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Tasting Menu/Dinner Suggestion for Dad's 50th?

Hi all, first time poster in need of some guidance....

It's my dad's 50th birthday soon and I wanted to do something special - I love food and I figured taking him to a really nice dinner and sharing my interest would be a good gift. I don't think he's been to any fine dining restaurants before so I want this to be memorable experience. There are no dietary restrictions for either of us.

Another thing - I've been to a few places (i.e. the Modern) that I think are more appropriate for a 'couple' and less so for father and son dining alone.

Does anyone have any suggestions for places that would be appropriate under these circumstances? Any advice is much appreciated.

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  1. Here's a recent thread with ideas to get you started:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/866803

    Note: the top places like those in the above thread get booked up in advance, so get on that reservation 3-4 weeks in advance of your pop's birthday.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thegforceny

      Thanks for the response - I'll take a look through that list!

    2. Are you sure you want to do a tasting menu?

      How adventurous or non adventurous is he?

      I think if he doesn't dine out at fine dining establishments a lot, maybe a prix fixe will work better for him. A tasting may be overwhelming.

      1. Tocqueville. Great food, pleasant staff and it's generally easy to get a reservation.

        1. I'm with kathryn in asking if you sure he'll enjoy a tasting menu?

          Also, what's your budget? In my experience, it takes a while for parents to get used to the idea you are comfortable dropping a wad of cash on them, especially for something so ephemeral as one meal. If you've given him expensive gifts before and he's loved them, ignore me.

          One other thing I'll share: I once spent a lot of money to share with my mother one of my passions, only to realize midway that if my mother had ever had any real interest in doing this, she obviously would have done it for herself by the time she reached 60. Of course she was a sport and polite about joining me in my fun, but I think she would have been just as happy doing something else that day -- preferably something I already knew she enjoyed.

          Anyway, I've not a doubt in the world your dad will enjoy being with you and will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Like I said, he's your dad, and if you already know he's going to be wowed and tickled and honored to be let in your interests, then ignore me.

          But what does he like to eat in general? Even if you don't have dietary restrictions, is he generally attracted to simple, clean and uncomplicated foods, or does he love sauces and lots of flavors?

          3 Replies
          1. re: barberinibee

            Thanks for the messages. I took special note of this post - I thought it over and I think you're 100% right. Truth is, he's very much a meat and potatoes guy and as much as he'd enjoy the meal with me, I think I should pick a gift pertaining to a hobby he already has...

            Thanks again for the post! Very insightful.

            1. re: strikeoutswinging

              Then how about the option of taking him out to dinner (something you like) but to a meal, in an atmosphere, he would like? If you would consider it I think you should take him to Keens and share a mutton chop and a Porterhouse. You'll both appreciate the food and he gets a glimpse of what you like doing.

              1. re: strikeoutswinging

                My pleasure. Glad to know my years of trying to figure out my parents might have been useful to somebody else! Have a nice time whatever you do.

            2. I think Atera would be a fun & memorable experience to share, with counter seating that is not very couple-ish (IMO).

              1. Picholine is always a good choice for dinner with parents.

                1. I had the pleasure of dining at Blanca in brooklyn recently, and think it fits your bill excellently. First, hes a meat and potatoes guy? Chef Mirachi's ribeye, lamb saddle and pork were outstanding, and there was an entire potato course!

                  While there were some (2, maybe?) couples among the 12 diners, its not romantic/aiming for romance. Plus your seated facing the kitchen watching the three cooks do their dance, which is, imo, a great way to share your love of cooking in a way beyond just sharing the finished product with him.

                  Its funny, because i was also there for a celebratory meal with a (non-parental) relative just a smidge over your dads age. He had recently done the full tasting at Per Se, but having him compare and comment on the differences between the two equally amazing experiences was really fun.

                  now, getting a reservation . . .