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25th Birthday Dinner for Girlfriend- NEED RESTAURANT IDEAS!

Hey all,
My girlfriend is turning 25 at the end of October and I want to take her out to a nice dinner on a Friday night (I'm coming up on a one month mark so most restaurants are in play). I want a restaurant that's going to be good but also fun and "different" (there are many restaurants who have menus that are not special in anyway but rather contain dishes that you could find anywhere). We both loved Beauty & Essex and the Stanton Social as well as Balaboosta, Kefi, and other restaurants.
One of us doesn't eat meat and the other doesn't eat fish so some of both types or vegetarian stuff is necessary (as long as there is a vegetarian option or a fish option, it's fine).
We normally order 2 entrees and maybe an appetizer between the two of us. I'd also want 2 glasses or a bottle of wine depending on price. I would like to keep it under 120 with tax and tip but would go over if it's worth it.
Any ideas would be great!!

THANK YOU!!!

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  1. I'm still trying to think of a really good recommendation of a restaurant that's not vegetarian as such but which you would find imaginative. But in the meantime, I thought I'd mention a vegetarian restaurant I went to recently that was very good. Have you been to Cafe Blossom on the Upper West Side? I'm unconvinced it's celebratory enough for a birthday, but you might want to consider it for another occasion.

    For the birthday, is this a possibility?

    http://lavagnanyc.com/menu/dinner/

    If you decide to go there, request the table overlooking the garden.

    Since you like Greek food, you could also consider Pylos. It has better decor than Kefi but also costs more, and I can't predict whether you'll find the food better or not (most hounds do, but I haven't been so sure).

    13 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      I don't think that option will work. In terms of the vegetarian options and such, I am the one who eats fish but not meat so I care more about there being good meat options for her than fish for me. I can find something anywhere but want to make sure it's a great dinner for her so maybe don't worry about the need for seafood/vegetarian options at all.

      We like Greek food but really like everything. An "entree" restaurant and a "small plates restaurant" are both fine by us.

      If this helps other restaurants we've gone to and liked/disliked are:

      Liked:
      Dos Caminos (it was okay)
      Otto
      Co.
      Uva
      Beauty and Essex
      Stanton Social
      Kefi
      Balaboosta
      Zengo
      Water Club

      Disliked:
      Recipe (in UWS)

      There are probably others but the above comes to mind.

      I want the dinner to be fun or special or both. Something trendy like B&E or Stanton Social would be good, as would something a little nicer.

      Any ideas you all have would be much obliged!!

      1. re: Hofman777

        How about Empellon Taqueria or Perla?

        1. re: MrGrumpy

          Empellon might work but I was just reading about it online and it seems that people are saying it's really loud.

          Has anyone been that can talk as to how loud it would be on a Friday night?

          Any other ideas?

          1. re: Hofman777

            How old are these Empellon Taqueria reviews? They've done soundproofing since they opened.

            1. re: kathryn

              As recent as this past August. Does anyone know first-hand how loud it is on a Friday night?

            2. re: Hofman777

              Empellon Taqueria installed s bit of soundproofing about a year ago so it's not as loud as when it opened. But it's still louder than Otto and other restaurants on your list above.

              How about Perilla, Raymi or Yerba Buena Perry for something more sedate?

              1. re: MrGrumpy

                Raymi may be too exotic for my girlfriend and Yerba I don't think will work. Perilla doesn't seem bad but the menu looks "run of the mill" in that most of the dishes aren't something that I feel like I couldn't find elsewhere.

                Public would work but I actually cannot eat there (I can't eat some of the stuff in the seafood dishes).

                Super-loud is a problem in that I want to be able to talk while we're at dinner and not struggle to have a conversation.

                Some music and what-not isn't a bad thing (we really liked Stanton Social and Beauty and Essex although B&E was a little on the loud side)

                1. re: Hofman777

                  Review the link I posted, it seems like Public will be willing to work with you to customize your meal. They did a vegan tasting for another poster.

                  1. re: Hofman777

                    Okay. How about Txikito, Tertulia or Casa Mono?

                    1. re: MrGrumpy

                      I think Spanish food might be a no-go. All three of those have menus that are almost-entirely meat based which will be difficult (especially for a small plates restaurant like Casa Mono). Mexican food is likely fine but spanish food may be too difficult.

                      I don't know if there are any places that would work but we tend to like Mediterranean and "American" food.

              1. re: Hofman777

                I'm not sure I understand which option I suggested wouldn't work, or why.

                For small plates, the first place I think of is Txikito, but (a) you can't get reservations and (b) you said Spanish is impossible.

                Since you liked Otto, Lupa is a logical suggestion. It may be impossible to get a reservation that isn't really late (like after 10) or perhaps really early. If you do reserve there, ask to be put in the back room, which is usually more quiet and sedate, since it sounds like that's what you want.

                I can't help you with any trendy suggestions and haven't eaten at any of the places you mention except for Otto and Kefi.

            3. Listen to kathryn and look into Public, she beat me to suggesting it. GF is a vegetarian and I'm an eatanythingatarian and we have always enjoyed our meals at Public.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Spiritchaser

                I'd prefer not to go to a restaurant knowing that I need to order something special. Any other ideas?

                1. re: Hofman777

                  Not sure you can do it on your budget, but ABC Kitchen would be great.

                  1. re: Hofman777

                    What is it you can't eat at Public? If you have additional dietary restrictions, tell us so we can take them into account.