P.S. your Mom is great.

                    1. re: Quine

                      Hear hear. Gracious is the perfect word for Bill.

                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      and another +1. BH is our kind and gracious Godfather.

                      1. re: lemons

                        Yes, just make sure not to show him any photos of your food if you decide to take any as a momento of this special occasion.

                    3. Since it's for your birthday and you don't want to wear a suit all day, buy a suit in NY and wear it to dinner.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: rednyellow

                        Good idea providing that the OP can wear off-the-rack sizes. If alterations are required, it could really crimp things.

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          Perhaps I am confused - is there some reason you can't wear the jacket while traveling to/from the city? Manhattan is a look-your-best kind of place - there's really no place where it wouldn't be appropriate on any level. Congrats on being willing and wanting to do adult stuff as a teen - I love to see young men in a suit or a blazer ... gives me hope!

                          1. re: Cheflambo

                            OP has figured out the issue. Click on his name, you will see he decided on another wonderful Manhattan restaurant.

                            1. re: Cheflambo


                              I am with you. I always fly in a blazer, and in most instances, the cabin-crew allows me to hang it, should I not be flying BC, or FC. Even then, I fold it inside out (to keep the outer surfaces clean), and place it atop my carry-ons, in the overhead, along with my hat. That takes a bit of planning, and then some extra work, but pays dividends on the other end. I do that, even when flying to Hawaii.