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Italian Graduation Dinner

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My husband and I will be coming to NYC for our son's graduation from Columbia next month and we plan to have a celebratory dinner for five while in town, however our budget is not much more than $75 pp. Our son came back from a trip to Italy last year raving about how great the food was, so I'm leaning towards finding an Italian place (tho not Italian-American) for our dinner. Neither of our sons are highly adventurous eaters, one being just plain "picky", so several of the spots I might like to try (Babbo, Perla, Maialino, etc.) seem to have menus that are a bit too "foody" for them. I've come up with three places that could fit the bill menu-wise, but not sure if the atmosphere would seem "special" enough.

Please let me know your thoughts on:
- Il Buco
- Pepolino
- Cacio e Pepe

And, of course, any and all other suggestions are most welcome!

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  1. How about Maialino? I think it's a pretty straightforward Roman trattoria.

    1. There's nothing too "foody" about Babbo or Maialino (haven't been to Perla) - Maialino's very straightforward, and Babbo is very much a "something for everyone" kind of place - if you want tripe, or goose liver ravioli, or whatever, it's there. If you don't, there's a dozen other things to choose from per course.