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Best restaurant with a high energy environment?

Visiting NYC this summer for my wife's 40th birthday celebration, and I'm looking for the best restaurant that has a high energy environment. We want good food first and foremost, but she doesn't enjoy going to places that feel too quiet or reserved.

It doesn't need to be over-the-top loud, and as much as I would like to go to places like EMP, Jean-Georges, or LeBernardin, my gut tells me she just won't enjoy the environment.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of the above places listed or any of the other high-end restaurants as our trips to NYC are few and far between, so my knowledge is all second hand. I just want to make sure she has the best 40th b-day possible.

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      1. re: thegforceny

        I don't find NoMad or Babbo to be high energy. The bar area of Babbo is crowded (because the area is tiny), but the rooms could not be described as high energy, especially upstairs.

        NoMad is not high energy either. It's a little buzzy because the tables are close together, but far from high energy.

        The Breslin is frenetic. That's high energy.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          While the food may be good at Momofuku Ko, it's a stretch to call it high energy. It's so small, and the only noise comes from the loud rap music the chefs blast. (I've asked them to turn it down)

          If his wife likes a buzzy, high energy environment coming from people, this is not it. It's tame with loud music.

          1. re: Pookipichu

            Ko no longer plays the music loud (probably not for the past year or so).

            1. re: ellenost

              Thank goodness, I've complained about it, especially since the music had profanity.

              1. re: Pookipichu

                Last year I had to smile when a song from Air Supply played while I was having dinner. I'm probably one of Ko's few guests who know who Air Supply is.

                1. re: ellenost

                  I love Air Supply :) I wouldn't classify any of their songs as high energy, but it's a much better accompaniment to the food at Ko than rap music blasting with all sorts of curse words.

                  1. re: Pookipichu

                    Air Supply???? Opposite of energy. Sucks all the energy out of the room. I wonder what you must think that my wife wanted Nirvana's hit Rape Me played at our wedding because she loved the song. Any who...

                    1. re: Bkeats

                      A wedding is a different matter, whatever music you enjoy should be played, whether it be Billy Ray Cyrus or Deaf Leopards.

                  2. re: ellenost

                    I love Air supply...went to concert during christmas.

                  3. re: Pookipichu

                    Isn't Ko an adult restaurant? I'm wondering why profanity is an issue.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't like hearing profanity, especially not when I am trying to enjoy a meal.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        I'm surprised you can even make out the lyrics while enjoying a meal.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          The first time I was at Momofuku Ko, a rap song was blasting that used the N word repeatedly and it literally made me feel sick to my stomach.

                          1. re: Pookipichu

                            Well, that's certainly not a nice feeling to have when you're shilling out that kinda dough.

                      2. re: linguafood

                        For me, profanisty is an issue not because of the actual idea of profanity, but because of the negative/violent/overtly sexual feeling used with the words. At a party at home? In the car? Listening with ear buds? Sure. Of course! While dining out at a nice restaurant? Not at all. I wouldn't want to hear the words "vomit" "puss" "stab you in the neck" or "anal bleeding" while dining in public either, and none of those words are profanity. It's the idea behind the words in the context of the song that makes me uncomfortable; not the actual use of profanity.

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          I guess, unless I am actually familiar with a song, I just don't pay enough attention to lyrics while I am busy eating an expensive meal.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            If the volume is loud enough, no matter what the price, I hear the music. I have always been and will always be a music lover. Although I am almost 53, I keep pretty current and am familiar with a lot of music. If a restaurant is playing a mix of good music, I will "tune in" no matter what the bill is. Just like I will notice the artwork, the furnishings and the rest of the environment. It's just the way I am wired. :)

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              I'm a professional singer, so I'm no stranger to music myself '-D

                              That said, I rarely ever pay close attention to rap lyrics. It's just not my thang.

                              And I hate the way they blast music in restaurants nowadays, making it near impossible to have a conversation without screaming at each other.

                              Guess that's the "high energy" factor some folks much younger than I are into.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                I don't think I'm a prude but it's hard to ignore when the N-word and B-word are being blasted at you in a small restaurant. :) There are some words that cause a visceral reaction when you hear them, much the same way I'm fine with bodily functions in general but I don't want someone pooping next to me when I'm eating in a "fancy" restaurant.

                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                  I guess I'm not that sensitive to those words as you are.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    As someone who has had both lunch and dinner at Ko more than 50 times during the past 5 1/2 years, I have never heard any music that was at all offensive (used to be louder), and I'm turning 55 this summer.

                                    1. re: ellenost

                                      I have, I guess I was I unlucky.......or perhaps because I complained.

              2. Betony
                Rouge Tomate
                SD26
                Maialino

                We are going to the NoMad tonight, for the first time, so I will comment on that shortly.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rrems

                  Well, having just had dinner at NoMad, I can say this is the place. The roast chicken for 2 is wonderful. We had a great meal, I love the beer selection, and it is lively and loud without being ridiculously so. Service is excellent, and atmosphere is nice. Be sure to reserve as soon as your dates become available.

                  1. re: rrems

                    Rouge Tomate?? I consider it one of my favorites in terms of food but I go there for the peace and quiet!!

                  2. Agree with previous suggestions, and adding:
                    Pearl and ash
                    Betony