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50th Birthday

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I am going to New York in November with some family members for my dad's 50th. I am looking for a restaurant for his actual birthday dinner. He is a self proclaimed foodie and will definitely want something to reflect this ( so no chains or anything of the sort) He probably will not want to do any sort of Asian food but that's about it on the specifics. He had mentioned the possibility of looking at a Chef's Table although I had never heard of this so I'm not sure where to look. Price is not really a factor. Any help at all or any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

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  1. per se
    Eleven Madison Park
    The NoMad
    Le Bernardin
    The Modern

    That should get you started. DOZENS of posts on each

    1. Per Se
      Eleven Madison Park
      Le Bernardin

      [gap]

      The Modern
      Corton
      WD-50
      Jean Georges
      Craft
      Blue Hill at Stone Barns

      1. How big is your group? A chef's table literally in the kitchen is not that common in Manhattan. You can still have a fantastic meal without being at a chef's table -- is your party small enough for a chef's counter to work?

        You might want to look into these threads as well:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856084
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826397

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          We will be a group of four. Like I said, I had never heard of a chef's table so I wasn't sure if it would be doable. But thanks for the great ideas!!

        2. My last 4 birthdays were
          Jean Georges
          Modern
          Le Bernadin
          15 East

          so exclude 15 East and any of the others,,, The Modern would be my first choice for a birthday

          1. You should arrange for the Extended Tasting Menu at Per Se. It's a 20+ course food extravaganza that takes more than 5 1/2 hours. Cost is about $550 per person. I've dined several times previously at Per Se with the regular 9 course menu, but the Extended Tasting Menu was my favorite dining experience. It is a "must" for anyone who can afford it. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me, but well worth it!

            11 Replies
            1. re: ellenost

              I don't want to hijack the thread so before I ask ellenost a question I'll give some suggestions (none of which are Chef's tables):

              Eleven Madison Park (of course)
              Per Se - incredible in every aspect
              Le Bernardin - if the birthday boy LOVES fish, this is the place

              If you can travel outside of the city Blue Hill at Stone Barns can be a spectacular setting with incrdible food.

              Up until a couple weeks ago I would have recommended The Modern in a heart beat, wonderful food and beautiful room looking out on to the sculpture garden but the service was so clumsy and disjointed on our last vist it actually detracted from the meal.

              Just FYI - Gordon Ramsey at The London does have an actual Chef's table in their kitchen.

              Now, to ellenost - GF and I have done the "regular" menu at Per Se plenty of times and it has always been just a little too much food which has kept of from ever considering the extended menu. What is your opinion (or anyone's opinion that has done the ex tasting menu)? Same amount of food with greater variety or more food but spaced out more?

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                my experience was that the portions were slightly smaller, but it was more food overall.

                1. re: nmprisons

                  Were you uncomfortably full afterwards?

                  1. re: Spiritchaser

                    I was. My wife was stuffed (but that is pretty typical).

                  2. re: nmprisons

                    Our experience with the extended tasting was a bit different. The first few courses were so rich and the portions so large that we purprosely did not finish them (which took real will power because they were so delicious). We finally implored the kitchen to cut down on the portion sizes -- which they did. I was feeling pleasantly full when we got to the "coffee and donuts," chocolates, and candies, Since I didn't want to feel stuffed, I had only one donut hole, a few spoons of the "coffee," and one chocolate.

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  3. re: Spiritchaser

                    Spiritchaser:

                    Our portions for the Extended Tasting Menu were smaller than the regular menu, but since there were so many courses, I was full (but not uncomfortably so) at the end of the meal. I would say that I was equally full from the Extended Tasting Menu and the regular menu--never can eat much of the mignardises.

                    1. re: ellenost

                      RGR, ellenost, nmprisons, thanks for the insight and opinions, sounds like we'll be doing the Ext Tasting!

                      1. re: Spiritchaser

                        I look forward to your report! Have a wonderful time!

                        1. re: ellenost

                          Unfortunately it will probably have to wait until the Fall, we have a lot planned for the near future but at least now I know we can plan for it.

                        2. re: Spiritchaser

                          Enjoy!

                    2. re: ellenost

                      The cost for the extended is $500pp, inclusive of tip but not tax or alcoholic beverages. Unlike the regular tasting, there are no suppementary charges for items like foie gras.

                      Spiritchaser,

                      We've only been to Per Se twice. We did the regular menu the first time and the extended tasting the more recent second time. With the extended, there is definitely more food and, of course, because there are at leats double the number of courses, there is a greater variety. There were some dishes taken from that day's normal menus (regular and vegetarian) while others were created especially for the extended. The meal, which was very well-paced, lasted 6 hours.

                      Photos of our Per Se extended tasting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                    3. I'm wondering if by "Chef's Table" the father of the OP meant "THE Chef's Table" (at Brooklyn Fare) - which of course could be a good option in the 1/100 chance the OP could get a rez there.

                      Otherwise, if PINO, the usual suspects: EMP would be my #1 choice, certainly.

                      How formal an atmosphere does your father like? Some of the above - Le Bernardin, particularly - are very formal / kind of "corporate" in vibe. Your father's young enough that that might not be his thing... Would he want a "white tablecloth" place with a jacket requirement, etc?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sgordon

                        He's comfortable with formal places and sometimes even prefers them for special occasions. I'm not sure about a "corporate" vibe though...

                      2. Did your father mean Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare? Reservations are difficult to come by; they only now seat parties of two and four, have a dress code, etc. etc. Seats are arranged around a counter so it's not as if you'd have your own table but....it is pretty phenomenal. I went before they had a liquor license so it ended up being a pretty great deal. Not sure how it is now with the new pricing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: EBT

                          He didn't specifically mean this table but it seems like an option to look at. IF we could get a reservation I mean.

                        2. Danielle, La Grenouille (one of the most beautiful restaurants in NYC